Blatant Bibliophile Blog

…feeling the need to read

Let’s Read Some Poetry!

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 5, 2008

Today’s Poem of the Day from The Academy of American Poets is by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan. Born in Santa Monica and raised in Los Angeles, Born in Santa Monica and raised in Los Angeles, Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan received her B.A. in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and earned an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow, and completed her M.A. in literature from the University of California at Berkeley. At the University of Houston she was a Cambor Fellow and earned a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing. She is a full-time instructor at Houston Community College, Central Campus. She lives in Houston with her husband, Raj, a scientist specializing in HIV/AIDS research at Baylor College of Medicine, and their three cats.

Terzanelle: Manzanar Riot
by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan

This is a poem with missing details,
of ground gouging each barrack’s windowpane,
sand crystals falling with powder and shale,

where silence and shame make adults insane.
This is about a midnight of searchlights,
of ground gouging each barrack’s windowpane,

of syrup on rice and a cook’s big fight.
This is the night of Manzanar’s riot.
This is about a midnight of searchlights,

a swift moon and a voice shouting, Quiet!
where the revolving searchlight is the moon.
This is the night of Manzanar’s riot,

windstorm of people, rifle powder fumes,
children wiping their eyes clean of debris,
where the revolving searchlight is the moon,

and children line still to use the latrines.
This is a poem with missing details,
children wiping their eyes clean of debris—
sand crystals falling with powder and shale.

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