For Charlene Holmes, R.I.P., and Thania-Lee Cotto shot June 3, 2012, in Cambridge, Massachusetts
I imagine them sitting on the benches
talking of boys, of school, of time, and hope,
I had never seen them, nor heard them laugh,
yet they are painfully real to me now. The pallor of the rose is their despair.
I heard what I thought was firecrackers
and the squeal of tires against the road,
and continued with my night, no more thought
of any wrongs until I saw the blue lights. The pallor of the rose is their despair.
Shaken and withdrawn, he said, “Those were gunshots.”
There was nothing more to say then – nothing.
We stood quietly, each with our own thoughts.
“I saw them,” he said, “walking home from work.” The pallor of the rose is their despair.
Two young girls, friends, sixteen and seventeen,
finding warmth in each others’ words and smiles
in this dreary beginning of June, rain
not dampening their dreams of summertime. The pallor of the rose is their despair.
They talk of boys, of boys, of boys, of boys,
and laugh at their jokes as if no one else
had ever made a joke before but them,
and were happy – until the shots rang out. The pallor of the rose is their despair.
The road marred by the pallor of the rose,
their blood. The quiet of the rainy June
night broken by the unanswerable
cry of, “Why? God why?” and sirens wailing. The pallor of the rose is their despair.
Cambridge awakens to find that this is no
figment, no nightmare. Yes, one of the girls has died.
Our city is shaken. Despite the pain,
life will go on – but not as it was before. The pallor of the rose is their despair.
This should not happen in Cambridge. Not here
nor anywhere that two young girls sit out
and talk of whatever girls talk about,
should one awake to find her friend is dead. The pallor of the rose is their despair.
On Friday, April 27, 2012, I learned that my friend from college Adam died on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012. He was 31 years old at the time of his death, two years older than I am now. I recorded this video to say goodbye.
The West Chester University Poetry Conference is the largest poetry conference in the United States and is the main conference for the Expansive Poetry Movement. Expansive Poetry revitalizes the narrative and formalist modes of poetry that were popular prior to the Modernist Poetry Movement.
The conference is June 6th, 2012 through June 9th, 2012. I will be attending as a poet, working with master poets on craft.
This Sunday, I will be competing in the massmouth Semi-Finals!
Come out to Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain to hear a great night of stories. All of the storytellers were either First Place, Second Place, or Audience Choice in a competition at an earlier slam Doyle’s Cafe.
Doors: 6:30pm Competition: 7:00pm Tickets: Available through Eventbrite
This event will sell out. Get your tickets now.
3484 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA