News @ the Beach

U.S. Poet Laureate Writes Poem for Nohemi Gonzalez

U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera wrote the poem “Nohemi – a Song for Paris” to honor Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the recent attacks in Paris. The poem was read by California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White at a vigil held on Sunday, November 15, on the Cal State Long Beach campus. Herrera is the first Hispanic Poet Laureate of the United States.

Nohemi — a Song for Paris

Mimi — can I call you that
this is a song for you —

with candles we stand & we kneel
this is how it is now we
well all of us we
send you these flowers across time
this time here which we

                         cannot explain

all love goes to you
& your friends the other night
so many with you gone we
stand we play Lennon’s piano
Imagine — we say
a world with out violence —
we want to imagine that in your name
Nohemi Gonzalez from El Monte
from Whittier California from
Cal State Long Beach —

                         we run out of words

the words
so many words your mamá
Beatríz your cousin Jacqueline
we know them now — for you

we write them a poem too
I do not know how we will do that
we are doing that – that is all
like the designs you made – for a high-spirited world
you said you were high-spirited & self-driven — yes
like the dreams you had
as the words First Generation
the ones you used to
describe           your life

we continue with you — somehow
it is not important to know how
it is important to continue that is all
I must — say it again

we are all writing a poem
for you for your cousin Jacqueline
for your mamá Beatríz — she loved you
their love will make it alright
all of our love will make it alright        yes

                         here is your song Mimi —

We light Nohemi a candle

the candle waves across the stars

close they are so close because

Nohemi & Paris are in our hearts



              Nohemi &

                             Paris — are in

our hearts

  • Juan Felipe Herrera
    Poet Laureate of the United States
    11-15-15 (Updated 11-16-15)