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.



Peace, Then I Will Go and Smile

Image courtesy of sciencephoto.com

https://amanpan.com/2021/09/30/eugis-weekly-prompt-peace-sept-30-2021/

Peace, an elusive thing you are,
I have known you in fleeting moments
At best---

Would that I could see the whitest of doves,
Feel the lightest, glancing touch of feathers,
Hold the olive branch for a moment—

Yet, how can I partake of such a luxury when—
     When children’s bellies bloat in hunger
     When those of one religion kill those of another
     When those of one skin hate and kill those of another
     When men rape, beat, kill women
     When children and women are bought and sold
     When humanity seeks dominance over all the earth
           At the cost of future generations?

Yes, I want to see the white dove with the olive branch fly—
To know the world is at peace
To know my daughter lives in that peace
To know all the children of world will grow knowing only good
Then death could take my hand 
And I would willingly go 
In peace.



     



We Didn’t Care

Image courtesy of VectorStock

Dreams came,

Dancing for a time

While arrogance grew.

We were better, best–

With nothing left to prove

Glorious above any others–

God’s chosen led by the chosen one,

Or so they claimed  

While people died in the streets.

We turned our fingers orange with Cheeto dust,

Stuffing our mouths,

And didn’t care who died.

It was all for our entertainment, anyway.

We watched democracy die

With Lady Liberty and Justice

Beaten bloody in the streets.

But hey, Walmart had toilet paper and Doritos–

And that’s what really mattered.

We screamed about white, black, blue

Red, and all the rainbow colors

Until our screams and colors bled

Into midnight blackness

Then the lights went out

When God’s Grace got up and left.

For White Pearls

Image courtesy of http://www.thepearlsource.com

Faceless, nameless

Are the multitudes

Who still exist

Within the air

Of a past colliding

Upon your present.

Unpleasant for you,

I know, disruption

To the course of your

Day to day

Good morning harmony,

The dripping sugar whiteness

Of your “girl next door” hood.

You are not faceless.

You are not nameless.

Your language drips privileged

White pearls of empty empathy.

Turn your television off with white pride,

The faceless and the nameless

Will not apologize for the noose

You feel tightening around

Your Good Morning Positivity

As faced and named change comes

To Our Nation.

 

Spirit of Stone

Photo courtesy of Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt Veiled #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a green horizon, beyond which the mist veils a hill topped with strange rock formations.

I knelt before God

as the earth was formed.

For ages I have been here,

spirit of stone unmoving,

waiting above the forest land.

I am the tonnage of stones,

living veiled behind swirling mists.

Yet, I am billions of stones,

existing beyond the veil.

I press the earth for meaning

when I hear the children of earth wail

of suffering through centuries.

I rise above the peace of forest land,

lifting the tonnage of anger I carry.

I am the billions of stones now,

moving beyond the veil.

I have risen, the world,

carrying justice

in the weight of stone,

the children of earth will not be moved.

Behind the veil, I am the tonnage of stones.

I will retreat there when this time is done.

 

Silent No More

We were silent,

Back in the day,

When death came

In white hoods, noose in hand

To hang our darker sisters and brothers.

We were silent

When death went

Across an ocean

With bent crosses, yellow stars, and gasses

for the Jew.

We were silent

Back in the day

When death came

For our gay brothers

Who pleaded with us–

Silence equals death.

A lesson we’ve not learned yet.

No words for all this

As we shake our heads

Our silence kills yet again

And another black man dies,

Crushed under authority.

Yes, silence equals death.

We cannot stay silent

If we believe a nation’s promise

Time for us to stand up

And find the words to say–

Should you do this

To our darker sisters and brothers

You do it to us all.

We are the burning flame

Burning away the old ways.

https://onewomansquest.org/2020/06/01/vjs-weekly-challenge-98-no-words/

We, Intrepid Shield

6th and Jefferson in Louisville. This is a line of white people forming a barrier between Black protestors and the police. This is love. This is what you do with your privilege. #NoJusticeNoPeace #SayHerName #BreonnaTaylor
Photo credit: Tim Druck

Although I am not white, I admit I enjoy white privilege because most people perceive me as white.  My mother was Melungeon, a mix raced people of Appalachia, and my real father was of Hispanic heritage.  Most people look at me and see white features and assume a Greek or Italian heritage.  Yes, some ignorant people have said stupid, racist things to me because of their assumption of my whiteness.  In light of recent events, the privilege given to me by my features and skin color demands that I stand up to help.

