Category Archives: The Arts

Multicultural Art and Poetry

National Day of Prayer – Poem by John C. Mannone

A very serious thing, this matter of prayer,
asking him for help to cope in such a miserable place—
I wish for one much better.

I could ask him to take me out, out of this rat race
to a better place, but I’m not ready to come to my end
just yet. But surely this home could be one of peace

where I can celebrate with family and friends,
but also with my enemies, who, for a moment
would not see me as their foe, not one whom I’d offend.

Let us pray for ceasefire from self-destructing bombardment;
including the hurtful words we hurl at each other. Let us pray more
to quell the road rage epithets when tailgated; for a patient

tongue when being cut-off in long cashier lines; or even before
entering that grocery’s parking lot, looking for “your” own
spot that’s snatched from you after circling the store.

Be thankful while you’re pulling hair and screaming. Don’t
lose your head, Christian, and take his name in vain,
while others literally lose theirs because they won’t.

We are much too smug, even as we speak, the ISIS blame
us. They, who are many, have desire to exterminating
us as if we are cockroaches—the infidel-insane.

Their insecticide so toxic it even burns the devil’s skin.
We don’t want the hatred that they carry, only love for one another.
Let us be guilty of that one infectious thing.

Cry out “Help us, O Lord” to look past the color
of a person’s skin, especially those among our pews.
A sad truth still: Sunday has the most segregated hour.

And no matter what denomination, there are way too few
churches not sitting mostly empty during the rest of the week.
I pray that they will all be filled to overflowing and renewed

with unity one day. Paul spoke of it: we should seek
to build one church, one faith, one baptism, worship one God above all.
What the devil are we doing? Why don’t we speak

out against it? Instead, we rush to preach good news to all
in distant worlds. Shouldn’t we ourselves revel in that news first,
here in this now-depraved country about to fall?

A country founded on the principles of God that once had thirst
for him. Perhaps this National Day of Prayer should be relabeled
as the Day for National Prayer. We, as a nation, for better or worse,

should be calling out his name for forgiveness. I am willing. And able
to thank him for my family of God, for his adopting me (a child only lost
in his love), for the way his love moves, for his stable

arms lifting me up. Even as I write these words, he fills, without cost
to me, my prevailing emptiness with his spirit and I see
how he lightens my lingering darkness, before it must flee, the most.

When I raise my eyes, I see the sky spill its bloody
ink of morning. I marvel at the glittering smiles of stars,
and hear the whole host of heaven in sacred melody

intone, Holy, holy, holy is the Lamb of God, the attar
of prayers incensing the throne. I say, How can my soul not praise You?
I am a nightingale and I will sound my sugar-throated song afar!

Even when the clouds bring tears, they wash me anew.
Rainbows splay their colors after the rains stopped pouring.
Every blade of grass catches the hope of sunlight with drops of dew.

Rumi once said that we, the seekers of truth, are searching
for the sun with a candle. All around us, His truth spills
yet we are blinded by our own light, our own discouraging.

All we have to do is look up, open our eyes, even as we swirl
in His dazzle. Let the wax melt from our eyes to see delight
—the light of stars, the light of heaven—to see the world

in a new refreshing. Look up to Him! See the bright
and morning star, with a prayer on your lips. Look, and feel the Light.

Holy Color - Poem by Heather A. Davis

Your echoes linger on the edges in the Smoky Mountain fog
In petal red, or blue? The poet’s everywhere-tint
Infiltrates insidiously, glancing, gliding under my skin.

Move on, you whisper, No more time for love.
Love grown out of Tennessee barn oak
Floated on Scottish dry docks,
Love grown out of three-thousand miles of red, white, and blue.

Now we walk past the Cherokee land until we spy
The seagulls’ wings; sail east, then up the River Clyde
To Dunoon, where sailors and war brides married
Where mother met father, and I met you.

But these mountains have been deceiving me for years.
Hurry now! the mantra grows, Move on…move on
Past your foothills ghost, past the shipbuilders’ loch,
On past a struggle’s end.

Red, only in the mountains’ falling leaves
Blue, only in my eyes
And the holy color dying.

The Pond in Winter – Poem by Ann Thornfield-Long

 

            After Henry David Thoreau

 

The winter of ’19, it rained nearly every day,

water gushed from sky, no windshield wiper

equal to it. A slough swelled in the low spot

of the yard, lapped the steps, like a wolf

 

at the door. It was the wolf supermoon that

reflected off the surface one rare, naked night—

quicksilver eerie and lovely as icy solitude,

consoling, clear. A sorrow-voiced owl cried

 

in the pre-dawn, foreshadowing death,

as owls can. Loss spilled over the wall

of my soul and into the crevices where I hid

my treasures, floated them out of their deep

 

secret places onto the banks from underearth

where bluets and bloodroots drank to the dregs

as I would after I saw the land open its mouth

and swallow my love whole, leaving me to choke

 

on the hemlock of grief. I’ll carry the disfigurement

of this flood, a high-water scar the rest of my days.

