Long poem by
RUSS duPont | Details |
WINTER, 1948 [40 Saxton Street]
The winter nights that pass now
are so unlike the winter nights
that passed before, that I often
struggle back in those suspended moments
when sleep grapples for a hold,
to once again hear the voices of those nights
and smell the smells that lingered
in those well-worn days,
and see my grandmother
standing over her coal stove
where I huddled on frost-filled nights
watching my mother and father,
aunts and uncles play penny poker
while I broke pieces off an old straw broom,
poked them through the grating
and watched them explode into a kaleidoscope
of orange and blue and then die out,
twisting and snaking, all black and stunted.
When the top of the stove got finger-searing hot,
I'd lean over and let spit drop from my lips,
watch it bubble, scamper and dance across
the hellish top until it disappeared in a hiss, a wisp.
There were laughs and shouts
whenever someone won a hand
and raked the pot across the porcelain table-top,
occasionally dropping a precious penny or two
for me to reclaim from the darkness underneath.
While they played, I sometimes crawled
through my grandmother's bedroom,
past the creaking and groaning bed
where, on another night, they hefted
my grandfather to his feet, to the ambulance
that wailed him off to die;
past the rounded, heavy-handled bureau
where she kept the clutters;
the wrinkled and tattered paper bags
of string and stubs of tooth-marked pencils
wadded, worthless bills of the Confederacy,
stamped with the faces of bearded men in stiff collars --
"Naming your children after Confederate
Generals makes for slow, steady drinkers,"
and now I think of the uncle named for Lee
and the nights I hoisted him
out of Eddie Connor's Tavern.
There were half pieces of Juicy Fruit gum
in gold cameo boxes stuffed with coins
and uniform buttons.
There were photos, frayed, crumpled-edge,
pale with time, of old women in print dresses
and always, aprons.
Into the parlor as softly as the old black cat
she kept to find some uncle dozing on the couch.
With a screech wild enough for any Indian,
I was on him, arms flailing, legs around his middle
as we rolled to the carpet and fought great battles
over the room and under the teeter-tottering library table.
Once we tipped over the statue of a headless angel
poised on the prow of a half-sunken ship
and a spider plant, its long thin arms
gangling clusters of finger leaves,
and the laughing stopped.
A shout and a scrape of chairs from the kitchen,
and we scrambled to the hall, to the uncle's room
where we crouched in a lightless corner
until there was only the sound of our breathing
and the hot, sweaty, rug-burned sensation
of battle on our faces.
When the laughter began again
and our breathing quieted,
we climbed onto the bed,
slipped out the smooth, metal-cold
Daisy Air Rifle from its nest
between bed and wall,
gently and quietly lifted the complaining window
and rested the oil-rubbed barrel
on the sill, while our hearts
pounded loud enough
for everyone in the kitchen to hear.
But they didn't.
I cocked the rifle
and aimed it across the street
at old lady Cinderella's shade-drawn window,
sucked in the cold night air
and gently, nervously, hesitantly
squeezed the trigger --
"squeeze it, don't jerk it,"
the uncle beside me whispered.
With a click and a whoosh
the barrel jumped ever-s0-slightly
off the sill, and somewhere in the blackness
a ping resonated in the night.
"Nice shot," the uncle breathed,
and a warmth spread over my face.
"My turn," the voice whispered.
After the card game
there'd be cocoa,
dark, creamy coffee and amber tea
in chipped white mugs, occasionally with
Everyone talked, stirred, tousled our hair
and slipped warm coins
into our damp, ready hands.
Heaps of doughnuts, bloody with jelly
pyramided on movie theatre plates
next to wedges of cervelat, sausage
and thick slices of cheese.
Full mouths chortled and garbled about the game
and Uncle Frank, he of the great beak nose
and occasional long, discolored teeth
let out throaty chuckles,
boasting of brilliant bluffs.
We knew that someday we would sit
at that table, snap and slide
the cards across the smooth surface.
Like Uncle Nick, we'd chew a big cigar,
blow rolling clouds of smoke to the ceiling
and watch them drift back around us
like a pale blue scarf.
The night ended all too quickly
when my father stretched and yawned
and unfolded himself from his chair.
I hated to swap the warmth and the light
for the long walk down streets
glazed with frost and people
walking head down and, it seemed, lonely.
We stood in the crisp night air,
stars flaring like kitchen matches,
until the bus ambled up, wheezing and coughing
like an unsteady drunk.
