PRAYING THE PSALMS/REZANDO LOS SALMOS

 

EVEN MY PRAYERS TO YOU, LORD,

     for Kevin Miller

ARE SUBVERSIVe. Yo soy lo más

subversivo de los pecadores. I am,

aún en mis oraciones--rezando

por el poema--praying more

for the poem than a dialogue

with you. Dichoso el hombre

que no sigue los poetas.

I am blessed by the songs,

black church gospel

interrupting my bullshit,

mi paja, porque tu sabes

que yo anda en mi derrota y rumbo--

and in the Black Church

you have given me surround

sound, Ray Charles

and honey in the rock.

Margin-walking I always ask,

How do you say bullshit

in your village?

Has llenado mi copa a rebosar.

Sandeces, locura. Paja.

I shall not be moved.

We sing without knowing.

My notebook is a singing gospel

shouting, cantando,

plantado a la orilla de un rio.

In the poems of Michael Harper

I am reborn in a blue mask.

Even so, Lord, you listen

a mis delirios quijotescos.

You understand me

en mi prosperidad--

my riches and prosperity.

 

Jim Bodeen

17 September 2020

 

It's Difficult to say, Smoked in

IT'S DIFFICULT TO SAY, SMOKED IN

 

At Yakima airport behind chain

linked fence, tarmac close

waiting for Deportation Flight,

the mind wants to call this conflagration

fog. I write fog in the notebook

crossing out the word.

Smoke obscures the airport.

I'm masked up.

My glasses fog.

Everything is either fog or smoke.

There's a new fire on White Pass.

My mountain.

I stand outside the tarmac.

I've brought a psalter

and read Psalm 5,

translated by Eugene Peterson,

Every morning you'll hear me at it again.

This is the 80th ICE flight

out of Yakima since 20 May 2019.

God must have picked this psalm for me

and smiled where I ask him to pay attention.

 

Jim Bodeen

15 September 2020



POST CARD TO PROFESSOR EDDIE S. GLAUDE, JR. FROM YAKIMA

 

BEGIN AGAIN, HE SAYS, IN THE AFTER TIME

                Begin Again: James Baldwin's America

              And Its Urgent Lessons For Our Own

                           --Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

 

Backward letters on a shower curtain

tells a story about asylum seekers,

scheduled deportation flights,

No Están Solo, no you're not--

No We're Not. Here's a post card

poem written to a Poetry Pole,

hand-stamped at the post office,

Professor Glaude, grateful for your all,

how much do I love what you say

about Coltrane's Pursuance,

your insight a sustaining epiphany.

A love supreme. Racial philanthropists,

Ouch! No name connecting

with Emerson. But what

a way to Whitman! The After Times.

Your walk to the abyss

into yourself. Your Dad,

thanks again, road trip

in and out of Montgomery.

Lucky students facing courage.

Highway 65. Jimmy was right.

The evasion, the evasion.

This note before ICE flight

witness, Yakima, 60 minutes.

 

Jim Bodeen

31 July--8 September 2020

CONSEQUENCES

 

CONSEQUENCES

 

Setting out to write

you about the book

you sent me

by Isabel Wilkerson

on Caste

and discontent

and I underlined

some things on page 306

telomeres

cell damage

from exposure

to social

inequity

weathering

writing this

in the margins

of the book

I sat down

to write it out

and that's how

this poem

about your hand-made

earings for Karen

emerged

and I do want

to say how

delighted

we are

I guess

this skinny poem

is a book mark

 

jim

3-8 september 2020

"YOU'RE ASKING ME TO BELIEVE THEY'RE NOT CRIMINALS?" THE BICYCLIST ASKS

 "I'LL BE DARNED!"










"What are you spying on?"

 

The bicyclist asks, wheeling

his Folding City Mult-Speed bike

into the parking lot outside

the chain link fence

at Yakima Air Terminal

where six people from

Yakima Immigration Response Network

photograph, count, observe

asylum seekers being deported

to their countries of origin.

 

"They're illegals,

but they're not all criminals?

You're trying to tell me that?

I'll be darned.

You're asking me to believe

they're not criminals."
 

"I'll be darned."

 

"They're getting them ready

to fly them out where ever."

 

"Huh. I'll be darned."

 

The bicyclist asks his questions

over and over, first of one,

then of the other, two women

from Immigration Response

answer his questions. They're

a local grassroots organization

supporting immigrant communities,

providing resources and training.

 

"You're asking me to believe

they just work here

and they're not criminals.

I'll be darned."

 

"I live in a place like this place.

No two ways about it--most

of them are illegal.

I'm from Central Illinois.

I mean they'll do the work

where nobody else will do it."

 

"Are you guys involved

with the homeless? I thought

we had homeless, but we can't

hold a candle to Yakima.

But you guys actually believe

these guys aren't criminals."

 

Jim Bodeen\

1 September--6 September 2020

 


MID-AUGUST WATERMELON FOR KAREN

 

MID-AUGUST MORNING

      for Karen

Sliced cold watermelon offering

on the garden porch for her

open to Dr. Williams' poems

 

she is a quilt opening again

re-imagining herself

in all of the colors

 

of her past. Irrigated

desert flower, pink

choral birdsong thread

 

work, trilling

scissored-cloth works

my paupered hands

 

opened for her

graced by the poem

a shrill cry, best guess

 

how it came to be

wonder-fed each of us

but how could

 

any man, any one

treasure-filled be

but for the poem

 

Jim Bodeen

28 August 2020

In Japanese Art, Size Is Relative

 

IN JAPANESE ART, REMEMBER,

SIZE IS ALWAYS RELATIVE

            for Michael Collins

Even after they moved you, Michael,

away from that corner

where you sat with your tripod,

focused on each man and woman

boarding chained for deportation,

this image of you unfazed

by the jaws of the outsized backhoe,

sustains me in my study. I step

back of necessity searching words,

James Baldwin say, writing

of his mentor, Beauford Delaney,

the painter, no greater lover

has ever held a brush.

Acts of love in witness and image.

 

Jim

22 August 2020