4/30 Poems in November: No

Full sentence.
Full stop.
The beginning.
The middle.
The end.
I don’t like that.
I don’t want to.
It doesn’t feel good.
I’m not ready.
I don’t know why.
Why doesn’t matter.
No and no.
Not polite.
Not nice.
Not smiling.
Not sweet.
Short for “number.”
I’m gonna be your number 1.
I’m gonna be my own best friend.
I need something.
But not this.
NO. I’m not sorry.
NO. You don’t own me.
NO. I don’t owe you.
Nearly killed me.
No. Saved me.
No. Scared me.
No. Cost me.
No. Delivered me.
No. Will not be televised.
No walks.
No votes.
No perches and watches.
No always knows.
No is generous
when it’s true.
No way no how.
No go.
No nonsense.
Nor’easter. No shit.
No way past but through.
Nobody got time for that.
No. A mural.
A syllable.
A circle.
Self-contained. Complete.



30 Poems in November! is a literary fundraiser for Center for New Americans. Center for New Americans welcomes and serves immigrants in Western Massachusetts with free English classes and a range of support services. For more information, please visit cnam.org This year, we aim to raise $30,000. Writers do their part by writing one poem each day in November. Friends and family do their part by donating to support this effort. Powerful new poems and financial contributions translate to community support for immigrants.

Some of the most meaningful work I’ve ever done was in my early 20s at the Riverside Church in NYC, leading English-language conversations with new Americans from countries all over the world. It was then that I was privileged to witness the courage, resilience, patience, and grit that immigrants and refugees must have in order to navigate life in a new language and culture.

Since poetry is one of the way I practice showing up in the world, for the month of November, I vow to write one poem a day as a small gesture of respect for and in solidarity with those who land in the Pioneer Valley as new Americans. Your donation will spur me on and, more importantly, support the newest members of our community.

Make your donation here

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