Mentors Poetry

Angels of Earth (2022)

Angels of earth and agate, silver splinters

Battling death, gliding and swooping, skimming the seas when

Chinese warriors Jiu Jin and Ding Ling, their wings, their wings

Dive and wash, dine with Owen Dodson and Tillie Olsen, American,

Effervescence of words dotting breastplates, dotting their bodies in

Finery of hungry ghosts of concubines and blacksmiths who

Galvanize streams and rivers, haw flakes red and glistening

In their mouths, teeth for

Justice against random, against planned

Killings of children, women and men,

Lovers and enemies

Moving horsehair and boar brushes, pens, ink, twigs, fingertips

Over plains and mountains with Audre Lorde and Mahmoud Darwish,

Pueblos and zocalos, hamlets and forests, groves of olive trees

Questions and answers, solutions for migrations of

Radical change, what say the dead Yannis Ritsos, Kim Chi Ha never

Surrendering, Nawal El Saadawi and Pat Parker and Karen Brodine

Together and apart, atoms and multiverse, fireworks

Underwater dragons, pterodactyls, our human realm. What say the

Vindicated, the erased, the silenced champions, buskers, cartographers

When Margaret Walker wrote Jubilee, when Gloria Anzaldua, Al Robles

Xylophoned language and deed, when Clara Fraser met Marx, Akhmatova

Yes to angels, when Siu Sin Far, Bulosan, Baldwin, Okada, Yamamoto awaken

Zzz, zzz and sing.

Nellie Wong

November 11, 2022

© 2022 Nellie Wong 

(Read at the PEN Oakland Awards when I received The Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award 2022, December 3, 2022)

The PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Awards, named for the late poet and Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community.