* a birthday poem

This week on the Influence: BIRTHDAY!

My girlfriend’s, Ani, in particular.

She is from the Pacific Northwest and is accustomed to cloudy, gray birthdays – a lovely scene at times made lovelier by the blooming of the local cherry blossoms.

This year she’s a bit bummed because they have yet to blossom – so I’m bringing them to her.

I am dedicating this post to her and posting a poem I wrote for her back in 2011 which features the aforementioned tardy blossoms.

With these words, may there always be flowers somewhere near you, my dear.

*BIRTHDAY*
*HAPPYBIRTHDAY*

For her birthday 030811

 

you have never needed me

you yourself

 

point out the cherry blossoms

that return in time

 

trembling pink and white

when you smile

 

days before

days after

***

Happy aftering!

Jose

* photo found here.

* update & holiday greetings

This week on the Influence: an update!

I have been busy the past two months applying to PhD programs.  The past two weeks especially were a crunch.  Preparing writing samples, writing soul-baring personal statements that also sound professional and career-oriented, the GREs – all of that plus the daily back and forth in my head about whether this is the right thing to do with my life and so on…

For these reasons, I’ve taken a more personal approach to the Friday posts during this time.

Expect a more familiar post next week.

For this week, here is my poem “These Streets” originally published in Tiger’s Eye Journal, the good folks who publish my chapbook, “The Wall”.

This poem is the first solid poem I wrote when I landed here in Oregon back in 2007.  You can see the young Jose face to face with the Pacific Northwest for the first time.

It’s also a ghazal, a form which you can find more about here.

Check it out:

***

These Streets – Jose Angel Araguz *

I know I am not the first to walk these streets;
Why, then, do I feel alone when I walk these streets?

Leaves shuffle and whisper overhead, trash cackles in the gutter;
What cold things would they say if they could talk, these streets?

The river roils against black, stripped banks;
What do they take, shift, shame and rock, these streets?

There are colors and lines that show the way for cars;
Why, then, my unmarked path? I, guideless, stalk these streets.

José — why shed questions like tears about these streets?
Sorrow, like oil, leaves its stain; blackness and iridescence mark these streets.

***

This past Wednesday I wrapped up the last of the applications – and suddenly it’s Christmas.  I’ve been to two holiday parties so far this month, which should have been a clue as to the time of season.  In the holiday spirit, here’s a sweet photo:

double shot of yin & yang
double shot of yin & yang

That’s me and my girl at a coffee shop.

As you can see, I’ve very much warmed up to the Pacific Northwest.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

– jose

* originally published in Tiger’s Eye Journal.