TWO POEMS by Gemelle John, featured on Life As Activism

by Gemelle John
Featured on Life As Activism

So They Will

Time is the lightbulb burning for the first three traffic lights
And blinking after that
Is the side street slick with remainder
And a storm cloud trying to drown

Is pulling into the parking lot like today is just another sun
Just another waking up
Like things die all the time
Like we always care that they do

Is swallowing over and over
Throat lined with anguish,
Bitter aftertastes so difficult to name, and so resilient
Carve curiosity out of my neck
Make it a song

Make it a lullaby.
Dripping rose gold and honey so opulent it’s all melody
And tell them that
That’s enough to make dark a temperature
That dark will shift
That anything you do will make it less boulder
Less wheeze
Less forthright in its fear

Follow me into the building braced for flight
Tell the students that today is just an answer
Soak their tears in gasoline
Soak this day in morning
And burn

The Mourning Wants a Name

The mourning wants a name.
Grief is limited in its reproach,
But mourning asks for breaths,
Fort nights.
It builds a space where it may stretch its legs,
climb trees backwards,
find the ground so it can have somewhere to not stand.
Waves at the moon and the sun with equal apathy,
calls us foolish for knowing it exists and not loving it with a capital “m”.

Grief is still salient;
The one we write cards to,
The one we dress up for.
It is the one whose name demands a capital G, knowing fully well we will use it regardless.
In play clothes and the same breakfast you’ve always eaten.
Doesn’t know grief
With its contorted memories
Is backs of hands,
Shoulder blades, knuckles,
Creasing with dawn.
Mourning is wishing it were just grief.

Gemelle John is a 2015 graduate of the University of Delaware, where she studied Spanish Education. While there she served as vice-president of the University’s Resident Student Organization, S.P.I.T (Stimulating, Prose, Ideas, and Theories). Through S.P.I.T. she has had the privilege to work with  poets including Andrea Gibson, Clint Smith, and Alixa and Naima of “Climbing Poetree”. She currently serves as a Spanish teacher at PS DuPont Middle school and continues to write, publish, and perform poetry in the DMV area.





Image credit: Grace Connolly on Instagram @playwrightslife


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