“Heart Parts” a poem by Kelechi Ubozoh

This thing inside me beats again

Size of a closed fist

Strained muscle

Pink insides

Awake Aorta

Vulnerable

Artic exposed

I can’t control it.

Years of being buried under another’s name

tattoo across closed tricuspid valves.

See, he wants lazy phone calls and holding hands.

He wants sky gazing on a blanket.

He wants to ask me all the questions.

This Chicago kid with a chipped tooth smile.

Honey brown eyes, full lips…

He wants conversations about books.

He wants soft whispers.

He wants time.

I want to devour him and drown in this feeling.

Who knows if I’ll ever feel it again?

Contracting heart

Blood flowing

Pumping

Woke up from a death like sleep.

Oh precious heart, I thought you perished in the fire.

Awakening hurts.

Fleshy pink, so raw and open

No fresh dew softness

Jarring sharp

Numb breaking

Band-Aid ripped off a cool scabbed wound.

Missing film around my heart.

I lean in.

He leans back.

Don’t turn me crazy with your silence.

You woke up

all my heart parts.

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Elliott C. Nathan in collaboration with Living Artist Project
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“Invitation” by Mary Oliver

 

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Oh do you have time

to linger

for just a little while

out of you busy

 

and very important day

for the goldfinches

that have gathered

in the field of thistles

 

for a musical battle,

to see who can sing

the highest note,

or the lowest,

 

or the most expressive of mirth,

or the most tender?

Their strong, blunt beaks

drink the air

 

as they strive

melodiously

not for your sake

and not for mine

 

and not for the sake of winning

but for sheer delight and gratitude—

believe us, they say,

it is a serious thing

 

just to be alive

on this fresh morning

in this broken world.

I beg of you,

 

do not walk by

without pausing

to attend to this

rather ridiculous performance.

 

It could mean something.

It could mean everything.

It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:

          You must change your life.

“To Rich Givers” by Walt Whitman

 

What you give me I cheerfully accept,

A little sustenance, a hut and garden, a little money,

as I rendezvous with my poems,

A traveler’s lodging and breakfast as I journey through the States,-

why should I be ashamed to own such gifts? why to advertise for

them?

For I myself am not one who bestows nothing upon man and woman,

For I bestow upon any man or woman the entrance

to all the gifts of the universe.

 

And Because Love Battles by Pablo Neruda

 

 

And because love battles

not only in its burning agricultures

but also in the mouth of men and women,

I will finish off by taking the path away

to those who between my chest and your fragrance

want to interpose their obscure plant.

 

About me, nothing worse

they will tell you, my love,

than what I told you.

 

I lived in the prairies

before I got to know you

and I did not wait love but I was

laying in wait for and I jumped on the rose.

 

What more can they tell you?

I am neither good nor bad but a man,

and they will then associate the danger

of my life, which you know

and which with your passion you shared.

 

And good, this danger

is danger of love, of complete love

for all life,

for all lives,

and if this love brings us

the death and the prisons,

I am sure that your big eyes,

as when I kiss them,

will then close with pride,

into double pride, love,

with your pride and my pride.

 

But to my ears they will come before

to wear down the tour

of the sweet and hard love which binds us,

and they will say: “The one

you love,

is not a woman for you,

Why do you love her? I think

you could find one more beautiful,

more serious, more deep,

more other, you understand me, look how she’s light,

and what a head she has,

and look at how she dresses,

and etcetera and etcetera”.

 

And I in these lines say:

Like this I want you, love,

love, Like this I love you,

as you dress

and how your hair lifts up

and how your mouth smiles,

light as the water

of the spring upon the pure stones,

Like this I love you, beloved.

 

To bread I do not ask to teach me

but only not to lack during every day of life.

I don’t know anything about light, from where

it comes nor where it goes,

I only want the light to light up,

I do not ask to the night

explanations,

I wait for it and it envelops me,

And so you, bread and light

And shadow are.

 

You came to my life

with what you were bringing,

made

of light and bread and shadow I expected you,

and Like this I need you,

Like this I love you,

and to those who want to hear tomorrow

that which I will not tell them, let them read it here,

and let them back off today because it is early

for these arguments.

 

Tomorrow we will only give them

a leaf of the tree of our love, a leaf

which will fall on the earth

like if it had been made by our lips

like a kiss which falls

from our invincible heights

to show the fire and the tenderness

of a true love.

 

~Pablo Neruda