from the Spring 2003 Saxifrage student literary magazine
I Am and This Is
I believe titles can make or break a poem
the way purple shoes can ruin the most
impressive prom dress.
I believe that my generation smells different
than your generation.
Maybe more synthetic;
more toxic chemicals in our apple peels.
I believe in people who can extract
my whole-body-shaking percussive laughter.
I believe in sucking the life out of
a ripe mango.
I believe my guitar speaks to me in my first
my fingers can do nothing but
answer in harmony.
I believe the embodiment of life can come
a combination of flour, water,
yeast, and heat.
I believe that the little rolls of fat on
are absolutely necessary for the well-being
I believe I would wear droplets of water
in place of diamonds--if I ever wore diamonds.
I believe women who have quantities of fun
on the color of their hair are
just fooling themselves.
I believe in the raging, roaring powers of
I believe I would rather unglue the seeing
parts of my eyes
than spill tears for attention.
I believe that escaping from the straitjacket
of sleep and blankets
is impossible at 8 a.m.
I believe that everything in life
can be laid out specifically
in an outline with
4 main points.
I believe in holding a saltwater stick in
writing cryptic sentences
in the sand.
I believe in heading down highways
between red rock
and tall trees until
you get to the point
where the earth
and the ocean meet.
This poem is going
I believe you’ll find me
Love, the Gulf of Mexico
Even over this great distance,
your waters flow into me,
filling a part of me
that was never empty
you add to me.
Our waters commingling
make me complete.
From a place of cool white snow
you are fresh and different
You feel clean and crisp
compared to my warm salty body
that doesn’t know the chilled calm of winter.
We seem so much alike,
but you’re a spring fed, freshwater lake,
and I’m a big saltwater Gulf.
You’re so petite, pristine, and perfect,
and I’m just a glorified bay whose waters are never still.
Still you add to me
through the waters of the Mississippi.
You don’t ask for anything in return.
I wish I could give like you.
The river only flows one way,
but at its mouth
where we meet,
we are one.
The Gulf of Mexico
professor Joanne Lisosky shares African tales from her sabbatical.