Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Occupying Mumia’s Cell

By Alice Walker

I Sing of Mumia
brilliant and strong
and of the captivity
that
few black men escape
if they are as free
as he has become.

What a teacher he is for all of us.

Nearly thirty years in solitary
and still,
Himself.

He will die himself.
A black man;
whom many consider to be
a Muslim, though this is not
how he narrows down
the  criss-crossing paths of
his soul’s journey.
Perhaps it is simpler
to call him
a lover of truth
who refuses
to be silenced.
Is anything more persecuted
in this land?

No boots will be allowed
of course
so he will not
die with them on;
but there will always be
boots
of the mind and spirit
and of the heart and soul.

His will be black and shining
(or maybe the color of rainbows)
and they will sprout wings.

Mumia
they have decided
finally
not to kill you
hoping no blood will
stain their hands
at the tribunal
of the people;
but to let you continue
to die slowly
creating and singing
your own songs
as you pace
alone,  sometimes terrorized,
for decades of long nights
in your small cage
of a cell.

We lament our impotence: that we have failed
to get you out of there.

Your regal mane may have thinned
as our locks too, those flags of  our self sovereignty, may even have
disappeared;
waiting out this unjust sentence,
until we, like you, have become old.
Still,
if you will: accept our gratitude
that you stand, even bootless,
on your feet.  We see
that few of those around us,
well shod and walking, even owning, the streets
are freed.

Somehow you have been.

Enough to remind us
of freedom’s devout
internal and
ineradicable seed.

What a magnificent Lion
you have been all these
disastrous years
and still are,
indeed.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The poet must die

By Don Mattera

For James Matthews and Gladys Thomas after their poems were executed

The poet must die
her murmuring threatens their survival
her breath could start the revolution;
she must be destroyed

Ban her
Send her to the Island
Call the firing-squad
But remember to wipe her blood
From the wall,
Then destroy the wall
Crush the house
Kill the neighbours

If their lies are to survive
The poet must die

Friday, March 20, 2015

Solar Eclipse

By Gustan Koumantaros

Once
in a while

our orbits
cross

and we
dance

until
the day

is night.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shema/V'ahavta

Shema
Hear, Israel, you are of God and God is one.
Praise the name that speaks us through all time.

V'ahavta
So you shall love what is holy with all your courage, with all your passion
with all your strength.
Let the words that have come down
shine in our words and our actions.
We must teach our children to know and understand them.
We must speak about what is good
and holy within our homes
when we are working, when we are at play,
when we lie down and when we get up.
Let the work of our hands speak of goodness.
Let it run in our blood
and glow from our doors and windows.

We should love ourselves, for we are of God.
We should love our neighbors as ourselves.
We should love the stranger, for we
were once strangers in the land of Egypt
and have been strangers in all the lands of the world since.
Let love fill our hearts with its clear precious water.
Heaven and earth observe how we cherish or spoil our world.
Heaven and earth watch whether we choose life or choose death.
We must chose life so our children's children may live.
Be quiet and listen to the still small voice within that speaks in love.
Open to that voice, hear it, heed it and work for life.
Let us remember and strive to be good.
Let us remember to find what is holy within and without.


By Marge Piercy

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Harlem

By Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ego

By Denise Duhamel

I just didn’t get it—
even with the teacher holding an orange (the earth) in one hand
and a lemon (the moon) in the other,
her favorite student (the sun) standing behind her with a flashlight.
I just couldn’t grasp it—
this whole citrus universe, these bumpy planets revolving so slowly
no one could even see themselves moving.
I used to think if I could only concentrate hard enough
I could be the one person to feel what no one else could,
sense a small tug from the ground, a sky shift, the earth changing gears.
Even though I was only one mini-speck on a speck,
even though I was merely a pinprick in one goosebump on the orange,
I was sure then I was the most specially perceptive, perceptively sensitive.
I was sure then my mother was the only mother to snap,
“The world doesn’t revolve around you!”
The earth was fragile and mostly water,
just the way the orange was mostly water if you peeled it,
just the way I was mostly water if you peeled me.
Looking back on that third grade science demonstration,
I can understand why some people gave up on fame or religion or cures—
especially people who have an understanding
of the excruciating crawl of the world,
who have a well-developed sense of spatial reasoning
and the tininess that it is to be one of us.
But not me—even now I wouldn’t mind being god, the force
who spins the planets the way I spin a globe, a basketball, a yoyo.
I wouldn’t mind being that teacher who chooses the fruit,
or that favorite kid who gives the moon its glow.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

One Day

One day after another -
They all fit.
Perfectly.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Travel

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I'd rather take,
No matter where it's going.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wildpeace

By Yehuda Amichai

Not the peace of a cease-fire,
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather
as in the heart when the excitement is over
and you can talk only about a great weariness.
I know that I know how to kill,
that makes me an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be
light, floating, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds —
who speaks of healing?
(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)

Let it come
like wildflowers,
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.

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