Barb first put me on to Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan’s excellent poem “One Question, Several Answers” back when she was working on her Black Jesus poems, part of her Poems for the City That Nearly Broke Me series. (Yes, I know the poems are no longer there but I’m linking to remind folks that you best read a poet’s blog ASAP or else you might miss out on some of that necessary poetic goodness.)
Kageyama-Ramakrishnan’s poem is so evocative, alive with crisp details and haunting in its refrain. I really dig what she is doing with a very simple but personal question and how it shows the true power of anaphora.
In contrast, the poem I drafted (using the same form and structure but a different question) has a more menacing presence about it.Â Right away I started thinking about when I’ve heard that same kind of insistent questioning and I was drawn away from a spiritual place and right smack dab into a police state.Â Interesting how the City can impose itself like that, how the questions surrounding us are very external.Â I’m also trying to work on a follow up based on a true life incident involving me and one of my old homies.Â It’s difficult to write because the story/poem is equal parts humor and menace and driven by an eavesdropped conversation, which makes it a better candidate for poetry than it does prose.
Enough tangent sidestory, here’s the poem:
ONE QUESTION, SEVERAL ANSWERS
After the poem by Claire Kageyamaâ€“Ramakrishnan
[Poem was here.]