April is national Poetry month and before I turn in, I was thinking about the relationship between love and time.
So I have this.
(Photo by Bart Anestin)
Twenty five and a half hours from now *plus eighteen years ago* I stopped walking the Streets of Detroit looking for you.
Your two kids were upstairs waiting for you. I called Rick and told him.
And then went home to bed.
I got up for work the next day, worked a full shift, came home and my dad walked into my room to tell me you were dead.
Heroine and Booze is a deadly cocktail and according to the autopsy report – your heart stopped so suddenly you didn’t even have time to brace yourself before you fell.
It was a hard life lesson for me.
One that says love doesn’t always win.
It was the first time i’d lost someone that meant a great deal to me.
You were a friend when i needed one the most.
But you had your demons.
Everyone does. I understand that, now.
Goodness isn’t a person, badness isn’t a person, these are states of being. Transition places like happy or sad or mad.
You were good – you just had a weakness about you – a handicap.
I miss you. I think you would have liked the way I grew up.
I thought about you in that fuzzy place between wakefulness and sleep.
Suddenly, you were there after all this time.
I’m glad you are. It was nice to see you again.
I love you but i’m sure you know that, now.
((Photo by Alyssa Smith)
April is National Poetry Month and in my little corner of the literary world there’s some bad stuff that happened and then some good stuff and then some fantastic things. But tonight, my poem is about the LGBTQI community. Most notably, those who’ve died. So, to the spirits of those people who surround me right now at my desk – this one is for you.
I love you in ways I can’t explain
in tongues I don’t know
in lives long since passed and ones
that haven’t been lived yet
I owe to you my life
for the life you laid down for me
when death came by way of AIDs,
suicide, neglect, or brutality
your very being and bravery
thought me into existence
I am not blood of your blood
but I am bonded to your soul
my forefathers and foremothers
we share one thing, one strong thread
and that is the truth – this space – where
we chose to live
There is no way to trace me back
no DNA to tie me to you
but through your courage and love
I stand solid in my marriage and
am the realization of the dream you had
So, i honor you today, my family
my brothers and sisters and uncles and Kin
be ye black or white or beige or red
be ye muslim or Jew or native American
simply by saying, ” Thank you.”
Thank you – for what you did.
April is National Poetry Month and a friend gave me a prompt. Dichotomy. Today being the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the birthday of Dr. Maya Angelou, as well as the tragedy of what happened in Syria – my mood wasn’t cheerful. But here you go.
i close my eyes and let my hands
run across the keyboard
i sit in silence and wait for
the words to come
i wait for the door in my mind
to swing open
and the words to tumble forth
the way a river runs
i listen to the sound of the air conditioner
with my feet tucked underneath me at my chair
i feel the body heat of my beloved
pet right beside me
and am comforted by my lover
……today I mourned the deaths in Syria
what a heart wrenching scene I watched the bodies and cried
with a prayer stuttering at the back of my teeth
I realized also today was the day Dr. Martin Luther King died
Someone asked me to write a poem about dichotomy
about the great gulf fixed between two different things
and tonight I can’t help but think of the state of the world
between what is now and what we used to call, humanity
It used to be that neighbor watched out for neighbor
that children were raised by the mothers up and down our city streets
now we’re cutting off healthcare, welfare, funding for the arts
calling it Justice – when old folks don’t have nearly enough to eat
Our presidents in times past never took office with malicious intent
at least Andrew Jackson believed he was doing the right thing
but now terror stalks our houses of government
with old enemies our grandparents all fought against
Where neighbors once stood shoulder to shoulder to shoulder
now we let young black men get gunned down with cell phones capturing the scene
and that young Spanish girl who lives down the block – yeah
her daddy and her mother – the breadwinners of the family – won’t be here next spring
Something’s run sour and bitter and brittle and cruel in our midst
something stinks to high heaven where milk and honey once flowed
someone’s left the barn open for the wolves to come feast
and it happened because the children of the greatest generation’s ignorance – thought liberty – as a concept – was getting too old.
So if you wanted a poem about dichotomy – here it is
and one more thing before I let you leave this place
the world was once destroyed by contrasts but none so malignant
as the idea of superiority inherent in the anglo-white race.
