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Archive for the 'Prose & Poetry' Category

On this overcast 4th of July …

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

zen

 

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again

………………………………………………………………………..

God Bless America.

She is ours and His. Never theirs and his.

xo, Angela

Dear You ….

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Today Means Amen

by Sierra DeMulder

Dear you,
Whoever you are,
However you got here,
This is exactly where you are supposed to be.

This moment has waited its whole life for you,
This moment is your lover,
And you are a solider,
Come home baby, it’s over,
You don’t need to suffer anymore.

Dear you,
This moment is a surprise party,
You are both hiding in the dark,
And walking through the door,
This moment is a Hallelujah,
This moment is your permission slip,
To finally open that love letter,
You’ve been hiding from yourself,
The one you wrote when you were little,
When you still danced like a sparkler at dusk,
Do you remember the moment you realised they were watching,
When you became ashamed of how much light you were holding,
When you first learned how to un-love yourself.

Dear you,
The word today, means amen in every language.
Today, we made it,
Today, I’m gonna love you,
Today, the box cutter will rust in the garbage,
Today, the noose will forget how to hold you,
Today,
Today.

Dear you,
And I have always meant, you.
Nothing would be the same if you did not exist.

You, who were once as small as bouquet,
Who could sleep in the laughs of strangers,
Nothing would be the same if you did not exist.

You, who’s voice is someone’s favourite voice,
Someone’s favourite face to wake up to,
Nothing would be the same if you did not exist.

You, the teacher,
The starters gun,
The lantern in the night who offers not a way home,
But the courage to travel farther into the dark.

You, the lover,
Who worships the taste of her body,
Who is the largest tree ring in his heart,
Who does not let fear ration your love.

You, the friend,
The sacred chorus of ‘How can I help you?’
Who have felt more numb than holy,
More cracked than mosaic,
Who has known the tiles of a bathroom by heart,
Who has forgotten what makes you worth it.

You, the forgiven,
The forgiver,
Who belongs right here, in this moment.

You, this clump of cells,
This happy explosion that happened to start breathing,
And by the grace of whatever is up there,
You got here,
You made it, this whole way,
Through the nights that swallowed you whole,
The mornings that arrived in pieces,
The scabs, the gravel,
The doubt, the hurt,

The hurt, the hurt,
Is over today,
You made it,
You made it,
You made it,
Here.

blessed be you

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

when she turns to you
her circumspect attentions
blessed be you

when she opens you up
her clever bemusement
blessed be you

blessed be you
unhinged and broke open
blessed be you
asymmetric and fervent

blessed be you
that your merits are counted
blessed be you
because your edges are rounded

when she gives to you
her urgent crooked love
blessed be you

when she drains from you
like a dark-eyed gypsy
blessed be you

blessed be you
un-creased and pressed flat
blessed be you
teetering and undone

blessed be you
wrung out and boiled down
blessed be you
buoyant and effervesced

blessed be you
sweet boy
for her blessings
these blessings that are yours to count

————————————————————

by yours truly,
xo, Angela

RIP our beloved Maya Angelou

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

On the Pulse of Morning

Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers–desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

________________________________

Maya Angelou lived a sacred life.  And even if you weren’t paying attention (I like to think I was paying attention, close attention) her lyrical prayers rained down upon you without you even knowing.

And that is what the everyday miracles of everyday life are all about.

xo, Angela

about this poem

always peacefully ours …

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Peace
by Ted Berrigan

What to do
when the days’ heavy heart
having risen, late
is the already darkening East
& prepared at any moment, to sink
into the West
surprises suddenly,
& settles, for a time,
at a lovely place
where mellow light spreads
evenly
from face to face?
The days’ usual aggressive
contrary beat
now softly dropped
into a regular pace
the head riding gently its personal place
where pistons feel like legs
on feelings met like lace.
Why,
take a walk, then,
across this town. It’s a pleasure
to meet one certain person you’ve been counting on
to take your measure
who will smile, & love you, sweetly, at your leisure.
And if
she turns your head around
like any other man,
go home
and make yourself a sandwich
of toasted bread, & ham
with butter
lots of it
& have a diet cola,
& sit down
& write this,
because you can.

______________________________

Thank you Mr. J. (my beautiful lover and writer of poetry) for sending me this beautiful poem.   It is all that I would wish for in my perfect day from dawn to dusk.

And thank you, Mr. Berrigan.