The Promise of a Nation


Photo by
@caldwellkelsie

Anger paralyzes,

I search for words—

Pour what I feel

Into them—

But my anger

Melts them,

Turns them molten metal,

Defiant to the forms,

The constraints,

The molds I attempt

To use to shape

This gob of white hot liquid metal

Into meaning

For feelings

Overwhelming me.



Paralysis crushing,

Submission—

It is what they want—

Make us heavy once again

With chains and shackles,

Place and close the Master’s padlock,

A designation of second class,

Something much less than they,

Round our necks once more,

Making of us an example,

So others live in fear

Of what they come for next

And so acquiesce—

Staying silent, eyes lowered,

Hoping to escape notice

By allowing them to feel smug and safe.



My anger burns bright white stripes,

Others will not die bleeding the red.

Remember the stars provide the light

Of what we know is right.

We will not live on our knees

Or on our backs, being beggars

For shredded scraps

Of what is the promise of our nation.



Handmaid’s Tale on the Horizon

Brevity of years
Right, paid in blood + death, destroyed
Fiction drips history

https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2022/06/25/weekend-writing-prompt-265-brevity/

Brevity in 12 words

Endlessness

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

https://godoggocafe.com/2022/06/21/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-june-21-2022/

Todays prompt: Begin a poem with “endless”

Endless winds rustling

Through leaves baked a thin crisp green
By summer’s noon sun.

Endless wilting flowers
Reaping words of empty dust
Sands away meaning.

Endless hope sprouts blooms
In the dry cracked refuge of earth
A survival scented thing.

Ablaze

image is my own

https://amanpan.com/2022/06/21/eugis-weekly-prompt-ablaze-june-21-2022/?amp=1

Coffee in hand,

watching the summer sun rise here,
would that I could gather
these colorful threads of light,
golden rose, orange raging gem hues,
weave of them a perfect thing for you,
I do not know what it would be,
but a picturesque thing—
so pure, so perfect, encompassing all
you did not know you wanted, needed:
words would fall away in breath stolen,
our spirits cleansed by the sight
would bask in its light.

Being human, I have no talent
for weaving or creating
a thing so new
for you.

Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women

Now available on Amazon

#1 New Release Bestseller!

I’m honored and humbled to have two poems included among the works of such talented authors. The work resonates with the strength it takes to not just survive—but to thrive.

She Detaches

Photo Courtesy of Alexander Dodds on Pexels.com
Detach,

Detach from it all,
All that held her down,
Sandbags of what others wanted,
Needed, expected her to be.

She detaches,
Cutting loose and through
Tentacles of veins and arteries,
Strangling ropes of memories.

The things she could never be-
Mary, The Mother, to wash you clean
Before placing you in your tomb;
A variant of some second coming
To cure you and cleanse you of sins;
The perpetual penitent
To beg forgiveness from you:
All these she will not be.

From these things you wanted her to be,
She detaches, though she wears
The scars of the floggings given her
By those who accuse her, blame her
For not being enough—
The scars waxen now melt
In the warmth of her detachment.

Though you call her cold, emotionless,
When she detaches from those who
Bleed her life away,
When she rises
From beneath the ton of stones
You place upon her chest
To stop her breath,
Freed from the stone,
She breathes.

No Grief for a House

I will grieve the memories 

not made in this place.
I will let the ashes of hopes
Sift in wisps like fine sand,
Falling in desperate escape,
Between the fingers of my aching hands.

A pretty house, yes.
The aesthetics, pleasing—
Built to fill a need
To cook Thanksgiving and Christmas,
Those production number meals,
Of which picture post card
Memories are made,
—the brined turkey, the standing rib—
Yet this place remains a hollow shell, pretty, yes,
containing no memories made
Of laughter and holidays and meals,
Didn’t need that larger Christmas tree—
No need, no need—

A harsh lesson to learn—
There is such a thing
As aging out of a place—
Too old for patience,
I have not five or ten years
To see if memories be made
To turn this hollow, pretty shell
Into the home I hoped.














Our Children

Image courtesy of Slate.com

I wrote this in response to seeing the protests organized by the students who survived the Parkland shooting. I was hopeful that their anger focused in this positive way would bring about some positive change. But today, with 19 elementary school students and 2 adults now dead in Uvalde, Texas, I felt it might be time to revisit this in tribute to the students who have lost their lives in these continual senseless acts of gun violence. We must all say, “No more.”

Innocence, a fairytale idea,
Sacrificed along with safety-
Burned as sweet, bloody incense
On an altar to the Second
Unrestrained, unrestricted
The true worship contained
In this strange amalgam
of green and gold,
Gunpowder, lead, and power
Causing some confusion
In steel tongues touting
The sanctity of life
And rights to any guns in prayers.

