Poem for the day

Forsaken Laws

I like the laws of the land
When they are clear and simple
Red light stop
Green light go
Yet even a law as simple as that
Is broken every day

Like our legal system
We set our internal beliefs
Into stone (our own laws)
Immutable till they are inconvenient

I never eat sugar
Ah, but today is your birthday
I’ll have just one bite

When I was a little girl
Upset at the injustice of being
A tormented younger sister
I would run to my mother for comfort
And was sent to my room
Till I was “done crying”

I made a rule
My sadness was bad
So I went inside myself
Whenever I hurt

This rule became a law
Don’t feel, don’t feel
But I felt the world
Intensely

Caterpillars dissolving into
Themselves to become butterflies
Made my skin crawl
Don’t feel!

Don’t you dare cry
I broke that law over and over
My spirit began to break with it
One tear at a time

Dissolving my defenses until
A crack began to form
I covered that gap with
Duct tape and chicken wire

Still, I couldn’t contain the tears
Which over the years rusted the wires
New law!

Don’t let that crack get bigger
Don’t be too loud or too much
And whatever you do
Don’t let your heart break

Decades passed
The tape tattered
The wire frayed
The law held!

And then one day
There were redwood trees
And sun-dappled light
There was laughter
A bushy red squirrel tail

Purple irises pushed
Up through the wintered soil
The aliveness of it all
Burst through my being
A great wave of love

Snap!
Just like that the wires split
The tape dissolved
My law spilled out onto the
Forest floor

My cracked heart that became a chasm
Bared to the Spring warmth
Felt it
Felt that wave

I made a new law that day
Love life with a capital L
Love humanity
Love the earth
Love my self
Love Big
Love Wild
L-O-V-E

And yes, even that law I have
Broken again and again
But it’s a law I like
It’s clear and simple

- Sally Churgel
5 Likes

Thank you, Larry, for posting this poem. Who doesn’t love love?

Sally Churgel’s evocative verses show how love fills the fissures in broken hearts, broken laws.

“Clear and simple” and “A law that I like” resonate with me

I have such laws to live by:

The-TWIN-Commandments-by-imagiNed-com

1 Like

Thank you, Larry. As LauraFromTownsy noted in today’s newsletter:

For many years, Larry Robinson posted a poem every day for the enjoyment of WaccoBB readers. Today, he posted his first poem on Townsy Cafe. We’re so excited! Read it here.

As a newcomer to Townsy Cafe (and not ever having been on WaccoBB) I am inspired, encouraged, challenged to open a topic daily posting “poetic” postcards.

Artsy Postcard Memes for the Day

2 Likes

Acres Of Ancestry

As long as I have a pig and garden, no one can tell me what to do.

—Fannie Lou Hamer

Mine our lineages

You will find fortitude and insistence

I grew up on Heirs Property

A family blessing and a United States problem

Took 15 years for me to come back down

My granddaddy’s dirt road and see

His wild green field free

And Black like me

Secretly purchased marshland

From his father who was born a sharecropper

My daddy tells me how my grandma and granddaddy

Turned a swamp into firm land for a house

Hogs, cows, vegetables, broom grass, and chickens

How Granddaddy Silas did this with mental

And soul injuries on brown and Pall Mall since age 13

How Grandma Lizzie listened to neighbor stories on the porch

How her children and granddaddy watched fields reap

How she prayed over our family

How they knew the land like God

Now

I’m thinking about the Combahee River Raid and Ma Tubman

How she kept saying:

My people ARE free

Now

My mind is jumping loops of Grandma Thelma boiling pine

“Trust a doctor for who?”

How one day the police pulled up the drive and I watched

With eight-year-old eyes as granddaddy said, “Get the Hell

Off this land” No blink

How my kin and the Earth ground me

Make me ask what’s 12

When I’m seeing 20/20

And the neon sign of stars read:

Sankofa: The Land says return to me

Sankofa: The Land says return to me

Sankofa: Mine your lineage for fortitude

I insist

Ain’t nothing wrong with us

But we been contortin’ and bendin’ Black

To earn our way to freedom

But these days

The little one and I are outside

Growing squash and sage in grandma and granddaddy’s field

We watch the birds

We sway with the pine

Seem like every time

I go outside I find

An artifact

Smooth blue glass, oyster shells, and brick

The USDA got rules and regulations

We mine our lineages for fortitude and insistence

In this place of European land grants

Black codes and unjust generational wealth

We are a listening people

Who know without having to speak

And we don’t mind watching the wind do work

Clear as day, in a vision, my Granddaddy Silas comes to me:

Chile, who you asking for freedom?

