A Poem a Day

Shane McCrae: Cain Named the Animal

I didn’t understand much from this collection. Though I enjoyed “To My Mother’s Father.” McCrae’s writing requires slow reading and re-reading. I tend to just read through them to find something I can share on my blog.

Free Pt. II

after Jasmine Mans

“400 years of slavery sounds like a choice”
Kanye Omari West

Celebrity is a ghost town. I can’t deny that you are free or ill—white marble floors, calabasas, paris, glasgow, lonely heartsore son of Black academia-chasing spirits like a moth chases flame.

I love you like boys who grew up Black as me in the burbs, my day 1’s and play cousins. We never dreamed of growing up and being you. A star is not a sun without planets in orbit, and we orbited you like moons. You, diamond-cased name-brand deity of Otis Redding and Chaka Khan samples, rap fanboy turned it boy, multimillionaire by marriage and major record sales, collector of awards along mansion walls.

We can’t tell you nothin, nah, but we can tell that right; money got you believin there was an option other than the yo money ain’t ship, or the jaws of a shark, got you thinkin whip, fist, rope, and poplar tree were not the only destinations besides house or field, got you forgettin enslaved Africans were born and raised on plantations, sold, rented, or freed by death off plantations, got you blankin on written passes enslaved folk needed just to leave plantations, got you slow to state the police state is an evolution of 19th century slave catchers-why get yo money right just to get yo history wrong?

Who are we without our ancestry, Ye? Who are you without the musicians you resurrect through samples? How can you say race doesn’t matter anymore when the media won’t acknowledge your mental wellness, but will empathize with white nationalist shooters? You were right about one thing: no one man should have all that power. You are mortal after all, not a G/god, or the son of one. You are your Momma’s Blackboy, from chicagoland, who rapped and made soul beats until the world took notice.

Who would’ve guessed what idol-worship and riches could draw out of you. Your world is so distant from mine, I fear hear me even if you heard this, but Kanye, I hope you live to remember the immeasurable strength our grandest parents had, you can’t and the sacrifices they made to survive. What more can we ask of those who risked it all for our chance to be? We hold them in flesh and spirit; we are their wildest dreams.

Sean Avery Medlin

Ama Codjoe: Bluest Nude

A sensual, emotional collection, Ama Codjoe’s Bluest Nude delves into sex, grief, and beauty. Her writing is descriptive, provocative, and yet accessible. I understand and love quite a few pieces in here.

Focus on the Websites

One of the recurring themes from Computers in Libraries 2023 was the focus on the websites. Speakers talked about site design, user experience, and content strategy. They also discussed about quitting social media.

For Libraries, websites remain our homebase. Unlike social media networks, our library websites have no ads, no privacy issues, and definitely no misinformations. As a result, we should not send our users to social media, but the other way around. We have control of our sites, not social media. We provide accurate information on our site and we have no idea what type of information being pushed on social media.

I am glad to hear that librarians put their focus and effort into their websites instead of someone else’s. Library websites are still trustworthy online presence for institutions and organizations.

In my current role, I am no longer in charge of the Law School or Law Library social media. My focus is primarily on our websites. We are about to embark on a whole new direction for our main site. I don’t know how that will play out.

In my personal space, I focus only on my websites, particularly this blog. I haven’t posted anything on social media in a while. I have been tempted to deactivate them all. I also don’t have any desire to try another social media platform.

At least at the moment, my career in web design is still good. Social media networks come and go, but our sites will stay for a while. That’s my take from the conference.


All my time has been focused on my freedom now
Why would I join ’em when I know that I can beat ’em now?
They put their words on me, and they can eat ’em now
That’s probably why they keep on tellin’ me I’m needed now
They tried to box me out while takin’ what they want from me
I spent too many years livin’ too uncomfortably
Making room for people who didn’t like the labor
But wanted the spoils, greedy, selfish behavior
Now let me give it to you balanced and with clarity
I don’t need to turn myself into a parody
I don’t, I don’t do the shit you do for popularity
They clearly didn’t understand when I said “I Get Out” apparently
My awareness like Keanu in The Matrix
I’m savin’ souls and y’all complainin’ ’bout my lateness
Now it’s illegal for someone to walk in greatness
They want the same shh, but they don’t take risks
Now the world will get to see its own reflection
And the anointed can pursue their own direction
And if you’re wrong and you’re too proud to hear correction
Walk into the hole you dug yourself, fuck a projection
See me in my freedom takin’ all my land back
They said a lot against me thinkin’ I’d just stand back
I got my legs beneath me, I got my hands back
A lot of people sabotaged, they couldn’t stand that
I turned the other cheek, I took blow after blow
There’s so much crisis in the world ’cause you reap what you sow
When you keep what you know is meant for someone else
The ditch you dig for them, you might just end up in yourself
I’m in the secret place, I keep a sacred space
They keep showin’ their hands, but keep hidin’ their face
If I’m a messenger, you block me then you block the message
So aggressive, the world you made is what you’re left with
Pride and ego over love and truth is fuckin’ reckless
Y’all niggas got a death wish, the stupid leaves me breathless

Lauryn Hill (a verse from Nas’s “Nobody”)

Forrest Gander: Twice Alive

Another collection from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author I couldn’t understand. I was just reading words and couldn’t make sense of the poems. My poetry reading is not improving. I love the typesetting though.