With a hissing of doors
and a jounce that sent us stumbling
first backward, then forward,
the bus plodded on into the night.
I sat on my father's lap,
braced against the brittle cold
of his leather jacket
as the bus gently rocked and swayed
its way up Dorchester Avenue.
I lay my head against his shoulder
and all eerie lights
passed in front of my eyes,
slowly blurring, blending
and fading into darkness.
Copyright © RUSS duPont | Year Posted 2015
Long poem by
Robert Candler | Details |
Dedicated to the 2000 National College Football Champions, the Oklahoma Sooners
Over fifty years, boy and man, I’ve been a Sooners fan
Watched and reveled in their glories, every one;
But there’s no more glorious “Sooner Magic”
Than the Red October Run.
The new millennium's first football season,
Excited Sooners fans’ hopes did soar.
They had tasted victory in Bob Stoops’ first year;
Now, they wanted - no, expected - even more.
There was a glint of promise in Bob’s eyes,
Strength and confidence in his every word.
“Our Team has shown improvement”, is what he said;
“We’ll win!” is what fans heard.
By September’s end, the Sooners were 4 and O,
A “cupcake schedule” some anxious fans would say;
Twenty-two days in October would rule their destiny.
Texas, K-State, Nebraska, the teams they’d have to play.
“OU’s October is a gauntlet”, said ESPN;
“Play #10 and #2 and #1…and win”?
So, on a rainy Saturday morning in Dallas,
The Red October Run would begin.
The Texas State Fair at the Cotton Bowl,
Fans were welcomed by Big Tex.
They screamed, “Go OU!” and “Hook’em Horns!”;
But none could imagine what happened next.
Heupel was a dominating General;
The Sooners Offense, his relentless troops.
Calmus and the Defense assured a total rout,
The Coach of the Day was Bob Stoops.
Sooners fans were wild, delirious with glee;
But Bob seemed focused and sedate.
“We’ll enjoy this victory Sunday;
Then Monday, we’ll prepare for Kansas State”.
No time to revel in the Glory, #2 was tough.
Better than the Huskers? The possibility was real.
The road to #1 went through Manhattan,
And the Sooners would have to win it on the field.
The sportscasters had a field day.
Last year’s “coaching coup” was news again.
Beasley versus Heupel was “The Match-up”.
Could Heupel evade K-State’s awesome defense
and find a way to win?
Again, Heupel and his troops met the challenge;
And as the Sooners “D” assured a hard fought win,
Every Sooners fan’s heart was stirred.
Could our Sooners be “Big Red” again?
Mighty Nebraska, #1, was coming to Owen Field.
“Biggest OU - Nebraska game in years!” Corso said.
It would be 1 versus 2, a heralded gridiron epic
For the coveted title of…”Big Red”.
It was OU’s biggest home game ever.
The campus was alive with vendors and would-be
Every Sooners Fan’s heart was pounding.
Could the smell of #1 stoke the Sooners' fires?
The Huskers struck so quickly.
At 14 to nothing, Sooners fans were stunned.
It was shaping up to be a long, long day;
And it wasn’t going to be fun.
Quickly tho’, Heupel rallied his Sooners troops.
They scored and scored and scored again.
The Sooners “D” built a Wall at the 50,
And would not let the Huskers in.
Winners, the Sooners ran and jumped with glee.
Fans flooded Owen Field, milling all around,
Praising and hugging their Sooners Heroes.
They even tore the goal post down.
Now #1, the Sooners had won it on the field.
Their preparation had been well taught.
Bob Stoops, all his great coaches and assistants,
Took pride in how the Sooners fought.
Someone once said, “Everyone loves a winner.”
Everywhere you looked confirmed it’s true.
OU flags fluttered. Decals, hats, and clothes abound.
Come November, the Sooners and their Fans
had been renewed,
There’s no slighting the importance of Red October.
The Sooners came together as a Team.
No doubt too, without “The Red October Run”
Their National Championship would still be just a dream.
For the next five games, it was simply unacceptable
For the Sooners to even think that they could fail;
And, tho’ Heupel played injured, they won the Big 12 Championship;
Great Sooners Defense had prevailed.
But no one gave these Big 12 Champs the slightest chance to win
Against the mighty Seminoles of Florida State.
The Heisman Trophy Winner was their quarterback
And their defense was touted to be great.
