Poem by Poem by Juan Felipe Herrera

—in memory of
Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance,
Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor,
Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney,
Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.,
Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson
Shot and killed while at church.
Charleston, SC (6-18-2015), RIP

poem by poem
we can end the violence
every day after
every other day
9 killed in Charleston, South Carolina
they are not 9 they
are each one
alive
we do not know
you have a poem to offer
it is made of action—you must
search for it run
outside and give your life to it
when you find it walk it
back—blow upon it
carry it taller than the city where you live
when the blood comes down
do not ask if
it is your blood it
is made of
9 drops
honor them
wash them stop them
from falling

Song Out Here by Juan Felipe Herrera

if i could sing
i’d say everything         you know
from here on the street can you turn around
just for once i am                     here
right behind you
what is that flag what is it made of
maybe it’s too late i have
too many questions where did it all come from
what colors is it all made of everything
everything here in the subways
there are so many things and voices
we are going somewhere but i just don’t know
somewhere
but i just don’t know
somewhere
do you know where that is i want to sing
so you can hear me and maybe you can tell me
where to go so you can hear me and just maybe
you can tell me where to go
all those hands and legs and faces going places
if i could sing
you would hear me and i would tell you
it’s gonna be alright
it’s gonna be alright
it’s gonna be alright it would be something like that
can you turn around so i can look into your eyes
just for once your eyes
maybe like hers can you see her
and his can you see them i want you to see them
all of us we could be together
if i could sing we would go there
we would run there together
we would live there for a while in that tilted
tiny house by the ocean rising up inside of us
i am on the curb next to a curled up cat
smoking i know its bad for you but
you know how it is just for once can you turn around
a straight line falling behind you it’s me i want to sing
invincible                                             bleeding out with love

just for you