POEM: #SaveTheChief

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#SaveTheChief

 

I don’t even know where to begin.

Chief Wahoo is not offensive by any means.

One hundred years of racism is enough in Cleveland Ohio.

When was the last time you saw a Native American as good looking as Wahoo?

And he’s completely red; are you kidding me?

HA! HA! Laugh at those injuns

… then everybody shows up acting like a stereotypical version of that race.

Let’s do the Florida State chop, only for real. Send these whiners to big cloud in sky and finish the job.

Their faces are painted.

“This isn’t racism.”

They’re wearing feathers.

You guys need to go home–

                     “We’re not going away.”

–because we support the Indians.

a lot of them say they’re just honoring us.

I think the Indians would be proud of the fact–

I don’t feel honored.

that we’re sitting here, putting their name on shirts,–

I don’t think it’s honoring us in the least.

on jerseys,

It’s very hurtful.

on billboards…”

“I’ve got the smiling face of racism smiling right back at me.”

“This isn’t racism.”

You make this any other racial group,–

Native Americans are a bunch of pussies,–

where you do a ridiculous caricature like that,–

go back to your tipis and cry me a river.

people get it right away. “Oh, that’s racist.”

… get over it. Go light some torches

It’s very hurtful.

“…Chief Wahoo. Whether you guys like it or not,

it’s going to stay”

Rip chief wahoo

 

#

*found poetry created with quotes from Twitter via the #SaveTheChief hashtag, and video quotes from protests and interviews. I apologize that some of the language is racist; the entire poem is composed of quoted material. By arranging the material of different people at different times concerning a single issue, I hoped to give the impression of a conversation between the two sides of the Chief Wahoo issue.

**photo credit via Parson Frown (@peterpattakos) on Twitter

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POEM: Spiritual Matter

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Spiritual Matter

 

If Spirit is the immortal

part of ourselves,

the essence of our being,

Matter is Spirit.

 

Where else would our essence lie

but in our deepest parts?

Deeper than the cells of our skin

that flake off with touch and time,

becoming the dust breathed by the world.

 

Deeper than the muscles beneath

that shrink and grow with age and years,

the smooth use that pumps them large,

the slow stretches, the proteins

building the ability to push and pull

and leap and bound and even lie down

when life becomes too much.

 

Deeper than the cells making up

each separate part, each particle,

each electron, each quark

of up, down, strange, charm, bottom,

and top–their varied homogeneity

unites us with all. The dung beetle with

it’s beautiful shimmering body,

the dullest bird gracing the heavens,

the plastic bag floating discarded

in far-reaching oceans, each

unappreciated dandelion gracing

a freshly mown lawn with sunlight-

yellow petals, until it rides the wind

as cotton seedlings–visceral swan song

embodying the paradox

of uncreated creation.

 

We all come from each other.

Atoms are celestial: our

common building blocks

compose our infinite variety,

We are made of star stuff.

 

Materialism is Spiritual.

 

We share each other’s lives.

We breathe in each other’s essence.

There is nothing deeper

than realizing how our impermanence

permanently imprints us

on each other.

 

 

 

*image by keikannui via openclipart.org using Creative Commons licensing.

 

POEM: Why I Hate Christmas

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Why I Hate Christmas

 

I love brightly colored gifts

with shiny foil ribbons and stockings

filled with tiny plastic toys that make small children smile.

 

I support charity,

the clink of silver coins dropped into a collection can,

donating time to those less fortunate along with extra cans of food.

 

I adore singing songs

unheard in the shower or off-key

at 60 mph as my dashboard thrums to the beat.

 

I crave feasts of warm bread,

family favorites, and sweet steaming pudding

with chocolate skin you pierce with a fork to get at the good stuff.

 

I long for peace on Earth,

wish goodwill towards others;

hold the door open for strangers,

and try to understand my fellow man.

 

But I hate the idea that one time of year

is the right time, the best time, the required time

to do any or all these things.

 

I detest the pressure to sing happy holiday tunes

we’ve heard a thousand times before, loathe the open hand

at every store, the downward glance as you shift by

when you have no cash to give, detest the obligation

for feasts and gifts no matter how thin one’s wallet.

 

Forced gifts aren’t gifts.

A gift can only be given if it’s not required.

 

Give because you want to,

because giving is its own joy.

Sing because your heart is full or breaking.

Bake cookies because you crave sweetness,

because others hunger for kindness.

 

Don’t wait for a season,

make everyday the reason

to feel what you want,

be what you want,

do what you want

to make the world better–

 

or else

what’s the point?

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

**I hope you enjoyed my mildly ranty Christmas poem. If you celebrate Christmas this year, I hope you have a lovely holiday!

