April 09, 2010

For Conor

'For Conor' was more siren song than a poem.

Today is Friday!!! I am so thankful for all the diverse talents my friends and peers offer.
(so I share this with you)

Poetry I love, but don't know much about. I am picky and under read...more a window shopper when it comes to the stuff. A month or so ago I was attending a Haiti benefit at the Empyrean where Mark Anderson (local slam poet) jumped on stage. He gave me goose-bumps. Reading the poem now I hear it in his voice, at his tempo. Maybe it was the passion he gave, or the fact that the entire thing was memorized and spit out like a dance, but it bloomed around us and engulfed us. So image this as you read:

This is a poem for Conor
Conor who I have never met,
Conor who I may never know:

For two whole hours I listened to his girlfriend’s mother
as she talked behind me in a strip mall coffee shop
about the boy whose soul she was trying to save.
It was 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning
and this is how I had always wanted to learn about holiness.

She says “Conor has a good heart
but he was never taught to use it.”
And I think to myself,
what funny things we overhear
when we are always listening.
From what I gather the problem is this:
her daughter is a meek white lamb
from the land of picket fences
and Conor is what is born out of adrenaline,
reformed and settled at the bottom of his stomach,
but still not converted.
And as for myself,
I have been caught sinning so few times in public
that there are fools who have mistaken me for holy.
But at that very moment,
I had been through something
very recently, which was
very similar, and which ended
very badly for me.
So I feel for him,
and I press my ear so far into that lady’s throat
that I can hear her breathing above the espresso machine.

Because Conor and I
are the same shape
of wide eyed wishing wells
who want love
more than any other form of redemption
but at that moment
love was falling through for the both of us.
So I swallowed my coffee slowly,
and I listened as hard as I could.

Because that morning
the only thing that could save me
was to feel just a little less lonely,
which is exactly what his story did for me.
I should mention
if I hadn’t been listening then
I might not still be standing here
to speak to you.
So I wonder what makes an angel.
Does it have anything to do with wings?
Before they have their wings
do they come with names like Conor?
Do they suffer like the rest of us?

And this is not a poem.
This is just a thank you note
to Conor who I have never met,
Conor who I may never know.

Since then, I have asked Mark to work on a collaboration project for 2K11's Get Lit Festival...it should be fantastic.

Mark, you are amazing!
I hope your slam went well last night! I didn't make it again...but one of these times it is going to work out. ♥

1 comment:

chelcie said...

This poem is incredible! "Conor has a good heart but he was never taught to use it" - so true of so many, myself included. Thank you for sharing. :)