At the coin toss, Team Captain Torrance Marshall
Said to their quarterback in words most serious and sure,
“You took our boy’s trophy”. Then he smiled,
“Now we’re gonna take yours”.
The Sooners “D” was everywhere and completely shut them down;
And, when Quentin Griffin’s touchdown closed the door,
Their quarterback knew that Marshall’s words rang true;
The not-so-mighty ‘Noles had not been allowed to score.
Yes, Bob Stoops and his Sooners knew the challenge:
To win Each game ‘til Every game’s been won;
Win for Sooners and their Fans the unchallenged right
To revel in the Glory of being #1.
Yes, my Sooners Team goes on and on,
Different faces, different names;
But these Sooners Champions will be well remembered
For the Season they won Every game.
Undefeated National Champions!
Before October, who would have ever dreamed?
Why, just last year, we didn’t even know the players' names;
And now, they’re College Football’s Greatest Team.
To overcome all adversity and rise to every challenge,
The reward for such a feat is being #1;
Their path to Glory born of a Sooners Legend
Called The Red October Run.
Copyright © Robert Candler | Year Posted 2014
Long poem by
Keith Trestrail | Details |
Jack of Hearts - Skeet Big John - John Snake Eyes - Rich
Diamond Jim - Craig Hinemoa - Ngaire
Dedicated to you all.
The players were hangin round but were all headin for a fall,
The room was quiet except for the drillin in the wall.
The curfew had been lifted and the "No Gamblin" signs torn down,
Anyone with any sense had already left town,
They were shakin in their boots starin at the Jack of Hearts
Now Jack was no-one's fool, he said "I've come to take what's mine",
He made his usual entrance lookin so sharp and so fine.
With his waistcoat and his hat and his eyes so dark and cold,
His card playin was feared, his legend widely told,
And everyone watched in awe the great Jack of Hearts
"I know I've seen that face before" they were thinkin to themselves,
"Maybe down in Pare' or in a book upon somebody's shelves".
The boys began to twitch and a hard drinkin voice was heard,
"I'm lookin for an honest game", Jack gave 'em all his word,
But no-one was takin any chances with the Jack of Hearts
One by one they drifted in, "let's get this show started" he said,
And everyone eyed the stash hidden under Big John's bed.
Then he walked up to Diamond Jim and he asked him with a grin
"Could you kindly tell me, friend, what time this game begins",
Then every sphincter at that table clenched at the Jack of Hearts
The cards were shuffled and dealt, there was high tension in the air,
Diamond Jim had two aces hopin for a third to match his pair.
He said "you gotta be in to win" and raised the pot with a dopey smile,
Snake Eyes folded, but Big John, he was takin his sweet while,
But the man they all had to beat was the Jack of Hearts
Hinemoa, the queen of spades, was an easy mark tryin to find,
The drillin in the wall kept up but no-one seemed to pay it any mind.
It was known all around town that Hinemoa had Big John's ring
And that nothin would ever come between the queen and her king,
No, nothin ever would except maybe the Jack of Hearts
Hinemoa started drinkin hard and her tongue cut like a knife,
She was tired of losin, tired of playin the role of Big John's wife.
She had done a lot of bad shit - with a wild bunch she did ride,
Was lookin to win one big gamblin stake before she died,
She was gazin at the pot bettin against the Jack of Hearts
Diamond Jim wiped his brow, looked at Jack then looked away,
"Has your luck run out?", Jack laughed, "you must have known it would someday",
Then Snake Eyes winked and said "stranger, I think you're buffin",
And Jack just winked back at that muppet on his big cigar puffin,
"Read 'em and weep fat boy!" said the smilin Jack of Hearts
"Bugger me!" Big John groaned, "these cards are jinxed I swear,
There's somethin funny goin on" he said, "I can feel it in the air!
If I catch anyone cheatin I'll shoot 'em where they stand",
Everyone was hopin they they weren't holdin a dead man's hand,
Everyone that is but the cocked and loaded Jack of Hearts
No-one knew the circumstance but they say it happened pretty quick,
The lights all went out and a nickel plated revolver did click.
