National Poetry Month: Sammy Younan

This is from my book Red Letter Nights.  I’m not posting this to say I’m on the same level as everyone else I posted this month. Rather the take away is that poetry is for everybody…go, write, create, sing…whatever form you want, whatever topic you want. This isn’t school, you don’t have to get an A or worry about an F. Take the words and mold them, mangle them…they belong to you. Sing and speak loudly as only your voice allows.

As you can tell this is about Michael Jordan. Every year when the playoffs come around…I miss that guy so so much.

Michael Jordan: Flight 23

Michael Jordan: Flight 23

Flight 23: Wingspan
by Sammy Younan

To slice air
tongue out
sailing like a superhero without a cape
past earthbound flash-frozen defenders
was a pitch—not just a dastardly challenge
to gravity for all the times it kept you down:
Everything in this world conspires to keep you down
We—I—must rise
in my bones rattles an undying fire to map the atmopshere,
to make the stars my acquaintances
leap as you did—do
high into an untamed fierce imagination.
The sweet unbuckling of rationality
as you defy the senses,
my mind struggling to comprehend
as in the air you are forward
focused, locked on the prize
inspired—yours is a legacy of inspiration:
the valuable sum of small things adding up,
tiny decisions power over free will—
and as you bring the ball down
as effortless as clouds release rain (but no less complex)
my passions are stirred—I cannot
will not
accept the ordinary.
Courage is knowing the odds—wisdom is defying them
snapping karma over my knee
I graciously reach out for grace:
Starting today…today is my starting line not my finish line,
not 0.1 second more will I accept
these systems of can’t and no and not for you
we’re sorry, try again, maybe another time, play again, better luck next time
rigorous shackles for petty slaves who should know better;
who should live better.
Yours is a legacy of freedom
of flight: of lungs who have sipped the breath of elevation.1
Vertical leaps into worlds we rarely have the courage to dream of
yet our hearts assure us they exist.
Such faith
living on the fly
take me with you
on your flights
I want to see
be heroic
forever flourishing under the shadow of your wingspan
yours is a eulogy of surrender in love.
Yet is the most powerful word in the English language.
Yet is the promise God advertises in every dream I have every night.
All I have to do is one simple thing:
Jump Man

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