The 5-day poetry challenge is a popular meme where you post one of your poems (preferably published) to your Facebook timeline then tag another poet to continue the challenge. Last week, I was double-tagged by poets Anna Weaver and Elizabeth Jackson. So in true double-life fashion, I decided to post two poems each day—one of my published poems around 9 am and one of my favorite poems about the working world around 5 pm.
I selected poems from the range of themes I tend to visit and revisit in my work:
- Work: “Twenty Questions for Black Professionals” from my chapbook, My Mother’s Child (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015)
- Love & Longing: “The Truth about Fire” published in The Pedestal Magazine in 2012
- Planets & the Universe: “To Earth, From Mars” published in Construction Literary Magazine in 2014
- Family: “At Night I Dream of Trains” published in the Grief issue of When Women Waken in 2013
- Tango: “If I Could Love You Like Tango” published in the anthology, …and love…(Jacar Press, 2011)
For the poems about the working world, I picked two of my favorites that I’ve posted to the blog before as well as a few poems that showed work and workers in a more positive light.
- “White, White Collars” by Denis Johnson, from The Incognito Lounge, 1982
- “Drone” by Wanda Coleman, from African Sleeping Sickness, 1990
- “The Gulf” by Brian Brodeur, from The Missouri Review, Winter 2010
- “Coming Closer” by Philip Levine, from What Work Is, 1991
- “Domestic Work, 1937” by Natasha Trethewey, from Domestic Work, 1999
Here’s the last stanza from the Trethewey poem that always sticks with me.
She beats time on the rugs,
blows dust from the broom
like dandelion spores, each one
a wish for something better.
If you haven’t been tagged, start your own 5-day poetry challenge. I’d love to hear about it.