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by Taiyo and Omar

The place in time where a dream is lost
That is poetry
The place in time where a dream is won
That is poetry

She never said it but
Plunging into years ago
Balanced over my mother's head
Like a waitress
Were wobbling plates of dreams
Carried far from the steel pot of a homeland where
She first bloomed and realized she no longer fit.
On one plate
Silk screens and canvases are
Decked on the halls of crowded galleries
Gossiping over a newly humble sensation.
On the other plate
The dusty face of a faithful lover
Held by her delicate palms
Proudly stained with ribbons of paint.
And the backdrop splattered onto
The canvases of her imagination
Is a city
That sat
But as her quarter of a century has proven
This city swarms and stampedes
Grumbling the grounds of any
Single immigrant mother's

She never said it,
but I know she thinks it was easy for her to leave
that they would have expected her to marry otherwise.
She never used the name: Feminist.
I never learned her language.
I do not know the word for
And now I hear stories about childhood friends:
Donald who is now a lawyer,
Freddy who is now surgeon,
Adam company executive.
And she says what?
At best that I am a poet?
At the worst, a temp
that some days can barely feed himself?
I cannot imagine
the looks she gets from other mothers
whose sons daily wages are more
than I earn in a week.
Who go home to suburbia
in cars my Dad dreams of owning
while I ride a local bus.

He never said it but
When my father first set foot on this land
The sky he saw was bigger than
He had ever seen it.
He was pulled back and thrust forward
Like a slingshot
Pulled by a sea of hands
An unrecorded eternity of farm life
On the fields.
So pastel
Was my father's youth
Yet heavily tinged with the
Ink of his father's pride
At him and his mother
With drunken fists.
My father is a father
Only and completely
A mute servant of love
Loving his children so fiercely
He doesn't know them.
Doesn't see them
Laboring his moist heart with lone days
with weeks,
Not knowing me
Not seeing me
Because that is the only
Language of the heart
he has learned to utter.

He never said it but
his work days extended past my bedtime
and started before I woke.
Once I asked my Mom when he was coming home,
I did not know he had been away
for 3 days.
My Mom's eyes afraid for me
a child growing up with and without his Dad.
And when he was younger than I am now,
He tried to start a union.
For his trouble,
they banished him so far from home
he had to learn a new language.
So far from opportunity
he left it for another country.
While I barely passed high school.

They never said it, but
I am crying in her arms
staring into the bags under her eyes.
I am on my knees by his bed
holding his once angry hand to my forehead
Telling them I am sorry
I am sorry
I am so sorry for being a bad son.

They never said it but
Deep within the forests of their memory
Are anonymous graves
Lacking a proper burial
And shivering in their sleep are
Hidden skeletons
Of poets
Of painters
Of healers
Of union leaders
Of men
Of women
Bodies once suffocated by
The thick mud of greed
The slippery dollar
Dancing and teasing
while on a bloody string
Held like a leash for centuries
By pale men on thrones

My Mom's dried calloused fingers
through my hair saying
It's okay
You are all right.
You are happy
and that is what makes me proud of you

As I rake up each word with my pen
This poem is
A pile of dead leaves recollected.
And as I speak this piece
I am setting it afire
Bringing out the dead
And staying true to the code
That such a process hurts.

"poems cobble dreams"

I write to be great
so that my name as poet
will begin to approach the strength
of Father,
of Mother.

So I rock these poems in the cradle
Swinging in my chest
Making sure I name them
Making sure they grow

And as they are restlessly humming
They remind me
There are so many more poems to be written

For every dream deferred

Because my mother my father
In secrecy yet screaming in my sleep
Have thrown too many of their selves away
For the sunken sake of me.

She never said it,
but she meant
I love you.
He never said it,
but he meant
I love you.
They never said it,
but they meant
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
Thank you

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