May 15, 2014
Wind Force 7: White foam streaks off breakers.
Whole trees moving, resistance felt walking against wind.
Between imagination & truth memory grew fingers
in my mother’s womb as she wrote
her final college paper: The Ripples
of Surrender — Japanese Literature After World War II.
Every cup of tea became ceremony.
Mother-writer thinking over horizons
of psyche took sides with a people
her father was sent to kill.
She shared their death-resistance
against the conquest of American men.
Her first child was birthed under threat of the knife.
Asian Studies called from high bookshelves
over games of war & backyard adventure.
Tall enough to reach I found Bushido & mountains
of recluse poems
scratched on trees & temple walls.
Strange prophesy — water-bound son,
reading haiku off the coast of Pakistan
standing watch so his ship doesn’t drag anchor
or loosen the grip of deterrence. I am the gray warship
between their children & the winded sea.
I am insignificant.
I am writing to apologize.
Peter Vanderberg served in the US Navy from 1999 – 2003 and received a MFA from Queens College, CUNY. His work has appeared in CURA, Ozone Park, Newtown Literaryand in collaboration with his brother James’ paintings in their book, Weather-Eye. He teaches at St. John’s Preparatory and Hofstra University.
What motivates him to create?
“I write poems to figure things out. Whether it be a moment from my past, a natural phenomenon or a passage from scripture, writing helps me to find a personal truth. At the least, writing helps me to think and live more deeply.”