Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dawning Poem - Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009

6:57 a.m.

there are some mornings, in the course of human life,
when the body will not sleep. will no longer lie prone.
as if by invisible fishing line, i too have been pulled from rest.
when my body knows, it is time, why do you lie there,
there is a new day to be dawned, a new day to be alive,
a new day to get started the work of a new day.

today is such a day.

my body has stirred, perhaps from the bark of a yard dog,
perhaps from the sound of cars moving in unison.
just like everyday, those sounds have sounded in my midst.
but today, my body yearns for a beacon, a bugle call,
to remind me that this is a day to not linger with sleep.

i have had such mornings before.

when i was in nepal, high up in the mountains of Himalaya,
my body would be roused by 5am, my mind briskly churning
with anticipation for the views i could see as soon as
the morning sun would deign to start warming, start shining.
to be in bed was impossible, as my spirit rushed ahead of me,
pulling on clothes, lighting a morning candle,
drawing open the curtains, peeling open a fresh day.

so, too, when i was trapped in my own bedroom closet last year.
at the first sign of dawn, the possibility of renewed light
through the opening beneath the door that miserably confined me,
this light had surely been worth waiting for, but in due time,
the waiting is over. the light starts beaming through,
the body surges with energy, and reserves of ambition you never
thought you could have now push you to get up,
wipe the sleep from your eyes, and get to work chiseling,
get back with increased fervor to the work of carving
one's way out of darkness.

i am excited. heart beating fast, i am thrilled.
it is 7:01 a.m.

and i am not a morning person.

though i am a quick-thinking, hard-working woman,
i have a penchant for deep-sleeping well past sunrise.

but here, in my 4th decade, i am awake
like the most exhuberant child:

hours before the holiday parade,
the first one awake on christmas day,
blinking in bed on birthday morning, wondering
whether the cake will be chocolate or not,
the first day of school with the smell of my new shoes
and freshly sharpened #2 pencils ready for use.

it is dark yet in this room, i could lay back down,
it is not too late to get some more sleep,
i could sneak in a cat nap and be up again later.
i could shut down this awakened state,
and resume dormancy in bed.

but it is now 7:05, and there are people on a lawn,
the hugest green belt in d.c. they have been there for hours,
standing and singing. i think i can hear their song.
their heartbeats have wakened me, and my own pulse is
now racing in unison with theirs.

as well, there are whispers of greeting in family hallways,
footsteps to the the kitchen, as households pull them selves
together for not just an ordinary day.
somehow, the coffee is perkier, more aromatic,
almost jumping out of the pot into our cups,
and we will drink of the morning like we haven't
in so many many a year.

a baby is being born.
a birthday is to be celebrated.
a party is happening soon.
friends just called from the airport.
grandmas coming for the weekend.
you're starting a new job.
today you close on the house.
your son is coming back from iraq.
you fly out in an hour to pick up your adopted daughter.

this is the day that
the hisbiscus blooms,
new software gets released,
a desired email arrives from your lover,
you will be handed a diploma,
you are honored with a medal of service,
you are toasted at a banquet

it is all happening at once,
the anticipation and the rush
towards that sunlight of the day,

and you are there with it, basking in its brilliance,
dispelling all shadows and feeling the promise
and beauty of today.

sleep is for the weary, and weariness is in that bed
and not your body. you feel like jumping on your bike
and breathing in a fresh air, you want to grab the chalk
and draw a huge 'good morning' in the middle of the road
or string balloons from your tree to your neighbor's tree
across the street, you want to wear something special
or you want to hold up a sign--standing in the median
of a busy boulevard--that says something bold,
or grab pots and pans and bang them in a parade or
ask the funny man down the street to please play his bugle
or invite all the children to join you for ice cream,
or sing a loud song and share the words with your friends
or honk your car horn like you're leaving a wedding,
or running running fast
like there's someone waiting with their arms to receive you--
or releasing hundreds of doves in a peace ceremony.

that is our work for this day.
get up and join the others.
feel your excitement, enjoy the surge.
hold hands with everybody, even if just in your mind,
and smile a radiant smile that adds to the light.

we have our hearts on the same page, so let's begin
to cajole a fresh change.
we will work together, alongside like family.

i cannot wait to join you and that is why, dear people,
i am now fully awake.

by Tammy Melody Gomez


NAME: Maggie said...

So beautiful, Tammy. Warmed my soul.

Tammy Gomez said...

nice of you to read this. feel free to share w/ others. let 'em know that i wrote it, though, por favor.