Matthew Shenoda is a Coptic poet, educator, and activist devoted to using art for social change and to build community amongst people of color. His poems and writings have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, Newsday, and Bloomsbury Review as well as in the anthologies Arab American and Diaspora Literature, The Other Side of the Postcard: War and Peace On the Streets of San Francisco, and Poets Against the War. He is currently editing To This Revolution We Will Rise: A Global Anthology of Poetry forthcoming from Third World Press. A regular contributor to Voices of the Middle East and North Africa on KPFA Pacifica radio , Shenoda is a faculty member in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University as well as a recent recipient of a California Arts Council Grant and a Lannan Literary Residency. His debut collection of poems, Somewhere Else (Introduction by Sonia Sanchez), is available from Coffee House Press. He lives in South Berkeley, California.
shenoda at matthewshenoda dot com
The furniture still smells the same.
The street echoes
voices of peddlers,
The basket hangs off the railing
they use it to pull up corn, bought
from a passerby.
I stand on the balcony, staring
withdrawn from this poverty by a mere generation
then I remember:
Great-Grandmother used to say,
"If you throw salt away
God will make you
pick it up
one grain at a time
with your eyelashes"