Poem: Chains


Years a slave

finally walking free

mud-caked down dirty shoes

dragging home

Will the soul ever sing on key

after bent down beat work

freedom is loaded

heavy with ropes

pulling on out

but ever tying

things tight low hopes


Forty years in Penitentiary

then hitting the street

smelling the air of

humanity

Bars and walls now left behind

the etching of punish

carved carefully through time

The binding gavels

final thud to close

the pathways forward


And words and words

to wound and cut

much bloodier than what

a gun can shoot

Inside the body disappears

until  it seems to be

just hollow fears

Fly away or gather others

yet sounds still linger close

will any time

seem anew

and recapture the ghost


Slave, prisoner and abused

can liberate some day

and wanna walk hard away

from hellish past

with head up and

chains left in a rusting mass

 

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Poem: On Growing Old


The rutted road

winding

unfamiliar paths

carved by years

The rolling tracks of scraping tears

and curving twist of mirth’s sharp shape

A body once

so ripe and round

now clinging close

decaying dark

in parts unseen

Sluggish now to greet the day

but still its beauty

sweet

For each step sacred

the more

and more

we take

 

 

Poem: Birth


Out of the dark woozy womb

sliding toward the grasping fingers

They grab

then point

set a course to go

Crawling

knees of grass patterned words

written from The Mother

Until upright

feet meet pavement

and head far from the beginning

there is no turning back

It is black

unlit

Slipping farther away

deeper

Into no-one

or maybe

everyone

To wander and wonder

looking upon the staring reflection

and seeing

faceless recognition

Wanting to stick it

back in

and start over

 

 

Poem: 1956


Forbidden love

is tossed back

into the arms of the hand

the throw of the gamble

that most fear to play

Yet

under cover

‘neath the sweaty dark

of the hidden night

in the pulsing fury

of times angry divide

A union

of color

entangled together

through tension and tender

White wanting in concealed desire

wrapped in Black brave

Heart marches

toward an outlawed end

Bound

Round

Babe

Racial

Bye

Given gone away

to spare the agony

of blasphemous belonging

Two

split to wander separate worlds

One

drowning in the blood

of both

Poem: Clandestine


Rising again

lips drenched

from former kisses

the taste of dissipating sweet

arising to awareness

And filtering rays

lay like lovers

resting softly nearby

The visits

are now clandestine

quiet furtive touches

felt briefly–barely

and then are lost

Laying still

feeling lingering longing

layered on remembering

will it never leave

as the endless nights

continue on

alone

 

Clearing


These days I have a lot of time to think. And think I do. All this thinking sometimes leads me to see my world completely the opposite from the way I used to see it. Maybe it’s like when you get way close to something, then it may not look like the same object at all. The perspective is distorted, but not necessarily in a worse way.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t help but think about our past. I’ve gotten beyond tearing it up and regretting it, and yet, it still passes through my mind. I turn things over and look at things and pull them close, and lately when I do, I’ve started to realize that maybe some of the seemingly disruptive, hurtful things I did, really had the right instinct behind them.

And all these years later, those I have walked away from, I can now see didn’t have the staying power to be near me anyway. They moved on easily, while I still am working my way through it all–alone.

But the other thing I’m finally grasping is that there will be some (maybe only a very few) that will stay close for the long haul. Some of these may only make themselves apparent after a long time or suddenly, but they’ve been there all along. Some are with you every step of the way. These few are the true ones.

So looking from a different angle while we brush off the detritus that our minds have built around our past, maybe we can see it all from an organic place. Or maybe someone else, someone who has been hiding in the shadows, will appear to remind you that it’s OK.

Either way, stepping in close and twisting the past at a different angle can be the peace you need for today.

Poem: Alone


Alone

is the silence of the room

each night

with the shadow light

and wearing

the blanket

like a shroud

to cover what’s gone

Alone

where memories scream

and eyelids darken

walking backwards

through regret

Alone

is hearing every sound

near and far

for the stillness

of it all

Alone

cousin once removed

from lonely

in a family

lathered with space

Alone

Quiet

Choice