with some help from Ahmad

I wanna write lyrical, but all I got is magical.
My book needs a poem talkin bout I remember when
Something more autobiographical

Mi familia wanted to assimilate, nothing radical,
Each month was a struggle to pay our rent
With food stamps, so dust collects on the magical.

Each month it got a little less civil
Isolation is a learned defense
When all you wanna do is write lyrical.

None of us escaped being a criminal
Of the state, institutionalized when
They found out all we had was magical.

White room is white room, it’s all statistical—
Our calendars were divided by Sundays spent
In visiting hours. Cold metal chairs deny the lyrical.

I keep my genes in the sharp light of the celestial.
My history writes itself in sheets across my veins.
My parents believed in prayer, I believed in magical

Well, at least I believed in curses, biblical
Or not, I believed in sharp fists, 
Beat myself into lyrical.

But we were each born into this, anger so cosmical
Or so I thought, I wore ten chokers and a chain
Couldn’t see any significance, anger is magical.
Fists to scissors to drugs to pills to fists again

Did you know a poem can be both mythical and archeological?
I ignore the cataphysical, and I anoint my own clavicle.

Copyright © 2021 by Suzi F. Garcia. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 28, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

When a mouth aboard said ship
called out to me, I was a berry
turned sour by sun’s
neglect, an old ornament gone
unglossed. It spoke to me & warranted
a new way of listening & at once
I heard two crows, heard both.
For years, that strange whistle
of new language nettled me sloppily
its orientation unmapped. I let it
holler too long untended, & after
too long an ignorance it came back
to beat me, a bullet of tenacity.
I took too long to know its nature
& now I count a debt. It takes
exactly this much effort to tell you
that I have been stayed. Stayed by
a new forgetfulness, stayed by
an urgent condition, a mother warbler
feeding me melons by the whole.
Is there a mouth as hungry
as mine? As wide in its receiving?
I open to a 30th orbit
& want for nothing more than the syrup
of fruit, than the blade of a garden
in the small of my back, than to bait
the braid of duty.
& so, for this wily bewitched reason
of little perspicuity
I regret to inform you of my imminent
departure, my eventual, divine
escape from cog-wheel
mandates, my prescriptions grown old.
What I love is a heaven
that vexes me—& to it I must become
a faithful wife.

Copyright © 2023 by Camonghne Felix. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 27, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.