Grace Cavalieri

Working for the Government

Because he couldn’t remember every word
His students said, he had to be put away with
Patches of hot on his cheeks, well as for me
I’d rather be singing with a group. Probably
Because I was a deaf mute in my last life
And that is why everything I think now
Pops right out of my mouth and why
I am always anxious to write
Even pulling
Tampax out of my purse at important meetings
Thinking I’ve got a pen, but as for going
Crazy? Well I’d rather be thin. Don’t get me
Wrong, I love the past as much as anybody,
……………………………….for your sake
Like my mind, well would you,
Asking the trees to come inside
Playing lyrics to the song over and over
Hoping someone will get the message
I had to save myself
And I do not say now what I said before
I wanted to feel something for you but
……………………………….responsibility
Although right at this moment even as I speak
I wish we were in Panama
Hollering for our food to be served up
And that we could begin again
This time with music
I’ve never been ashamed of anything I’ve done
To anyone except myself and now I am
Without need of strangers and by this
I am telling you who I am
I’ve known each of you my whole life and
Yet everytime we meet the gate is
Opening a different way
But when I figure it out
We pass through, we all pass through.
I admit it, it is beautiful and true—
But pain?
I’m not built for it
……………………………….Anyway Friends
Don’t drink tea that is bitter
And if someone denies everything you stand for
Give him a gun that will never go off. Put
An American flag on the back of your car and
Tell them about me, that I was no easy lady
More like an old dog, chasing a bird in a
Moment of sun who leaves now for good saying
Isn’t it a beautiful Autumn.
If these are my tears, I can do what I want
……………………………….with them.

Grace Cavalieri's newest publication is Other Voices, Other Lives (Alan Squire Publishers, 2017), a compendium of poems, plays and interviews. She has nineteen books and chapbooks of poetry in print, and has had 26 plays produced on American stages. She founded and still produces "The Poet and the Poem," a series for public radio celebrating 40 years on-air, now from the Library of Congress. She is the poetry columnist for The Washington Independent Review of Books. She received the 2013 George Garrett Award from The Associate Writing Programs. To read more by this author: Grace Cavalieri: Winter 2001; Introduction to "The Bunny and the Crocodile" Issue: Spring 2004; Grace Cavalieri on Roland Flint: Memorial Issue; Grace Cavalieri: Whitman Issue; Grace Cavalieri: Wartime Issue; Grace Cavalieri: Evolving City Issue; Grace Cavalieri: Split This Rock Issue; Grace Cavalieri on Ann Darr: Forebears Issue; Grace Cavalieri on "The Poet & The Poem": Literary Organizations Issue.