~This poem previously appeared in Poet Lore (2004).
In Glue We Trust
I believe love is the glue that holds the world intact.
I believe in the temporary bond of Post-it notes,
the L-5 bus driver who took me out of the cold,
the wet, whose hands were God’s, delivering me
to the promised land, though I believe promises,
like lives, are bound to come undone.
I believe in Duco Cement. It smells blade sharp,
dries on your skin like it’s peeling down to
raw bone. I believe in the glue of your bones
against my own. I believe in the glue librarians use
to bind books, I believe in the invisible glue
that binds them to their work.
I believe in hot wax on hard copy, putting
the newspaper to bed, in a union shop, many hands
hauling to a common song. I believe in going home,
and coming back to work. I believe in the solder
and acetylene torch. I believe in the jazz of steel on brass,
in Ella and Louie delighting in a B-flat, be-bop scat.
I believe in the law of magnets: that opposites attract,
the alchemy of Muslim and Jew, thin and thick, of white
and black. I believe in clay slip used to cover cracks,
the broken leg that’s wrapped in a cast, the aloe vera balm
on burns, the salve of words, I believe my salvation
is buried in the cell tissue of my scars.
I believe that gentle hands can know the knife, the cut,
the sword. I believe in Kali and her necklace of skulls.
I believe there will always be wars. I believe we are born
with the knowledge of our death, that we make it up as we go,
flying on a dream and a curse, hanging by the blues,
swinging from a high note of grace.
I believe when my daughter was Rumplestiltzkening
inside me, we spun the finest gold on earth.
I believe I bring my spider’s silk with me
to bind me fast to this oh-oh, this no-you-don’t,
this Devil-May-Care-, this roll-of-the-dice,
this doo-wah, doo-wah, wind-blown world.
THE STORY ABOUT THE POEM
Long before National Public Radio ran its “This I Believe” series, Cornelius Eady brought in the poem “Creed” by Meg Kearney as a writing prompt for those of us studying with him in a master class at The Writer’s Center. This poem was inspired by Kearney’s poem, by Cornelius Eady, his poetry and force of character, by a dream I had about Rumplestiltzken, by my work with Alexandra Merrill who taught me how to amplify the dream, by my mother, Esther Ridpath Delaplaine, who played Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on the record player and always had Duco Cement in the house, and by the birth of my daughter, which feels, to this day, in the realm of the miraculous.
ABOUT JOANNE ROCKY DELAPLAINE
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine is a Maryland native. Her poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Cabin Fever: Poets at Joaquin Miller’s Cabin, 1984-2001, Beltway,(Anti-war and Walt Whitman issues) Innisfree Journal, WordWrights, Other Testaments, Volume 1, The Old Testament, on WPFW Radio Pacifica’s web site, Friend’s Journal, and elsewhere. She’s taught poetry workshops at the Second Annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat, Split This Rock, Labor Heritage Foundation’s Great Labor Arts Exchange, and a workshop combining poetry and Yoga called Expressing The Sacred.