Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 3 • Fall 2002 • Featured Writer • Poetry


Meliza Bañales

I wanna write you a poem
because I think it will fix you
because I think it will make things right again
because I think I might forget important subjects
like bread, dying, and love

I wanna write you a poem
because I was never taught how to do
anything else
because no one in my family told me I couldn't dream
and because so many in your family told you
dreaming was wasteful

I wanna write you a poem
because things make sense
when they're broken into lines
things that are broken
can be called verse instead of disasters
things that are broken
can be fixed
             even if it's just with words
             even if I can't find the words at that moment
             you can find them later in this poem

I wanna write you a poem
because I've made so many mistakes
broken promises and missed chances
to say things the beautiful way,
              the breath-of-fresh-air-way,
              the right way in a one way situation

because I think there is magic in here
I think there are prayer songs in here
I think
if I wander around long enough
I will know what it means to be

I wanna write you a poem
because for two pages or three minutes or six-hundred words
I am strong,
I am spiritual,
I am praised,
I am appreciated,
I am selfish,
I am noticed,
I am encouraged,
I am good enough for this world and all its faults
I am at fault and I take responsibility

I wanna write you a poem
give you something to remember the good in me
                               the descent human-being in me
                               the one who'll loan out her last five bucks in me
                               the patient me
                               the still standing after all this time in me
when you're angry at me
and think that holding onto me is a waste of your energy

so that you will know my name
whisper it in my ear dozens of times
           in dozens of streets
           in dozens of cities and parks and bars and neighborhoods
so that you will know how to smell me in the dark

I wanna write you a poem
because it's the most expensive thing to do
because it's the path less chosen
because it's the craziest, stupidist, most ridiculous risk I could ever take
and I want to spend it on you
    I want to throw it on you
    I want to shower it, scream it, blanket it, push it, smother it, hand it,
on you

I wanna write you a poem
because, really, it's all I've got

and I know you may not believe that --
you may think there a hundreds of other ways I could communicate
to you
you may think
poetry shouldn't be the center
that split pavement and loose vins on brick walls and ghettos and noise
shouldn't be all I have

but despite what you think
despite the doubts you might have in me
despite miles of things I may never come to understand in this universe
despite all of this,
I'll give it to you anyway
this writing
this wanting
this poem
is yours.

Meliza Bañales is a spoken-word artist and the author of and I've been fighting ever since (Chula Press, 2002) and Girl with the Glass Throat (Chula Press, 2001). She has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines including Transfer, Las Girlfriends, and Revolutionary Voices, the latter of which was nominated for a Lambda Book Award in 2001. She's been called "the girl with the sense of humor of a jackknife." The first Latina ever to win a Bay Area Grand Slam Championship, she's been on three national poetry slam teams and has also competed as an individual at the nationals. She is the winner of the Burning Bush Press People Before Profits Poetry Prize 2002.

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