Big John was layin there, a bullet hole between his eyes did burn,
Hinemoa on top cryin "you dumb bastard, my luck's about to turn!",
She was with Big John but she was gunnin for the Jack of Hearts
Two doors down the boys finally made it through the wall,
And cleaned out Big John's stash, they say they made off with quite a haul,
Jack said "cash me out, I've drunk too much and it's gettin late",
Diamond Jim said "screw you Jack, I've got an inside straight"
But that cowboy never stood a chance with the Jack of Hearts
The sun was risin, it was time for one last hand before the dawn,
This was Jack's game and the rest were all just his pawns.
They were thinkin about a killin, thinkin about what they saw,
Thinkin about gettin rolled and thinkin about the law,
But most of all they were thinkin about the Jack of Hearts
The next day was judgement day, the sky was overcast and dull,
Big John lay covered up, felled by a pistol shot to the skull.
They all pointed at Jack and stared, but Jack wasn't the kind to blink,
Diamond Jim and Snake Eyes were sober, they hadn't had a drink
But they were wishin they had when they saw the Jack of Hearts
Jack just winked and said "so long clowns" then hit the trail singin...
"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run,
You never count your money while you're sittin at the table,
There'll be time enough for countin when the dealin's done!
My version of Bob Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts"
Copyright © Keith Trestrail | Year Posted 2015
Long poem by
Prince Patterson | Details |
Oppressor and the oppressed.
Who is the oppressed and who is the oppressor?
Who has the right to beat a random person on the street?
Who has the right when to pronounce a person guilty or to see that they is the victim?
Who has the jurisdiction to carry a gun and to unload on a random person because of the way they is playing life's game?
There is a president but he has a nation that needs to be run, there is a mayor but he or she needs to govern protection and education for every man,woman, and child. There is those who vote and those who do not, there is those who KILL for a FEE and those who KILL to protect those who threaten and attempt to poison their feed.
In the Crayola box there is over 8 colors and how many of them do you see fighting to maintain a piece of land that doesn't even have their name? These colors have managed to get along but why has us as artist slander there good name?
You may agree we should be free, others may agree to lock them away, the third party may vote that we should have a Hunger Game and declare a winner from each district and let them be reminded by name and plaque.
Will it not be funnier if things went back to being the same before the post-Europeans, before the ice age, before slavery, before time itself? Before evolution, before the industrial revolution, do you believe it will solve the conflict of today? Do you believe it will create a new name of a newer society that is under a different system?
The enforcers enforce a punishment that themselves would not want to see happen to people of there kind, the victim sometimes is the guilted, the drugs may make a person a bit deranged or even appearance may look strange. But deep within their brain hides another person who has experienced a pain that became so unbearable so they hid behind a false name. Drinking, smoking, feeling of looking at trees in 3-D is all the same when you are being called a different name, but let it not change you into something that you did not dream of to be.
Look at me, I am me, you may see prince, others may see another black person, another person may ask me name and they may read my palms and tell me that I carry. Both a Spanish and African name that I was originally given to from birth. But hey life is a curse. You can argue with what happened in the past but will that change the date of today's oncoming past!
But the most funniest thing about our past is how much we cherish it and pray for its ways to be continued on today. But look around you what do you see... I won't say any name for my name is not even copyrighted, BUT EVERYBODY WANTS TO START A RIOT! I look at the people around me and I think how can you say that we need to bring change when your thinking and doing the same as the person who once stabbed you in the back?
I'm not saying don't hate the Man, I'm not saying say **** THE POLICE, I'm not saying that the president is part of some dummy corporation, I'm not saying that their isn't a war that has begun, but if you choose to believe what you hear than you will get what you perceive to be your reality!
I'm not saying don't go to school, I'm not saying don't drink, smoke weed, or snort yayo, I'm not saying that you have to rob and be branded a theft, I'm not saying that you shouldn't give love a chance, but everything is up to thee on how thou wants to perceive the world.
I'm not saying that if you close your eyes you will dream, I'm not saying that if you smoke crack you will become a fiend, I'm not saying that THERE IS NO DEMONS ONLY REASONS, I'm not saying that if youse look into the mirror you will see another person in your eyes, I'm not saying that the soul lies behind the eyes. But if you believe the lies you will think that when the truth is told you will think that, that is the lie.
There is a oppressor and there is there oppressed. There is the depressed and there is the depression that we all feel. There is two eyes but they act as one. Nobody asked to be POOR, nobody asked to have WEALTH,nobody asked to have POOR HEALTH, nobody asked to be born with ways that needs to confine to limited space.
But hey the more you believe the lies. The more that you have to believe you will be confined Into thinking that this life is a lie.
