Romero and Vongsaravanh

You Were Born a Tree
by DAVID A. ROMERO

You were born a tree
A tiny seedling
In a bustling world
Yearning to break free
You were born a tree
Roots behind your growth
Branches glowing in sunlight
You were born a tree
Breathing in the badness
Of the bustling world
Producing something beautiful
Bright green leaves
Fruit for the future
In a time of deforestation
You were born a tree
Dragged before a machine
First a pile then
Arranged single file
Line of orders
Line of business
Line of march
Next
They cut off your arms
Which once stretched with hope and promise
Towards many directions
You were going to be the first
Veterinarian-Astronaut
Firefighter-Doctor-Truck driver-Tree
This all made perfect sense to you
You were going to stretch
Those branches towards the light
But your branches were cut
And the traces sanded down and polished smooth
You were given
One direction to grow in
Your designated shape
Inches in diameter
Thin and uniform
Your head affixed
With a mind of metal ideas
The kind that makes you think,
“I know who I am
I know what I am
I have worth
I have value
I like myself
Because
I am a hammer
And it’s great to be a hammer
Because I live in a world full of nails”
WHACK
WHAM
BANG
Everything looks one way
You begin to feel hatred and distaste
Towards anyone who ever suggested
That trees were meant
To be trees
Branch out into the sunlight
Make their own green leaves
Those around you
No longer beautiful trees
They are tools
Purposed
Some became shovels
Some brooms
Some pencils
Some scythes
Some rulers
Some hoes
Some were discarded
Never given a head at all
In this bustling world
Some are saying,
“One head isn’t enough”
That it was foolish to affix tools
With only one
They say
Tools were meant
To resemble pocketknives
A jumble of metal
Ugly heads stabbing in all directions
Almost like branches stretching towards the sun…
But the more heads
And the more tools
Seems like fewer and fewer are of use
More and more discarded
Some tools question
“What did we do?
How can we be used?
What I wouldn’t do for another head
I would break other tools
I am a tool
I have a purpose
I am not worthless!”
Maybe in your desperation
Depression
In their condemnations
You have forgotten
That you were made a tool
But you were born a tree
A tiny seedling
In a bustling world
In this refuse and dirt
Your branches sprout
Flimsy and weak
But they can link
You can grow again
You can be whole again
You were born a tree.

David A. Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, CA. Romero is the second poet to be featured on All Def Digital, a YouTube channel from Russell Simmons. Romero has opened for Latin Grammy winning bands Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia. Romero’s work has been published alongside poet laureates Jack Hirschman, Alejandro Murguia, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Romero has won the Uptown Slam at the historic Green Mill in Chicago; the birthplace of slam poetry. Romero has appeared in-studio numerous times on multiple programs on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles. Romero’s poetry deals with family, identity, social justice issues and Latin@ culture. www.davidaromero.com.


Corporate Silence
by ELIZABETH VONGSARAVANH

Like a piece of shedding skin,
the scarf around my neck
is a smoky-grey cheetah-impression
of a sewing machine carpe diem
of a woman at fifty cents an hour.
Stitches, and dyes.

Life fell under the harvest moon
where I stood like a tree.
In the sky,
there was nothing but clouds
in a perfect fit.

There was more to it.
There were dogs.
I wished they were wolves
howling at the fiery eyeball
in the bruised billow.

I wished she was as strong as a silent tree.
I wished she could scream like dogs howl.
I wished it right there.

She wanted nothing.
I wanted everything and all the time.

Voices of a choir in my silence,
I wanted a prayer,
a dancing wind,
a muse,
an invisible touch,
Bukowski’s soul,
Thoreau’s mind to find
A thread of thought and time.

I wanted to rest in this illusion.

Endings
by ELIZABETH VONGSARAVANH

I knew it was a risk.
I’ve lost the laughs
and the playful ripple
of those friendships.
Let them devour the bleached pool
of the inner city fountain.

I remember diving deep
into the ocean –
as long as I could hold my breath.

On my way up, nearing the shore,
All I could see was garbage.

Elizabeth Vongsaravanh is a native of Hungary and holds a  Graduate Degree in English Literature. She is a mother, poet, artist, mixologist and entrepreneur. Some of her poetic works were included in the 2013 and 2014 edition of the poetry anthology ‘Imprint’, which is published in Hong Kong. Elizabeth can be found at her art house/cocktail bar in Luang Prabang, Laos, mixing drinks for wandering spirits and loyal patrons alike, www.iconklub.com.

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

Poets Basement is now on Facebook. Find us as http://www.facebook.com/poets.basement.

To submit to Poets Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document. Expect a response within two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions). Submissions not following the guidelines may or may not receive a response.

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.

For more details, tips and suggestions, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting) Poets Basement is now on Facebook. Find us ashttp://www.facebook.com/poets.basement. To submit to Poets Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work). Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where. For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights. Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document. Expect a response within two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions). Submissions not following the guidelines may or may not receive a response. Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology. For more details, tips and links to past installments, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!

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