You were beautiful,
my tiny child,
wrapped tightly in my arms,
close to my heart.
I listened to you breathing.
I counted your fingers
and your toes.
you cried out to me
and I loved you
with every ounce of my soul.
Will you hear me
when I cry out?
Will you hold me close
as I held you then?
I remember the day
You took your first step.
There was no stopping you.
Your feet gave you freedom
to explore the world
like never before
but danger lurked.
I opened those doors anyway,
you to the world.
Where will you be
when my legs
no longer run?
no longer work?
Will you realize
that I love
about that day
you first tied your shoe.
We tried and tried
to get that rabbit
in that hole
and you finally did it.
You pointed your toes
for everyone to see
how proud you were.
I am proud too,
of my writing
and my drawing,
of my needlework
and my cooking.
But my hands are beginning to ache
and my fingers will not bend.
I will lose the things
that make me proud
except for you.
Hopefully not you.
Will you let me
brag on you?
Even tell wild stories
that are a bit beyond the truth?
Will you be proud of me too?
I waved good-bye
that morning when you left
on that large, yellow bus.
I was so scared.
I know you were too.
You waved at me bravely
through the dusty window
but I saw the water
forming in your eyes.
You came home, however,
full of pride and joy.
You sang the alphabet song
and got most of it right.
You practiced for hours
until you could sing it
even in your sleep.
whether I took
my pills today or not.
if I told this story before.
I even forgot once
who you were
and it terrified me.
is my treasure
the only thing I have left,
and I heard you make
fun of me
for not remembering
that I gave you the
same gift as last year.
Will you love me
when I no longer
know who I am?
You came home blushing
from the glow of
your first kiss.
Your first love,
the one you thought was real.
You talked about him non-stop.
You changed for him. You gave.
But he left you anyway
for a blue-eyed girl
and I held you
while you cried for him.
I too have a
The love of my life
left me after
He left me here
to live life on my own
while he moved on
to another realm
And I cry for him too.
I long for his shoulder
and strong embrace.
I feel betrayed
because he and I
made a deal
that we would never
leave the other alone.
Yet I am alone
sitting in an echoing house
with no hands to hold.
You welcomed her home today-
your tiny baby girl.
She has your eyes
and possibly your toes.
I see you counting them
as they roll me
into the room.
You finally came
It has been a while.
You look up at me
with tears in your eyes
"Will she tie my
when I get old? "
Once bloomed a rose so young and fair
With dark brown eyes and long black hair
Beside her be a tall dark tree
Whose branches stretch to smother thee
Too close beside the shadowy bark
That soon begins to leave its mark
She cries for help, but none shall hear
Her thorns too sharp, who’d dare go near?
To save this rose, who’d risk their life?
With naught to gain but pain and strife
Alone, afraid, she lays to rest
Her heart beats low inside her chest
And with the hour growing near
She sheds her final grieving tear
And so the rose soon falls asunder
Her final day, eternal slumber
She lies beside the old dark tree
The only one who mourns for thee
They needed help
Walking alone in the dark.
A broken down car.
The child frightened,
But not understanding
That would soon
Come her way.
Her parents petrified
That their baby was gone,
Over forbidden images
That crowded their way
Past ice cream sundays
And birthday parties
And wedding days.
A doer of good deeds.
He looks into
the little girl's eyes.
The girl speaks,
"This is not my dad"
And the coward
who took her,
Believing he saved
From a long, cold walk,
Saved a child
From a long, cold death.