There will be battles, but instead of battling and slandering. Why don't we make our voices be heard like that over a beat slapped with claps and a set of drums. Kicking the inside of ears.
Let us prevent the internal bleeding of our heart that is beating (BREATHING)!
Copyright © Prince Patterson | Year Posted 2014
Long poem by
Erin Soares-Anselmi | Details |
I was born fifty years ago on April 10th 1964
Looking back through the years I began to explore
My mama said when it was time for me to be born
I decided to come early and fast in the wee morn
Born five week premature with jaundice I had to stay
High fevers, convulsions and even a coma would come my way
But by the grace of God I made it through each and every one
I could have died before my life really started or even begun.
And through my fifty years God has shown me grace and mercy
As I look back I’m so glad he loved me and thought of me worthy
I remember my first home in Hayward on Burr way
Memories are a little foggy but my sense of home will stay
Moved to Dixon when I was just four years old
To a big beautiful house where my life started to unfold
This would be the place I would meet my life long best friend
She was playing in our backyard the first day we moved in.
So many memories in this house in Dixon on Marvin way
A Baby deer named Bambi and our first dog named Maggie mae
My life sized doll house my parents gave me as a birthday surprise
I would spend hours in there with my plastic appliances making mud pies
Life was blissful and I had not a care in the world I was living
Until the day my parents sat us down and said they were splitting
I just remember crying and in total shock this was happening
My parents would no longer be together my whole life unraveling
We ended up moving to a two story house with mice and peeling paint
Mom worked long hours to feed us four kids who showed no restraint
My mom struggled to balance work and being home with us four
Soon my brothers moved to dads who’s idea was it I’m not sure
My dad died August 19th 1979 at the age of forty from a massive heart attack
I didn’t know then how this would change my life but now can see its full impact
My teen years were cut short because I decided to become a mom
How scared I was to have to drop “mom, I’m pregnant” bomb
Have you ever heard of the song “Going to the chapel of love?”
Married now at seventeen feeling all grown up; well sort of.
On January 2nd 1982 my daughter Melinda was born fuzzy & screaming
Didn’t know what I was really get into, I must have been dreaming
She was the first baby born of the year and was the winner of two contests
So many prizes couldn’t collect them all but we sure tried to do our best
Isn’t it funny how you imagine how it would all work out in your young mind?
But then reality sneaks up on you and smacks you hard on your behind.
Now a single mother at the age of nineteen and moved back in with my mom
And throughout my life I will make poor decisions but no need to write every wrong
Pregnant at twenty with my son Joshua and Melinda now two almost three
I didn’t know what I was going to do but knew they deserved better than me
This you see will be the hardest thing I would ever have to do in my life
I chose to give Josh new parents whom I lived with until I said goodbye
I was blessed to have pictures and letters sent through his growing up years
I remember the first letter I received from Josh I was so nervous eyes filled with tears
My son Brandon was born on my mom’s birthday he was my biggest and my last
He was my little dare devil and escape artist who was always trying to get past
He would like to climb out of his crib and sneak out the front door for a stroll
I chained and locked the door and even barred the windows thinking I was in control
Till one day two police officers were at my door wanting to see him and talk to me, I guess
They said a neighbor called out of concern and then the police threaten me with CPS.
I have been married more than my fair share to tell the truth and it’s hard to admit
I have walked down the aisle six times and finally found the one to whom I commit
TJ is my husband who I met six years ago and have been married to him for three
Unable to have children of his own he now is known fondly as Dad, Padre and Papa T
My grandchildren make me smile just thinking of them and oh how I miss their precious faces
I have eight all together and love each and every one so much my heart had to grow extra spaces
As I look through my mind’s eye and examine my past adventures, blessings and sorrows
I have come to realize to cherish each and every moment because no time can be borrowed
My fifty ….. In a nut shell.
Copyright © Erin Soares-Anselmi | Year Posted 2014
Long poem by
Roy Jerden | Details |
Sipping cherry limeade, driving in the car parade,
we're cruising in the Lone Star state.
Didn't want a bucket seat; the thing it couldn't beat,
was sitting up close to your date.
One hand on the wheel of daddy’s Oldsmobile,
my arm around my brown-eyed girl,
feeling pretty sporty, radio on Top Forty,
I was cooler than the Duke of Earl.
The lady of the cruise had her penny loafer shoes;
her bobby socks were turned down twice.
