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Sunday, December 06, 2015


by Laura M Kaminski

"We can't continue to play the ostrich game anymore, especially 
for those of us who still insist on being called POETS..."
— Chiedu Ezeanah

Who will pay me for a poem, read
one and be moved to action? Who
will open their ears and remove
the deafening silence? Who will
pay a coin of attention, enough
for a pack of combs, a book of
poems, and add to a small stipend
for a volunteer to go and read
to orphans while they learn to
pick and braid each other's hair?

Do you not remember when you
yourself were small, the feel
of your mother's hands upon
your head? Do you not recall
your impatience on occasions
when you were eager to be on
your way, finished with this
process? But when you left,
did you not carry the sense
of her affection with you,
the confidence that she would
not have loosed you until
you were your most presentable?

Who will pay me for a poem,
send a coin or a comb? And
who will take time to visit
orphaned children, offer them
the reassurance of adult
affection, let them know they
are not forgotten, that an
entire nation is present
to serve as surrogates for
parents they have lost? But
there is so much silence.

Are we afraid to face their
destitution and their grief?
Do we believe there are too
many for us to make a real
difference, and afraid of
failure, fail to even try?
Is there no path from silence
into action? What use is a poet
who will not be a beacon? If
there is no path, then let
the poets set the course
with words and wear it with
their feet, don't let the words
be empty. Let the poets lead.

Laura M Kaminski grew up in northern Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently lives in rural Missouri. She is an Associate Editor at Right Hand Pointing, and the author of several poetry chapbooks and collections, most recently Dance Here (Origami Books, an imprint of Parrésia Publishers Ltd, Lagos, Nigeria).