Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Poetry Garden is now open - plant a poem...

and the tender meat of ripe mangoes
My skin have bathe in crimson roses
And birth life
In a jungle of impossibilities
This body have
Rebirth scars
That lacerated the souls of thousands of warriors
Like an amazon
I fought my right to
Caress my wounds
And seed the pain
In kisses
engulf in the aroma of orchids

I breath cinnamon
Sweet coconut milk travels through my veins

Iam spicy peppers
Marinated in the warm
Sweet oil
Of ancient olives

Iam rhythms
Of conga
Bongos and clave
In every cellular DNA strand

Yemaya is my mother
My spirit is thunder

I create universes
One at a time

Iam the daughter
Of every dream
At any time

Iam what Iam.

A Unique

By Carmen Bardeguez-Brown

_ _ _ _

this river

i feel like a has been saxophone player
with eyes so narrow
like the slits used to make the eyes of papier mache' dolls
the Nile was created with the tears of Nefretiti's birth pains
this river i cry born of the pains of living
everyday life

to achieve this survival instinct
you have to want it; to taste it; to understand it enough
to loathe it

and when it's gone and the melody has stopped....
keep playing

somehow the tune blows melancholy
like the little girl who couldn't find the voice to speak to\
the issues of her time

how could she find her tongue
with the wind holding her down
like a rapist, strong and steadfast?
she doesn't struggle because she can't let them win

to let them win is to submit and let it carry you on to
unknown distances or
maybe it's because the officials forgot to mark down those trials of her life

therefore making her existence unofficial and obtrusive
so it was short and wiped out
in an instance
gone without a trace
who was she?

no wonder i feel like a has been saxophone player
the metal of my instrument is dull and rusted;
the death of its gold shine no longer
mirroring the reflection of a horrible reality

the one, i, like the little girl
may never grasp because
it's too slick in my hands from the blood
dripping for the cuts

incisions made by sharp tongues in cryptic tongues

i close my eyes and think about the papier mache' eyes
and wonder

whose hands cut them out.

By River Malik

© 2013

_ _ _ _

the shrink

                                    for arisa who showed me how

how many feet do i need
after i'm all grown up
and collecting since before?
how many feet do i need
when ads did their jobs well?
will these chairs hold hips
in pairs and table settings
feed multi-mouths?
if i count shoes, how many
pairs can any pair wear?
how many hats cover a head?
with books lined up from surface
to surface, side to side,
and art covering all other ends,
making painted backgrounds
forget their color.
how many feet do i need
for clothes that stretch
and define decades?
how large is 3600 square feet?
how small is 420 squared feet?
when i make naked walls,
and strip all cases,
can a foot shrink and
be small again?
when i hide my bed upright,
can a foot shrink and be small
again?  when i give away my books,
my art, and recycle my clothes,
use only my needs during
the course of one year?
can a foot shrink and
be small again?
how many feet can
i shrink before i am
just six feet under all?
By esther louise
_ _ _

2 AM

It was 2 AM
and she was
caught up in a whirlwind of conflicting emotions
wondering if he
was one she should give herself away to
haunted by the ghosts of relationships past
never forgetting the ones who had passed through
her walls
leaving their images imbedded there
at all hours
and now it was
2 AM
and she found herself
tired of repeating the same story over and over
looking for love
and finding none
exchanging sex for meaningless words
never to be heard from again
at 2 AM
and her clock was ticking
time was winding down
funny what desperation will drive a woman to do
when she’s done it all
read every book on how to think
how to act
and how to attract
the right man
hair done
nails filled
everything in place
but at 2 AM
she always finds herself in the same space
looking for love
that always escapes
her grasp

by Wynne Y. Henry
 _ _ _  

From Walking in New Shoes
Trust is a choice
A necessity to any entity
Foundational for building
The art of establishing 

It is a choice
In it, lies indescribable power
Without it the possibilities remain ambiguous
Like building a fortress on sinking sand
The root is unstable
It’s like a city with boundaries
Trust is a choice
Earned through actions
Yet lost in the gust of raging winds
And false perception
Guard it with discernment
Speak to it in wisdom
Search for it beneath the residue of your past
Understand its’ profundity
Trust is consciousness
Waiting to be
And at time regained
Trust is always a choice
It’s multi-dimensional
Whether we decide to trust
or we decide to be trustworthy
It is still a choice
By Téa M. Harmony
_ _ _

Authentically Me 


words that know joy

live in shattered windows
open to fresh air in the woods,



I write for me.

You keep saying life hurts

but I love my words to dance jazz.

