An early morning, dogs walked,
Time to sit. Read the news.
Enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to the birds sing.
A twenty-two year old woman falls into a coma,
dying later at the hospital.
The police say she suffered a heart attack,
claiming their goal was educational only—
to teach her the proper way to wear hijab.
Now in Iran, women
bravely cut their hair and burn their hijabs
in protest of Mahsa Amini’s death.
I listen to the songs of cardinals
as they come to peck at the seeds from feeders
swinging from tall shepard hooks in my neighbor’s yard.
My hands shake as I lift my coffee cup to my lips.
No power. My hands hold no power. My body holds no power.
No power to help the women of Iran. No power to protect them
from the brutality of the “Morality Police.”
I can not help but think of my own daughter of twenty three,
only a year older, just a year.
A moment of gratitude for her life,
For a moment, a sense of relief
that here in the U.S we have no “Morality Police”
Or “sharia” law— for my daughter’s sake….
But the moment of relief drifts away
on the song the cardinals sing—
We live in the state of Texas,
Which now holds dominion over her body.
My hands shake
Powerless at the moment
Only at the moment.
Power rises as does anger.
The state, the nation, the world counted on fear to make us powerless.
Yet now, injustices kindle the flame of power within us
And nothing can stand against us once we unite.
Bandaged, gauze covered, blanketed--
She never thought of bandages
until one wound oozed infection,
a malevolent fluid.
Thus, she learned of cleansing wounds,
bandaging them for protection,
Twice, she thought her wound healed, scarred over,
rejoicing, removed her bandage.
Twice, her scar split open, infection returning.
Resigned, resolving to keep her bandage always,
Refreshed daily, keeping infection at bay.
When the devils dwelling
within humanity’s heart
through the horrors
of animals beaten, tortured
starved, or treated
with the willful disregard
I do rage,
wishing, at the very least,
for a razor sharpened
with which I could do damage–
slice and dice with it,
and after I’m done—
take all my slicing
and all my dicing
into arms strong enough
to carry the weight
of cruelty bled out,
drained of all its bloody
need to hurt, ignorant
of the suffering it has caused,
and toss it all into a funeral pyre
built to destroy all these
blood drained devils dwelling
within humanity’s heart.
Finally, finally leaving us to treat
as if we truly do
have the souls
God has given us.
But it would take more, much more
than a razor sharpened tongue
to cut all the devils out.
so I turn my hands
to help, comfort,
aid as I can—
yes, very small drops
to wash the darkness
of all the devils out.
Weekend Writing Prompt #267: This weekend your challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 31 words using the word “Return”.
I envy the monarch’s, the hummingbird’s arc of return,
My jealousy consumes as I have
no return, no cycle—
Only the damnation of this linear thing,
I search for words—
Pour what I feel
But my anger
Turns them molten metal,
Defiant to the forms,
The molds I attempt
To use to shape
This gob of white hot liquid metal
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.
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.
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
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
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
There exists no lexicon
For the echoes of emptiness here–
Where the azaleas bloom
Purple, pink, and white,
While dusty looking
Lavender sends up
As roses yield up
Open, thirsting mouths
To the sky.
Though the soil here
Nourishes color and green
While life appears
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.
Spring threatens to melt into us. Summer follows soon enough. Birds will return, seeking seeds and worms, Building nests for the young to come. Will the birds remember the songs they sing? Songs of summer, songs to mate? Flowers will emerge, warming their petals And leaves under a brilliant sun. Will they remember how to open Their blossoms? Will they remember how to dress themselves In glorious color? How can the birds or flowers remember When the world walks a tightrope Over the abyss And sunflowers may never grow again Tall enough to bow their heavy heads to God?