Grace Cavalieri is the founder/producer of Public Radio’s “The Poet and the Poem” now from the Library of Congress. She celebrates 40 years on-air and is a CPB silver medalist. She co-founded Pacifica’s newest station, WPFW-FM, in 1977. Then was Asst. Director of Children’s Programming for PBS; and after, headed Children’s Programming for NEH. In 2015 Grace received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Independent Review of Books, where she’s monthly columnist and poetry reviewer. She holds the Association Writing Program’s “George Garrett Award” for Service to Literature. She’s twice the recipient of the Allen Ginsberg Award and, holds the Bordighera Poetry Prize, a Paterson Poetry Award, The Columbia Award, and “The National Commission on Working Women.” A recent poetry book Water on the Sun, is on the Pen American Center's "Best Books" list. Her latest play is “Calico and Lennie” (Theater for the New City, NYC, 2017.) Her latest book is With (2016, Somondoco Press) about her recent loss, husband (former Naval Aviator) Metal Sculptor, Kenneth Flynn. They have four children, four grandchildren and one great grandchild. Casa Menendez Press has published five Cavalieri poetry books.
Photograph by Joanna Tillman
Green Means Go
“Even the angry will love again, the moment anger stops…” Rumi
All lights are green today, past the water, the school children, the autumn trees,
everywhere a lesson in happiness, except for my father again. This time
he is looking good for his age in a Palm Beach suit, now dating a young beautiful lawyer,
but she yells at me over the phone and I, unrestrained, start yelling back.
He tells me later not to worry, she left him for a younger man, am I happy now?
Would I rather that he be alone? I feel like a plant. I go still as sleep.
He, on the other hand, is squirming with details, each one making me feel worse than the first.
Even the rejected feels love for the rejecter, so much does love want to live,
so much does love want to love. I hug him in my dream. We’re making progress,
I think, this relationship of ours, so long after his death, is moving along.
And the blessing which is raining down as I drive by this new dream, is how much
grief is meant to give us hope. That’s why it’s here. What else could it possibly be for?
TIDE FLOW EBB
I was afraid you’d dash off like a hero and not look back
you’d die with the sinew of something left unsaid
I was afraid I’d cry at Jiffy Lube
I was afraid of your empty shirts hanging from the spine of their hangers
Or that I’d move the quiver of truth the way I wanted
I was afraid of losing my balance, a broken sparrow at the stairs
I saw the edge of your shadow from the corner of my eye
I was afraid of the space after “What else do I have to do, but be with you?”
I was afraid I’d forget how you looked
I was afraid of the first car crash, broken tools, my first flat tire
I was afraid to see you put into your final cement home
Now, I’m not afraid of anything.
Walking the ledge of mountains
to West Virginia through ditch and tunnel to
There you can pick me up by car but
the ocean is now reaching my feet,
making me thread more carefully
the crumbling cliff. The basic
route is north but I’ve been going
south to find you and now I have
to turn around and start again
hour after hour winding though
the willows of loss. At this stage in our
lives, the great teachers tell us, if we
walk long enough we will be found but
so many mountains ahead, cork after cork
bobbing against the sky. You call me
on the phone and the gun of death
cuts our connection and you cannot hear
where to reach me.
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