Three Poems by Joyce E. Young

Why this Dancing?
 
                             After Tracy K. Smith
 Do your feet do anything other than walk?
 Do you paint your toes red to keep them happy?
 Do you know what a drum can do?
 Does a 6/8 rhythm lead your hips to sway?
 Does clave make your heels bounce?
 What taps on your heart?
 Have you ever been carried by a melody?
 Do you know the meaning of joy?Turns
 
 It’s bedeviling, how
 an image turns into an onion.

 The onion slides into the Bay
 The Bay into the Golden Gate.

 The Gate into a searchlight
 Shining from “the Rock,”

 Not Duane, but Alcatraz
 Turns into a barge,

 That floats beside the 
 partially dismantled bridge,

 Which becomes salt water,
 being paddled 

 to the rhythm of 
 crickets singing Harbingers

 These survivors aren’t interested
 In what we think of them.

 Screaming from the highest branches,
 Black feathers glinting in afternoon light,

 Instigating standoffs with squirrels in
 parking lots for peanut trophies.

 Perching on rooftops, telephone poles
 Announcing their presence loudly.

 “We know, we know”
 “What you don’t, you don’t”

 “We know, we know”
 “What you don’t, you don’t”

 We see screeching nuisances
 reminding us we’re squatters.

 We cover our ears,
 Wonder when they'll leave.

 “We’re warning you, be still,
 Slow down.”

 “We’re warning you, be still,
 Slow down.”

 We look for maps of places
 We can’t return to

 “No time to not listen,
 No time to ignore.”

 “No time to not listen,
 No time to ignore.”

 We say, “there is not enough”
 Black wings sing:
 “Be still.”
w

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