Poem For The Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, An Intelligent, Well-Read Person, Could Believe In The War Between Races

By: Lorna Dee Cervantes

In my land there are no distinctions.
The barbed wire politics of oppression
have been torn down long ago. The only reminder
of past battles, lost or won, is a slight
rutting in the fertile fields.

In my land
people write poems about love,
full of nothing but contented childlike syllables.
Everyone reads Russian short stories and weeps.
There are no boundaries.
There is no hunger, no
complicated famine or greed.

I am not a revolutionary.
I don’t even like political poems.
Do you think I can believe in a war between races?
I can deny it. I can forget about it
when I’m safe,
living on my own continent of harmony
and home, but I am not
there.

I believe in revolution
because everywhere the crosses are burning,
sharp-shooting goose-steppers round every corner,
there are snipers in the schools…
(I know you don’t believe this.
You think this is nothing
but faddish exaggeration. But they
are not shooting at you.)

I’m marked by the color of my skin.
The bullets are discrete and designed to kill slowly.
They are aiming at my children.
These are facts.
Let me show you my wounds: my stumbling mind, my
“excuse me” tongue, and this
nagging preoccupation
with the feeling of not being good enough.

These bullets bury deeper than logic.
Racism is not intellectual.
I can not reason these scars away.

Outside my door
there is a real enemy
who hates me.

I am a poet
who yearns to dance on rooftops,
to whisper delicate lines about joy
and the blessings of human understanding.
I try. I go to my land, my tower of words and
bolt the door, but the typewriter doesn’t fade out
the sounds of blasting and muffled outrage.
My own days bring me slaps on the face.
Every day I am deluged with reminders
that this is not
my land

and this is my land.

I do not believe in the war between races

but in this country
there is war.

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Chasing The Sunset: A Photographic Journey By Davia Kaopua

8:47 when I first have the idea to rush to Deception Pass and try and catch the sunset.  I knew it was unlikely as the sun was already pretty low, but I thought I would give it a shot anyways

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At 8:50 my brother and I have hit the open road

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It’s 8:57 and I have my brother try and get a shot of the trains as we’re driving past.  It’s a little blurry but still pretty nice

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9:00 and I’m a little worried at how low the tank is

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Luckily at 9:03 we’re crossing the Anacortes bridge and pretty near a gas station

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At 9:06 we fill up at the reservation because it always has the best gas prices

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21:15 On our way to Oak Harbor and Jake (my brother) snaps a nice picture of Campbell Lake

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9:24 and we arrive at deception pass too late to catch the sun going down, we did get this pic though!

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It’s 9:27 and we are under deception pass trying to get a cool underneath shot of the bridge

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9:37- Jake, with his superior upper body strength and willingness to do my bidding, climbs onto the bridge to get a good picture

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9:37- The shot he gets is pretty great

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It is 9:44, and even though we didn’t get the sunset we sought, we managed to get some pretty good pictures, as a reward we head into Anacortes to hit up the best dessert place in town

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9:45 and we have arrived at the Donut House (in case you were wondering the adress is 2719 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221)

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At 9:47 Jake has decided on a raspberry filled glazed donut and is happily enjoying it

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9:54 Because we are so close to the water we head to another of my favorite spots in Anacortes- The marina

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Thus concludes this Photographic Journey.  Special thanks to my brother Jacob who took all the moving car shots, and climbed onto the deception pass bridge (which may be illegal).

“How to Read a Poem”

I was always taught by teachers and others to first read through the poem at least twice, so that you can get an understanding for what the poem is about. Then, you can start taking notes about the poem. For example, what is the tone, does the tone change throughout the poem. Circle words that you may not know, because you can look them up and that can help with understanding the poem. Highlight words that stand out to you and draw lines to ideas that are connected. By first analyzing the poem it will be easier when you do read it because you will have a better understanding about what the author is trying to portray. Also, you can always ask others about what they think the tone is or what they think the main idea behind the poem is.

Kylee Knudson

My “Traveling Onion” post – Jonah Wilson

The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye helps us see the small everyday things in life can be the most impactful.  In the beginning of the poem, snippets from the Better Living Cookbook are included, explaining the journey the onion has traveled over the years. Instantly, we learn something intriguing about the onion. In the second line of the poem she says, “Just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise,” again this shows us how much we take everyday objects and treat them as if they are never ending and will always be at our fingertips. That example also shows a form of imagery.  Later, starting in the sixth line, Nye starts calling “the onion” “onion,” because I believe in some way she respects onion, which is similar to when people capitalize “God” when they worship and leave it as “god” when they don’t believe in him.  I believe Naomi is trying help us realize that we should be more appreciative of what we have and the trip it has undergone, because as stated in the last four lines, “now limp and divided, or its traditionally honorable career: For the sake of others, disappears.”  This meaning, one day it may be gone and only then would we realize it.  Currently we think of onions as an everyday food, but in reality they are a luxury.

The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye

When I think how far the onion has traveled
just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise
all small forgotten miracles,
crackly paper peeling on the drainboard,
pearly layers in smooth agreement,
the way the knife enters onion
and onion falls apart on the chopping block,
a history revealed.
And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.
It is right that tears fall
for something small and forgotten.
How at meal, we sit to eat,
commenting on texture of meat or herbal aroma
but never on the translucence of onion,
now limp, now divided,
or its traditionally honorable career:
For the sake of others,
disappear.