Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How We Are Human by Luke Armstrong

Luke M. Armstrong has appeared on Poet Hound before on an interview: http://poethound.blogspot.com/search?q=armstrong

Now Mr. Armstrong is back with a heartfelt collection of poems about humanity in all its shapes, forms, phases, and tragedies in How We Are Human published by Create Space Independent Publishing Platform. The poems inside describe hungry children, pop culture, joyful celebrations, philosophical questions, death and more. If you have read his first collection, iPoems for the Dolphins to click Home About, you will enjoy this collection even more so. He also includes an equally hilarious introduction which makes the collection worth purchasing all by itself. Humor before tragedy, it’s the way to go. The poems in his collection are longer so I will only include a couple of them below:


One day our greatest grandchildren will
Remember the day everyone burst
Into a simultaneous song of laughter:
The priests and the pastors
Atheists and agnostics
Hippies and homosexuals all stopped
Mid-sentence and took a deep sigh before
Finishing each others’ sentences with a gong-grinding
Bout of gushing laughter.
The babies, who did not understand, put
Down their rattles and stopped dirtying their diapers to
Join the hilarity because they
Comprehended in a wild and unarticulated way.
Priests, politicians and pragmatists poeticized and promised
To stop finishing long dead people’s journeys and
Instead laugh and laugh to laugh and laugh.
Everyone felt like it was the first day of school
And despite reservations had been
Accepted wholly and cherished plainly by
New classmates who grabbed the palms of
Their humid hands and ran towards the tire swing
Where the world’s orbit shrank to the size
Of everyone’s ability to laugh and love it.

I love the idea of everyone coming together through humor. Isn’t that what most comedians aim for? To unite a potentially diverse audience? Perhaps someday a laugh will ignite unity and wouldn’t that be a beautiful day?


When we were hungry we'd
wave our arms in the air
mimicking the mating dance
of a rare South American swallow
only ever sighted in tribal
legends of the Amazon.
We communicated in a complicated
dialect of body language.
Once she broke her shoulder
trying to tell me to pass the
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter,
since this was communicated by
doing a backflip off the side of the garage.
To pantomime an ape was to invite
me to the movies. To mime a heart attack
was to remind me to do the dishes. To gesture a
giraffe was into invite me into her arms.
We're still both fluent. But out of practice,
spending our time learning new languages.
But sometimes, without thinking, I'll do a cartwheel
followed by a somersault and fold my hands into a pistol
when all I needed to do was ask for the time
and wonder how it got away from our conveying hands.

This poem resonates with me—so much of how we communicate is by physical and facial expression. The words we say mean less than how we say it. If you have ever been in a foreign country where you do not know the language, pantomiming and mimicry become your main method of communication and I love the elaborate physical communication described in the poem above. It makes me smile and reminds me of growing up on the Texas/Mexican border making friends with children who spoke Spanish and how we got along just fine “aping” our intentions, opinions, and ideas.

There is so much more than I can possibly share with you, the book consists of 114 pages and is worth exploring. If you enjoyed this sample, you may purchase a copy of Luke Maguire Armstrong’s How We Are Human for $9.99 here:

Thanks always for reading, please drop by again tomorrow…

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