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:
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.
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.
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.