April 1st is not a day for fools, or fishing. For me, it is the day that kicks off one of my favorite times of the year: an entire month dedicated to poetry. Often, I find myself writing new or editing older works, reading these works at an open mic or literary festival, and participating in local events that highlight poetry. (Somewhere on a sidewalk in Roxbury, NY is a poem of mine from a couple years ago that can only be read when it rains.)
This year is different. Although I have always shared my words digitally (what good is writing if the written never gets read) I had backed off from sharing these on social media. Most that know me are aware of my love/hate relationship with social media. Over the years, I have been worried a poet bandit would “steal” my latest and greatest musing, or that I would eventually want to legitimately publish something that was already shared (published) on social media.
Well, if you like any of my poems that much, go ahead, steal it. Good luck getting it published. Or making any money from it. I no longer live in fear that my words will be burglarized. My fear now is that they will not be seen or heard at all.
In this time of social distancing, it is important that we find our digital tribe and stay connected. Stay tuned, as I will be working on finding a way to bring together poets, songwriters, artists and lovers of the nonessentials.
In the mean time, go to Poets.org and discover ways to take part in National Poetry Month online. Here is a poem written from one of my last treks through NYC, last year. Below is self-portrait, reminding me that sun and summer and smiles and hope are on the horizon.
Layover At Penn Station I ate lunch in the Sun, just beyond the shadow of two Great Ladies: The Empire State Building and the upturned chin of a Lady Gaga Comes To Vegas billboard. I feel better now, I am in New York. Leaving dark caves of tunnels and trains: the Unforgiving Underground. Like a miner returning home to fields and family smiles, I know in a little while I will be greeted by the Hudson and her companion, The Catskill Mountains. And though I hail from Charm City, just below the Mason Dixon - these hills are my home. This is where my true love lives. Where a fire waits to warm my toes and my daughter greets with a screaming hello. Where the long awaited Sun eventually shines on my maple covered backyard. Where the coyotes sing me back towards the wild. Where the shaded streams gleam and music actually means something. ©Rebecca Andre
Image available at Poets.org: The official April 2020 National Poetry Month poster features the artwork of Samantha Aikman, winner of this year’s National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students. Aikman’s design was selected by judges Alison Bechdel, renowned cartoonist, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. It features the following line from the poem “Remember” by current U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo: “Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.”