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:

Tasting Life

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.