Hour 24: Border Song

Brand of people who ain’t my kind

Bless the children

The beasts are in charge

Asylum requires they come to the border

Bringing their weary

Yearning to breathe free

From death and torture

And we should let them in

Our values demand it

 

I have seen the spectre he has been here too

The death count mounts

And the children still cry for home

yearn for the arms of their family

“Suffer the children”

Does not mean they suffer

You are to suck it up

And do right by them

Our faiths demand it

 

What’s his colour I don’t care

For all that’s holy

Don’t throw the law at me

Child abuse is illegal

I sing the greatest law

About love and neighbor

Near and far

And doing unto

Our past demands it

 

Holy Moses I have been removed

Detention

Relocation

Internment

Concentration

Let’s not quibble about a name

Let’s not forget history

Our souls demand it

Hour 22: Winter Geese

a flock of geese

winter a block outside my window —

when the snow flies

and the lakes are frozen

I seldom see them

but often I hear them

chatting about the best places

to find sustenance

and flowing water

 

come spring

I hear them crying out each dawn

welcoming the daybreak —

I see them walking their new young —

birthed below zero —

crossing my path as I walk to the bus

 

in the spring

they wing themselves

north to Canada again

I wave them on their way

because I know

they will return to me

this is their winter home

 

who else can say they have

a flock of winter geese as neighbors in the city

I don’t have to visit nature

she visits me

Hour 21: Wild Dogs

when I was attacked

by a pack

of wild dogs, roaming

the streets near home

 

I froze myself shocked

against a door locked

inside my fears

and screaming tears

 

the nearest to me

licked teeth on my knee

not wild, a run away

a pet, they say

 

the ones truly wild

were rather mild

for when I screamed

they left the scene

 

even before, I never

met a dog without shivering

deep in my bones

as if I’d known

 

wild dogs would attack

in a pack

cowering me small

leaving me all

 

puddled in fear

at being near

harmless pets.

this lingers yet

Hour 20: Re-verse (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot)

Let us go, then, you and I

on a marathon

Where we have heard the mermaids singing

If you don’t count the hours,

count the minutes

minute by minute

 

Let us write our verse

Never looking back

Never looking ahead

Writing in this minute

Filling up this moment

In a minute

there is time

For decisions and revisions

 

Let us go, then, you and I

Where We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

And when we arrive at full stop,

take time to review

And find the words

from those minutes

from those verses

which a minute will reverse.

Hour 19: Not Sorry

from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange (click here)

 

Japanese speaks from

an overflowing closet

of sorry

20 plus ways

to apologize

 

Casual “my bad”

everyday “excuse me”

formal forgiveness

pleading for mercy

just to be polite

when no apology’s needed

 

sometimes sorry aint deep

sorry aint real

“Im embarrassed”

“I have no excuse”

remorse, regret

heartfelt apology for pain & suffering

 

living on an island

theres need for many sorries

to keep society civil —

but we aint an island

& I aint society

 

don’t speak to me of sorry

u show me regret

& I show you mercy

Hour 18: Dear White Woman Weeping, Knowing You Won’t Win This Time

your fragile tears and trembling voice

let me know how deeply you are hurt

because you feel silenced,

your values drowned

in the jubilance of those sinners

you claim to love

as you hate their sin,

because you did not win

this time

 

i can tell it hurts that others have placed

the “bigot” label

on you

i know the burden of bearing a label

that is not my name

 

still searching for your scars

where your ancestors were whipped into silence

for daring to desire freedom,

for voicing defiance,

i see no scars,

no strength in tears

weeped from eyes that did not watch your children

snatched away

never to be seen again

 

shed tears for words unspoken

not your fragile pain

shed tears for bloodlines broken

not your loss of gain

 

i hear the fear in your shimmering eyes

as you fail to realize

minority is not the same as

marginalized

 

I do not sympathize

Hour 17: Between a Bus and a Hard On

I want to write about

riding the bus

watching the rain

with fascination and fear

 

I want to write about

the kiss of lightning

playing through the window

waiting for the thunder

to startle me

though I knew it was coming

 

I want to write about

the weeping rain

the chilly expectation

the intriguing colors

inside and outside

the sheltering warmth of the bus

 

But my eyes keep straying

to that narrow penis

jutting out from the shore

penetrating my safe harbor

 

Hour 16: Turning Home

I’d fallen asleep somewhere after Georgia.

One week in Mississippi soaked into my bones

and burned all my energy.

Leaving Mississippi meant leaving

the depths of the South

but I carried memories under my skin,

just below the places

where the sun had burned.

 

Behind me lay the dark silent streets

of Jackson nights.

They’d kept me awake

listening to what was missing.

Around me hummed

the song of the highway–

the murmuring of our car,

the whispering of the road,

the sudden brakes,

the surprised horns,

the rhythmic passing of car

after car

after car

– rocking me to sleep all the way to Cairo.

 

Surrounded by the Southern sounds

reminded us:

we might be in Illinois but not yet sweetly home

in Chicago.

There we could wash away

all but the memories

and watch most of our tears

drip

down the

drain.

Hour 15: Excavating the Ruins

Excavating the ruins

Kenyasha found a pale doll with golden hair.

Placing it in the specimen box

With the other one, he thought

How clever!

Creating a world where

Hair can be onyx or gold

Two precious minerals together

Inhabiting the same world.

He wondered what god imagined that

 

Looking up at the ruins

Kenyasha saw the spires

Shrunken to shards of metal.

He had seen the captured sights

Bound together in a tome

With etchings of a language unknown

Those metals once touched the sky

Now reduced to ashes

Shadows of what once was.

He wondered what demon created that

 

Taking off to the stars

Kenyasha looked back

To the fading sphere

The airless world that was

And is no more.

All they could carry

Away —

Two dolls and three tomes

And the hope of decrypting them

The rest

Too hot to handle.

He wondered what evil burned that

 

 

 

Hour 14: Lost in This Land

“The land knows you, even when you are lost” (from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall-Kimmerer)

 

Then why am I lost?

This offers no comfort.

And what does the land know about me?

And how?

Indeed, it freaks me out.

 

It doesn’t help me to know that the land knows me

when I don’t know myself.

Maybe the land knows me,

but does it care that I wander lost?

How can I thrive in a land that lets me lose myself?

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