With a little eyeliner, she couldn't be much finer,
too much and it wouldn't be nice.
There’d be no wild oats under those petticoats;
she’d never go all the way...
just a perfect flip-up 'do and cute look number two
practiced in the mirror all day.
Hear those tires squeal when I make the rubber peel
for the fly-boys waiting on the bus,
to take them to the base where they don't feel out of place,
not cruising like the rest of us.
I was the drag's head honcho as we pulled across the Concho
and we saw the lights along the riverside.
We'd had quite a lark there at Neff's amusement park,
playing Putt-Putt and going on a ride.
The cheerleader squad rode a killer hot rod
with a spinner on every rim,
a perfect tuck and pleat on every single seat,
courtesy of Wanda's Auto Trim.
Candy apple red, it would really knock you dead;
it was a drop-top Pontiac.
One was there to steer and three were in the rear
posing up on the back.
Those football beauty queens in their skin-tight Levi jeans
were followed by their biggest fan.
Checking out those lasses in his Buddy Holly glasses
was the nerdy little Aqua Velva man.
In his stainless steel braces he grinned up at their faces;
they iced him with a haughty air.
He never would forget it; they would later on regret it
when he became a multi-millionaire.
A four girl bevy in a big finned Chevy
were riding west on Sherwood Way,
four guys right behind in a pick-up state of mind,
all ready to make their play.
Thought they were the smartest cruising pick-up artists,
but those gals were pretty astute.
When they stopped and the guys started telling all their lies,
the chicks started putting on the cute.
We turned the car around and headed back downtown,
cruising down the boulevard.
Stay cool daddio, bear right at El Patio,
and take it down Beauregard.
There were lots of pleated skirts and those button-down shirts.
The flattops were everywhere galore.
From a Lincoln Continental, we heard an instrumental,
Mister Acker Bilk's “Stranger on the Shore”.
We slowly pulled through BJ’s, listening to the deejay’s
announcement of the next hit song.
Leaning on their doors with their Brylcreem pompadours,
two hoods were playing Mr. Wrong.
Completing their disguise, they slouched with narrowed eyes
and did their best at looking mean.
With a twist of his pelvis, one was doing Elvis.
The other did a fine James Dean.
Like a sweet potato vine, the bride of Frankenstein
was entwined around the Marlboro man.
With the passion of their make out, they should have gotten takeout
and opted for a bigger floor plan.
With her black beehive hair and his fancy western wear,
they were putting on quite an awesome scene.
I had to give a chuckle at his huge silver buckle,
but those M.L. Leddy boots looked mighty keen.
I pulled the Olds on through, and we bid BJ’s adieu,
and I put us back onto the street.
With those four whitewall tires, we made for McIntire's
to get ourselves a bite to eat.
We stopped for some fuel, over near the school,
in those days they came right out to you.
Best place on Earth, ‘cause with a dollar’s worth,
they’d check your oil and clean your window too.
The drive-in, painted green, was quite the social scene
with people mingling car to car.
Everyone was caring; the drinks were all for sharing,
(especially when in a mason jar).
She ate a big banana split, and then left me for a bit
to comfort an old friend not feeling right.
A moment more to linger with that final steak finger,
then I took her home and called that one a night.
That was many years ago, but some things you don’t outgrow,
and I think back to when I was a teen.
When doors were left unlocked, and children safely flocked,
unchaperoned at night on Halloween.
And sometimes at night, when the stars are big and bright,
and I’m deep in a Texas state of mind,
I think of that lass who was in my high school class,
And I wonder if she thinks of me in kind.
August 10, 2012
Copyright © Roy Jerden | Year Posted 2012
Long poem by
Scribbler Of Verses | Details |
someone always told me this with tears in her eyes...
(for Lata Sethi's late-mother, who was my mother’s ‘sister’ and who took us all into her heart, and for Lata and Ravi Sethi of Defence Colony, New Delhi)
a wife left South Africa in the 1960’s to join her husband
who was in exile at the time...
in 1970 the husband was sent by the African National Congress to India to be its representative there...
the husband and wife spent two years in Bombay...
one afternoon the husband fell and broke his leg...
the wife knocked on their neighbour’s door, in an apartment complex in Bombay
the neighbour was an old Punjabi lady...
the wife asked the neighbour for a doctor to see to the injured husband...
a Parsi ‘Bone-Setter’ was promptly summoned...