On the edge
of the evacuation zone
Miyuki holds her daughter
tip-toeing in pink sneakers
her small hands fragile
to the man with the beeping wand
They were outside in the karesansui
washing and raking
rocks, when the school
then pressed into silence
voices rising inside
So now they wait with strangers
in ordered lines of sorrow
for bread and drinking water
as an adolescent, eyes downcast
sees the small pink laces and
offers up his only ration
of precious onigiri
Hooded and white masked they walk
three days and bed-less nights toward
Ishinomaki by the ocean
to family, friends, and home forever
The landscape jumbles unfamiliar
with plastic wreckage
detritus flooded in a field
where Japonica once grew
while moon-suited men
and women gather
albums for the living
And after sunset Miyuki moves
her little girl away
from a white-taped blue-bagged
toward the humming black-robed Monk, his
prayers for light
and workers burned
exposed to radiation ten
thousand times too high
And in the shadows one old man kneels
beside a fetid pool and scoops
rice to carry back to neighbours
moved to higher ground, un-opens
one last bottled spirit
bows his head and offers
Miyuki and her first and only
everything he has
At last they reach the shelter’s glow
beneath the starless robe of night
not used to wearing
Miyuki helps her daughter fold
sheets of painful news into
an origami box to hold
her last and only pair
And in the morning as they face
the stretch of road for home
to unknown love and losses there
they turn and gaze toward the east
spring’s warming breeze
to rise with brilliant red once more
new light of wondrous dawn
'karesansui' is a Japanese rock garden or 'dry landscape'. Rocks are often washed.
'onigiri' is the emergency rice being distributed to survivors in Japan.
'Japonica' is a type of (short-grained) Japanese rice.
for Debbie Guzzie's contest, 'Tribute to Japan'
Little Bee, Deaamoo, grandmother of the Crane Clan, lies staring. The light of
winter’s first full moon falls into the room. Through a ghostly haze of tobacco and
sage smoke, she sees her loved ones. One withered hand clasps a cowrie shell,
mee-ghis, tightly to her heart and in the other she holds a small dreamcatcher for
her youngest granddaughter Little Aamoo. Strands of gray white hair escape from
her braids which trail down beside her bird-frail form touching the fringe of her
parting dress. Her clan has been in the sweat lodge praying for her safe journey
home, some appear red-cheeked; others are a pale as the shades of her
ancestors. It is the end of her days, a time for passing on.
Outside of the house near the fringe of balsam pine a circle of stones are laid, each
one blessed and bringing an anchoring comfort to man, lodged between earth, and
sky. The four directions are marked and her way west is clear for her. Soon, she will
ask loved ones to lay here amongst the gifts laid for Pacugu, The Great horned Owl,
near the spirit house.
The veil is thin now between this world and the next. The smoke branches upward,
showing the way to sky world where Gichi Manidoo waits. The songs are being sung
for her now. The Shaman’s rattle is crisp and clear. All about her is beauty. Drums
keep the beat of her heart. They wait. Remembering one last story, she calls her
family to her, she must leave them with all the knowledge she has. "Ah, what was
that story? Well, that is not for you."
MAMA CRY NO MORE
The most tender I have ever known
The world of never you created
Best example of love a lesson learnt
Mama cry no more
Stranger no more am I to this world
Mama I have learnt its tricks
The hills are lower now, the tunnels are brighter
Mama cry no more
Mama let me dry your tears
I will pop the toaster, crunch the flakes
Spread the marmalade, bubble your bath tub
Mama cry no more
The jet is ready, your ticket at hand
The line will dress you up with the queen’s taste
The fruits of your labour, its time you had the taste
Mama cry no more.
The old woman sews
Marking each stitch
The whirring of machines
Whirling and whirling
Round and round
Of another time
Of a night
When she was afraid
To speak to a boy
Sitting next to her.
As her busy fingers work
She remembers more
Of that summer night
A blue cotton dress
With tiny ribbons
Lace curtains gently
Pulled by a breeze
Drifted out through opaque windows
While musicians played a rhythm
Of their own
And shadows pranced
On empty walls.
Waiting that night
Why no one
Her to dance.
On silver sails
She knows that today is now.
And yesterday was yesterday
Finished with her work
She catches her breathe,
Straightens her hair,
And turns off the lights.
Pausing to look back
Into the darkened room
Shadows return her glance
With a gaping stare
Adjusting to the darkness
She begins to recognize
Familiar shapes taking form
Satisfied that all will be the same
When she returns
She closes the door.
She holds onto her purse
For a traffic light
That has already
A smile crosses her face
As she remembers
When the boy
Became her husband
Children were born.
And the years went by
In a brown bag
Neatly folded in two
Is a blue chiffon dress
Almost like the one
She wore years ago
Only this one
Is for her granddaughter
Impatient for no reason
To go nowhere
The crowd pushes forward
But the old woman lingers
On the corner
Savoring the moment
Glad of memories
As a busy world saunters by.
