Poems in September

The first of my poems in September
The last of my poems in September

This month’s collection of poems in September features a handful of pieces I discovered and loved throughout the month (here’s last month’s selection)—*side note: do we prefer reading these pieces at the end of the month instead of me picking some I might like to study over the next few weeks within the first several days?*—which mainly focus on the topics of love and survival. I’ve always loved love poems (which is the opposite of how I feel about regular off-paper love) and it’s not random to combine radical perseverance with intense devotion during tumultuous times. I think that’s why every story about revolution or the end of the world usually highlights people yearning for each other in ways that might seem frivolous while the world crumbles. These poems in September are sectioned off based on their themes and they’re all extremely relevant as it feels like we’re inching closer to societal collapse every day and we all probably need to believe in romantic connections and fighting back even more so now. “One Last Poem for Richard” by Sandra Cisneros reads like journal entries or last letters to Richard, a man the speaker once loved. I’m incredibly partial to the stanza breaks, how they read like mini stories or final sectioned memories to this man. My favorite lines come from the fourth stanza where Cisneros writes, “There should be stars for great wars / like ours. There ought to be awards / and plenty of champagne for the survivors.” This stanza shows the audience that Richard and the speaker’s love was wrought with battles and pain, contrasting the overwhelming longing shown in the other sections. It’s obvious the speaker (probably Cisneros herself) is not over the love they once shared with Richard, but I admire how, despite the conflicts experienced throughout the relationship, they still wish him a life of passion and devotion from other women. This piece is probably the most spectacular of my picks of poems in September. Diannely Antigua’s “Anniversary” poem has a similar melancholy tone emphasized by the dead mouse and rainy setting. The piece describes how the speaker, only familiar with painful love—from my favorite lines: “I admit, I don’t know a love that doesn’t / destroy.”—is now in the arms of someone who shows them tenderness and compassion. The uneasy transition from feeling unwanted to experiencing another person’s adoration is a beautiful feature in the piece. “Like An Auto-Tune of Authentic Love” is by Carmen Giménez Smith and feels the most applicable to today’s world of Zoom meetings and everything long distance or separated. Like I previously mentioned, love is not irrelevant during times of chaos and great suffering, but instead feels like the only type of healing we have. My favorite part of the poem is the line “It’s not marry me I want to say / but rather weld with me like a net we also sit in.” “Morning Star” by C.D. Wright is a piece as old as I am and even more significant now. I love how Wright describes painful times as being a journey and not an eternal suffering. Sometimes—especially when we’re stuck in the thick of anguish—it feels like we’ll never escape the bullshit, so why even bother to keep going? Wright reminds us that there is still goodness everywhere as long as we take heart in the sweet details and an overwhelming desire to live among what we love and people we love. The second survival-inspired piece I chose for these poems in September is Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die,” which is one of the most familiar and iconic liberation poems. Because at some point we’ll need a real revolution to live in a just society that helps and heals everyone, I think it’s important to follow McKay’s words. Many people will be lost before we see the liberation we need, but we need to fight back in order to live in the world we dream of.

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