30 Poems in November



30 Poems in November! is a literary fundraiser for Center for New Americans. Center for New Americans welcomes and serves immigrants in Western Massachusetts with free English classes and a range of support services. Writers do their part by writing one poem each day in November. Friends and family do their part by donating to support this effort.

I have participated in this fund raiser for three years. Here is a picture of me with my friend and neighbor, Lydia , who is a Congolese refugee and a student at the Center. You are welcome to make a contribution to  support the important and valuable work done by the Center For New Americans and to assert your support for welcoming and assisting new immigrants in their adjustment to our country. In these discouraging times every act of kindness and compassion matters. Thank you for your support. In November I will post the link to support my fund raising poetry.

These are my poems that appear in the 30 Poems in November Anthologies:

2018

Two Immigrants

My dog and a small, dark skinned boy meet on the path this morning.

They awkwardly approach one another, each a little cautious.

Dog sniffs, boy smiles, dog wags his tail.

The boy puts out his hand, the dog sticks out his tongue

licks the hand and the boy laughs.

Boy heads up the road to the school bus stop.

Dog heads down the road to home.


The dog was rescued from a shelter in southern America.

The boy was rescued from a camp in eastern Africa.

Two immigrants, each selected for no particular reason,

out of the crowds waiting, yearning for a new home.

Destined somehow, graced and gifted, two chosen souls.


2019 

Immigrant Stories 

Line up if you want

to appear in a poem

this month. Please come

to serve as a muse.


The dead ones come first.

My grandmother and her siblings.

Small people who came on a boat.


If you plan to tell the tales of immigrants

we’re here for you to remember.

Aunt Rosie, Aunt Sarah, Uncle Julius,

to name three. There were seven in all

who lived to travel. Some died before

they could get out, don’t know how many.


I see them in my memory

from a child’s point of view.

The great aunts in the kitchen

in aprons with wooden spoons.

The uncles smelling like cigars.


I hear them laughing around a table.

I see them playing cards.

Small heroes and heroines,

some die before I know their stories.


I see them in pictures from the old country.

Sepia colored photos with them

standing, straight, serious and upright.

I heard they hid in a potato patch

when Cossacks came to town.

Holding on tight to the young ones

to keep them safe and quiet.


I see them in photos from the new country.

The sisters in flowered dresses the men

wore suits and ties. They danced

at all the weddings. Lifting

bride and groom up in chairs.


I don’t know who’s story I’m telling

or if I have the right. I write this poem

for immigrants now in starting their new life

because it was the immigrants then

that made life possible for me.


2020

Beginning, Again

Beginnings. They never end.

Always another inhale,

a sun rising to start a day,

a new night falling

from a darkening sky.


Seasons proceeding in sequence.

One always in the wings

getting ready to begin.


Mess-up. Falls and failures.

Forget, overlook, mistake.

Falling short is inevitable.


Start again, this last

time or the next time.

Time is built from one

beginning after another.