Of course on this night we are supposed to be asleep so Santa
could come, but we hadn't been home from Midnight Mass very long, and the
invigorating cold was not conducive to sleep. Even the hot chocolate did not do
much to help sedate the excitement.
We were hoping for sleds that year. The snow was perfect for
sledding especially like we did it. We tied out sleds on behind the car or pick up
and were pulled through the hills. We got our sleds. My dad and my uncle made
them for us.
No television and only in the late years were we allowed to use the
radio. Batteries were to expensive for frivolous use. We spent many hours
playing cards or games.
I took time out and went to high school and college and got my
My aunt taught there only one year after the Federal Government
turned the schools over to the local government.
The last time I was back there the out buildings had been moved and
Indian families were living in them. The school was dirty and unkept.
Now the school is gone. The ancestors who once walked these
dusty plains are gone. The Indians who were there when I was a child are gone.
They are Ghosts. Ghosts whose faces can be seen in the clouds.
Ghosts who still chop wood on those sub zero nights. And the drums we heard
in the middle of the nights are still beating. They beat as strongly as the heart
beats in a healthy body. The laughter of the children still echoes under the
The life blood of a culture, of a nation grows thin. The Battle of
Wounded Knee was the last battle to be fought between the white man and the
Indian on the northern plains. It's cries still echo across the land.
My foot prints in the creek did not last any longer than those they left
in the dust. But in my memories, this mile and a half by three quarter mile haven
still lives. And will live forever as a piece of unrecorded history.
this poem is dedicated to my Mr mellors i hope he reads this
The Cop, The Math Teacher, The Guide
you've been there for me
when i was confused
and could not see
the forest or the path
you were there
when school was hell
and life was black as midnight
you were there
when i screwed up
and found myself trapped
by my own mistakes
even though i disappointed you at times
and made you want to tear your hair out
you were there
you've always been there
and cannot thank you enough
Thank You Mr. Mellors
You will not
For it is hate
and love that made us.
It is the great and the small
that reverberate within our bones.
It is every syn and antonym,
every opposite every known,
the many, the alone.
We are a poem.
You will never
for it is truth
and art that made us.
We are a poem.
change my name
fairly often, I suppose
change my clothes
and Imma' damn gypsy, ya' see
keep it fresh ta' death
speck of blood
ketchup on my attire
got more rhymes
than I got grey hairs
that's an effing lot
because i got my share
hot-fire piece of passionate verse
rare to find
if only poets would
unleash the fury
on their mind...
I must say...
the etc. etc...
would be a less stinky place...
I'd keep my name, and sever ties with
and just go
Murphy wished for a Prince who rode a White horse...
So she went back to college and took a new course...
She met a man who drove a green pinto...
Although he had no idea where his life would go...
His wants and needs he wanted for free...
As he had no intentions of working you see...
So they moved in together...and she paid the bills...
He played online games and took many pills...
While she worked two jobs, and going to school...
Her friends told her often she was a fool...
This wasn’t a relationship...this was just bizarre...
And to make matters worse, he drove her sports car...
But she explained, he needs me and I don’t want to be alone...
Besides I have created a most beautiful home...
The years flew by and no changes were made..
She graduated with honors, and now had a trade..
At the firm of Morgan White Esquire at Law...
This was just the beginning and the last straw...
She finally came to her senses you see...
Of her dreams and wishes that were meant to be...
She now had her “ Morgan “ and her “Prince” you see...
A Morgan is a breed of horse...and the rest is history
If there is a child in Kolahun, Lofa County who can’t read- that matters to me.
If there is a senior citizen somewhere who can’t get a pension after many years of dedicated service- that makes my life poorer.
If a decent brother is accused of rape and is being rounded up without a benefit of an Attorney or due process- that threatens my civil liberty.
If a native Liberian is down sided for an elite- that overshadows my equal right clause in the constitution.
If a high school graduate cannot be honor with a job, but the only option left is to hawk on the streets to earn a hard living- I wonder what society is being created for the young generation.
