What Matters to Mothers

Martin Jeffries, 13

Wild thing, raised to die

runnin’ errands, runnin’numbers

corner to corner, street to street

run fast, fast, couldn’t outrun Mistah Death.

 

Samuel DuBois Washington, 15

I knew the odds were bad─

worked overtime for years,

sent him to a private school.

Pill party. Overdose. Gone.

 

Malik Brown, 17

Knew when he was born

Street boys got no chance.

Tied him to my apron strings.

Dinnit stop him steppin’

into fists his stepdad meant for me.

 

jamal & jalen, 19

my beautiful twins

my african lions

red stains on a sidewalk

preacher tells me god

prefers a perfect sacrifice

 

Daniel Walker, 21

Majority reached,

I relaxed a fraction,

let long-held breath

come whooping out

in one long exaltation.

Angel of Death heard me,

took out his Ak-47

shot my baby full of holes.

 

©2020 Christine Irving

Posted on OPENLINKNIGHT at the d’Verse Poets Pub

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We See Dead People

 

cropped-Ayahuasca-Vine-Peru

Laura Bloomsbury posted in  Poetics at the d’Verse Poets Pub asking us to describe a unidentified body found dead in a graveyard. We are challenged to :

  • bring the deceased to life by letting them speak (first person) or speak with them (2nd person) or speak about them (3rd person)
  • it is NOT the whole life story that is required but the essence of the person’s character and life.

wisteria

Socialite Found Dead in Graveyard

 

Weird don’t you think?

Lady’s barely dead, skin

still warm – vines already

twining round her torso,

poking green sprouts

between fingers and toes.

 

I hear she ta… took ayahuasca

Maybe she tried wisteria, too.

They say the spirit of the plant

knows all your secrets,

maybe it wanted her soul,

Was she strangled? Did her heart

stop?  A plant could do that,

one with a brain, I mean.

People warned her.

 

Look!  Over there

behind that headstone

See those red-soles?

Who kicks off Louboutins

to walk barefoot in the grass?

She doesn’t deserve them.

 

I know it’s a moot point!

 

Listen, the woman’s dead–

won’t be needing heels

where she’s going.  No,

I did not know her– heard

a thing or two is all.  Listen,

here’s a twenty to say

you never saw me.  OKAY,

okay– two.  Wait ten minutes

before you dial 911.

 

 

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Going Prosey

It’s Prosery Monday at the d’Verse Poets Pub and Merril chose a line from Gwendolyn Brooks poem An Aspect of Love, Alive in the Ice and Fire:

We go
in different directions
down the imperturbable street.

The challenge is to write a flash fiction piece of exactly 144 words incorporating the above lines…

Jacob Lawrence Virginia Interior

Jacob Lawrence, “Virginia Interior.” © 2017 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.ption

Street Smarts.

We go in different directions down the imperturbable street. The street that doesn’t care, will never care about our souls- having none of its own to mind.  Is the street dangerous?  Oh yeah, especially lethal if you start to care what a street might think – if street thinks.  But you will never know, until the blade between your ribs hits an artery, or a voice in your head starts dictating how you should or should not make love, with who and where

Shopfronts don’t tell, though a twitching curtain on the fourth floor might drop a hint.  You wouldn’t dare play poker with this street.  It’ll call your bluff.  Best walk briskly from that rendezvous, geniality written across your face, but not that give-away grin that tells the world you got something they didn’t.  Always, look straight ahead and don’t catch anyone’s eye.

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Rain Dance

‘Rain’ is the prompt today posted at the d’Verse Poets Pub by Sarah Connor  in Poetics

Zuni rattlesnake Kachina 2

Desert Song

 The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound
~Dewey Bunnell, “A Horse with No Name”

Rattlesnake shake, Rattlesnake shake,

sun’s fryin’ my brain and I need rain

Rattlesnake shake, Rattlesnake shake,

swing your tail to fill this pail.

Hey! Old viper,

you stealthy asp,

sliding across sand

close, close at hand

before you strike.

