Sunday, May 17, 2009


This week’s prompt was tolerance. This is a topic that I have spent a lifetime pondering but have never expressed in the form of a poem.
Thank you, Gina for this very thought provoking opportunity.

Living Close

living close
as we do
my neighbor coughs
and it wakes me
at 7 PM
Thomas tap dances
on my head
I practice
with the twins
Learn to make
talk to fingers
caked in our hair

Why is it the
quarrel is between
sister and sister
thorn and rose
others we must learn to hate?


Amias said...

I enjoyed them both, and could see their contents with clear vision .. thank you.

I can see now, how endurance is mated with tolerance ... to endure something is to tolerate it. The line then is drawn between what one will endure, because there are something I will not tolerate ...

well your poems are very thought provoking.

anthonynorth said...

The first one raises an important issue. One day we may work it out.

SandyCarlson said...

Living close requires a lot of tolerance. Living close but being different can be very challenging. People aren't always kind. They tend to emphasize difference rather than similarity.

kitehorse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam said...

I started exploring the different definitions of tolerance today also. I particularly love the first poem-- so much closeness and tolerance is a very necessary ingredient.

Jim said...

Hi Gabrielle. Our butter brand is 'Land of Lakes.' I can't tolerate butter anymore.
It's been quite a while since I lived in an apartment but yes, it takes quite a bit of getting used to (learning to tolerate) those others who live so close by.
Unless their gossip is juicy.

Tammie Lee said...

So nice to meet you through your wonderful way with words:

talk to fingers

sister and sister
thorn and rose

and so many more.

Jeeves said...

Like the first one.

Quiet Paths said...

These are both very insightful on a global and on a very personal level. Great job.

Tumblewords: said...

Ah, yes. Why do we seek differences rather than sameness-es? These are well written - and clearly wise.

the walking man said...

It is easier and better to quarrel with the known than the neighbor where one must always remember the etiquette of argument.

I want tamales.

Greyscale Territory said...

I find it hard to separate the poem into two entities! For me, it is just a slight shift of perspective, appreciating the fine threads weaving endurance and tolerance into one multi-shaped entity! Great write!

gautami tripathy said...

The whys never get answered..

OSI: fingers dance merrily in air

Beth P. said...

Hi Gabrielle-
I didn't think they were 2!

It seems that North Americans have unusual 'space' needs...for whicht the rest of the world don't have the cramped space for us is normal or even spacious for others--

Love the thought of masa in your hair!

Patti said...

"others we must learn to hate?"...learn is the operative word here. It would be so wonderful to not to learn this at all... and just exist together and "be". Very nice poem~

gabrielle said...

After some reflection, I removed the second poem. I think Close Living makes a more salient statement on its own.

In Close Living, I wanted to paint a picture of acceptance and raise the question of intolerance. In the instance of close living with strangers, the outcome is fluid and graceful. So then why are the deepest and most caustic divisions between those who are closest by blood, culture or vicissitude?

the dilemma:
the thorn and the rose
cultures so intertwined
as to be
some said
Hitler had
Jewish ancestry,
in modern times
Pakastanis and Indians
keep the fires of
Kashmir burning

tenuous stanza in response:
you notice
the tiny hairs
on your chin
take your own blood
and splatter it on
the closest target.
the one who
will bear it.

An inability to accept ourselves as we are, flawed, imperfect?

Thank you all for your insightful comments. I so enjoyed reading your poems and learned to such from them.

Maggie said...

Sometimes...some of us can be more tolerant to strangers than we are to loved ones.

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