Our children, now are
Born in a skin of fear,
And do what we have not—
Stand up and say
No more.

No Lexicon

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There exists no lexicon

For the echoes of emptiness here–

Where the azaleas bloom

Purple, pink, and white,

While dusty looking

Lavender sends up

Multiple spikes,

As roses yield up

Open, thirsting mouths

To the sky.

Though the soil here

Nourishes color and green

Growing things,

While life appears

Apparently abundant,

Although neighbors smile and wave,

The soil remains absent of truth, of meaning,

Of love—of a spirit—of a soul.

No lexicon exists for the emptiness

Echoing throughout the soil

In this place.

 

My Mother’s Stories

Image courtesy of Pinterest

I do not care if my daughter

forgets all my empty stories

of blank cityscapes,

of colorless times,

of limping struggles.

 

My daughter must remember–

remember, keep alive

stories of her grandmother,

stories of lineage, of place, of era,

of strength in women, in family,

of struggle containing meaning

like Jacob’s struggle by the river—

stories living in her DNA,

strengthening the helix of her history.

 

She must remember,

pass on to her progeny with pride

in her spirit living, not here in this place,

in this dusty Lonestar state,

but among those mountains

bathed in stained glass colors

at sunrise and sunset,

or smeared gauzy blue at noon,

or at times, shrouded in grieving fog.

 

So many times, I have watched my daughter sleeping,

a toddler she seems still at twenty-three–

I marvel at how that can be–

Her lips parted just a bit, slightly swollen in sleep,

her lashes long, thick, and dark against her cheek,

so like her grandmother’s lashes,

a trait I did not inherit,

her breathing whispers youthful innocence,

her tousled hair that of a child wearied from play–                                                

And I— I believe I see some ghost umbilical cord stretching

from her, leaving the house, and could I travel it,

follow it—I know where it should lead me–

a black cinder block house on stilts somewhere

miles outside Charleston, West Virginia—

so far up into the mountains

that as we drove the one time I saw it

I felt tilted back as if for

a rocket take off to some distant star—

my aunt’s eyes send a flood down the valleys of her face,

my mother gasping at sight of that tall cinder block house,

narrow and black with four small windows in the front,

unfriendly and uninviting it appears to me,

as it stands in the dirt yard

with a single clothesline, tires,

some chickens pecking the dirt around the stilts,

contrasting the lush green mountain top

touching the sky behind it.

My recalcitrant 13-year-old self thinks–

How the fuck does someone build

a cinder block house on stilts like that? 

And black?  Why black? 

This is where the ghost umbilical cord

leaving my daughter leads me,

this place, this link to the earth—

to the spirit within this earth

where her grandmother,

my mother grew,

nurtured by the dirt, the green mountain tops,

the harshness of poverty in harsh times,

coal mines and cave ins, winter fevers,

spring forest escapes from ideas

of death and survival.

 

Where I too am linked,

bound even as I struggled

to free myself for so many years.

Now, at this age, I know it was this spirit, this link,

that poured its strength into me

when I needed it though my youth

scrubbed me of the wisdom to recognize it.

 

My daughter must know her grandmother’s stories,

of how hope lived in an election during the Great Depression,

her great-grandfather forbid even his wife to take a switch

to of one his children on the day of FDR’s election,

of how death can be heard walking the floors of empty rooms

when the family gathers round a dying toddler,

of how potato sack dresses itch,

of how her great-grandfather built the cinder block house

after a snow melt flood washed away the wood house

and nearly killing himself thinking he had lost his family,

of how to hunt rabbits and skin them,

of how squirrel tastes better than possum,

of how to hold your head when you

ask the company store man for credit,

of how grief over the death of twin toddlers

can turn your mother silent

of how your father explains the death of children

kills a mother’s heart,

of how an orange for Christmas is the greatest of all treasure,

of how it is tedious work to darn socks,

of how joyful it feels to go without shoes in the summer,

of how rich and important you can feel

when new shoes arrive in the fall,

of how when a boy asks to escort you home from church,

you better not walk more than six feet in front of your mother,  

of how to watch for your shoeless mother walking home

in the snow from the Post Office in Charleston because

you know she only wears her shoes to church to keep them good,

and how to warm her feet so she doesn’t lose anymore toes—

 

All these stories and more,

my daughter must know

must remember,

breathe and bleed life

in the telling of them to her children

for they are woven, a tapestry,

double helix patterned within us,

our earthen souls.