There were seven Indian Government schools. All built alike. The
one I'm writing about is Spring Creek. He Dog, Soldier Creek and White River,
Grass Mountain, Two Kettle, and Black Pipe were the other schools. The
Headquarters for these schools was at Rosebud, South Dakota.
On some summer evenings we were able to talk our mothers into
hiking to the lookout tower. We followed the ankle deep sandy trail road to the
cliff north of the school., A canyon lay at the foot of the tower but we climbed the
bluff. I don't know why we didn't explore the canyon unless it seemed dark and
sinister. The footing was better once we reached the summit. The closer we got
to the tower the taller it grew and standing at the foot of the steps looking up was
easier than getting to the top and looking down. My mother didn't usually make it
to the top because she didn't like heights. But she didn't mind being left behind
this time. We never could get into the building at the top because it was locked,
but we could climb the steps to the very last one. Even my little sister managed
to elude mom and followed us to the top.
From the bluff we could look down on the garden. My aunt grew a
huge garden and canned the produce for the hot meals served the school
children. We kids didn't work in the garden very often, but we looked for the arrow
heads and fossils. Which, I suspect the adults probably considered the best
place for us.
At the end of the road, living in shack, was Old Lady Grease. I have a
vague recollection of seeing her. Tiny, frail, wrinkled and gray headed is all I can
In spring and fall we were in school in Kansas.
It's Christmas now. Cold and usually snowy. We were in a winter
I'm standing at the fire escape window. The ghostly pale full moon is
illuminating the naked arms of the trees as they shiver in the wind, swaying to
and fro as if dancers in a ballet. I listen to the winter sounds. The frigid air
enhances their sharpness. The ax's thud echoes up the canyon as one of the
Indians across the river chops another supply of wood. One of his peers beats
on the drum. It is one-thirty a. m. but the thin walls of the tents do not keep the
cold out. Day or night this chore must be attended to for survival.
The location of the Spring Creek School was on a flat, nestled
between the cliff on the north and the Little White River on the south. The river
flowed in from the northwest, circled to the south of the school about a quarter
mile and wended it's way east departing to the northeast. Though I never saw it
in my day I imagine this was once a flood plain. Yes, at one time this could
easily have been the scene of flash floods. The waters tumbling and sloshing
their way across this insignificant piece of ground in a hurry to reach the exit.
Time had slowed the waters and erosion had taken it's tole, leaving the west and
south in twenty to thirty foot sharp sandy cliffs. The ground sloped to the east
leaving a two foot drop off. A sandy graded road approached the large heavy duty
bridge, crossed and continued on as a trail road.
It's summer and the Little White River gently rolls from bend to bend.
We are running back and forth across the bridge stopping now and then to lean
over the rail and watch the Indian children splashing in the only deep spot. It was
first comers got the choice spot. Big deal! Chest deep to a ten year old.
We run off the bridge south. The graded road crosses a big culvert
allowing a small spring access to the river where it fans out at the point of entry.
We run through the crystal liquid turning it into chocolate and leaving dents in the
once smooth sand. This is a child's paradise. Sand so pure, soft and powdery
warmed by the sun. The deeper we dig the cooler the sand becomes as it is
joined by the moisture below.
Our mothers put limits on our water sports. First: we had to wait an
hour after the meal to get in the water. Second: polio was a concern in our day
and we didn't get to play as often as we thought we should. Third: we were not
allowed to swim unless our mothers were with us. With the gardening, house
keeping and canning, we were lucky if we got to swim two or three times a week.
I guess that is why we spent most of our time on horseback.
On the ridge north of the school stood a lookout tower. In the long
evenings we would be found always outside, either sitting on the steps, running
up and down the fire escapes or in the front yard. This was the only real green
grass in the area. It was fenced to keep cattle or horses from trampling it into the
mirrored image of its surroundings. This enclosure measured fifty by a hundred
feet and was kept watered. A large tree provided the only shade
Perseverance: a poem
Long ago or should I say sometime in the past?