Don’t you know how to aim?

How to grow?

Don’t you know you Black as God

As the dirt all green grows up out of?

Don’t you know buildings go up and down every day?

Nature can takeover all dem ting dem folk

Worshippin’ and you ain’t a thing beggin’ to be seen, chile, BREATHE

You was born free

  • Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul
4 Likes

Guide
His gaunt bent walking-stick frame

draped with hunter’s-plaid shirt

and scout’s awareness,

he holds her flaccid hand with his right,

her long-handled purse dangling from his left,

as he leads her

like a father his slow but precious child

out of the car,

onto her unsteady feet,

up the curb,

along the walk to the blood lab.

As if to make up for her vacant face

her hesitant body

from which identity has long since escaped,

he says hello to the passing stranger

cordially but undeterred from his task:

preserving her emptied shell

on the altar of long-ago vows,

breathing hope onto the cool gray embers

of ancient fires,

remembering what she has forgot,

teaching us what love is.

  • Vilma Ginzberg
1 Like

Brings tears to my eyes, I can relate so tenderly.

For the last three years I cared for my mom, night and day. It was not even a choice; it was my sacred mission.

Before that, when she could still leave the house, though her gait and mind were faltering, I was constantly by her side. Everywhere we went, I held her hand. I told her I would not let her be embarrassed in public about her decline. I said, “Don’t you worry, mom, I will be your cane and I will be your brain.”

“I remember stories she has forgotten, and I tell them to her, so she can relive them once again.”
Frances and Ned, June 30, 2018

1 Like

Looking Into the Heart of God

There’s this girl over here, she’s heading down to skid row

She fell down on her rent and now she’s on her knees —

her beau says he’ll keep her safe in his car — for now

but only if…

She’s looking for work — “Anything will do — I want to pay

back the loan — I’ll make it good. I just want to do my

laundry so I can look for a job. Can you help me?”

I meet her at the laundromat, give her a leather coat with

$40 in the pocket and a note — “Call me if you’re not safe.”

A man calls me on the phone — he wants a bonsai —

“It needs to be either an azalea or a crabapple,” he says.

“I have both,” I say — “How big? How much? Will you ship?

“I need it for Christmas — to give to my daughter — She’s

Thirteen. I was thirteen when I started with bonsai.

Do you understand?” “The trees choose us,” I say.

“I understand.” I understand you are dying.

I understand it’s her dowry. I understand you love her.

These are my days now. I watch them unfold like

petals on a flower. In the morning I pray —

“How can I help You today?” Then I watch what comes

across my path — I’m here to notice things — people

mostly — and pay attention. I notice with the eyes of God.

She’s Russian — the perfectly modulated speech does not hide

the vestiges of learning to speak in her native tongue.

He’s Oklahoman — or Texan — politeness rolls off the tongue

like music. How did he start in bonsai? I forget to ask —

entranced by the vision of a young boy on a quest…

The tree fits perfectly in the shipping container. The

weather will be mild for two days — it must

travel on land because trees can’t fly — there’s not enough air

for their wings to float…

My days are pierced by the sound of quiet wind breathing

through the trees. The birds alight on their tiny boughs.

They are happy to be here. The trees are singing.

  • Lucy Davenport
1 Like

That is so beautiful, Ned. And what a beautiful photo. I was surprised that as my mother got older and older (she was a 101 when she died) and even as her memory faltered, she was always essentially herself. I don’t know why that surprised me, but it did.

Notes on a Stay in a Hospital Quarantine Cell

December 27, 2020

I swallow my pride and it tastes like honey and salt.

The air has embraced my private body and has approved, and it quietly rejoices in its revelations and the liberation of its childlike spills and neediness. How I reach to love it suddenly, this stranger I’ve kept in a fifties New Jersey suitcase, only removing it for one afternoon on a nude fire island beach.

Now it is truly liberated in a small windowless quarantine room in North Carolina.

The machines behind me beep, shining little christmas trees, watching my pulses, systems, and disturbances like grandmothers, occasionally clucking, unfashionably faithful through the night. I am pinned head to toe to a proud family of counters, weighers, and witnesses. This little womb and its divine protocols.

Shame is peeled from the human body when the body is wet with sweet tears and shocking love. It has suckers like snails and they make marks. The shameless body houses the soul proudly instead of shrouding it.

