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01 April, 2017: Fold

READ A POEM

by Ali McClain
Fold
I allow everything to distract me
 
even the six chairs positioned like
empty bus stops
two egg white, two red orange, two egg white.
 
“That’s my pa-pa,” the little boy says,
claiming his grandfather
as if the laundry women have threatened
to steal him
like a dryer does socks.
 
A wide woman nestles
in one of the egg white chairs
and begins folding
her load of dark towels
 
I scrutinize her.
 
She ain’t got nothin’ on my mother.
 
My mother folded towels like
they had somewhere special to be.
I have yet to master her
but somehow without lesson
I’ve learned to bend and fold.

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“Fold,” by Ali McClain. © Ali McClain, 2017. Used by permission of the author.

ABOUT TODAY’​S POET
Ali McClain is a poet, educator, consultant and youth advocate who directs Sisterhood, an after-school and summer program for girls at West Side Community House. McClain has been writing and performing poetry for more than 15 years. She has taught and performed at Playhouse Square, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the juvenile detention center, schools throughout Cuyahoga County and elsewhere. The co-founder of acerbic, an arts collective dedicated to providing a safe and resourceful home to artists of color, she is working on her first collection of poetry as a graduate student in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. Her work is in A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City and on the Academy of American Poets website.
 

WRITE A POEM

Try your hand at writing a landay, a couplet form in Afghani poetry with nine syllables in the first line and 13 syllables in the second, usually about grief, love, separation, war or motherland. Elisa Griswold recently introduced the landay, which is often sung and often anonymous and ranges in mood from racy to sarcastic to serious.

 
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Comments
Chantelle Brady
What is Love?

I’m so tired of searching for love.

I feel the need to find someone to hold me tightly.

I want someone to kiss and to love.

Someone to hold me around my waist comfortably.

Like the care I take for my kitty,

Sweeter than the kisses I give her before I leave.

Comfort, Kindness, and Companionship,

And a love for joyous cats are what I want in men.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Absence from your soul mate can make the heart grow fonder?

I find that absence stings like a bee.

It sits on your chest like an elephant and wanders.

It yearns for something more than just sex

because sex is just an enactment of your true love.

I yearn for love so badly it hurts

causing depression, tiredness, loneliness, and sleep.

My heart cries out to my true soul mate,

“I don’t want to be alone anymore!” it yells out.

Until then I settle with Suzy;

My loving, energetic, joyous cat who loves me.
4/6/2017 8:53:05 AM

Heather Ann Schmidt
Hamtramck (landay)
Calls to prayer sing in my ears. I walk
Through the archway and garden and your ghost and I talk.
4/4/2017 7:29:46 AM

Rachel
Apart
The clock reads three thirty-four A M
I stretch my arm and press my hand against the cold sheet
4/3/2017 10:16:11 PM

Penny Knight
My tears flow for all those suffering
from the impact of the destruction wrought by Nature.
4/3/2017 3:36:00 PM

sal
i
do not grieve for me when i am gone.
i lived life well, i 'm at peace, i'm ready to move on
ii
do not pine for me when i am gone.
i loved you well, with passion; i want you to move on.
iii
do not look for me when i am gone.
i will be there in the quiet and the world moves on.
4/3/2017 2:33:36 PM

Debbie
She pauses and looks out a window.

Wild dreams flood her, she gasps, roused by her daughters touch.
4/3/2017 11:02:05 AM

tom
death placed a black hood over my face,
I choose to let it smother me a while longer
4/3/2017 5:33:32 AM

Kim Toreky
My heart misses the warmth of your touch.
As we lay sleeping spooned in a world of our own.
4/2/2017 8:53:48 PM

Kim Toreky
Subscribe
4/2/2017 8:40:31 PM

Beverly
Alaziah, do not be afraid.
Angels from Heaven will keep you while you sleep tonight.
4/2/2017 7:12:57 PM