I had dreams and now at the age of 31 I have realized most of them.
It’s funny how good luck; joy, pain, rejection, effort and ‘Perseverance’ with a capitol ‘P’ have played a part in my life and sealed my Fate.
I now choose to think more positive thoughts even though this is still hard for me when I hear a negative voice in my head or when I hear people say negative things about me.
Those things hurt me and stay with me until I let it go.
I am self-motivated and I was a star pupil in my memories of my childhood.
My main goal is to be able to take care of myself, be responsible for myself and for the choices I make in life.
I am finishing school next January ’14 with my Bachelor’s degree and I want to find a good Internship.
Then after that I want to have a part-time job working 20 to 25 hours per week and continue doing volunteer work.
Oh and poems, I will keep writing my poems and reading other people’s poetry. Right now I am reading LIT a memoir by Mary Karr. I also want to write children’s books.
How much of bitterness is truth we cannot swallow.
The acridity of words held idle for too long, fermenting
in the cauldron of conceit, the spoils of victory flaunted
in feigned servility. What scales measure life against
life, gain against greater gain, success against success?
Can we not savor the sweetness of another’s gifts
without coveting them, bathing them in our envy,
sullying them with our rancor? Could we not applaud
the valor and perseverance of the triumphant, revel
in a rivalry well played, tip our equally soiled cap,
nod in an appreciation of a job well done?
Must the fist of failure pummel all who do not win,
remove the joy of competition’s camaraderie,
negate the lessons learned, the hours shared,
diminish the successes in setting and
eclipsing goals and gains. Does not the acrid stench
of final gun fade, slowly drifting on a passing breeze?
Why must the truth hold bitter still, unable to accept
the success in every failure and the failure in
John G. Lawless
A walk to school out of the backdoor, through the homemade back gate, through a narrow alley,
Cars parked on the curb, guarded by paraffin lamps, no garages, no parking area,
Walking down my road, past the bully's house, all is very, very quiet, careful
Then the front door opens, a big kid comes running and chases me down the road.
Near the end of my street was a large piece of wasteland, called "the logs"
Huge logs cut down hundreds of years ago, grey, split, tall trees chopped down,
Stinging nettles in large clumps, cars abandoned, a play ground for children,
Into a road full of bungalows, the posh side, people looking through curtains.
About a mile down this road, there was more wasteland, with a muddy shortcut,
Shoes covered in mud, trying to clean them with an old bit of paper, no good,
Out of the wooded shortcut, past the entrance of a railway, through a tunnel,
On the other side, up steps was a sweet shop, looked through window, no money.
Past the bank on to a main road, told many times to look left and right, careful,
Walking up another street, then a short cut through, an old mansion falling apart,
Down the coke covered road, into a road where huge flats were being built, ugly flats.
The into my school play ground, seeing class mates, queuing up to go into the school.
The surrounding grounds were prairie grasses and brush. Trees were
scattered along the west boundary while the eastern area was furnished with a
heavier growth of various kinds of trees. Willows and buffalo berry bushes lined
the bank. If you were so inclined this would make a perfect spot for a picnic.
This was beyond the school grounds, grasses were tall here.
I mentioned the fire escape. Boy, how we loved these appendages.
They were situated on each end of the school. Access was from windows four
feet off the floor in the bedrooms. We would pull a large wicker lounge chair up
to the window and scramble over the chair using the high back as our final step
as we boost ourselves head first through the window. There usually was a
screen but it was never hooked.
My aunt, uncle and their three children were the only residents of this
school for nine years. I can't remember for sure , but the first five or six years they
did not have electricity. Water, but no electricity. The last two or three years they
had a generator. I just loved it. I remember how proud I was when I had gotten
old enough to carry the kerosene lamp myself.
