• Poems by Jane Likha Yatco


    An ‘Exceptionalist’ Undoer of Knots

    “Our Lady, Undoer of Knots in hearts, in minds, Mother of the King of Peace, pray for us. Make us STRONG.”—Sylvia L. Mayuga (a.k.a. Sylvia Morningstar)

    “I feel sorry for Rudy that he can’t love this country the way it is. I love America even with assholes like him living in it. In fact, I’m immensely proud of our assholes; I think America has the best assholes in the world. I defy the Belgians or the Japanese to produce something like a Donald Trump. If that makes me an exceptionalist, I plead guilty.”
    —Matt Tabbi

    (For Nelly Miricioiu after last night’s homecoming recital)

    you made applause your audience’s choice
    as you sang verse after verse
    of verses with music
    to tenderize
    the syllables

    how can we NOT feel like applauding,
    we who have been starved of reasons
    to be put our hands together, to be happy
    about anything in a country
    half going to the attack dogs
    of war and greed?

    last night you strengthened me
    you made us all strong
    you undid, flattened
    and smoothened
    the knots
    of tension
    of grief
    over the madness
    of traffic, of national
    and personal debts,
    of dissent between brothers

    what did i hear,
    what did the rest of us hear
    our ears earlier primed
    to hear a human voice
    but instead heard
    the flutter of butterfly wings
    rosebuds persuaded to
    open in the light of dawn
    windows stained
    by a rainfall of tears

    you are home now,
    oh lady
    of the notes
    and lyrics
    that the Master’s
    hand wrote
    let our land love you
    back the way a lover
    kisses an envelope
    sealed with passion
    before sending it off
    to cross miles
    to reach the Beloved

    Quiet, Ordinary

    “Happiness is in the quiet, ordinary things. A table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. And the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent.”
    —Virginia Woolf

    (For Joseph)

    did you receive my message
    about incorporating ourselves
    into Making Dreams Happen,

    you haven’t replied,
    but i understand
    i know how there are
    children at home
    and in the recital hall
    to attend to
    honoraria, rentals,
    credit card bills to be

    how aware i am
    about these straitened
    –ha! straight-jacketed–
    conditions under which
    schemers lovers dreamers
    the truest artistes

    reason, restraint,
    a full measure of
    self-control must
    prevail before
    even implanting
    a dream of roses
    and music in our
    heads again,
    before elusive
    sleep finally shushes

    what calms you and i
    are the most ordinary
    things–pen newly
    dipped in a fount
    of indigo ink,
    lavender cream
    rubbed onto veined
    and wearied hands,
    a locket too quiet,
    too shy
    to remind you
    that a melody has


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