April is National Poetry Month. We’ve invited readers from across the Central Coast to share their best original poems dealing with self-identity and diversity.
Here is a sampling of the poems. We will be posting new poems at sanluisobispo.com/entertainment/books throughout the month.
By Kalila Volkov, Morro Bay
After kindergarten you gave up wearing girly things
played with “Star Wars” figures, action heroes and Legos
with a lightsaber dangling from your belt.
You were thought of as a tomboy
often regarded as a boy in restaurants
and kicked out of the girls’ restroom at school several times.
You wore skater shoes and Tony Hawk clothes in middle school.
Your hoodie covered your face when you received “Best in Shop”
and I was embarrassed by your style.
Then in high school when you got soccer MVP and had a girlfriend,
I just thought you were gay –
but in college when you bought men’s shoes and went to a barber
it hadn’t quite hit me that you were becoming your true self;
I didn’t realize how badly you’d wanted to be a boy for so long.
Now at 21 you have a new name and use the men’s room
you give yourself the shots and wait for top surgery
you seem so happy, and I admire your classy style.
I rejoice seeing your maleness emerging fully
I applaud your bravery
Welcome to the world my son!
~ ~ ~
“My Grandma’s Eyes”
By LaVonne Rae Andrews, Templeton
Now I see…
there could be a trace
as I look upon the face
and see my Grandma’s eyes.
Is it really fear
as I look into the mirror
and notice the disguise
as I see my Grandma’s eyes?
Although, I loved her dearly
is my aging that I merely
see myself so ever clearly
in my Grandma’s eyes?
It’s a good reflection
as I travel life’s direction
feeling love and soft protection
of my Grandma’s eyes.
~ ~ ~
“Nineteen-Year-Old Eyes Look Back”
By Bert Forbes, San Luis Obispo
I look at the world through nineteen-year-old eyes,
though a stranger in silver stares back at me.
Old is twenty older than I surmise,
until it sneaks up and whispers ‘maybe’.
I dare not look at what choices lie ahead,
and cannot dream of a better life than mine.
It’s best to pay forward, a wise man said,
giving the chance to help, nurture, refine.
But youth is pasted on young and carefree souls
like S & H Green Stamps, redeemed for fun
while their vibrant skin, wrinkle-free, still glows
with childhood’s fervent dreams that only beckon.
So now, let me set memory a-write:
tell the tale, before I go to that dark night.
~ ~ ~
“Granddaughter Talks In The Warm Café”
By Anne Klinger, Avila Beach
Through the steamy windows of the warm café,
I watch the storm-swollen street gutters,
my hands cupped protectively around my tea mug.
Torrents of rain have torn loose
pieces of my life.
A dead leaf, its veins prominent as in my grandmother’s hands,
floats by, submerges, rises, and disappears,
Taking with it my unknown and now unknowable heritage.
Grandmother, what would you have told me,
If we could have talked?
Would you have turned your hand palm-upward and shown me
your ancient country?
Taught me the soft vowels of your muscular, guttural speech?
First born of the family in this new land
knowing my future but not my past.
I sit in this cafe,
surrounded by streaming raincoats, rubbers, and dripping umbrellas,
and wonder, Grandmother,
what you would have told me if we could have talked?
~ ~ ~
By Ruth Guinane, San Luis Obispo
Marking time and space.
Mountains rising, floating by.
Sand drifting over yellow lines
Borders speaking of places out there,
Always out there.
Keep on making time
Staying in the lines
That lead to silver lights
of distant cities,
That lead to stars
of distant civilizations
Out there beyond the mountains.
Passage beyond time.
~ ~ ~
By Jason Gomez, Oceano
Why structure yourself
So much more to say tonight
But you won’t let me
~ ~ ~
“The fading of faking”
By Jacob Scott, San Luis Obispo
You say I make you choleric
When I want nothing more than you protected.
I scream so sharp, but you refuse to hear it.
Opposites attract, yet you claim we’re disconnected.
Soon as life is brave enough to rise, it only declines.
Fait and chance are simply fantasies I will not believe.
This is why your eternal winter has something of mine.
You possess where and when our loyalty was conceived.
Love is only love, not when covert
But when displayed from the mountain tops for all to assimilate.
Like the chewing of sand I surprise, but never hurt.
If you are rapid water than I am nothing more than a floodgate.
You see the finish line before it is even up
While I see the beginning like it’s the origin of us.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~