Florence Anthony was a National Book Award winning American poet and educator who legally changed her name to Ai Ogawa. She won the National Book Award for Poetry for Vice.
Ai, who has described herself as Japanese, Choctaw-Chickasaw, Black, Irish, Southern Cheyenne, and Comanche, was born in Albany, Texas in 1947, and she grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Raised also in Las Vegas and San Francisco, she majored in Japanese at the University of Arizona and immersed herself in Buddhism.
She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and various universities; she has also been a frequent reader-performer of her ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Ai Ogawa Poems
We smile at each other and I lean back against the wicker couch. How does it feel to be dead? I say. You touch my knees with your blue fingers.
"Sit in my hand." I'm ten. I can't see him, but I hear him breathing
Riot Act, April 29, 1992
I'm going out and get something. I don't know what. I don't care. Whatever's out there, I'm going to get it.
Dear Saint Patrick, this is Peggy, Or maybe it's Pegeen to you, Well, I'm really Stella Mae. Peggy's my nickname
PASSAGE for Allen Ginsberg
Sunflowers beside the railroad tracks, sunflowers giving back the beauty God gave you to one lonely traveler who spies you from a train window
Nothing But Color -new-
I didn't write Etsuko, I sliced her open. She was carmine inside
Cuba, 1962 -new-
When the rooster jumps up on the windowsill and spreads his red-gold wings, I wake, thinking it is the sun
The Kid -new-
My sister rubs the doll's face in mud, then climbs through the truck window. She ignores me as I walk around it,
I scissor the stem of the red carnation and set it in a bowl of water. It floats the way your head would,
Passing Through -new-
"Earth is the birth of the blues," sang Yellow Bertha, as she chopped cotton beside Mama Rose. It was as hot as any other summer day,
Overhead, the match burns out, but the chunk of ice in the back seat keeps melting from imagined heat,
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
We smile at each other
and I lean back against the wicker couch.
How does it feel to be dead? I say.
You touch my knees with your blue fingers.
And when you open your mouth,
a ball of yellow light falls to the floor
and burns a hole through it.
Don't tell me, I say. I don't want to hear.
Did you ever, you start,
wear a certain kind of dress
and just by accident,
so inconsequential you barely notice it,
your fingers graze that dress
and you hear the sound of a knife cutting paper,
you see it too
and you realize how that image
is simply the ...