 

We sat silent, complacent too long

Our children safe.

 

Between threats to our black and brown

Sisters and brothers,

We must shield– intrepid, resolute,

 taking spit, hits,

 gas, lash, bricks

 even death, should it come to that

So nothing touches them.

 

We must fulfill the promise of our nation—

              All are equal

 

https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2020/05/30/weekend-writing-prompt-159-intrepid/

 

American Dream

America, we never were a great nation.
Not with the genocide of native peoples, slave auctions
And slavery, Jim Crow, The Trail of Tears,
Japanese Internments, and the KKK.
No, we were never great.
We are always a nation of becoming.
A nation of ideals.
A nation great in flickering moments
Like old news reel footage:
When Harriet led her railroad,
When the suffragettes marched for the vote,
When Rosa would not be moved,
When Martin believed in the one day
Every child would have,
When Edie and Thea showed
Marriage should be defined by love,
Not biological gender.
We are a people of hope, of dreams,
Of knowing life would be better
When we made each other great.

Now, hate ripples from one sea
To another, and neither shines any longer
With Liberty because her torch
Grows dim with this reign of hate.
And there are many who want to forge once again
The chains to her ankles, shackling her in place,
Because they want to keep her,
But just for looks sake. Her mate, Justice, remains
On life support, having been beaten to a bloody pulp
By those who see color, who see gender,
Who see all the women who need
To be put in their place,
Who see a society where Justice serves only
The white Christian right, or rather, where Justice is made
Their slave. No, this is not a great nation.
This is not a great nation
When a leader can bully and spew hate
While the First Lady urges kids
“Be Best” in a limp campaign to not do the same
And few mention the irony.
This is not a great nation.

This is not a great nation
When a leader can urge violence
Against the media, immigrants, those who disagree
And so few carry an outcry.
This not a great nation
Where 18 trans women, 17 of them of color,
Can be murdered within less than a year
Yet our highest court must hear how
Laws do not apply to LGBTQ.
No, this is not a great nation
When so many must blame, exclude, and hate,
When so many must abase another to uplift themselves,
All the while professing Christianity.

Our founders gave us rules of law to make us better than this.
We are not a great nation
Until we realize the American Dream
Doesn’t see color or gender,
Doesn’t see race or religion,
Doesn’t see sexual identity,
Until none of us need to stand on the backs
Of others to feel better about ourselves—
Until we realize the American Dream is freedom and equality
And there is enough for all to go around,
We can not be a great nation.

But the greatness in our nation is this:
That we can be
If we recognize our humanity.

The Brave Ones

(A Tribute to Christine Blasey Ford)

We reject the mother
Born to subservience
of ripped rib bone.
No longer will we accept
Bloody beatings and brutality,
Rape and rage,
Silent,
Powerless,
Fearful.
No longer do we accept this pain
As payment for the sin
Of seeking knowledge.

For millennia, we were lucky to live unbruised
As long as we were your possessions:
Your mothers, your daughters,
Your sisters, your wives.
As long as you owned us
And we did as we were told.

But through the ages,
The brave ones have shown us another way:
To seek the spirit of our true mother,
The one born in the same earth of equality.

So we find her voice and our own.
We speak.
Though you would silence us
With vitriol and mockery,
The brave ones have taught us well;
We will never be silent again.

Disowned 

More delicate than our dying Earth,

The fragile blood of our children dries,

Blistering in a baking sun

While we watch 

Our babies gasping 

Like hooked fish.

Our humanity broken,

We are wooden pawns 

In the game of masters,

Men who would be kings

Posturing outrage 

Over plans known

By them alone

Made in black secret rooms,

Selling us all to Mephistopheles,

Trading on the fragility of our attention 

With the lives of our children,

Who made us human. 

Nothing is left to wonder at,

But if this is the day 

Humanity made

God tearless.