Monday, June 12, 2017

Who Is This Woman?

I am from Cinda and Fred who created the union
I am from my ancestors who brought me forth to enter the world of many dreams
I am from the joy of laughing clouds of energy that flow into the river of loving
I am from the world of loneliness as I seek to touch all that surrounds me
I am from women who had to bear burdens and children and those not meant to be
I am from another world that gave me life and many centuries of queens and kings
I am from nurturers of the world who seek the laughter of passionate tears
I am from souls who wander in the world to seek a place that feels like home
I am from the freeing spirit that must fly to seek the free flying winds
I am from words that must pour out and yet hands that prevent them from coming
I am from phrases thought but not placed on paper because the mind says not now
I am from you and me and us and we and all that is and will be
I am from the earth and the sky and wings of birds
I am from all that is and wants to be
I am from a place I called home and I will call home and a place I now call home
I am from the sunrise and the sunset and all that is in between
And only a moment in which I am from all that is and yet to be
And so it is that I am the woman who loves to be hugged and cared about
Who feels alone often and yet can walk among you
I am the woman who aches to be cared about but can’t ask
Who wants to reach out to the world but can’t take the step
I am the woman who wants to be there but not quite sure where
Who walks among you but doesn’t always feel there
I am the woman who feels gratitude for being and surviving
Who dances through life and yet needs to be rocked
I am the woman who wants to cry out loud but no tears will come
Who asks, “Who am I?”
I am the woman who walks with purpose but wants no goals
Who comforts but wants holding
I am the woman who knows how to give but can’t quite take
And so I am the woman that many know but don’t know who I am

I stand before you reaching out on paper
Because I am the Black woman who must hold up her world
But know that I am the woman whose strength covers her deepest pain
And so send me sprinkles of joy and laughter I can grasp
Each time I need my heart to sing
“It is well.  It is well with my soul!”


        © Hilda Ward, 2017

Birds on the wing
from Pixabay via Wikimedia Commons


Monday, June 5, 2017

As Water We Have Options

These stagnations that come from low water -
where once was excess, remnants lie in stillness, 
shrinking, draining, breeding stink and mischief.

Don't live there.

Live, when you can, in the ripple that holds its place
Even as the river flows fast through.
Live in the fluid rise that's elevated
By the complementary forces of
Forward motion and
Surface tension.

Stationary, stable, yet rolling and always new,
Sometimes so full it has to sing,
Sometimes so full it's bursting 
to let go its toehold and join the formless flow
on down the river.


© Laura Seale, 2017

Rippling Water
by Siru7887
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SIMPLE (MANGO)

In Lagos I felt this world for the very first time
Under a wide-eyed Ikoyi sun, my heart, mind and soul came to life
The mangoes were always in season
I was a boy, and nothing more. 

My mind was open… 
The gate was never locked
So my dreams wandered free
Some days, they walked with me
On others, they dashed off in every direction, hoping to tempt me into new games of discovery 
Nothing was real
Yet it all was

I wasn’t yet good at pretending to be myself
I was a boy; nothing more.

I drifted through life as would a paintbrush
Aimless, simple.
On the days the rains fell,
The drops crash-landing like millions of miniscule musical meteorites
I picked them up, held them in my bristles
And carried them with me
Even now, they color the movements I make

Blooms of hibiscus shone around our home
Like little red stars that had lost their way and settled amongst the greenery

My house, in those days, was a city
The walls hummed with energy
It was my palace
I ruled it with a playful hand
My fingers spoke a language they never had to learn
The surfaces of this city of mine lived to make conversation with them
They had a heavy vibration
Curiosity oozed from my very pores 
This world needed explaining and mine was the intrepid mind to do this

When I explored my city, lizards hurdled gravel like mountains
Scaled walls
Watched my antics
Told stories of them
Wanted to join in the fun.
All of this happened. 
I lived it in my very bones.
I was a boy, and nothing more.

Ignorant of my own smallness, I knew things then that I would never know again
Like how to travel to other worlds, borne by the songs of my grandmother
And how to live life to the beat of the simple things within it
These hands and feet of mine were still learning to fly
The day would come when they would be taught to do so
Until that time, they were content to look to the sky
There was poetry in every motion and joint of my body
I was a boy and nothing more

Dobra was the first girl I ever tried to impress
Her thick, inky plaits resembled shiny rope
They glistened.
We were the same size.
She had a certain bigness about her.

I didn’t yet know of the thing called art.
It fueled me all the same.
It flowed through me like a breeze through leaves.
Like a breeze through hair.
A breath of energy reminding me to move, to breathe.
It was my air.
It is my air.

My muscles didn’t mind

The mango tree in front of our house was magic
I was never to climb it
The jewels it dropped tasted of laughter
When I drank up their juice, the sunlight sang through my bones
This too happened.
More times than I could ever count.
But fewer times than I’d like to think.