 

POEM: Windows

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“Windows”

In the neverending heat of a South Florida childhood with no other season except Hurricane, I dreamt of snow, of patting down snowballs into hard spheres to throw at my compatriots from behind white walls guarded by coal-eyed snowmen sniffing out trouble with carrot noses. Snow angels hovered in my dreams, bright shapes made real by throwing myself into clouds of frozen heaven dust upon waking to a Florida morning that never came.

Now, my dreams come true on this Ohio dawn, with the first snow drifting outside my bedroom window frosting trees like cupcakes, the ground ever more white, as though Thor dusted dandruff from his beard to coat the world. The flakes fall heavier, thick pale globes, hiding the grass, the trees, the warm gifts my dogs leave on the lawn like offerings to winter gods. In the snow, everything becomes new and beautiful.

Inside my house, my heater hums comfort. I snuggle under warm quilts.

I wonder if those without windows share my joy.

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

POEM: Elegy for the Circus

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“ELEGY FOR THE CIRCUS”

 

No more clowns, corpse-white skin,

blackened eyes, and red leaking lips,

to frighten infants with ludicrous stunts

and thickly painted cracked faces

 

No more weeping elephants, tears cutting lines in rough skin

No more grey-skinned babes separated from mourning mothers

 

No more tigers pacing cages too small for predators meant to run,

to race, to track down prey, to rip flesh between their teeth

 

No more lions teased with the heads of their masters

thrust into hungry mouths, teased with the illusion

of freedom and a hot meal with a beating heart

 

No more X-square feet per animal, less than zoo standards,

less than any wild beast was meant to live in, to pace in, to die in,

 

No more creatures forced to perform

before children dripping ice cream and disinterest

 

 

 

#

For those of you fortunate enough to live in Northeast Ohio, there are two writing events tomorrow (October 13th) in the Cleveland area.

Literary Cleveland’s October Poetry workshop takes place from 10:30-12:30 at the Cleveland Main Library, led by poet Kisha Nicole Foster.

Indie Author Conference and Showcase takes place from 10am- 4pm at the Cuyahoga County Library’s Parma-Snow branch.

Both events are free, which is INCREDIBLE. I’ve attended both events at different times in the past and readily vouch for how inspiring and helpful both are. Unfortunately, they overlap, so you will need to choose which event you want to attend this year.

If you can take advantage of these events, please do so. They are well worth the drive!

 

*It should come as no surprise that I’m not a fan of circuses, and so this prompt from last year’s National Poetry Writing Month really inspired me.

**image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net via Creative Commons License

POEM: I Remember

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I Remember

 

Seventeen years ago

the world changed

 

my world changed

 

Seventeen years ago

I held my infant son in my arms

as I watched the buildings burn

across every channel

 

as I watched the planes

hit the towers again

and again

and again

 

as I watched the billowing black smoke

the ash of the fallen

of the thrown

of the incinerated

 

of those who threw

their own lives away

to snatch the lives of innocents

for the crime working in a country they hated

 

I remember watching footage

on tv of people in foreign lands

dancing and cheering at the news of so many lives lost

and wondering why

 

I remember watching the face

of the child in my arms

and wondering

what kind of world he would live in

 

the same wondering I felt

when I had watched the news days after his birth

the news of the newborn babe found in a dumpster

his life thrown away

 

the same wondering I felt

when a gunman shot up kindergartners

looking forward to Christmas parties

and frosted glittery cupcakes

 

the same wondering I felt

when students shot up their high school,

then themselves, shooting

for simultaneous oblivion and notoriety

 

the same wondering I felt

when Batman fans died

crouching on floors and hiding behind seats

for the sin of making it to opening night

 

the same wondering I felt

when a middle schooler one district over

shot himself in his school’s bathroom,

imagining his blood splattered on floors and walls

 

the same wondering I felt

when a couple from my son’s own high school

shot themselves in the woods outside his friend’s home

not ten minutes away

 

the same wondering I felt

when I thought of those other families,

of the victims, heroes, loved ones,

of children growing up without mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers

 

the same wondering I feel

when I think how easily it could be me

 

 

 

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons license

**The above poem is dedicated to the families and victims of September 11th, as well as the victims of violence around the world throughout the years. May your loved ones never be forgotten. May you always be safe and free.

 

 

POEM: Spread Love like Mustard

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“Spread Love like Mustard”

Spread love like mustard
on a reality sandwich,
Lay it on thick and strong.
Slice time in thin layered segments,
press those moments together
Sweet and sour, tart and spicy
Raspberry preserve minutes on
Sauerkraut days.

Consume all at once or pull off
the bits we like best: Relish them.

Crunch through each delicious layer.
Let each bite fill us, make us whole.

 

*inspired by a FB post on May 1st, 2018 from Kisha Nicole Foster.