(Photo by I’m Priscilla)
April is National Poetry Month and I had made a request of my friends to give me prompts to work with so I can write a poem for each day.
My friend Becky gave me a prompt that read, “Finding the strength to go on after our loved one dies.” She’d tagged several of her girlfriends who they themselves had lost spouses.
This was daunting. But I hope I did okay. Here’s the Poem.
I remember when you got down on your knee
When you held a little box out in front of you like an offering
To God above.
I remember the look of hopefulness and vulnerability in your eyes
And when I said, ‘Yes’, I remember holding your sweet face in my hands
As you cried.
I remember – when our first child was born
The panic in your face when I told you that time was fast approaching
I saw the blood drain from your face as the pain in my body
Cranked up into ungodly levels
And I remembered the awe on your face when you held our child for the first time
I remember the first time we got into a terrible fight, the hurt in your eyes
Slamming doors, both of us throwing words like daggers
and cold shoulder moments both of us wounded and suffering
relieved only by the lovemaking when we submitted and admitted that the fight we needed to have
was had, and the fever broken
I also remember the little things –
The way you smell, the way you felt, the way the bed springs groaned when you awoke in the morning
And the way you took your coffee.
I remember looking at your sleeping face, in the wee small hours of the morning
and smiling just a little
And kissing your warm cheek
And I remember the day you died
The shock of It all, whether a long illness or a sudden disappearance
Like a whiff of smoke that nothing could prepare me for.
I died along with you or at least that’s what it felt like
And I couldn’t figure out how such an exquisite pain wouldn’t
Allow me to lie down next to you for your final approach
To the throne of God
How was it that I was still able to breathe?
For the next several months – like a ghost I wandered
Half here – half there with signs of you abounded
In the pictures, and the clothes that you left in your closet
And the phone calls from your family, your friends, and your colleagues
“Yes, I’m fine.” And “The kids are okay.” And “Sure, I’ll see you at Christmas.”
But what hurt most of all is when something would happen
And I would turn to say, “Hey, love you’ll never guess who…”
Only to catch my breath as I suddenly remembered
I was speaking to an empty bed, chair, room.
After the initial shock of what I was doing
Left me sobbing and half out of my mind
I finished my sentence, “…. I ran into.” And proceeded to
Describe to you the scene like I’d done a million times before.
And there you were smiling, in my mind – still only half listening
Nodding here and saying, “Ah,” at exactly the right moment
So – what I really mean to say and I’m sorry that I waited
That it took me so long to figure out that you were here all the time
In the faces of our children, in the things you left behind you
In the friends and in the memories, that line the walls of our home
But the sweetest thing you gave me was the life we lived together
And the things that I remember – I remember all the time
So, April is national poetry month. So, I asked several people on my social media to give me prompts to write about. This one comes from a friend named Sue. Her prompt was, “Out of Step with Everyone Else.”
I hope you like it.
Perhaps I’ll just let the stars tell me
2,000 years of collective human knowledge
And the world is stumbling over itself.
I’m not sure where to begin, now
Everyone says they have the answer, how?
How do they know which way is up
When it seems the whole world is upside down?
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
For Frost that was enough
But the road less taken has been taken
Till it’s worn right down
I – am but a woman
But I am every woman when Chaka
Sings soulfully through the earbuds in my ears
When I walk my dogs through the park
I see the birds and trees and think
That nothing could possibly be wrong
But I feel so out of place
Now, which way to go?
That’s the million dollar question
Do I follow midnight’s long procession and wait
For the sun to speak to me which direction I must Trod?
Or do I decide to cast my gaze inward
Find my truth built somehow inside me
And let my footfalls fall upon my undiscovered country
of self-reliance or some untapped reservoir of faith?
Go left, I dunno, maybe
But wherever I go I don’t think I have to
Fear teeming crowds of curious minds
For they’ve all made their decisions
Embracing clichéd difference of opinions
From Humble neighborhoods, straight on through to
So, I’ll find my path my own way
Listening solely to my own conscience
Change direction when I feel the earth trying
To tell me what I should already know
For I am wiser than my years, now
I know easy answers are mostly low brow
So, I’ll dig my own path willingly, deftly
Fearlessly, until like Stevie
I’ve taken this love and I’ve taken it down
having found the answers then…then, I’ll turn around