It's me

Copyright © 2013 Patricia Philippe

- - - - - - - -


From above the hill
way, way out by the gully
gusting through coconut-palms
igniting the sweet scent of bay-leaf trees
rattling on paling fences
lending music to the songs of whistling frogs
the wild wind blew into my yard
chilled my naked body
taking a bath
my bath a wash-pan of water
       — outside in the night
black night, windy night
silent night, starlit night…

I looked towards the stars
pondering, quivering – doting…
the beautiful blackness
the quiet sublime
the fragrant leaves 
my body, sluicing wet in a sea of air
tickled vigorously by the wind…that bears
witness to my clean black naked body.

By Patsie Ifill

- - - - - - - -


Her scent entered
Before she and
Roses stood erect to
Take in the aroma. 

She was fragranced with
New birth. 
Crashing planets
Suckling stars for
Earth grew to
Walk her path. 

Eyes of crystal, orbed
Speak of futures I pray
Include me. 
Wishing to grow needs from
Wants that include
Blossoms of aspirations 
By a single glance. 

exceedingly beautiful
By human definition but
Gods bow at her heart's
Clamor for front seat views. 

I wish simply to
Know her beyond
The fake smiles
She put on for those
Enamored with physical
Caring little about
The woman within.

By Shye Sales

- - - - - - - - - - -


(for Jessica Tanay Andrews (1989-2010), and Marissa Alexander)

Marissa Alexander
a prophetess knew
what happened to Jessica
could happen to her too
so she armed herself with a gun
what else could she have done
Jessica, was strangled to death
by her abusive boyfriend
who got mad when
she said they were threw
At first he drew a knife
a man trained to kill
he had the skills to loop
his arm around her throat
until she saw gray spots
and then black spots
until she stopped breathing
But, not before the force
of his blow had knocked
her down on the floor and so
he lifted her up from where
she laid ripping three
braids from her head
all of this while she was
under a protection order
If Jessica had only known
what Marissa knows—
you can’t bring a piece
of paper to a knife
and fist fight—
you have to bring a gun
she might still be alive
Men are physically stronger than women
We need to arm ourselves for the fight
Men are physically stronger than women
If we don’t speak out
raise our voices against
men who beat and kill women
If Marissa isn’t set free
(cuz, she’s locked up unfairly)
women will continue to be raped,
strangled, shot, stalked, tied up,
knocked across the room, foaming
mouth, bitch, run over by a car,
scratches on our legs and face,
a black eye, fainting, locked up in a room,
screaming, stabbed 38 times, a pile of bones,
broken plates, crying, too embarrassed
to let my family know, stitches on the brow,
ambulance, sirens loud, lights flashing,
broken nose, busted lip, clinched fist,
up all night begging to live, shouting,
children watching behind closed doors,
hiding in the closet, peeping through
the keyhole, “I’m sorry baby,
I’ll never hit you again,” broken promises,
straddled and choked, eyes bulging,
teeth missing, sore, just so sore,
got to leave town, secrets, whisper,
dragged across the floor, punching,
until we’re all dead.

By Margie Shaheed
*Jessica Tanay Andrews is Margie’s niece. R.I.P.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Picture Perfect

Your mind is a blank
Coloring book,
And people are
The crayons:

Some crayons are sharp;
Thick outlines of purple,
Definition and precision,
Emphasizing every shape;

Some crayons are dull;
Crooked swirls and
Messy blotches of beige -
Wax smeared like finger paint;

Some crayons are broken,
Rubbing, blending,
Blue and gray,
Outside the lines;

Some crayons are melted,
Distorted and ugly;
Bright red consuming
The whole page like fire;

Some crayons are chipped,
Slashing each page
With jagged black lines,
Destroying the picture;

Choose crayons wisely to fill
Every page of your mind...
Favorite colors make your
Picture perfect.

By Victoria Shockley
Dads in the Lofts

My son’s friends’ daddies are men who ignore me, men who implore me
 busy artists and businessmen-- heads in deals

 too important or shy
 rich and angry, uneasy or occupied

They coach and they prod and they boast and they nod

They don’t want to know such opinionated women

The puffy ones in jeans

with visions complex, a little mean

These guys don’t try to get to know you

Their wives long-suffering, buffered or revered.

At their parties it’s as if I’m not even there

The men in the corner impress each other

The moms drink bubbly, complain, and laugh.

By Cheryl J. Fish



I am spent now.
Long past the time that I started
Nobody told me about potholes
So, here I sit with broken feet
And one smile I carry in my cheek

I am spent now.
At the long, wide crossroad I listen
Somebody tells me about roads
So, here I stand on crutches
As one smile I carry on my lips.