Guilt Mountain

When he does his taxes,
He finds charges for things
He didn’t sign up for.
No chance to read about penalties and
Interest rates.
He didn’t sign up for life’s contract.

Would he initial
“I agree” after reading life’s
Promising him a chance to

Stroll, sprint, and trot on a star. Flowers, honey, an unlimited chance to walk in a meadow of peace like the one at Yosemite, a crack-house pile of money each day and
Straight A’s.

The penalties are spelled out in a font so tiny as
To be unreadable.
Would the fines be: “Hurt Heartache Tragedy Grief”?

He’s had his share yet lives like a prince
Or at least as a court member.
He remembers
The beauty now dust
Who could not
Bring children to full term.
He and she were educated.
Read books and turned
Them over to Science,
Where they floated in jars.
She became The Cat Lady
And gave each cat those
Stillborn children’s names.

Were his genes to blame?
Do miscarriages run in families?
Is that what his mother meant when
She said, “A lot of your brothers and sisters didn’t make it”?
He woke one night to find her lying on the living-room floor.
He thought that she was dead.
When his stepfather called 911, he could not say “miscarriage.”
He said “misfortune.”

One day, he felt excruciating
Pressure on his back; the Doctor said,
“The Baron has been riding you. You hurt
Every time he grins. He’s always thirsty,
Which explains your dehydration.
He likes the Bayou and hates deserts.”

For a while, he found desert life agreeable.
The burden on his back ceased.
He dreamed of a nude woman with a Benin face.
An orange-headed condor with black wings
Was lifting
Her to one of those California skies, the color
Of robins’ eggs.
This scene occurred above Big Sur.

Desert life was cheap.
He raised prize cacti and explored cliff dwellings, but he ached for the city. On his heart is a street directory. That’s where their survivor found him, her voices in tow. She taught him why some people subject to foul whispers get mad when you praise their gifts.
The chatter that berates them spends more time with them than you.

Out here, smiling climbers
Take selfies when they
Reach the summits of mountains.

But Guilt Mountain?
It has no top.

Ishmael Reed

Nơi nương tựa

Mỗi lần mở lên điện thoại, anh nhìn thấy em. Tấm ảnh anh chụp em vào dịp Tết vừa qua. Em mặc chiếc áo dài nhã nhặn và nở nụ cười thiết tha trông thật dễ thương. Mỗi lần ngắm nhìn em, anh muốn hát lên: “Càng nhìn em yêu em hơn và yêu em mãi / Dù phút êm đềm xa xưa nay đã đi vào quên lãng”.

Cố nhạc sĩ Lam Phương viết thật thấm. Giờ đây những tiếng êm đềm đã thay bằng những lời chua chát. Tuy nhiên, anh không trách em. Ngược lại anh thấu hiểu được tấm lòng của em. Mười mấy năm qua em luôn lo lắng cho gia đình từ mẹ già đến con thơ và cả anh. Cả anh và em phải lăn lộn với công ăn việc làm và còn phải chăm sóc cho đàn con của chúng ta. Từ thằng lớn đến thằng bé, mỗi thằng có mỗi thách thức riêng. Lý trí của anh không mạnh mẽ bằng em. Anh dễ dàng bị phiền não trong công việc và con cái nhưng anh luôn có em làm nơi nương tựa tinh thần. Không có em sát cánh anh không biết có còn đứng vững hay không.

Có lẽ những gì anh muốn nói em nghe cũng đã nhàm chán. Em muốn thấy được những hành động thực tế chứ không cần nghe những lời nói từ đáy lòng. Dù sao đi nữa anh luôn tôn trọng và cần có em trong đời sống. Đời anh mà thiếu em như cây thiếu nước, như nhà thiếu nóc, như hủ tiếu thiếu nước lèo, như bánh bèo thiếu nước mắm, như thịt bò nhúng giấm thiếu mắm nêm. Lâu lắm rồi không được ăn thịt bò nhúng giấm chấm mắm nêm cũng tại con quỷ gout.

Đùa tí cho vui thôi. Anh đã muốn viết xuống bài này lâu rồi nhưng giờ mới có cơ hội.Chỉ hy vọng em hiểu được lòng anh.

Jorie Graham: Runaway

Reading Jorie Graham’s collection is like pouring water on a duck’s head. Nothing stuck. Graham is a professor at Harvard University and winner of the Pulitzer Prize; therefore, not understanding her work is my own fault.

Conversation with Mary

What language did the angel speak

My most private language

Was the angel fluent

Nuances were lost

Where did the angel come from

The ground

Did you consider yourself a woman or a child before this


And after


What was the tenor of your joy then


Did it hurt


Did you feel rewarded

I hallelujah I assented

How did it feel

Cold blood on the cock of God

Whose blood

My blood

Gabrielle Bates