Tuesday Poem: two from Californian poets David Perez and Jennifer Swanton Brown

I am the hub editor at Tuesday Poem this week, and I chose to share a the poem ‘Darkroom’ by Erica Goss, a poet based in Los Gatos, California. Erica has recently launched a poetry initiative for girls, along with David Perez and Jennifer Swanton Brown. It’s a project that works at the intersection between creativie writing and technology, and I found it so inspiring that I also engaged these three poets in an interview in which they discuss the project, their goals and their own personal experiences that have led them here. You can find the interview at the Tuesday Poem site this week, along with Erica’s poetry. And here, I am pleased to share works by David  and Jennifer.

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David Perez, TIME ALONE WITH MY FATHER, A MAN I DO NOT SPEAK WITH AND MAY NEVER SEE AGAIN
There was the year I started bringing knives to school
and sleeping with baseball bats a fist length
from my dominant hand.

It was the year we lived in a rich family’s basement,
and I promised him I’d stop wetting the bed.
When acrid mornings found me
cursing the dream that was just too vivid
where I made it to the bathroom right in time.

All but our small plots for sleeping
devoted to a painting studio
where he sank horse hair in water
the color of sage and bone.

It was the year we pawed at genesis.
When I gave mouth-to-mouth to birds
stiff on the lawn, pressing my thumbs
to pump their little hearts.
The year he added stroke after stroke
to something previously lifeless.

copyright David Perez. Posted with permission from the poet. *

Jennifer Swanton Brown, PLAYING SOLITAIRE
Playing solitaire
at the coffee shop
with my cuppa
and a seasonal scone

reminds me of some poems

offers sociological
observational
opportunities.

Feels good.

A voice nags Go home .
Get organized for the New
Year.

Another voice rhymes should
with could, mumbling
someone is a would
and I’m late with the
pound bags of beans.

But maybe not.

There is no urgency
on the faces
around me
at little tables
at conversation.

Maybe there is no
urgency at home,
no urgency in the
week, no urgency
in my heart.

The coffee shop
doesn’t answer the
question.

A woman’s rough voice
falls over me
from the ceiling
in a cone of music.
Then

a trumpet.

Then, the door opens
boys and girls pour in
with December sunshine
and the trumpet
flares louder than the
bean grinder, their
sudden shouts.

It’s a good feeling.
The trumpet’s voice—
visible, invisible—
playing to the room
on faith
alone.

copyright Jennifer Swanton Brown, December 2014. Posted with permission from the poet. 

* * * 

Thank you, David and Jennifer, for sharing your poetry! And for the inspiring project you’re launching for young women poets! *

perezDavid Perez is the author of the poetry collection Love in a Time of Robot Apocalypsepublished under Write Bloody Press. He tours regularly throughout the United States and Canada, and has competed at the Individual World Poetry Slam and the National Poetry Slam. A recipient of the Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowship for Literary Art, Perez has led poetry outreach programs for youth communities throughout the Silicon Valley, and has coached two poetry slam teams competing in the Brave New Voices Festival. He has also given workshops at Santa Clara University, San Jose State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2010 he earned an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. He currently lives in San Jose, California.
*
BrownJennifer Swanton Brown published her first poem in the Palo Alto Times when she was in the fifth grade. She has degrees in Linguistics and Nursing, and completed her Master of Liberal Arts at Stanford University in 2012, with a thesis on the domestic poetry of  Eavan Boland. Jennifer has been a poet/teacher with California Poets in the Schools since 2001 and joined their Board of Directors in March 2013. Her poems have been published in multiple local journals, including Caesura and The DQM Review. In October 2013, Jennifer became the second Poet Laureate of the City of Cupertino. You can follow her poet laureate Poem-A-Day project “A Lane of Yellow” on Tumblr (laneofyellow.tumblr.com) and other Cupertino Poet Laureate news at cupertinopoetlaureate.org. Currently the Area Coordinator for Santa Clara County, and an occasional working poet/teacher, Jennifer also manages regulatory education for clinical researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine. Follow CPitS Santa Clara County news at The Santa Clara County Poets in the Schools blog (scc-pits.blogspot.com).

* Tuesday Poem is a collective of poets who share poetry on a weekly basis across borders and time zones. Please check out the other poets and the main poem at the TP hub this week. Tuesday Poem For more Tuesday Poems, go here.

 

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