The lower portion of the school had a ten foot wide hall extending the
entire length of the school with double wide doors at both ends. On the east of
the school it was four steps up, in the front door, a four foot long area then up two
steps up to the main hall. On the right were two large class rooms. On the left
was the kitchen, a bathroom with showers, utility closet then the stairway up to
the apartments and another bathroom, with showers. An entry way leading to the
outside where the front yard was. The commissary, a sewing room and a
garage large enough to house a school bus. The west end of the hall ended
with four steps leading to the outside doors.
West of the school was the building called the CANNERY, it also was
the meeting place for the tribal members and contained three or four weaving
looms. A double garage with a gas pump and two large tanks for gas lay off to
the north of the cannery. A dense growth of trees separated the school from the
barn. It was a well kept large barn. Well used I should add also. At least by us
kids. Other out buildings were two quonset hut buildings and pens, a chicken
house and a couple of sheds for the hog pen, Which I must add was another of
our favorite sports, riding the hogs. All of the buildings were painted white. It
really was a sight to see.
(Dedicated to Dana Rugina)
On that very cool and refulgent evening
Flying from Europe to Africa
Luck placed me beside you
How beautiful it was to look at your pretty face
How wonderful to know you are from Romania
How pleasant it was to have a seat beside you
How glad I was to know you are a mathematician
Though accented, paid kin attention to listen to me
I had a smooth and sweet flight
Not because it was an Egypt Airline nor that I sat in business class
But because you keep my company
“Is your final destination Egypt?” ignited our conversation
“A man that keeps quite will die” will I always remember
Because they are words of wisdom
I believe I’ll see you again
Friend on the flight
Where and when, that I cannot say.
Let me have a cup of tea
Much before I get Free
Let me have it while busy
Wait! Let me finish first
I will feel then relaxed
Then get me a cup of tea
Who is in charge of our children's education?
What happens when parents don't do their job?
When children have no sense of reading, writing,
till they hit that school room head on?
Who is responsible to initiate, ingratiate, the word,
so language is understood from infancy and
not suddenly at five years old when
communication receives the attention it deserves?
Parents stand up and take notice
schools do not provide the only source
You are your child's first teacher
You are the one who gives him voice.
From you he will learn expression
From you he will learn who he is
From you he will learn his roots
Give him your love and attention.
Provide an environment filled with books
A place where reading takes precedence
Instill in him a joy for learning
With gentle hand and loving looks.
Model the love of learning
read on your own or with
till without even knowing
he'll develop a yearning
to know, to explore, to evaluate
all there is and more.
I grew up in a house that had a huge green lawn in the backyard.
It ended at the edge of a steep hill. When I stood on it, I felt suspended
as if I was floating just above the small town below.
I remember basking in the sun on this soft, pampered suburban lawn--
hot summer afternoons made it too hot to move, no breeze, and
lizards scurrying by to break the silence, interrupt daydreams.
As I think back to being eye-level in that green blade jungle;
I think of all the feet that have crossed there.
Bare feet and boots, high-heels and the delicate hooves of deer--
All the memories that have walked away.
More than a man, the south made.
Black and white, south one started,
great oaks refused no man a child
to hang about it, call dark christmas.
Hallow was a name, old now hollow.
Stigma inside wears grey cotton
memories, alive die uncompensated.
Here, electricity has that sick sweet
smell about it, as if it were once alive.
While morality, debates in pockets
of isolated votes packed together.
Is It Poetry
We cut out our windows so they'd match the pattern in the stars we'd fall asleep looking at
screaming your name over and over only produced tears and a ruptured larynx
Whispering it only tore down the walls that held us together
of all the mistakes I've made
the worst one was when I said I loved myself when in the end I was the worst friend I ever had
her teen years were spent mostly on her knees
holding two jobs
split between boys cars and church pews
If I loved you any more it would turn into hate
or maybe it's already there
at this point I'm not sure
we speak in riddles sometimes
almost asking questions but never failing with backhanded compliments and floor ridden apologies
I had the best time of my life in April
a night when all I did was break my own heart
it was at that point I knew for sure I had one
When it comes to young love, it's a beautiful thing for young people from around the world.