How many rings you got

to mark your years?

I ain’t afeared.

I ain’t your kind of prey

no way, jus want

your medicine

to ease a throat

too dry to sing rain songs,

too weak to dance my feet,

stomp for rain till dust

swirls up in clouds.

Help me out and I will leave

tobacco by your den,

blow golden pollen

‘long very path you wend.

Rattlesnake shake, Rattlesnake shake,

sun’s fryin’ my brain and I need rain

Rattlesnake shake, Rattlesnake shake,

swing your tail to fill this pail.

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Slipped, the Dogs of War Go Howling

mnprotests1

We slip from ignorance

into denial, slipping

rosy-colored glass

before our eyes

to stare into the sun

in ardent search for light. 

Tears slip down our cheeks,

we walk on blindly, ignoring

each red flag, surprised

when hell breaks loose

and crowds call, “Havoc!”

 

“Slip” is the prompt from   at the d’Verse Poets Pub for Quadrille #105

 

 

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Welcome Summer

summer collage

Hanging on my studio walls are three collages dear to my heart.  The triptych represents the three aspects of the Great Goddess, representing the three traditional phases of womanhood – maiden, mother, crone.  It’s a fine thing for an artist to create something that expresses exactly how they feel.  These kind of pieces don’t have to say everything about the subject, or all that the artist feels.  They just have to ring true to the truth behind the idea, the poem or art work that somehow opens the gate to Rumi’s field…

Out beyond idea of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.                        ~Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

The amazing archetype of a powerful divine feminine has its home deep in the collective unconscious of humanity as is shown in hundreds of incredibly ancient artifacts dating back through thousands and thousands of years.

800px-VenusHohlefels2

Venus of Hohle Fels

 The three aspects of the Goddess also signify the seasons of spring, summer and winter. At the time in which I created them, I had no knowledge of the fabulous fourth phase, corresponding to autumn, that a woman enters after menopause.  It is an amazing period of freedom, courage and creativity – the penultimate blessing nature bestows as a reward for the work of living and becoming wiser.  Women haven’t yet settled on a name for this phrase – some call it Queen.  It’s still barely being written about or talked about, but more and more she’s showing up in movies and TV – the wise older woman, not yet ancient, vital to her core.  She is why I wrote my novel  Magdalene A.D.to exemplify the abilities and possibilities of this autumnal stage.

I’ve written poems to two of these collages.  I created this set a long time ago, when I was still in the mother phase.  Their corresponding poems carry the same deep sense of satisfaction for me that the art work does.  Now that I’m becoming Crone, I’ll be able to write a poem to complete my triptych.  Meanwhile, Grace at d’Verse Poet’s Pub has announced OpenLinkNight and because summer is fast upon us, I give you:

Invocation

 

Pepper poppy, poinsettia,

pear, peapod, pig,

bone, broccoli, berry,

fly, field, fig.

 

Mother, fill my baskets –

belly, breast, egg.

Hollow out the snake’s front tooth,

bronze the fly an iridescent hue;

pleach vines into green shade pools,

laurel leaf to hero’s wreath.

Tumble me in August pastures

lush as swollen sex, fecund with mulch

of brood mare, sow, brindle cow.

Pleasure me with sun-fermented fruit

a-buzz with flies and dancing bees,

let the corners of Your crescent smile

drip peach, apricot, apple, pear

and from Your limbs sweat honey light

through summer’s fig-sweet air.

 

Pepper poppy, poinsettia,

pear, peapod, pig,

bone, broccoli, berry,

fly, field, fig.

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Prompted by Paint

Piet Mondrian

I must have been about nine the first time I visited New York City.  We lived in Washington DC and Nana, my world -travelling grandmother, just back from Egypt, was laying over in New York on her way home.  My family of four drove up to New York for a flying visit.  Nana was my version of Auntie Mame– playful, smart, eccentric, and interested in me!  I still have my gold charm bracelet with its tiny pyramid and sphinx.  She gave the best presents ever.

