Richard Blanco Says ~ A Poem of Redaction ~

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Richard Blanco Says
~ A Poem of Redaction ~

 

Writing a poem
All our lives,
Central to obsession…

Leaving home
To love a country
As if you’ve lost one;
It is where you choose to die
That is your country.

Human drive to find
The perfect home,
Myths in literature
Of Utopia, the perfect place:
Avalon, Shangri-La, the Promised Land.

Home is a slippery word
Like a cake decoration.
Should be nothing here
I don’t remember.

Only the waves keeping time
To their life in Cuba;
To pretend, to pretend
That nothing I’ve lost
Is Lost.

I was home all along,
Ready to read this poem;
That this is our story.
We each add a chapter
Still being written
About our country.

Speak silently to my heart:
Here is your country;
This is your story;
Here your home;
Our ground;
Our sky.

One deep breath,
Then another.

This is for all of us
Like rainbows begging for praise
For us today.

The doors we open for each
Other all day
Without prejudice,
Tired from work,
Giving thanks for love
That loves you back,
But couldn’t give you
What you wanted:
Always home;
Always one moon
Of one country,
Facing the stars of hope,
Of one constellation
Waiting for us, together
To come and sit at the table.

Why can’t we have poets
On billboards in America?
Why God?

But really…
We all think the same thing,
But no one says:
Will mother come to visit us?

But God, listen to this:
I will keep counting
Until I’m somebody
And then I will say,
I forgive you.

I want the poem to be a mirror,
Transforming the personal
Into Art, using the personal
To reach the universal.

Whatever the Art demands
I have to do:
To be grand,
But not grandiose—
Those scars of exile,
Being in exile of exile.

 

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This poem is a redaction from a Reading and Speaking Session Richard Blanco gave at City University of Hong Kong on July 21, 2014.

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6:30 – 8:30 p.m., July 21, 2014 (Monday)
M3090, Level 3, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, City University of Hong Kong

Distinguished visiting writer Richard Blanco
will give a reading and speak in conversation with writer-in-residence Xu Xi

Reception & book signing follows

CityU 30th anniversary Year of Global Literary Expression event

Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco’s books will be sold at the event by Paddyfield

Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco ( http://richard-blanco.com/ ) was “made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, imported to the U.S.” He served as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States for President Obama’s second inauguration in 2012, at which he read the poem “One Today.” Blanco was the first Latino, immigrant and gay writer, as well as the youngest, accorded this honor. His books of poetry are Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012), Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005) and City of a Hundred Fires (1998) which received the prestigious Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, and which one critic calls “the most exciting first book of the decade – vibrant and diverse, infused with energy and formal dexterity, equally at ease in Spanish and English.” Recent works include Boston Strong (2013), a commemorative chapbook that reproduces his poignant poem presented at the Boston Strong Concert, following the tragic events in April that year at the Boston Marathon. His most recent book is nonfiction, For All of Us, One Today (2013), which describes his journey as the inaugural poet. Blanco holds a MFA from Florida International University, and has taught at Central Connecticut University as well as several other universities. He was named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow at Maclester College which awarded him an honorary doctorate. Blanco is also an engineer who has designed several town revitalization projects.
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