And when it comes to teen boys and teen girls falling in love with each other since the day they
met, it's like fireworks popping in the sky. Their moms and dads are either happy about it or
inapproving or whatever. It seems to everybody that most relationships among all teenagers
might even last to either 72 hours or a lifetime. That's a really long time, but then, if these two
young lovebirds want to stay together, even until their high school reunions, then that's fine.
Sometimes love will make young men and/or young women do some silly things or whatever,
but love doesn't; it's just an emotional feeling for teen boys and teen girls combined. Their
parents (the moms and the dads) should also know what their lives were like when they were
teenagers, especially since the day they fell in love with each other. Young love has
revolutionized the year 2010 and it'll revolutionize the future of all of the would-be teen
couples. This is starting to get very interesting. It looks like the junior/senior high school years
will be with all of the wound-be-then teen love birds for the rest of their natural lives. All
relationships among all young people will not just continue to increase every single day, but no
matter what the circumstances of young relationships or whaterer, it'll seem that day in and
day out, all of the young lovers (all teen boys and all teen girls) will always have love for each
other, and their parents are very happy about it. And if young love continues to grow and grow
by the time the year 2025 arrives, there's no telling what beautiful thing might happen next.
milestones are marked by photographs
by notches on door casings that show just how grown up we are getting
by midnights spent on front porch stoops with people we only half know drinking mixtures that taste as awful as they should but let the words and movements come fast and steady knowing that it's the only time loose lips are the only things sinking ships
We were children growing up in the backseats of parents who rarely spoke to each other
the children who blossomed into the worst love poems we only pretended to read
As children we played games in the backseat
middle seat smash
guess which song
then, sometime during the middle of awkward slow dances with fresh braces and clothes our parents picked out we stopped getting up early in the morning
we stopped counting down the days until christmas
we started playing games in the backseat
feet tucked or feet spread
windows down or windows steamed
that time changed from clueless to reckless to clothesless lasts only the length of a song
the radio cuts out in some spots around French Hill but still plays Freshman by The Verve Pipe
as we close our eyes
breath fluttering like heartbeats
we were no longer children
not yet adults but we knew every line to every song we liked and we knew the most honest places we had and what happened when we held our breathe for too long during the bass line
There is a student living on the SIXTH floor of the lieberry because the computer
will not let him use it and he can never find a seat even if the place is still half
empty. He starts near the doorway in the lower deck of the student only area of
the information commons (yes it's still open to the public but no one ever sits
there) then he walks up threw the main part where all the students sit and copy
parts of pictures with some text all meant to be some grand and glorious cosmic
joke for they seem to be working for the printers ink for the printer just to work just
to go on printing one more grand and glorious joke. He skips the second floor
where there is sabios and goes up to the eterminals then he stays a while and
droll he is thinking he may play a game an actual computor game but no no one
gets up no one leaves the area he lurches up the stairs now on a dead run
moving quickly past the remains of the few sabio left that work for searching
books no internet throwing up on the outdoor rug as he nears the sixth floor stop.
He lost his mind in 1963 using LDS drugs and playing with his own autonomy he
leaves this world in agony as he sits upon the roof of the Hayden lieberry he
looks down at the canopy covering the awning of the entrance and he
contemplates a jump but he is way too chicken now for lunch he eats his heart.
The truth is an illusion
An illusion which we try to interpret
To interpret and to individualise
To individualise into our own lies when we don’t like it.
Red Lips, are one plan
and the fires they light
burn too hot..Pink lips,
cause me too shiver.
When seen through
and coiled and fresh
like the oyster.
And black lips shake me
too my core,
and say things, that i need
you to hear me say.
Front or back, in between
they all set me up.
And they move me like rain
back and forth.
The tounge brings me down
and your hand brings me up
from my knees.
That privilege of full lips is not
lost on me,
it's a simple matter of my pride.
