History journeys along with its meandering flow as
a wide birth from bank to bank has eyes straining
trying to see across to the other side, far too wide.
Muddy rivulets stirred up by the river boats drift by
and my dreams become intertwined with what
I have read and the sleepy house boats floating near
the banks that the river dwellers call home.
A huge stainless steel arch with its catenary curve
looms gracefully nearby as a gateway of welcome,
built as a monument to Thomas Jefferson and the
pioneers who braved making their way to St. Louis,
why it is fondly called “the Gateway to the West.”
I felt as if the Arch was paying homage to the mighty
Mississippi with its tall shadow falling on her erratic waters.
Children were waving from the banks at contented tourists
waving back as they drifted slowly by and time stood still
with the music of the river taverns mingling with the
contrasting sounds of riverboat whistles, and I drifted along
with them sensing serene pleasure into another time and place.
Riding an elephant
Down the narrow trail looking triumphant
Scanning the golden landscape
Like Hannibal with enemies in flight
Sight from a lofty height
King of the jungle moving
With lioness by his side
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Guides by my side with packs on their backs
Some paths steep with rocks
Boots slipping below our tired feet
Beautiful birds in unison flight
Moving with terrestrial light
Stunning sunlight summit on the peak
Praying in an Ethiopian Church
Preserved in rocks built by humans’ hands
Never touched by conquest plans
Protected from the invaders’ footsteps
Queen of Sheba and Solomon’s nest
Touched by Arch of the Covenant
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus once slept
Eating yam, sipping palm wine, and tasting milk
Freshly squeezed by experienced hands
Taste of life in the mosaic grassland
Sustaining and soul refreshing
Cradle of humankind adorning
Invaded for its gold, riches, and human capacity
Birth of life on earth with tenacity
Respecting its living and arduous journey
Essence of life once was and is again to come
Riding a camel across the hot Sahara sand
Once wet now dried, exported gold from Mali…
Treasures from the hearts of once African empires
That which was, is, and shall forever be
Africa the birthing Motherland
We still love and respect thee!
Seventh Place Winner
"African's Pride" Poetry Contest
Sponsored by Adeleke Adeite
June 30, 2010
Tea Leaves On The Bosphorus
Seated at a table by the stirring water,
My eyes absorb the shore of Asia.
Minerets and aged worn stone
Stand haphazardly along the banks.
Istanbul is a lady with secrets
She'll lure you with her unrevealed virgin beauty,
Then seduce you with her ancient lovers.
Grilled sardines filled my charger
Fish pulled from the strait just minutes before,
Lay garnished with parsley and mint .
Red pickled turnips and warm flat bread
Are the implements that help feed me
And scoop up the humus,
Turkish nourishment for my soul.
The empty plates are cleared by a handsome waiter
With dubious intentions I feared,
But I was flattered none the less.
A bowl of yogurt was placed before me,
And my admirer arrived with a comb of honey.
He held it high above the creamy cloud and let the heavy ochre
languidly pour atop the milky whiteness of delight.
After his seduction,he left me alone to my pleasure
As I lapped at the sweet and sour heavenly temptation,
that parted my lips and elevated my being.
As I recovered from my rapture, two eyes caught mine.
The heathen that destroyed my diet approached the table uninvited.
He pulled up a chair and sat down across from me.
In his hands, a cup.
He offered to tell me my future.
White, small, as fragile as an eggshell with the top lopped off.
Within was a dark tea with floating leaves.
In a chivalrous attempt at English conversation,
He handed me the libation and the offer to read the remains.
I, alone in a man's world, unmarried, and of a certain age,
Did not need encouragement and I accepted his offer.
I drained the tea in one gulp and returned it to his hands.
He placed the cup in one palm , then turned it upside down,
Allowing the remaining fluid to drip out around the cup and onto the table.
Once the cup was upright again he studied the leaves, then he spoke.
His voice was soft, at times , unintelligible
His reading was honest, and truthful, and painful.
His prophecy, amusing, and entertaining
His vision and it's accuracy were astounding.
Fifteen years later, the leaves delivered on their promise.
Long fluid lines inside the cup foretold of a marriage,
To a man who would cross a sea to find me.
Two shorter drippings were the children that now delight me.
The tea ring that he was able to complete around the cup ,
Was the warmth of a love that would soon envelop me.