My dad was the biggest man I ever knew
I could never scare him
Alexis lived outside. 
She and I, we liked the same food.
Hers was the first friendship I ever knew
Her scent was that of unclaimed mornings
Even now it still clings to me

My city is an enormous vessel
A great pyramid that is the home of my childhood
Memories were laid to rest in that tomb
They took with them things from these plains, reminders of what was.
Ties to what they had left behind
Alexis also.
Memories.
So hard, yet with soft edges.
A full moon, on a cloudy night.
Simple.


© Axel Cooper, 2017

Mango
Photo by Asit K. Ghosh
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cooperstown, New York

Ferris Wheels and fire works, 
sailing ships upon the lake. 
Horse-drawn wagons and cotton candy, 
and the children run everywhere. 

Lovers stand at the ring toss booth 
while vendors hawk burgers and fries. 
Boys pitch pennies to win a game, 
to give their prize away sweetly. 

A runner is on second base 
in the Fireman's Baseball Game. 
Someone sells homemade pies 
while the high school band plays. 

A barge drifts by the shoreline. 
It proudly flies the American flag. 
The captain wouldn’t fly it just any day, 
but today is the fourth of July. 

© Dennis Wright, 2015

(Based on an oil painting called
 "Cooperstown, New York, July, 1987," 
by Janet Munro) 

A Fourth of July celebration. St. Helena Island, South Carolina, 1939
Photo by Marion Post Walcott
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rabin....

At the precipice of Peace,
many boulders have fallen....

Yet, the torrent rushes on,
a bow of promise just above.

And below,
a foundation of stone
laid there long ago....
The harvest of seasons storming.

Let us embrace
the cold, and mist, and hardness
of this place

and move on towards the Light!


© Gerry Sackett, 2017


File:2015 rabin 22th anniversary.JPG
20th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv, Oct. 31, 2015
Photo by Talmoryair
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, May 8, 2017

Winter in Upstate NewYork, 1977

She tunnels out of her house 
through a mantel of snow
six feet high,
carrying her young son
to the barn.  She breaks
up a bunch of hay bales,
nesting him in the middle,
close to the cows.
She buries her head 
in the flank of the cow 
while she milks, thankful 
for its warm body and breath.

She’s swinging the pick-ax hard
through the ice in a trough
’til she chops a hole big enough
for a bucket to fill with water.
Running back and forth 
to water the cows, pigs,
horses, chickens.  The water
is fast-freezing in the bucket.
The temperature is windchill -40 degrees
for ten days.

Back home, she stokes the wood stove.
They sit within its three feet
of warmth, in their hats and coats.
All that’s left to burn is wet pine
and she burns it. 
Every cell in her body is an ice pellet.

The snow keeps falling.
By morning, the door won’t open.
If this was Antarctica, 
she would be better prepared,
mindful and in sync with her purpose.
Here, it’s all muscle-memory:  Survival.
Keep herself, her son, and the animals
from freezing to death.


There is a treacherous beauty
in the landscape, a silence
that only deep snow on farmland
seems capable of.
This span of time, of snow, wind and cold,
will just be another conversation with friends
in a few months.  But she
will remember it for years
and years as the time she overcame 
disbelief in herself.


© Evie Safran, 2017

"Old farm at Overtown in deep snow"
by Richard Johnson
from the Geography Project collection
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Saturday Night in Batesville

You must arrive early at the old country store, 
parking lot’s small. Find a seat, a bite to eat, 
glass of wine, check the time then look around 
for Bobby Midnight and his band. Tables are full, 
people standing, yak-yaking crowds the space,
baby peers from pack on back, one mama runs 
to fetch her child, senior fans refill their drinks, 
and friends hail friends with rowdy hugs.  

One, then two, all six show up, beat up cases 
held in hand, hats buoyant on thin-haired heads. 
They shuffle on stage, open up bags, pull out 
possibilities: three guitars quiver, trumpet and sax 
glitter, stacked set of drums sits. These man-boys 
lean in to get the tuning right. The crowd booms 
then quiets as if testing for song.  Oh, there’s going 
to be some music on this warm spring night.

Funky tunes fly, fill the room, seep out windows 
step out doors.  Dancing couples, women clusters, 
dad with a daughter all pack the floor of that 
overhauled space. One man and a woman are fluid 
in leather bottomed shoes, possessed.  They swoon, 
sweat, press for more Billy Joel’s rock and roll. 
The local birdman holds a gallon pickle jar, 
trolls the room crying: gratuities for the band.  

Riding home, the man and woman still are dancing
in the moonlight.  And there it is -- bright bulging 
white shines their faces, lights up hay fields, 
rolls over foothills, crowns the Blue Ridge. 


© Marti Snell, 2017

Dance at a Country Inn
by Rafael Benjumea
Carmen Thyssen Museum, Malaga, Spain
from Wikimedia Commons