Ellen Plumb City Bookstore in Emporia on 9/06/19

That night, my heart
like drumbeats.
Your heart , like
Winter glass, clear
Delicate, strong, precious
frost on my heart;
the beat slows.

Death of nature.
Death of our love.

Yet still, somehow we carry on.
Never knowing how strong
we had to be, until we were
there, facing this, our own
stopping of the heart.

My heart, held in the hand
of an Inca lord, who reached 
into my chest, in the midst 
of an ayahuasca vision.

My head fell back as I
sunk more deeply into
the vision. My heart
glowed in his hand
-swollen with love.

Exhausted, long week,
will it get better?
Not anytime soon.

Floorboards creak beneath
the calloused feet
& lights flicker above
a war torn head.

Mango juice drips down
my hands on hilltop highs
as fight to get the spills
sweetness on my tongue.

Strawberries on my knees,
memories blooming as I feast,
childhood romps in green grass,
grubby hands holding
blood-red berries.

Ravenous, some might say,
but I do not see it that way.
I should not apologize for what
others have had in their time.

So devour, if it pleases, Mango
on the lips. Sweetness on the mind.
In this community– we share,
we support, we cheer
each other on.

Exquisite corpse: (from the French term cadavre exquis), A method by which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled. I collected these poems as I traveled through Kansas. These poems are written collectively by Kansans at readings, open mics and workshops. The titles of each poem are the locations and dates where they were assembled. They are part of Exquisite Kansas, a collection to be published at the end of my laureateship.


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