Is It Poetry
How do I put my life in a frame? It would
make my Soul so delightful if I can put it in
a fram and hang it o the wall for all to see.
If I put my Soul in a frame, it will fall and crash
to the floor because it is too weak to hang.
You can hang me with nails; hopefully, I'll stay up.
I look at my pictures from my childhood. Some from
catholic school, my 1st Holy Communion, and even
from my high school graduatioon; they make me
sick to look at them because of all the pain
from the past.
Maybe, one day I will be able to paint a beautiful
picture of my Soul and hang it on the frame;
polished and free from wounds.
My life is goin on,
Its a roller-coaster, ups and downs,
so many things to tel,
cant tel it to the walls around,
they dont reciprocate,
need a soul, need a person,
Feeling happy? Feeling sad?
Tell a friend...
met you as a stranger,
took a walk to know you better,
and never turned back,
look back on the path we led,
there were no footsteps,
oh i remember, we flew, n dint walk,
Feeling happy? feeling sad?
Tell a friend..
chose different paths,
yet our lives intertwined,
i dint ask for this, yet it came,
wouldnt have wished for the happiness,
if i knew the pain,
the end is near,
Feeling happy, Feeling sad,
have always shared,
hope we meet again, oh friend,
cuz they say world is a small place,
To embrace again, i hope....
An innocent angel one made of pure happiness brightened, cleaned each golden day,
On the grass outside our class you making daisy chains, me football, during play,
Friends moving away leaving school gone forever young faces we will never forget,
These young friends were precious gifts we were lucky and we should never regret.
Treading these pathways of the past saddens me then brings a big smile to my face,
When the grass was much greener the flowers smelt stronger and life a slower pace,
You, so tiny such good fun so kind and beautiful I looked forward to school days,
Learning skills for life that were not taught in the classroom but in other ways,
I had known you most of your very short life and for that I am a very lucky man,
I wanted to carry on knowing you my beautiful friend now only in my heart I can,
I see you on the playground laughing and always smiling happy and full of health,
Beautiful days my gold, my priceless diamonds, but you were my precious wealth,
Those beautiful days are lost and gone forever you left me alone when you died,
There is not much I can do I'm lost, scared now you have gone and left my side.
It was the dawn of a new day;
knowledge and truth sought and given.
As I gave, so was I again taught.
(Ask, and it shall be given)
“Teacher, same said Egypt ina Africa
lak ina de Bible?”
“Same said Egypt, son;
same said Africa.”
(Seek, and you shall find)
dem neva tell we
(By night they stole us; by day they maimed our minds)
“I know son;
But we now teach ourselves”
“Ah true, Teacher; ah true.
Dis day be a new day dat’a com.”
(Truth, trampled to the ground, always rises)
Free your mind and you are;
but like butterflies, be aware
of the rain.
(The truth shall set you free)
1) ..Every time... I take a breath.
2) ..I think about... the trees.
3) ..Knowing that....deep down inside.
4) ..Each breath you take...no longer can I clean.
5) ..Is it True...your love I sought.
6) ..When on my skin... you carve your heart.
7) ..When here...upon my limbs birds nest.
8) ..While knowing that each root...I need.
9) ..If leaves are words...one poem makes.
10) ..And making none...you strip my branch.
11) ..Where then will you..hang your swing.
12) ..Looking up..why do I see..a heaven without trees.
Is It Poetry
The grasp is choking, hard, and cruel
The roofs are limited yet wide. I am the servant to this place.
Her burning gaze sears through my eyes.
“You shall despise this house.”
Never to return to here. This foundation built on itself.
Raised to sky with other hands, with elements of life.
Another breath - two more to hear, a shriek that is my name
And to the gaze I whisper softly,
“I shall despise this house.”
I am the builder of this place.
With arms held up by strings. My eyes waver across the fleeting ground.
Trembling as I see. The whole of the world moves through me in blurs,
When its distinct colors form to light. With clutched fingers on the rails, they make
My ears ring from the sound. I await the end on the last stair.
And I despise this house