We bound down the stairs, out into the light-of-day, and into the blue of the
misty breezes, heavily laden with the smell of wild sea salt roses that grow in
perfusion along the winding road, that bends and turns in gentle lifts and dips to
the other side of the bay, where it crosses the bridge and rises up and winds
away, over the hill.
Overhead the seagulls screech and glide over the ocean spray that washes on
the rocks on the lower banks behind our house along the Fundy Bay, where we
run like the wind through the fields of fresh cut hay and make our way to the
rocky mantle below .
There in the volcanic plateau, worn smooth as glass by the constant rolling
weight of the ocean, is our pool, known by all in our village, as ‘Lizza’s Bathtub’,
created by the eruption of the earth’s inner core, millennia’s ago.
We slip into the still, salty water that has been warmed beneath the blazing sun,
and float with the perry winkles and tiny crabs and listen to the sound of the
ocean, that roars beneath us as it leaves in the receding tide, while we drift
away, in our minds, my little brother the ‘King’ and I, the ‘Queen’ for a day on
the ‘Fundy Bay’.
I’m really not a jealous person. I am happy for those who are fortunate in life. If I see a lady who has a beautiful family that loves her, I am happy for her. When a guy pull up in a fully restored ’57 Chevy convertible, complete w/ vanity license plates reading “AHH YEAH”, I’m happy for him. I have met two people in my life who have won large lottery jackpots, and I was very happy for them. Even when I see a drop-dead gorgeous exotic looking young woman wearing Chanel and four and a half inch Jimmy Choos, I am delighted for her. Seriously, I’m just not an envious person by nature.
Yesterday, my tire blew out. While I was waiting for my husband, I went into a local pub. A nice girl, Jenna, started a conversation with me. She was missing all four of her front teeth! We somehow started talking about dieting, and she told me that it is impossible for her to gain weight. She mentioned she weighed 102 lbs. and that she would love to gain at least 5 pounds but just couldn’t. She complained about how her metabolism was just “too high.” I’m sitting there with that old country song playing in my head...“A metabolism too high…What’s that mean? It’s like too much money, no such thing.”
Ironically, it happened to be karaoke evening. Once the festivities started, I clinged to the hope that my DVR was working and recording American Idol so I could watch it when I got home. “Big Matt” was up first singing George Straits. He was actually good. We all clapped. Next, it was Jenna.
I watched Jenna sing. In a world where if most of us had the misfortune to lose even one of our teeth, we would not leave the house unless it was to be fitted with our Davinci Veneers, this gal was poised and confident. She sang beautifully.
I found myself actually envious of this young woman. Not, however, for the reason you think. I found myself envious of her confidence. Despite her appearance, she sang with passion, poise and enthusiasm. Even missing all four of those front teeth, she could get up in front of that crowd and dazzle us all with her nice voice and pleasant demeanor.
As my husband came to my rescue, I left smiling.
I left smiling knowing that there are people like Jenna in this world.
I left smiling knowing that I do give people the benefit of the doubt.
I left smiling knowing that I do always look for the best others.
I left smiling knowing it is possible for me to be jealous of a young woman who is missing her front teeth.
written 28th June 2013
The place downunder, I'm happy to call my home
if you plan on a visit, here's somethings you do "need" to know
Kakadu is a place 'you' need to take the time to see
such magic you will never won't to leave
But...if your arms "outside" the boat...
It...WILL end up down, a crocodiles throat
Ayres rock...is a must place to have on your list, simply this you can not miss
As the sun descends watch it's colours change, you'll be mesmerised by 'pure' bliss
Coober Pedy...for those slightly intrigued with the underground
for it is here, a quiet town where all there house's are found
Ballarat...you can still find gold
Well... so I've been told
I recommend...."you" don't swim in the oceans at the top end..
surrounded by oceans.... the rest, feel free to jump in
"BUT" if you happen to see a 'fin' I highly 'recommend' you swim
With nights call..'when' offered pull up a chair, grab a beer and relax
there's just....'one small' catch
Don't ever be the 'first' to fall "asleep"
Aussie's find 'extensive' pleasure in an innocent prank when asleep
Enjoy your stay....and from the Land downunder we 'all' say "G'day"
and look forward to seeing you again, we know you had a great stay
Wedding Night in Raqqa
Cyclonic violet vision
Etheral and immortal
She swirls her sand baked torso.
