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Xanadu Poetry

Student Poetry

Featured Student Poet 

Persona 

Ali Hassan

 

I present,

myself as paralleled to the universe. 

The darkness

that lie below light of an umbra. 

I confide myself joyous,

dancing and singing in coolingness of this night.

The faces I witness,

all fabricating the uniqueness. 

 

I testify myself,

to every part of my being to the universe. 

The casual deceit,

that covers the story of your own.

I speak hysterically,

the path will open for you to have the atom of your own.

The depth of abyss, 

which you can alter as showers of rain or sunshine.

 

I stare in sky, 

speaking with wonders of the magnificent stars. 

The voices 

come back with mysteries but assurance.

The ground, 

with the softness of touch, mellow of voice, and deep of power.

I let those, 

contain myself as it could possibly contain the whole of me.

I develop with nature of truth—

promising to have the same self affect for you, as it does to me.

Joniel Figueroa

By  Joniel Figueroa

Tracy K. Smith was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. From 1997 to 1999 she held a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University. Smith is the author of four books of poetry: The Body's Question (2003), which won the Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet; Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essense Literary Award; Life on Mars (2011), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Wade in the Water (2018). In 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship. She has also written a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction.

In June 2017, Smith was named U.S. poet laureate. She teaches  at Harvard University, where she is a professor of English and of African and African American Studies
and the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. She also hosts American Public Media's daily radio program and podcast The Slowdown, which is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation.

      Poet of the Month 

    Tracy K. Smith

Don't You Wonder, Sometimes?

          1.

 

After dark, stars glisten like ice, and the distance they span

Hides something elemental. Not God, exactly. More like

Some thin-hipped glittering Bowie-being—a Starman

Or cosmic ace hovering, swaying, aching to make us see.

And what would we do, you and I, if we could know for sure

 

That someone was there squinting through the dust,

Saying nothing is lost, that everything lives on waiting only

To be wanted back badly enough? Would you go then,

Even for a few nights, into that other life where you

And that first she loved, blind to the future once, and happy?

 

Would I put on my coat and return to the kitchen where my

Mother and father sit waiting, dinner keeping warm on the stove?

Bowie will never die. Nothing will come for him in his sleep

Or charging through his veins. And he’ll never grow old,

Just like the woman you lost, who will always be dark-haired

 

And flush-faced, running toward an electronic screen

That clocks the minutes, the miles left to go. Just like the life

In which I’m forever a child looking out my window at the night sky

Thinking one day I’ll touch the world with bare hands

Even if it burns.

 

           2.

 

He leaves no tracks. Slips past, quick as a cat. That’s Bowie

For you: the Pope of Pop, coy as Christ. Like a play

Within a play, he’s trademarked twice. The hours

 

Plink past like water from a window A/C. We sweat it out,

Teach ourselves to wait. Silently, lazily, collapse happens.

But not for Bowie. He cocks his head, grins that wicked grin.

 

Time never stops, but does it end? And how many lives

Before take-off, before we find ourselves

Beyond ourselves, all glam-glow, all twinkle and gold?

 

The future isn’t what it used to be. Even Bowie thirsts

For something good and cold. Jets blink across the sky

Like migratory souls.

 

           3.

 

Bowie is among us. Right here

In New York City. In a baseball cap

And expensive jeans. Ducking into

A deli. Flashing all those teeth

At the doorman on his way back up.

Or he’s hailing a taxi on Lafayette

As the sky clouds over at dusk.

He’s in no rush. Doesn’t feel

The way you’d think he feels.

Doesn’t strut or gloat. Tells jokes.

 

I’ve lived here all these years

And never seen him. Like not knowing

A comet from a shooting star.

But I’ll bet he burns bright,

Dragging a tail of white-hot matter

The way some of us track tissue

Back from the toilet stall. He’s got

The whole world under his foot,

And we are small alongside,

Though there are occasions

 

When a man his size can meet

Your eyes for just a blip of time

And send a thought like SHINE

SHINE SHINE SHINE SHINE

Straight to your mind. Bowie,

I want to believe you. Want to feel

Your will like the wind before rain.

The kind everything simply obeys,

Swept up in that hypnotic dance

As if something with the power to do so

Had looked its way and said:

                                                     Go ahead.

 

Tracy K. Smith, "Don't You Wonder, Sometimes?" from Life on Mars. Copyright © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith.

 
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Mondry Xanadu
Julia Crapanzano

By Julia Crapanzano

Featured poem september
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