Friday, March 23, 2012

Poem: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

What a sensuous sinewy name she has, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, as if she were born to be a poet, which she was. And aware, outraged, alive.

Her collection Love Cake (Tsar Productions) was another of the Lambda Literary nominees for best lesbian poetry (see yesterday's posting, and tomorrow's and so on). The poem "noise" was published in Lodestar Quarterly. Note that the poem is from Spring 2004. The essence of the poet is in every cell and line though the poet grows and changes.  

Love Cake, eh? Ha ha ha. Small, independent bookseller, here I come. As for biographical or background information, the note at Lodestar Quarterly (click on the name above) is a good start.  

HTML is running wild, by the way. The poem is intended to be double-spaced and this intro single. Breath between lines and savor the words.


by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

if a girl screams
in a forest
in an oil field on fire
in a immigration holdin cell motel by the airport
and CNN doesn't tell it
no reporters embedded to witness
does she make a sound?
does her voice
spread over galaxies
neutrons milky ways
mars and jupiter
closer than they've ever been
does she make a sound and
does anyone give a fuck.
if a girl screams on a street corner
hustling her ass
if she wakes up to a man in her bed
who wasn't there when she turned the light off
if girl gets followed home
from her job stripping in front of a digi-cam
does it make a sound?
if the papers say she isn't quite a girl
and may live or have lived
in a house the neighbors
may or may not refer to as "a crack house"
what sound does her scream make?
if a girl is so hungry
has no money
wants all the
peaches and melon that drip off the shelves
of the market in summer
but goes home and eats dandelion greens
from her backyard
is she too hungry to make any noise?
if she is a poet not all up in
in MA and BA
and most of all BS
do her words get picked up on the satellites
that pick up everything?
if they recruit a whole army of girls
girls who look just like us but not quite
tits asses and skin
mouthing their words on the screen for them
where do our voices go?
listen. we are all making noise
even when our sound is too scared too hungry too dead to be picked up
by radar
cup your ear hard.

Again....PUBLISHED in Lodestar Quarterly. 2004.

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