the husband still recalls his anxiety of seeing ‘Bone-Setter’ written on the Parsi gentleman’s bag...
by the way, the ‘Bone-Setter’ worked his ancient craft and surprisingly for the husband, his broken leg healed quite soon...
but still on that day, while the ‘Bone-Setter’ was seeing to the husband...
the wife and the old Punjabi lady from next door got to talking about this and that and where these new Indian-looking wife and husband were from as their accents were clearly not local...
the wife told the elderly Punjabi lady that the husband worked for the African National Congress of South Africa and had left to serve the ANC from exile...
and that they had left their two children behind in South Africa and that they were now essentially political refugees...
the Punjabi lady broke down and wept uncontrollably...
she told the foreign woman that she too had had to leave her home in Lahore in 1947 and flee to India with only the clothes on her back when the partition of the subcontinent took place and Pakistan was formed and at a time when Hindus from Pakistan fled to India and vice versa...
the Punjabi lady then asked the foreign woman her name...
‘Zubeida’, but you can call me ‘Zubie’...
the Punjabi woman hugged Zubie some more, and the two women, seperated by age and geography, wept, sharing a shared pain...
the Punjabi woman told Zubie that she was her ‘sister’ from that day on, and that she felt that pain of exile and forced migration and what being a refugee felt like...
Zubie and her husband Mosie became the closest of friends with the Hindu Punjabi neighbours who were kicked out of Pakistan by Muslims...
then came the time for Mosie and Zubie to leave for Delhi where the African National Congress office was based...
the elderly Punjabi lady and Mosie and Zubie said their goodbyes...
a year or two later, the elderly Punjabi lady’s daughter Lata married Ravi Sethi and the couple moved to Delhi...
the elderly Punjabi lady called Zubie and told her that her daughter was coming to Delhi to live and that she had told Lata, her daughter that she had a ‘sister’ in Delhi...
Lata and Ravi Sethi then moved to Delhi...
This was in the mid-1970’s...
Lata and Zubie became the closest of friends and that bond stayed true, and stays true till today, though Zubie is no more, and the elderly Punjabi lady is no more...
the son and the husband still have a bond with Lata and Ravi Sethi...
a bond that was forged between Hindu and Muslim and between two continents across the barriers of creed and time...
a bond strong and resilient, forged by the pain and trauma of a shared experience...
and that is why, and I shall never stop believing this, that hope shines still, for with all the talk of this and of that, and of that and of this, there will always be a simple woman, somewhere, anywhere, who would take the ‘other’ in as a sister, a fellow human...
and that is why there will always be hope...
hope in the midst of this and of that and of that and of this...
(for Lata Sethi's late-mother, who was my mother’s ‘sister’ and who took us all into her heart, and for Lata and Ravi Sethi of Defence Colony, New Delhi)
Copyright © Scribbler Of Verses | Year Posted 2013
Long poem by
Robert Candler | Details |
Submitted to the "Gone Fishin" contest
Trollin’ the islands at Texoma,
It was April, 1964.
New rod and reel in hand,
I’d NEVER been fishing before.
A Garcia 2510T casting rod.
The reel, a Mitchell 301,
Plus hand-selected worms and lures…
I was ready to have some fun.
My teacher, a master fisherman,
Had fished all over the earth...
From trout in Austrian mountain streams
To sea bass just west of Perth.
He showed me all the basics,
Including how to tie a lure.
“No snaps. They’re no good.
Tie’em on…just to be sure.”
He made me practice casting.
“Take aim with your rod’s tip
Take her back - ten, eleven, twelve, one;
Smoothly return to ten… with just a little flip.”
While I practiced the casting motion,
He said, “Large Mouths will be jumpin’ bugs.
Water’s bubblin’ with Sand Bass spawnin’.
You’ll know the difference if one gives you a tug.”
As we drifted around the islands,
He said, “I think you’re ready.”
So, I picked a lure, a pretty Heddon;
And tied her on. My hands were steady.
Yellow with black dots and a weed guard.
A streamer tail and double treble hooks.
Who knew if she would do the job,
But I liked the way she looked.
As I tied her on, I looked around
For a likely place for my first cast.
Magazine pictures always showed weeds
In the background of a striking Bass.
So, I picked a reed bed in the shallows;
Threw my first cast, watched her fly.
What happened next was the stuff of dreams.
We couldn’t believe our eyes.
About eighteen inches before she lit,
A monstrous Large Mouth erupted from the water.