My mother tells me I began to walk on my first birthday. Today I took steps alone from the commode to the bed, to the applause of my caregiver. Eighty years has incensed up in a laughing swirl of smudge smoke. A laughing swirl of smudge smoke and ageless birthday courage.

Echoing a hated preachment, I see that my life is just where it belongs, that mistakes are potholes filled in with diamonds.

If this dream goes away in the glare and blare of rough reality I will lovingly remember it the way I recall my dying mother squeezing my hand that is now identical to hers. My tenderness spills over in tears of recognition and reconciliation.

Message from a Quarantine Room.

Little womb of a room.

  • Patricia G. Horan

After testing positive with COVID one week earlier, Patricia Horan, has passed away.

This was her final poem, written with insistence and ferocity via text from her hospital bed according to her friend Elizabeth Sabo.

1 Like

Blessings to you, Laura, for your compassion and for having been there with your mother, fully present, until her demise at 101. A further blessing that she never interrupted a conversation at the table to look at you blankly and ask, “Where’s Ned?” :sob:

Well, right at the end, she did do that a couple of times, but weirdly she still seemed herself. When I said, “I’m Laura,” she said, with complete aplomb, “Of course you are. I know that.” So her, lol.

1 Like

Out The Window

The pear tree has opened its doors.

What, this season, does the couturier bring?

What new fashion? What robe unforeseen?

Do its boughs bear turkeys or onions or swords?

They bring, in sacred repetition, the same dress

They bring, in sacred repetition, the same dress

as before. White, delicate, old-fashioned.

Yet surprising as words. Surprising as windows.

And as swords.

- Bruce Moody
3 Likes

Walking Through a Wall

Unlike flying or astral projection, walking through walls is a totally earth-related craft, but a lot more interesting than pot making or driftwood lamps. I got started at a picnic up in Bowstring in the northern part of the state. A fellow walked through a brick wall right there in the park. I said “Say, I want to try that.” Stone walls are best, then brick and wood. Wooden walls with fiberglass insulation and steel doors aren’t so good. They won’t hurt you. If your wall walking is done properly, both you and the wall are left intact. It is just that they aren’t pleasant somehow. The worst things are wire fences, maybe it’s the molecular structure of the alloy or just the amount of give in a fence. I don’t know, but I’ve torn my jacket and lost my hat in a lot of fences. The best approach to a wall is, first, two hands placed flat against the surface; it’s a matter of concentration and just the right pressure. You will feel the dry, cool inner wall with your fingers, then there is a moment of total darkness before you step through to the other side.

- Louis Jenkins

Seekers Far Away

you just got home

rain’s coming or

snow’s on the way

or you wake

before sunrise

you haven’t seen

some friends since

sheltering in place

and soon Christmas

soon the end of

this heavy year

stars are aligned

the astrologer says

yet it is the fact

the particular nature

of how we relate

that is let’s say

written now

in the stars and

foretold by the cards

so when you went

to the desert again

the moon rose

drifting above low hills

alluvial fans and

the ghosts of old

miners, prospectors

seekers far away

return to dark

canyons of the mind

saying it’s time

without bells or

even whistles

just a soft hum

at the entrance near

stones and boulders

your canyon

beyond which

knowledge as

power waits

and you say

nothing but

you strengthen

your ties to

the sacred

the elegant

when you speak

finally of

this earth

the planets and

star, stars, stars,

then you acknowledge

you are ready now

  • Jack Crimmins

Daffodils

There is a mood, perhaps it is a dark mood

and happiness feels out of reach

as does love

You see the other through this darkness

discouragement settling in

finding fault with everything

Hopelessness brings a rotting sour

to everything tasted

Meaning, elusive, seems to live

only in the lives of others.

