the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

what i have shaped

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

(won’t you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton)
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the last cicada

1. Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die.
~ Matsuo Basho

2. In Japan, the cicada carries further philosophical connotations of re-birth. Since the cicada emerges from the ground to sing every summer, it is a symbol of reincarnation.

Of special importance is the fact that the cicada moults, leaving behind an empty shell. But furthermore, since the cicada only lives for the short period of time long enough to attract a mate with its song and complete the process of fertilization, they are seen as a symbol of evanescence.

3. In China, the phrase ‘to shed off the golden cicada skin'(金蝉脱壳) is the poetic name of the tactic of using deception to escape danger, specifically of using decoys (leaving the old shell) to fool enemies.