Ryan
Don't give up, don't you ever give up.
Conquer failure by being the best you can be
4/2/2017 6:52:32 PM

Hannah
Love, stay still; don't wander aimlessly.
Go to sleep knowing there are stars of hope in the sky.
4/2/2017 5:33:49 PM

Lhb
We are each meant to take our run at life.
Your choice to spread love or hate determines your journey.
4/2/2017 12:20:59 PM

Tovli
Read all the poems...fantastic...every one! Happy Poetry Month.
4/2/2017 8:06:05 AM

Tovli
Moldova—the day before we left

Belonging isn’t your voice searching…
…choices when the light shifts. We’ve planted already.
Seeds have fallen. Twice now. You’re waiting?
News story: The sun is a bomb. Our sky? Someone’s war.
Reporters wrote: You smile like farmers.
They kissed us. They stole a few seeds. Then, our children died.

© 2007 Tovli
4/2/2017 8:04:11 AM

Judy Bateman
Love the poem.
4/1/2017 11:49:21 PM

N. K. Hasen
Distant land ravaged and torn apart
Trampled under dirty feet she was stabbed in the heart
4/1/2017 10:29:34 PM

Char Schmotzer
A tube pushes oxygen in/out

Soon to end a life wasted by greed missing our love
4/1/2017 8:57:10 PM

Char Schmotzer
A tube pushes oxygen in/out

Soon to end a life wasted by greed
4/1/2017 8:54:37 PM

Char Schmotzer
joined last year I thought
4/1/2017 8:51:49 PM

Melissa
That was my heart that you stole at night.

Seams ripped open and bleeding ink on the journal page.
4/1/2017 6:31:17 PM

Louise
My heart is waiting to sing out,
the love I've stored up for you which is hanging on a cloud.
4/1/2017 6:10:00 PM

Robin
His voice is light on the phone, but there's
Fear behind heavy curtains, my son caged for one year.
4/1/2017 5:42:52 PM

Margaret Borrelli
She can’t hear the words at the table
but she smiles at the syntax of family gathered
4/1/2017 5:32:30 PM

Alayne
When that, which at its core, is none less than
a precious state of pure joy becomes one's sad burden.
4/1/2017 4:51:33 PM

Mlou
I still have Joe, despite the disease,
but I guard my time closely, the dementia thief looms.
4/1/2017 3:49:06 PM

DMisz
The theif doesn't come when we are waiting,
but when we are out living, laughing, leaning, loving.
4/1/2017 2:43:54 PM

Susan Rebecca Teller
Ah, to be 30 years younger.
4/1/2017 2:02:37 PM

Elois McElrath penn
Quiet time now a luxury
No other time to give my memories thier just due
4/1/2017 1:00:47 PM

Philosofishal
You tried your tongue at soused debate,
Only to be stung by sober fists of bone-deep hate.
4/1/2017 12:51:33 PM

Cara Armstrong
I let every nothing distract me,
leftover childhood survival skills that let us flee

pain that pushed up sleeping windows, doors,
so we could watch the birds fly in, let them pick us clean.

She mouthed miracles on the front porch,
Skipped every third syllable launched from bloodied knees.

Count the sheep as they jump off the cliff.
Look at dust. Boys are sticks and girls are stones. Watch them fly.
4/1/2017 11:59:37 AM

Laurie
Thank you, Ali. What a rich start to 30 days of poetry.
4/1/2017 10:07:06 AM

Jeanne Sapir
Candace, your comment can be a poem!
4/1/2017 9:51:32 AM

Candace
Enjoyed this, Ah yes. Girlfriends & I recently had a discussion on how we folded towels, each portraying our way to be the best.
Don't tell...after 50 years of manic towel folding I changed my way to Diane's.!
4/1/2017 9:48:49 AM

Cyn
Gorgeous....
4/1/2017 9:14:17 AM

John Stickney
Love this poem...folded towels like they had someplace special to be...wow.
4/1/2017 9:09:15 AM

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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.