I am saved now.
In divine fulfillment of purpose
No more will my feet print pain on pitch roads
No more will my hands ink tears on tunnel walls
I am joy that sprinkles blessings amongst the people
And peace is planted and nurtured
Producing flowers of white and gold

Copyright © 2012 Nandi Keyi
Family Tree

I take you in little doses –sipping you slow
Adjust to your bitter flavor
As you roll over my tongue

In my daydreams my family tree is vast
I take comfort in the warm embrace of its limbs
Rest against its firm trunk for support
Let leaves kiss my cheeks

We sit at dinner tables
Eyes cold –lips-froze shut
No stories told here
No comforting limbs to snuggle into

Embalmed bodies take up space going through the motions
Polite smiles in company mixed
But otherwise
This is a house of zombies
Winter lives comfortable within these walls
Icicles form around eyelashes

I long to
Thaw out
Peel naked
Wrap up in branches
Lick sap
Feel bark tearing into skin

But this is your house
And while here, I play
By your rules

Copyright © 2012 Zoe Flowers

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I have never had full amnesia
so every mirror
a comely mask
but begs a more pressing question:

What is your mission?
This time?

Because a solder's stride
has always propelled my thoughts
led my eyes
to the disquieted ether
to the young woman
pumping her old veins
with a lie
underneath a bridge
near train tracks

Why is that?

Or why each dancing molecule
is hobbled at the hips
of sun kissed women
shepherded into cathedrals
of stone and glass
made to sit through
classes in compliance

The whys fill up my focus
just like the
the statements dressed up as
that buzz around their projections—
the ones who have no mirror at all—

"Did you really do that?"

The gall
of their thought experiments
always dissonance
pretending to be
something else

I look straight through
what I see
feel the ripples in the self
I can't forget
but can't fully name
a witness and
humble translator
of stolen voices
echoes leaping from the
whispers buried
in every someplace
named after
every somebody
turned speculator of
this body

My mouth
must remain a drum
pounding memory
into the senses
of all who fall
into this puppet show
and believe they pull
their own strings
entangle their knowing
with the acquisition of
sleep walk into
high rise coffins
for a husk of a life

We must become the knife
that slices 
the gormandizer open
from the inside
recalls the language
of light           
whispered into our bones
by the everything
that breathes through us
and never again
forget what we
walk through dreams
trying so desperately
to remember

By Keisha-Gaye Anderson

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A Prayer

In memory, Whitney Houston

in the coffin
of the bed
she has slept in
for forty-nine years,

the anvil
pushes her deeper
into the hard mattress
that once was soft,
when she nursed
her baby girl
sang her lullabies
that cradled the infant’s sighs
to sleep,

and later song.
Baby girl Houston
sang the sparrows of sleep
that grew into eagles
whose wings
spread like prayer:

“my days are like a shadow that delinethand I am withered like grass,
by the reason of the voice of my groaning,
my bones cleave to my flesh….”

tries to rest
will never sleep
only hear
“the voice of her groaning
her drink mingled with weeping.”

*PSALM 102

By Pamela L. Laskin

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Three Daughters

Once there was an old man
who had three daughters.

One married heaven, the second—fortune,
and the third—time.

On the right of his garden grew kindness,
the left knowledge,
and through the middle
a row of evil sprouted.

He built a fence around the plot,
leaving a place for love to break through.
It surprised him with fruit

that he never tasted before.

Once there was an old man
who wanted to be young
so he drank from the night
and forgot his name.

He went fishing
and caught a carp
with two green eyes

and a violin between her fins.

Once there was an old man
who wouldn’t take no for an answer.
He asked the world to be quiet
and there was silence.

He knocked on my door
and asked for light.
I gave him a cup
and he turned away.

By Sarah Stern

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my ear craves the sound
of my mother's voice

I recite my poems fluent
like her three names

I miss her touch
her suede cloak of skin

the turn of her shoulders
at sixty-one I'm still my mama's girl

how many years
can I go without her scent

her voice calling daughter

By Cheryl Boyce-Taylor

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


i love the
blackness of her hair

i love the
fullness of her cheeks

i love her eyes
i love her eyes

i love the
blackness of her skin

i love the
fullness of her thighs

i love her eyes

is she a valley
or a mountaintop
is she an ocean
or a riverstream
i am a path
coursing through
her...i rest at each
dip, and breathe
her in...

i can hear
my heart breaking
even as i focus
on her pleasure
even as i delight in
her smile...

i’ve decided its
time to dream her up
more regularly so we
can travel the length of
our bodies together, and so
we can traverse our tongues and
see where all these proverbs
come from, and then of
course i’d like to discover
new places with her in hand,
that way we can grow silent
with laughter together. so,
i purse my lips and squint,
searching for her frame. there
she is, galloping ahead of me.
book in hand, i rush after her,
i really love your hair...

By Nzingha Tyhemba