From the bottom of an abandoned gravel pit
behind my childhood home, seated,
leaning against its hardpacked sandy side,
he watched the July sun set,
the empty prescription bottle at his side.
Did he walk that day to his unnatural fate
slowly, shoulders rolling like a big cat,
alternating first one, then the other,
forward, head bent, one black errant
curl tumbling across his troubled forehead.
Did he hesitate or did he hurry
and did he think of me, just 12,
soon to be fatherless, before he
began his two weeks of decomposing
in the hot Texas sun until
the man on horseback found him
while looking for a lost calf.
I couldn't blame my mother
for the divorce she filed.
I had wanted him to leave, too,
and hadn't I prayed he would die
when he dragged her over the yard,
by a handful of her hair clasped
tightly in his fist,
because she had cut it without his permission.
Especially the next day when I found
the clump of auburn hair caught in the lush
purple blooms of the wisteria bush,
I wanted him to die.
He played his harmonica for me,
and I sang, "Daddy's Little Darling,
Don't you think I'm sweet?"
But I prayed my dad would die,
and though I asked God to ignore those
prayers of terror, I will never be able to
love enough wayward men to save my dad.
The story I have to tell- was told long ago to me,
About the creation of the Potawatomi Nation;
In the beginning the Creator made Anishabe,
And the Creator told Anishabe to name all of his creations,
Anishabe set out with a wolf, his companion,
And he went around naming everything;
From the mountains and the canyons,
To the Summer and the Spring;
He became lonely realizing, he alone had no mate,
And as he traveled everywhere searching,
He traveled towards the Great Lakes;
And there he heard a woman singing,
Her song was a thing of beauty,
About the home she was making for them;
Anishabe crossed the lake to meet her, finally,
The daughter of the Firekeeper-And quite a gem
Their’s was the first unity bond, It is where life came from;
Of each other they were inordinately fond;
Their union gave life to four sons,
Each of their sons went a different way,
The First son traveled North, it’s color is White, henceforth;
Given the first gift of the Creator-sweet grass-braided in a bouquet,
He married the daughter of the Spirit of the North;
The second sun traveled East, into the rising sun,
He learned that fire is the essence of life;
He was given the second gift-herbs to speak with the One,
East is the color Yellow, East’s daughter became his wife;
The third son traveled South, known as “The Way of The Woman”,
The way of seeds and all that give life, the color of South is Red;
He was given the gift of cedar-to purify and prepare food for his clan
And to the daughter of the Spirit of the South he was wed.
The last son traveled west, towards the mountain highlands,
He learned that the setting sun represents the circle of life;
Black is the color of West-Sage was the gift for his hands,
Married to the Spirit of the West’s daughter, Black stands for strife.
This is the story of the Creator, That my Grandmother told to me,
How my culture was started, And what our banner means.
~I've been holding on to this a while-Hope you enjoy the beginning of my culture~
~3rd Place in the "Broad Horizons" Contest by Deborah Guzzi~
deprived of a father to tell her that her skirts to small
she wore it to hug her hips and rise with every sway in her walk
her mother, another statistic of having babies to young,
was to whipped in her dip trying to be hip so she cheered her poor child on
she's dying to survive in a broken home
daddy not around to watch her spend a penny and mamas hardly home
she's dying to survive and she's put her school on hold
she's another undereducated black child with no priorities or goals
she careers soliciting her body, making it hobby to walk up and down blocks
waiting for the right brotha she can sweet talk and pick pocket
at the honk of his horn, she stops hot trotting
hopped in his car and found a quiet spot for lip locking
her hand rises up his leg, she feels for his man
he nods giving her consent
she prices her body for those new Jordan and dolce & gabbani
she'd rather rock the latest fashions then to feed her starving body
she's hopelessly devoted to being the hottest at the parties
she's dying to survive wanting attention to feel the space neglected by another
who makes alcohol a hobby
she's dying to survive rich living is her poverty
she's deaf to her inner voice that yells to her it's wrong
she confides in bad associates who cheer her on
she doesn't know this is how she's dying
she's dying to survive