I am a stranger learning to worship the strangers around me

Dear readers,

Welcome to my eighth round of daily postings for National Poetry Month. This past year, when so much of this fractured world filled me with bewilderment and sorrow and anger, I found myself turning to poetry more than ever before. It was through poems that I encountered some of the most beautiful expressions of the human experience we share, and through poems that I grasped so palpably all the forces that push and break us apart.

And it was through poems that I learned and re-learned to worship the strangers around me. Let us begin this month with the phenomenal writer and activist June Jordan (1936-2002), whose mountain of work I urge you to explore.

For the next 30 days, I hope the lines of these poets will reach you, wherever you are, whoever you are. Are you ready? Join me.




“These Poems”

These poems
they are things that I do
in the dark
reaching for you
whoever you are
are you ready?

These words
they are stones in the water
running away

These skeletal lines
they are desperate arms for my longing and love.

I am a stranger
learning to worship the strangers
around me

whoever you are
whoever I may become.


This morning I disturb I destroy the window

I probably could have posted the staggering work of the poet and activist June Jordan (1936-2002) every day of this month.

“You Came with Shells”

You came with shells. And left them:
They lay beautiful on the table.
Now they lie on my desk
extraordinary under 60 watts.

This morning I disturb I destroy the window
(and its light) by moving my feet
in the water. There.
It’s gone.
Last night the moon ranged from the left
to the right side
of the windshield. Only white lines
on a road strike me as
reasonable but
nevertheless and too often
we slow down for the fog.

I was going to say a natural environment
means this or
I was going to say we remain out of our
element or
sometimes you can get away completely
but the shells
will tell about the howling
and the losss