Tuesday, January 20, 2009

85 - Poetry reading at the 2009 presidential inauguration

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.


The way she read it sounded like a female Steven Hawking. Not much rhythm at all. Don't get me wrong, I like poetry and I make sure I read one everyday. The one read out at the presidential inauguration was a surprising second dosage of my daily verse, but while it was rich in content, the style was not to my liking. It was slow, and difficult to understand to common laymen, which is not what you want when the world is watching.

Did you hate it too?


Chris O said...

I can't hate anything today. She could have read Dr Seuss and I would have been elated.

Michael said...

I was nearly going to do today's on "85 - Obama" and as a surprising post would say "There's nothing to hate about him! Today's a great day!"


Anonymous said...

I think they could've done without the poetry, or at least get a better speaker for it.

Obama did great though. :D

J.J. in L.A. said...

I didn't watch it because "pomp and circumstance" bores me. The news over here milks everything for what it's worth and after the 1,000 viewing of a particular event, it loses it's impact.

The thing that bothers me is that everyone is saying that he's "the 1st black President". While I appreciate the great significance of it, by making that a point, aren't they making race the issue? And isn't that what Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to dispel?

Just my thoughts on the subject.

JoJO a. said...

Joseph Lowery's final benediction prayer rocked! I think that was my favorite part.

Have you seen how many people where there? Holy boombox, ridiculous.

Madame DeFarge said...

I have to say that I have watched none of today's proceedings (mostly being in UK and being at work), but I cannot abide the messianic fervour that accompanies Obama. he may be better than Bush (who couldn't? ), but it leaves me cold. I never trust people who are followed because of their charisma. Wait until he's done something to cheer about.

Anonymous said...

*blushing* I didn't watch it......I know I know, I'm terrible...

You read a poem everyday? How do you have enough hours in the day to do everythign you do??

Anonymous said...

ahh ok just saw the video and yes, she does sound odd. she can't recite properly. shame coz what she sais is quite nice.

ok yes, you save cake pictures - that does make me feel better. :)

Michael said...

smilefortragedy: She wrote the poem herself. She had to speak for it. And no, Obama stumbled. He did good, but not 'great'.

J.J.: I don't get tired of hearing it. I think people just need to stop taking race/gender/age so sensitively and seriously. People call me Asian, stereotype me, try to offend me by patronizing me because of my age and insulting me because of my sexual preference. But as they say, sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Do you not like news media?

JoJO a.: Yes, I agree. Insane numbers.

Madame DeFarge: He isn't charismatic to me, and I cheer because of his plans made when he was still President-Elect. I guess I won't cheer too much yet.

Vivienne: That is a good post idea that I've been postponing for a while. But basically, I don't sleep very much.


J.J. in L.A. said...

Actually, I don't. I prefer reading newspapers to watching tv news. It always seems to be pushing a particular agenda. Especially during the Presidential campaign.

After one debate, a National newscaster made Obama sound like the Second Coming. Then he said, "Now let's hear the other side's spin on on how the debate went."

So much for being impartial...