SPLIT THIS ROCK: Poems of Provocation & Witness

Naomi Ayala



This is a poem for all the poets
who left their pens weeping
so that others could write.

A poem for the bad poets
and the good poets –
for poets in waiting,
ghost poets,
their aching throats,
labored eyes,
the inspiritries
buried in their bodies

in lovemaking now,
in dreams
where words dance
and become fish.

This is a kiss-poem
for the impermeable poets
in the come and go
of bureaucracies –

the administrators,
of the series, march,
panel, roundtable,
school and prison visits.

A poem for the alchemists
of low budgets,
minor prizes,
small fellowships
and quiet retreats –
a table, a chair
and a view.

I send you
river voices,
the hours I slept well,
the good places,
my few perfect endings.

I pass on
the eucharist.

This morning
where nothing works
and I complain,
I send you good rains,
the dum-dadada
of my hands working.



Naomi Ayala is the author of This Side of Early (Curbstone Press, 2008) and Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone Press, 1997). Her third collection of poems is forthcoming from Bilingual Review Press in 2009. Naomi’s poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Gargoyle, Saheb Ghalam Daily (Afghanistan), and MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism. She works as an education consultant, translator, and teacher.


Published in Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 2008.

Read more by this author:
Naomi Ayala
Ayala's Tribute to Paul Lawrence Dunbar: The Memorial Issue
Naomi Ayala's Intro to Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring 2005)
Naomi Ayala: DC Places Issue
Naomi Ayala: Tenth Anniversary Issue