Tag Archives: poem

Jealousy – by Jazmine LeBlanc

As I hold you in my arms
Your gentle tiny undulating body
Wrapped in comfort
I pray that you recognize
That your melanin I gave you is a gift and not a curse
So young yet society has already lied to you
Because they are jealous
Oh so jealous of your many shades of brown
ever changing hues that match the seasons
Jealous of the versatility of your curls and texture
That on a hot summer day your rows of corn keep you cool
Jealous of your curves that make any designer grab their sketch book
your full figure the inspiration for fall fashion
Jealous of your cooking, the deep ingrained recipes that let loose from your soul
Spices and seasonings that keep you warm in winter
Jealous of your ageless skin, those genes that you will thank me for later
When you look like you are still in the spring of life
I pray that you learn young to love yourself
So that you may live a full life embracing the gifts from your mother

Image credit:  Girl of color by Alexandr Ivanov (Pixabay)

GOTTA BE GRATEFUL – by Cynthia Young

I thank God my son was in California
In 1992
when the police looked down at him sitting
on the ground and said to the suburban shopper,
who called security and reported him.
“Is he the one?”

I thank God my son has white friends.
The fact that his friends were all doing the same thing—
making an action-packed testosterone video for school,
might have helped him some.
They let his friends do the explaining,
showed the po-lice
their guns weren’t real,
while my son held his head down on concrete,
his wrists handcuffed together
like the shackles of his ancestors.

They let him go with
a restraining order:

never enter our mall again

and I thank God it wasn’t
a restraining rope
in a community square
in Alabama
in 1892

or a bullet
in 2002,
from a real gun.

Image credit: Abstract art (Cyclone Zone Amoled Backgrounds)

i want to say something – by Johann van der Walt

i want to say something but then i think of food again

chewing the thick pieces of a privileged life is easier when its buttered by the comfort and bliss of the suburbs // dishes are served deboned and all crusts already cut off sweetly sinned and sprinkled slippery with deceit // on some occasions a stranger reflects back at me from the cutlery especially late at night when i feel the need to lie to myself // i tell myself that their uncooked problems do not outweigh my people’s thawed out mistakes // i greedily swallow the marrow of a smooth history // what is politics nowadays but an aftertaste anyway?

i say let’s move on and forget about what happened in the past // we need the bad taste of this meal to dissipate for my white-skin sake // i should try to understand that it is not as easy if the leftovers bite back and break the hand that holds the plate // empathy is what i lack and i can’t seem to understand their hate // desperately they chew on sinews while covered by reluctant skin // they try to disguise whatever freedom they could salvage under candlelight

i say let’s put our disadvantages behind us even if i disown to this day // please forget about your shortcomings and my free-flow // i say I know the reasons for a black man crying in the rain // his incessant hunger for a mother and the will to simply co-exist but never have i invited him to dine at my dinner table never have i envisioned this // do i understand what martin luther meant when in me he searched for a brother and not just a friend?

tomorrow i see black lives matter protests on the news and all empathy dissipate // why i want to justify it to read only all lives matter is a representation of my blind faith // to survive i have to make myself believe that the world’s greatest never die in vain

Image credit: Artwork by Johann van der Walt

The Morels – by Marilyn Kallet

They were a neighborhood
family of mushrooms

living right down by
the side of the house.

I would have trampled
them, but my ecologist

spouse tenderly
brought them in,

cleaned, then
fried them in butter

and Sauvignon Fumé.
A heady smell arose,

woodsy flavors
emerged from the pan.

Those knobby ones
urged me to taste

more. Sure, we’re
cloistered, closed in,

but the morels
made me see that Freud

wasn’t wrong. I mean,
look at them, poking up

out of the ground
like that.

Image credit: Painting by Christopher William Pell inspired by the Marilyn Kallet poem, “The Morels”

DO NOT RESUSCITATE – by Howard Gerald Comen

The Hippocratic Oath
Has an expiration date
My Mom and John both
Suffered the same fate

Do Not Resuscitate
They will just let you die
At 95 she’s expendable
They won’t even try

She birthed two kids
She broke two ribs
Had a cancer scare
But Nobody Cares

My friend’s brother died
He was only 59
The hospital refused to operate
Saying he didn’t cooperate

They accused him of stopping chemo
In reality he just ran out of dough
Another hospital agreed
To take him after 3 weeks
But he died on the two-hour ride

Image credit: The Scientific Student

Corporal Hitler’s Show Dog – by Michael Gaspeny

During the Great War, Hitler rescued a terrier
sniffing oil in a crater. The dog lapped water
from Adolf’s palm, slid under his coat, snout
poking through the holes. Adolf named the boy
Fuchsl (The Fox) and taught him to entertain.

Climbing ladders and springing backwards,
Fuchsl brought the Big Top to the trenches.
A smitten lieutenant asked to buy him;
Adolf declined. But when Fuchsl was barred
from a troop train, the officer grabbed the dog.

Why couldn’t machine-gun fire
have aerated the future Fuehrer
as it soon riddled the lieutenant?
Why couldn’t Adolf, instead of Fuchsl,
have inspected a stick grenade?

I have faith the answers await me
at the Will Call window,
when I’m dragged away.

Image credit: Hitler Portrait 4 (a Nazi Third Reich Wallpaper Image from the Historical collection of ayay.co.uk) has been colorized and sumperimposed with silhouettes of a terrier pursuing a rat.

Editor’s Note: The story about Hitler’s first dog as depicted in the poem:

Hitler’s first dog came to him when he was in the trenches during World War I. A small white Jack Russell terrier, apparently the property of an English soldier, was chasing a rat and inadvertently jumped in the trenches where Hitler was stationed. Hitler caught the terrier and made the dog his own. He called him Fuchsl, meaning Little Fox. Over twenty years later, Hitler would remember, “How many times at Fromelles, during the First World War, I studied my dog Fuchsl… I used to watch him as if he’d been a man. It was crazy how fond I was of the beast.”

In August of 1917, while Hitler’s regiment was on the way to Alsace for rest, a railroad official offered Hitler 200 marks for Fuchsl. Hitler refused, saying, “You could give me two hundred thousand and you wouldn’t get him!” But after Hitler had left the station with the troops, Hitler couldn’t find Fuchsl and realized that his cherished dog had been taken. “I was desperate,” he said, “the swine who stole my dog doesn’t know what he did to me.” [Ref. https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/heel-hitler]

The Sweet Harvest – by Chris Wood

A hawk shadows the lawn,
shades my view
where honeybees hover clover
scattered in the grass, gathering.

Laden with yellow pods of pollen
clinging to their back legs,
I watch them disappear into the hive.

The rusty beehive smoker puffs
as my dad, clad in his sting-proof suit,
walks slowly to the three-tiered honey keeper.

He lifts the metal telescoping roof
to 10 wood frames filled with wax covered goodness,
pulls them out one by one,
and slings the soul of the hive into mason jars.

As I spread the fruits of their labor
on a piece of wheat toast
cradled in my hand,
for a brief moment, I am
surrounded by buzzing, wings fanning
until all that is left
is the pure golden nectar of the gods.

Image credit: Honey photography by Bea Abascal