Napo 21

 Well, I've resigned to the fact that I'm not going to make it to 30/30 this year. No, I don't really have an excuse to speak of. I've been busy, but I'm busy every year. I'm just having trouble staying motivated to carve the time to write into my daily routine. I always write on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and even today (tuesday), I had a hard time getting myself to sit down and write when I have a million other things that need doing: mainly, grading. 

I'm hopelessly behind with my grading, or so it feels. 


Anyway, I think my Saturday talk was a success at the Cape G public library. There were only a couple of people in the Zoom session, but it was also steamed live, and in the live stream we had 40 views. Plus, it's archived. It was fun to talk about why I love poetry! I titled my talk, jokingly, "How Not to Hate Poetry," though it was about looking at poetry as an invitation into someone else's humanity. I think poetry really is all about human connection, so I hope that came across. 

Well, here's my NAPO for today. And onward, to grading.

Mulberry Madness


Every spring the same dilemma blooms:

A mulberry tree, a family of mockingbirds,

And me, my appetite for sweetness.


What to call this special breed of hunger?:

Greed. The want to pluck the berries

Before they ripen, as they’re green,


Hanging on the branches, the Texas sun

Not through with ripening them yet.

Because I want a basketful of berries,


Of sweetness to last through the seasons,

And Hell, let the mockingbirds find their own.

To pluck the berries now, before they’re ripe,


I’ll get to keep them all, and they’ll be sour.

To let them ripen, then the mockingbirds

Will eat them pink, before they mature


Into that delicious black, the softness

Bursting between tongue and the mouth’s roof—

I’ll get but a handful before the birds,


Who like them a little tart, get them.

So what to do? I’m human, after all,

Can’t see the forest from the mulberry tree,


Can only feel my hunger and my anger,

And not the future—seeds carried

In the stomach of a bird, an infinity


Of mulberry trees sprouting

In the eager soil, enough sweetness

Of everyone. But here I am. It’s spring


Again. I hold a basket,

Stare up at the green berries,

And lick my lips. Meanwhile,


At the grocery store, the last

Pack of toilet paper

Gets ripped from the shelf


Like a green mulberry

That rolls, sour,

Into the mouth one


Who’s eaten past her fill.