By K. Bhatt
What’s easier than the white noise.
Than the riverbed. Than the salt flat. Than the lake.
What’s easier than the dust sky. Than the dust life. Than the dust bowl
into which I pour
my cereal; than the whole dust tableset.
Is there god like a riverbed in this headache of a skyline?
Is there god like this city that doesn’t know my name?
god like a little boy, god like a lung. god like a boy who kisses other boys,
because let’s face it, if there’s a god, then god knows I’m not straight
So what’s easier than the white noise. Than the hornet’s nest.
Than this night terror, our American dream. All our holy things.
There’s a poem in this place,
is what I’ve chosen to believe.
Somewhat easier to be heard
over the construction work just across the street from here.
Over the school shooting just across the state from here.
And I ask myself so often —
to believe in god, to create one.
To recite a prayer, or to write one:
about god like a riverbed / god like a drought
god like the first grade, god like I still can’t capitalize your goddamn
name, god like / god like / godlike.
So what I tell myself is there’s a poem in this place,
doesn’t matter if I can’t feel it yet;
‘cause if there’s no hope then I’ll make some,
if there’s no god then I’ll write one;
there was never a messiah — I’m gonna be one.
And I’ll make it in this city
If I make it, if I live
If I can make myself believe that everything is holy,
if I can make myself believe that anything is holy,
because the conclusion that I’ve come to
is that god is a tiny insect
that lives in everybody, every body
in this hallowed, hollow earth.
I am haunted by my own divinity.
I was never meant to see an angel in its true form,
but I do. And I do every morning
when I brush my teeth in little white circles
and I pray to the porcelain sink —
when I pray to find a poem in this place.
Second Place: K. Bhatt
The Marin School