One Thing Leads to Another

Z studied with me
In a Social Justice class fall 2007

I learned that semester
How much Z loved poetry

They kept a notebook of new words
They’d come across and then make the words a part of them

They seemed a soul-mate to Walt Whitman
So I gave them his Poetry and Prose

That next spring semester
We decided to read poets together

Meet outside at Coffee Cartel
Share favorites, read aloud

One of the books we read
Was by Daisy Zamora

The Nicaraguan revolutionary and feminist
Her love poem to Father Ernesto Cardenal touched me

I remembered Cardenal from the 1980s
Minister of Culture under the Sandinistas

Friend of Thomas Merton
Latter day antagonist of Daniel Berrigan

So  moved was I by Daisy’s poem
I began reading Cardenal

And I keep reading him
Early works

Revolutionary works
Cosmic mystical works

Even though I was reading him in translation
He helped free up my imagination 

With his practice of exteriorismo
And montage holding it all 

I had been stuck
On a writing project involving Palestine

Slowly I lightened up
Trusted instinct

Read The Doubtful Strait
and Zero Hour and Other Documentary Poems

Didn’t worry about logic
Or linearity

Read “Room 5600” 20 times
and Ernesto’s epistle to Dom Pedro Casaldáliga

And eventually Dear Layla
Welcome to Palestine

In time for me to give it
To Nima Sheth

(Who with Matt Miller
Three times traveled to Palestine)

On the occasion of her graduation
From the SLU Medical School

I stop to consider: What if Z had taken
A different theology class that fall of 2007?

Today’s gratitudes
For Z and Daisy

Walt and Ernesto
Nima and Matt

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