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.
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.
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?
Close the blinds against the grey light. Prepare a cave for the soul in cold January as the wind rages. Contemplation, prayer like John of Patmos? This cave readied, awaits the apocalypse devils wish.
The daughters of Lilith condemned To chance a gory laden death once again, All the while, standing vilified as they Who wear the mantle of Lilith’s power have always been. Tomorrow and all tomorrows after, The daughters of Lilith will rise With the glory and power of their mother, Breaking the chains men make Seeking to steal the power of Lilith residing in her daughters Thus, breaking their spirits to subservient acquiesce. But each of Lilith’s daughters will remind Such fearful little men Their mother was made before Eve And fashioned of the earth as well.
High in the air,
Buffeted by the strong winds,
Yet navigating the narrow beam
With a grace and strength of Baryshnikov
Or the great Nureyev
As I, his audience awed by his performance,
Stood and watched,
Wondering if everyone who looked
Could see this man’s artful grace
As he seemed to defy all laws of gravity,
Bending to hammer,
Leaping to rise,
Prancing to walk.
Then bending once again,
Hammering, rising, walking.
Never thrown off balance
By the winds or heavy hammer
Or the weighty leather tool belt,
Carrying the long nails off to the side.
Who else saw the grace and strength
In the rhythm of the dance
This man did perform
In the building of that house—
A dance that held something,
Some paternal element of David
As he danced entering Jerusalem—
How many would see the beauty in the performance of his work?
How many would only see a Hispanic male and question his legal status?
Such wayward children were Peace and Love that their mother, Charity, put them to bed supper less every night for many years. But Charity, you see, had been microchipped by Reverend Serpent Woman, who made the ground holy where she walked and planned to destroy Charity and her children. For she believed them enemies of the true Christian state, and thus, abominations. However, Reverend Serpent Woman needed money and appealed to viewers’ righteousness, using the 1-800-LET-EM-STARVE campaign.
I take the truth
for it is mine,
rolling myself in it until
protected from the acid of the asinine
that drips from the pens, the tongues
of many and power,
of those we call elite,
of those we once called—
I grieve the words spoken
by asinine tongues
and actions taken
by hate filled hearts
that do not comprehend the words
we were taught—
“love your neighbor as yourself”—
The second commandment.
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.