If only the daffodils randomly blooming

could capture the imagination

long enough to suspend the muddy mood

with their beckoning faces

They would call out

See me, Choose me, Hold me

and bring a glimmer of happiness

that widens the world

  • Dyana Foldvary

I Am Waiting

I am waiting for my case to come up

and I am waiting

for a rebirth of wonder

and I am waiting for someone

to really discover America

and wail

and I am waiting

for the discovery

of a new symbolic western frontier

and I am waiting

for the American Eagle

to really spread its wings

and straighten up and fly right

and I am waiting

for the Age of Anxiety

to drop dead

and I am waiting

for the war to be fought

which will make the world safe

for anarchy

and I am waiting

for the final withering away

of all governments

and I am perpetually awaiting

a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming

and I am waiting

for a religious revival

to sweep thru the state of Arizona

and I am waiting

for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored

and I am waiting

for them to prove

that God is really American

and I am waiting

to see God on television

piped onto church altars

if only they can find

the right channel

to tune in on

and I am waiting

for the Last Supper to be served again

with a strange new appetizer

and I am perpetually awaiting

a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called

and I am waiting

for the Salvation Army to take over

and I am waiting

for the meek to be blessed

and inherit the earth

without taxes

and I am waiting

for forests and animals

to reclaim the earth as theirs

and I am waiting

for a way to be devised

to destroy all nationalisms

without killing anybody

and I am waiting

for linnets and planets to fall like rain

and I am waiting for lovers and weepers

to lie down together again

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed

and I am anxiously waiting

for the secret of eternal life to be discovered

by an obscure general practitioner

and I am waiting

for the storms of life

to be over

and I am waiting

to set sail for happiness

and I am waiting

for a reconstructed Mayflower

to reach America

with its picture story and tv rights

sold in advance to the natives

and I am waiting

for the lost music to sound again

in the Lost Continent

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day

that maketh all things clear

and I am awaiting retribution

for what America did

to Tom Sawyer

and I am waiting

for Alice in Wonderland

to retransmit to me

her total dream of innocence

and I am waiting

for Childe Roland to come

to the final darkest tower

and I am waiting

for Aphrodite

to grow live arms

at a final disarmament conference

in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting

to get some intimations

of immortality

by recollecting my early childhood

and I am waiting

for the green mornings to come again

youth’s dumb green fields come back again

and I am waiting

for some strains of unpremeditated art

to shake my typewriter

and I am waiting to write

the great indelible poem

and I am waiting

for the last long careless rapture

and I am perpetually waiting

for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn

to catch each other up at last

and embrace

and I am awaiting

perpetually and forever

a renaissance of wonder

  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti

(3/24/1919-2/22/21)

3 Likes

Oh shoot, I should have put this in the newsletter! I’ll get it in tomorrow.

The Work Of The Poet Is To Name What Is Holy

The work of the poet

is to name what is holy:

the spring snow

that hides unevenness

but also records

a dog walked at lunchtime,

the hieroglyphs of birds,

pawprints of a life

tiny but resolute;

how, like Russian dolls,

we nest in previous selves;

the lustrous itch

that compels an oyster

to forge a pearl,

or a poet a verse;

the drawing on of evening

belted at the waist;

snowfields of diamond dust;

the cozy monotony

of our days, in which

love appears with a holler;

the way a man’s body

has its own geography––

cliffs, aqueducts, pumice fields,

but a woman’s is the jungle,

hot, steamy, full of song;

the brain’s curiosity shop

filled with quaint mementos

and shadow antiques

hidden away in drawers;

the plain geometry

of you, me, and art––

our angles at rest

among shifting forms.

The work of the poet

is to name what is holy,

and not to mind so much

the pinch of words

to cope with memories

weak as falling buildings,

or render loss, love,

and the penitentiary

of worry where we live.

The work of the poet

is to name what is holy,

a task fit for eternity,

or the small Eden of this hour.

  • Diane Ackerman
2 Likes

Nina’s Blues

Your body, hard vowels

In a soft dress, is still.

What you can’t know

is that after you died

All the black poets

In New York City

Took a deep breath,

And breathed you out;

Dark corners of small clubs,

The silence you left twitching

On the floors of the gigs

You turned your back on,

The balled-up fists of notes

Flung, angry from a keyboard.

You won’t be able to hear us

Try to etch what rose

Off your eyes, from your throat.

Out you bleed, not as sweet, or sweaty,

Through our dark fingertips.

We drum rest

We drum thank you

We drum stay .

  • Cornelius Eady

Blood stains

I´ve washed many shirts

worn by my kids over the years.

Some sticky with chocolate after birthday parties

others sprinkled with funny water colors

or ink-blotched, mud-splashed,

grass-tinted, yoghurt splurted.

But no amount of washing prepared me for

a blood-stained shirt.

My teenage son had been out at night.

There had been a fight.

And those kindergarten boys with their cute backpacks

turned overnight into beastly males.

I had this image of all the other mothers like me

washing the blood from their son´s shirt in the morning

unbelieving, appalled

at those wounds that no amount of water

or silent tears, could rinse.

  • Virginia Francisco
2 Likes