How Verse Can Unite Us All — 2 Poems to End Poetry Month

National Poetry Month Mila Cuda Get Lit

For National Poetry Month, three teens from Get Lit – Words Ignite will be guest editors of MariaShriver.com. They’ll be sharing some of their favorite poems and writing their own responses to each of them below. 

[Read more poems from this series]

 

Speech Therapy by Dean Young

The ugly duckling remained ugly
its whole life but found others
as ugly as itself, I guess that’s the message.
Smoke rises from the heads in the backyard.
Do you think if I hang around here long enough
someone will proffer a muffin,
one skulking shadow to another?
Soon, my shoes will be part of the populous dirt.
Have I learned all the wrong lessons,
the ones you shouldn’t know until
the last dew-clogged lawn is mowed
and the sun goes down on the ruined battlements?
Why was I given a toy train if not
to stage stupendous wrecks? Sure,
I can walk by the sea holding a hand
with as much melancholy as the next fellow,
substituting the cries of slammed waves
for the droll adumbrations of distraught
skeletons, the day taking on the sheen
of a stone removed from the mouth
and skipped between the breakers jubilant and sunk.

 

[107 Years of Words and Wisdom: The Poetry of Peggy Freydberg]

 

Response: Treading Water by Mila Cuda

A blue and weary body,

only a handful of thoughts away.

It is a dangerous power to be able to think myself sad at any time of day.

I can turn into a water park,

no lifeguards, or shallow ends.

My tears treating my eyelashes like waterslides.

I can feel them having too much fun.

Tell me I look good wearing nothing but hypocrisy and silk.

I will swoon for the first soul who can look me in the ugly and say “me too.”

Maybe I’ve been so busy daydreaming of diving boards,

I have forgotten to fall for myself.

Ironic for a girl who plummets daily,

into pillows and poems painted empty.

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essay]

About the Author

author image

Mila Cuda is poet, activist, and photographer from Los Angeles, California. She is a member of Poets4Progress, winners of the 2015 Get Lit Classic Slam. She also competed National Book Festival’s Poetry Slam at the Library of Congress, where she took second place! Mila is one half of the folk duo Treat Yoself, Honeybear, alongside fellow poet and musician Caitlyn Bove, and she is a current Get Lit Player.

Read more from Mila Cuda

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