Being a Part of Kwame Alexander's Latest Crowdsourced Poem Is "Love Me"
On 28 July, writer Kwame Alexander, NPR's poet in residence, published his crowdsourced poem, "Love, Me." Alexander invites readers to share their work via NPR, and then he selects lines to create a new poem. Bards have their place yet in our world--and we are all those bards. Here is "Love, Me."
Here is the poem my lines came from:
It’s pushing midnight
And I am imagining
You alone in your kitchen
At 2 a.m. making brownies
Or pancakes or scrambled eggs
Pushing back on time
In those few months before you passed,
Eating what you damn well wanted
All by yourself.
I am imagining the warm brownies
Soft and rich, a taste of childhood,
Eggs, soft and plain,
Pancakes, thick and syrupy.
The noise, the light, the mess,
And nobody to comment in judgment,
Telling you this wasn’t the time.
There you were at the table
Eating what you damn well wanted–
The same table where you fed us
When we stopped by, when we had a special occasion,
When the holidays came.
Right now, as I sit in your chair in your summer robe
In my home,
Your photos around me,
I am wondering what memories
Rolled like movies in your mind.
Your childhood? Your children?
All that you gave your husband.
Your family. Your dogs.
The people around you.
Perhaps the coffee you poured
For twenty-five years at Friendly’s,
All those lonely lives you filled with warmth
Always with two creamers on the side.
Always, your big smile.
Four times in the past two days
Strangers have told me I have a beautiful smile.
A woman in the parking lot at New Morning
Said I made her day because nobody smiles anymore.
Each time, I thought of you.
I have your smile, too.
I also have the lines around my face
That have come from smiling.
Like you, I have earned them.
My heart hurts to think of you alone
In your own house. In your kitchen.
In your absence, I learn
What it means to be alone,
What it is to taste life,
To claim what is sweet,
The sleeping world be damned.