Not everything, nor everyone survives. Winter

cannot last forever.

SiberiaCyberHaiku – Poem by George Simons

Silently passing through Fargo…
the indiscriminate Fargo of my mind,
I am cruising up the Lena.
I leave the city limits of my head
for what is…now…here…
flowing once before the windows of my eyes.

Morning, she appears,
changeling today, soft and cloudy
where the river flows.

As the clouds thicken
I become confused and ask,
“Will sunlight return?”

Endless flow of green,
sandy shore, then white birch trees,
life without landmarks.

Then houses, a church,
its onion dome an anchor,
faith in solitude.

I peek at a map,
explore the territory,
mind at home again.

Tell me what I am,
where I am, I have forgot
Tell me how, how, how…

My stories are hungry – Poem by John C. Mannone

 

Man shall not live on bread alone
—Matthew 4:4

 

I took the little book out of the angel’s hand
and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey;
and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter
—Revelation 10:10

 

An earthquake
                    ripped off
the thick mantle covering
of my heart, I opened the book
and fell into its pages of history.
I was devoured by the stories
when I saw Adam and his lovely
Eve in the Garden; no snakes
just a couple of trees.
                    One, a tall
spruce with the scent of pure
pine—the fragrance of prayer.
The other with golden quince,
quaked and rattled in the wind,
whispered promises. They heard
the naked truth and that story
swallowed them, too.
                    My soul
convulsed at the devil’s laughter
when he saw the Evergreen shed
its fascicles to cover them.
Before the storm, heaven cracked
and the sky spilled, now emptied
of His voice.
                    And the wind blew
the pages of the book in my hands
before I could read them, but
they sprayed rain on my face
and each word coated my lips.
I drank them in—the savor
of a better promise
seeping through: a wet rainbow
pressing on my tongue.
                    I could not utter a word,
but listened to the priests & prophets.
Every time they spoke, a scent of cedar,
of crushed pine, sifted through
along with their voices. Even John’s
locust & honey weren’t as sweet,
and bitterness settled in
at the same time. My heart
started to melt as wax
and my blood ached, burned,
oozing like lava.
                    Yet, I was still
hungry, and I ate more
of the stories until I ingested
the flesh of my own thoughts
from a cup put to my lips,
                    for a moment,
for only the briefest moment,
before that scent of pine purged
the vile dregs from my mouth.
I did not want to eat that
story. But a holy wind blew
me deeper into the pages to a place
on a hill. The smell of pine
now heavier on my nose. There,
the parchment stained & torn.
                    I wept as I tried to read.
I could not see the words,
for my eyes were blurred
in the rain—a scarlet rain
washing me and all
the bitterness I had tasted.
And when it was finished…
the sky wasn’t broken anymore.

NEVER INTO – Poem by Sharon Fernando

I was never into conspiracy theories
Until they began stealing powerful black beings
With real voices, and real dreams
uplifting communities, doing positive things
Muted by sudden deaths, shootings and accidents
Spirits too broken to notice this is no
coincidence

Promoting ownership of talent and property
Securing future generations with the
promise of the same opportunities
as the “privileged” majority

Continue reading NEVER INTO – Poem by Sharon Fernando

Why Bother Writing? – by Deborah Levine

Why bother writing when technology does much of the work for us? Templates plan for us, spell-check edits for us, and there’s enough information online to produce a ocean of plagiarized work. It’s no surprise that technical and business writing skills are becoming lost arts. Yet, successful communication with colleagues, teams, and clients relies heavily on written memos, emails, reports, proposals, and evaluations. Professional development should include the development of writing skills, but rarely does.

Continue reading Why Bother Writing? – by Deborah Levine

Soldier’s Wife – Poem by Wesley Sims

She’d stopped counting the weeks and months
the stingy calendar doled out. Diminished
by tears, her anguish had dimmed some,
feelings that had raged like rain-swelled rapids,
about how he enlisted, leaving her and children
like orphans. Recruiters had pumped him
with speeches and patriotic songs, pretty
girls and liquor. But he would learn, verse

by daily verse, the gospel of war she’d taken
on testimony and faith—that war makes
a terrible mistress, tempting men with glory
and glamour, but feeding them empty bellies,
weary bones, bloody memories and mangled
bodies, and if fate chose them, a ticket home
with traumatized minds or missing limbs.

Continue reading Soldier’s Wife – Poem by Wesley Sims