Evoking the initial collision of primordial seed,
Swathed in gossamer purple veils,
Writhing to the stomping and clapping
Of jeweled ankles
And henna stained hands.
The tribes have united for my wedding to their son.
I ,foreign and naive, swoon to the power
Of ancient rhythm and verse,
Ripe, fertile gestures,
Pregnant with throbbing pulses
And scattered beats of flailing arms,
Bleating tongues, spinning robes.
A cacophony of incessant chant rose from the dancing women,
Growning louder, feverish in their pleasure
And the nearness of release.
I join in the dancing.
They swath me in voiles and lead me to the center
I dance, and I succumb to my wedding night in Raqqa.
Summer scent is the smell of freedom
where we can escape the flavor of boredom
so we plan to have our vacation on the beach
where we can relax and fresh air is within our reach
The warm wind tenderly embraced my spirit
I felt excited on this first visit
on an island where refugees can find paradise
an island where spending time is wise
The dulcet breeze gently kisses lush green trees
and the mirthful sun smiles over the vast seas
Where surfers play with gigantic waves
and are not certain on what road it paves
The fluffy clouds are smoothly sailing
the birds are singing and harmoniously dancing
There are butterflies that are colorful in hue
like enchanted fairies changing colors from pink to blue
I need my sun block, it's time for swimming
the tables are full because later we're all eating
Ladies are smiling to many cool surfer dudes
Children are hungry seeing delicious exotic foods
I picked a shell that whispered peacefully in my ears
and we built castles that we fancied over the years
out of the small grains of white sands
and all you need is helping hands
God was really great in creating splendid wonders
that were loved by all especially the nature lovers
There are numerous oceans that are aquamarine
and abundant trees and grasses that are green
The brother sun was slowly hiding
because the sister moon was coming
I guess it was our time to pack
but there will come a time for us to go back
Go back to a place of leisure and freedom
where you'll not taste the flavor of boredom
It would be hard for us to say goodbye
because truly we will come back and say Hi!
upon hard grey streets of asphalt I drive
through morn’s muted orange glow
white headlights shine, red brake lights blink in time
with changing signals red, yellow, green
disoriented city visitors a hindrance to the flow
why at seven a.m.
now stopped two cars back waiting for green
a woman in a minivan ahead primps methodically
striving in effect to give herself a perm.
the man beside is engrossed in the news
early edition of today’s tabloid spread over the wheel
will he know when it’s time to go
behind, a husband and wife, I assume
each talk animatedly on their phones
while obnoxious unrestrained children carouse
a movie playing on the DVD
an ancient pickup stopped in the suicide lane
right turn flashing “let me in!”
green, the light changes, yet still we wait
one, two, three and horns start to blare
shaken are they from hypnotic states
virtual hair salons, libraries, and phone booths abandoned
traffic moves once again in earnest
until the very next crowded intersection.
Upon Assateague Island freedom runs,
And its hooves stir the Atlantic ocean.
Wild horses gallop on long, sandy shores,
Defying the controlling ways of man,
His shameful need to dominate and tame,
His short reins, sharp spur and saddle too tight.
They munch on saltmeadow hay and beach grass,
Heads lifting and lowering as they eat,
Grazing on abundance, gazing at sea.
Often they stretch their necks and paw at time,
But they do not regret their history.
A shipwreck left them stranded and alone,
Fighting to survive far from what they’d known,
Those sheltering prisons, those filled feed troughs.
Centuries pass, nature changed their stature,
And they became shorter, tougher, wiser.
The herd is separated by a fence,
Dividing Maryland and Virginia,
Isolating descendants that canter.
Bands of ten sing songs on their home ranges,
Heard in the nickers of mothering mares,
Echoed by the proud stallion’s whinny,
Repeated in the bleats of wilful foals.
Summer’s mosquitoes send them from the marsh,
And they frolic in the cool, soothing surf.
Then fall pledges the bliss of bite-less days,
Breezy nights, a reprieve that restores strength.
When winter nears they amass to thickets,
Chew on shrubs and gather against the cold.
Spring is filled with freshness and greenery,
Permitting them to return to the marsh,
Inviting the bands to chew on new life.
Beauty remains there for all to witness,
Though we must stay our distance and be kind.
What is wild should be appreciated,
And we, the corralled, have obligations.
Leave them to rear at limits, let them be,
And let them remind us of poetry.