by Bruce Lader


I yearn to hold a strand of light,
and a grave yawns like a hippo.

to sniff a flower,
I grow rigid as concrete.

I want to dream,
instead see only
the wrinkled flesh of my lust.

I go to honor the ones I love,
and mud fouls my hands.

Tears of sorrow overflow,
when I begin to laugh.

I stretch every ligament of wisdom toward
a branch of knowledge,

unwind every convoluted journey
of weathered understanding
in the orbits of my ganglia

to grasp an idea of life—
and a blade of grass cuts me.

The final trace of hope vanishes,
and out springs a presence
taunting . . . Let’s boogie!

brucelader's picture

Bruce Lader is the former director of Bridges Tutoring, an organization educating multicultural students. Currently he brings writers' groups together in the Raleigh area, gives readings in the NC Triad and appears widely on YouTube, local TV, radio, podcasts and international magazine sites. Poetry Foundation, Poets & Writers, New York Quarterly, and many other literary resources archive his work. Lader’s poetry is characterized by a humanistic world vision, psychological insight, ironic humor, and speculative imagination. His themes are the need for freedom, love, and social justice. Describing Landscapes of Longing, Kathryn Stripling Byer commented: “…a powerful, unsparing, and yet tender book about the realities of self and culture that have assailed us since the beginning of human time.” Kelly Cherry wrote of Fugitive Hope: ... " [the book] deepens, broadens, and sweetens, as a pastoral symphony might…. an astonishing journey, beautiful and hopeful.” Discovering Mortality was a finalist for the 2006 Brockman-Campbell Book Award. In addition to winning the 2010 Left Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition, he has received a writer’s residency from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and numerous honoraria.

Last updated September 16, 2011