Over the last month I have been eagerly anticipating the beginning of April: NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! Wally and I have been brainstorming, preparing, and fan-girling (a term used here to represent the generally uproarious, giddy motions of two people REALLY into poetry) about all the things that we have organized to share and promote a love of poetry with our customers. Over the next coming weeks we will be hosting open-mic poetry reading sessions, a pajama poetry read-in day for kids during the Kid's Lit Fest, as well as a myriad of other events (see the newsletter!)
One of the things I'm looking forward to most is the Poem In Your Pocket Day. The history of Poem In Your Pocket Day, according to http://www.poets.org:
"Poem In Your Pocket Day has been celebrated each April in New York City since 2002. Each year, city parks, bookstores, workplaces, and other venues burst open with readings of poems from pockets. Even the Mayor gets in on the festivities, reading a poem on the radio."
Last year, when I was working at Spellbinder Books in California, we celebrated Poem In Your Pocket Day with astounding results; we offered a homemade cookie to every person who came into the store that day and read us their poem. We had baked five dozen cookies for the entire day, and ran out after the lunch rush of customers! Needless to say, when Laura asked me to come up with ideas to celebrate National Poetry Month, this is one event I could not pass up! To kick off National Poetry Month I would like to share one of my favorite poems...
"Shake the Dust" by Anis Mojgani
This is for the fat girls.
This is for the little brothers.
This is for the school-yard wimps, this is for the childhood bullies who tormented them.
This is for the former prom queen, this is for the milk-crate ball players.
This is for the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired, elderly Wal-Mart store front door greeters. Shake the dust.
This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them,
for the bus drivers driving a million broken hymns,
for the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children,
for the nighttime schoolers and the midnight bike riders who are trying to fly. Shake the dust.
This is for the two-year-olds who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-god. Shake the dust.
For the girls with the brothers who are going crazy,
for those gym class wall flowers and the twelve-year-olds afraid of taking public showers,
for the kid who's always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers,
for the girl who loves somebody else. Shake the dust.
This is for the hard men, the hard men who want to love but know that is won't come.
For the ones who are forgotten, the ones the amendments do not stand up for.
For the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to and then are never spoken to. Speak every time you stand so you do not forget yourself.
Do not let a moment go by that doesn't remind you that your heart beats 900 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.
Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins.
This is for the celibate pedophile who keeps on struggling,
for the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacations alone.
For the sweat that drips off of Mick Jaggers' singing lips and for the shaking skirt on Tina Turner's shaking hips, for the heavens and for the hells through which Tina has lived.
This is for the tired and for the dreamers and for those families who'll never be like the Cleavers with perfectly made dinners and sons like Wally and the Beaver.
This is for the biggots,
this is for the sexists,
this is for the killers.
This is for the big house, pen-sentenced cats becoming redeemers and for the springtime that always shows up after the winters.
This? This is for you.
Make sure that by the time fisherman returns you are gone.
Because just like the days, I burn both ends and every time I write, every time I open my eyes I am cutting out a part of myself to give to you.
So shake the dust and take me with you when you do for none of this has never been for me.
All that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls for you.
So grab this world by its clothespins and shake it out again and again and jump on top and take it for a spin and when you hop off shake it again for this is yours.
Make my words worth it, make this not just another poem that I write, not just another poem like just another night that sits heavy above us all.
Walk into it, breathe it in, let is crash through the halls of your arms at the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood pumping and pushing making you live, shaking the dust.
So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.