First stop the Empire State Building. I remember the long ride up.  We had to change elevators to reach the windy observation deck. Daddy held his hat, Mom clutched her head scarf, but I let the wind whip my hair around.  My dad had told us all about the workers who built the tower without safety ropes –lots of them were Indians because their courage and sense of balance let them work great heights.  I longed to see one.

Piet Mondrian left New York a couple of years before I got there.   His Broadway Boogie Woogie looks like the birds-eye view of Manhattan he might also have seen from the top of Empire State Building.  Tiny squares represent cars, bigger blocks are skyscrapers.  The the white spaces are anonymous blocks of lower  ordinary buildings.  Best of all he captures the vibrancy of those city streets.  His painting stirs the same excited anticipation within me that I still feel every time I visit New York.

ancestor visit

city streets, a high tower

central park in bloom

 

This prompt crafted by Kim M. Russell for Haibun Monday

Roger Bannister

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Haiku-ish

After reading two supplementary, interesting, but densely elegant, essays on the difference between mora or on and syllables, I decided to eschew counting, take Frank J. Tassone‘s advice and just write. After all, dropping into the d’Verse Poets Pub is supposed to be fun, though I loved the info and all those different categories to which I will give serious attention to in future.

Meanwhile, the rapid response of our beautiful planet is my take-away from corvid . (Though we aren’t out of the woods yet – read this caveat as a knock-on-wood). I’m a bit hopeful for the first time in ages…

More sick, fewer sirens
sing-along dogs fall silent
lawns lack children laughing
clear air, open windows
so many songbirds singing

Pink flamingos
flood Mumbai waters
line dancing webbed feet
walking on water
God’s gift to lady birds
 
Waters clear haze disappears
mind returns to reason
calculates self-interest anew- 
when a world reclaims itself
so quickly, how tarry?
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Portals

Check out dVerse Poet Pub’s  post for May 19th and read Anmol’s post on portals, our prompt for the day. He begins with a quote from Arundhati Roy that touched me profoundly. He also includes some very interesting poems, providing a small taste of the many possibilities inherent in this prompt. So many  concepts lie embedded in ‘portal’ – home, boundary, shelter, imprisonment, freedom, etc. each with it’s own constellation of associations.

For me, doorways symbolize choice. Do we pass through them or pass them by? Do we slam them shut or fling them open? Where do they lead?

In fairy tales doorways generally lead one into a different reality, another kingdom, an alternative universe. Portals challenge us to change – our minds, our attitudes, our perceptions and assumptions. Change is at the heart of all fairy tales. And change is the core of the life force.

Portals  intrigue me wherever I travel, and show up often in my dreams, poetry, art and ritual work. Below is a collage I made for an art blog, Two Twitch a Tale, created several years ago by my friend, artist Michelle Anglin and myself as an exploration of fairy tales

And A Child Shall Lead Them_NEW

Threshholds

You think Time’s Arrow only points one way?

Have you gazed into the night sky, seen

the Milky Way cobbled with suns, flanked

with far galaxies extending into unimaginable

distances, traveled only by shape-shifting photons

whose nature remains mystery?  Time was Einstein’s

doorway as it is ours, creating worlds that live, breath,

die and birth again – each story recorded in light

travelling planet to planet, filling dreams, illuminating

imagination. We only need a child’s eye to open; a hand

to lift the latch, a step to cross a threshold.

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Quadrilles

The quadrille is a tiny poem of exactly forty-four words not counting the title.  Today’s challenge from the d’Verse Poets Pub is hosted by De Jackson aka. whimsygizmo who wants us to incorporate the word  ‘fix’ as in “Oh we’re in a fix.”

His Absence

 

Please come home.

Fix the burned out light bulb,

the burnt-out poet,

the wobbly toilet seat,

your wobbly wife,

the dripping faucet

that only leaks after midnight-

stops on the stroke of six.

If it’s a ghost

please find

an exorcist to fix it.

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