Tuesday, April 14, 2009

C.O.R.A Diversity Roll Call

This week is starting off hectic so for this week's C.OR.A. assignment I'm going with a favorite stand by. I highly recommend two larger anthologies published by Cave Canem: Gathering Ground edited by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, Camille T. Dungy, Assistant Editor, 2006 and the ringing ear: Black Poets Lean South edited by Nikky Finney, 2007

Uncollected Ghazal
Michele Elliot

I used to collect people but now I collect things.
People became unmanageable, so now I collect things.

The easy way out is, I am nothing.
I have nothing, so I collect things.

Like sounds and words and laughter
The uncollected, I collect these things.

I collect vision and dancing- lines blurring, beautiful
I have nothing to hold this in, but still, I collect things.

Like rainstorms and broken dream,
Whispers and eyewinks- these precious things.

I am no one and nothing.
I am everything and urgent. I collect things.

Like silence and tears,
And loss. Oh, these precious things.

I used to collect people but now I collect things.
I have nothing to hold you in so now I collect things.

from Cave Canem Anthology 2002. This is by far one of the poems I recite most often. I love the sounds, the rhythm and the meaning here. This poem affected me instantly, the first time I read it. I wish I could thank Ms. Elliot personally for putting into words what I have felt.


Tea said...

What a powerful piece of poetry! I've never read it. I don't always fall in love with a poem the first time. Sometimes I have to read it over and over. I still might not make a connection.

I loved Uncollected Ghazal by Michele Elliot immediately. It's beautiful. I'll think about it all day. I will read again because of what the poem says.

I'm so glad you posted it. Thank you. By the way, I love your blog. It's exciting to come here.

Claudia said...

Hey, I remember this poem! I'm still finding it difficult to fully embrace the way Elliot seeks to reframe our understanding of "things." But the sentiment behind the verse is quite powerful.