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Author: Chris Abani
Rating: 9/10
Last Read: February 2015

Quick Summary: Collected book of poems by one of my favorite poets - Chris Abani.  

Check out his two TED talks and fall in love with him.

My Highlights

A man once asked me in the street: Do you own your own bones?

The safety of doorways is an illusion. They lead nowhere. This is why we build houses.

Sometimes we find treasure. Sometimes something fills the mind, something at which we pause, stopped. The way a photograph cannot remember the living.

The more we promise to never leave our lovers, the faster the horizon arrives.

After six months in a hole in the ground, the prison is not the building, or the bars, or the beatings, or the denials, or the lies, or the forgetting, or the negotiating — It is the small door in your mind closing.

For fear of being loved we will kill the world

I drink tea in the shade and believe in poetry. --p. 60

If Zeno’s paradox reveals anything it is not that space and time can be divided into infinity infinitely, but simply this: That we can only approximate the object of our desire. That we are always on a train traveling to happiness. But what we do reach are coffee, biscotti, and Bob on the iPod.

It is easy to forget the decadence of glass. How some of us find it only in fragments. The glass between us and the world is often the measure of our wealth. Looking out at the world through it colors the hunger beyond.

This is a callout to Jack Gilbert's "Forgotten Dialect of the Heart":

Words mean only what you want them to.
You say sunshine and you mean hope.
You say food and you mean refuge.
You say sand and you mean play.
You say stone and you mean, I will never forget.
But you do, but you do and thank God, thank God.
--pp. 79-80

Your name is a hunger on my tongue.
Your eyes are the light that shelters me.
Your beauty makes me beautiful.
--p. 72

When we say love we mean, I want.
When we say sorry we mean, forgive me.
--p. 54

Ritual is the only language we truly believe in:
tea steaming a glass mug on a table,
smoke from a cigarette filling the room with blue,
the way the sun falls across our face as we sleep.
These are our things, we say.

--p. 46



47 Ronin

47 Ronin