My teacher screamed, “Holy Mary, Mother of God!
Kiss O’Reilly’s Ugly Daughter!”
When the Bass broke water, it scared me.
My whole body jerked and shook.
So sudden, so silent, it seemed like slow motion.
Until I heard him screaming, “Set the hook! Set the hook!”
When the big Bass scared me,
I must have set the hook.
The tussle was on, long and hard.
This fish didn’t want to be cooked.
My lack of skills prevailed, however,
As I finally reeled him in;
I grabbed him by the lower lip,
Like I’d seen Don Wallace do, time and time again.
“Oh, my God”, he murmured as he weighed the Bass;
“Jeez. Over thirteen pounds....Thirteen pounds, two.”
He took out his Polaroid and laughed,
“I’ll take a picture of this fish... holdin' you.”
He snapped the picture of me holding the Bass;
On the back wrote the date, the length and weight.
As he turned to put the camera away……
Get ready. This is the part that’s great.
I’d watched Don Wallace ‘catch and release’.
He always did that on his show.
“This fish put up a good fight.” he’d say;
“Now it’s time to let him go.”
Yes, as my teacher put away the camera,
I held the big Bass by the lower lip and tail
And ‘swished’ him in the water,
Making sure his gills would not fail.
My teacher turned and saw what I was doing
Just as I let the big Bass go.
This, too, was like slow motion
As I heard him screaming, “NOOOOOOO!”
“Why would you do that, Lad?
Do ya know nothin’ at all?
A fish like that... on your very first cast?
Well...Lad, that fish goes on the wall.”
“Well…he’ll be here next year.” I said with a smile,
“And even bigger, I’ll bet.”
He said, ”You’ll make a fisherman, Lad.
It’s not for the fish that we fish…
but for the great stories we get.”
I still have that lure…and the rod and reel.
Still in their bags and boxes, just like new.
I thought about selling them on eBay,
But 50 years later, they have sentimental value.
You see…I’ve been invited to go fishin’ several times
By golfin’ buddies and other friends;
But for some reason…I really don’t know why…
I’ve never gone fishin’ again.
They say, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”
And I believe that is a fact.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of truth and,
In the meantime…..”Ya’ll come back!”
Copyright © Robert Candler | Year Posted 2014
Long poem by
Keith Trestrail | Details |
The rising sun burns like a solar pyre
From Carenage to Guayaguayare,
And brings to an end sleep's tranquil hold
Unbending in its gentle fold -
To rise again the indiscernible day
From my chamber where I lay,
And downstairs to my breakfast sit
And listen, as if from a pulpit,
Theological instruction in white livery
Served hot with my bacon, eggs, and tea!
Spin twins - Barzey and Della,
Not to be trifled with let me tell ya!
Soon lanes and byways beat soca and reggae
And all roads lead to Broadway,
There the smell of molasses, oil, and grain
Perfumes the air in Port of Spain,
Where a tangled human thread weaves
Vagabonds, beggars, merchants and thieves!
Feel the African diaspora in the street
Where East and West meet;
The sailing boats that passed this way
From old Calcutta and Bombay.
So mill the halls of commerce so grand
And wheels of trade where the land
Reclaimed the sea its depths to keep -
Where still waters run deep.
All that ebbs and flows there in the end
Are the fortunes of my countrymen!
Drivers and porters, cashiers and clerks,
Begin their stationed daily works,
Traders and vendors - cries and laughters
Echo through the dusty steel rafters,
Their bills of sale to ledgers fill
On the bound handwritten pages still.
Soon loaded cigarette vans roll
Riding every bump and pothole -
Me and Yankee riding shotgun
Headed for bandit country on our morning run!
In the hills of St James - outlaws to steal
Or ambush badlands of Laventille,
Looking down the smoking barrel
In the shadows lurking dark and idle,
Or perchance make my island rounds
Up the Eastern Main Road and surrounds;
Under meridian blue sky near and far
Past the tanneries and abattoir.
The dockside lighthouse shifting sands
Beyond the La Basse wastelands...
In-country out of the Dragon's Mouth
On the Princess Margaret Highway south,
To plantation, farm, sugar estate, and oil fields
Where reap our greatest yields.
See immortelle flowers twisting in the breeze,
The royal palms and yellow poui trees;
And at week's end a silent rage...
Bags of coin from the cashiers cage
For the sick and poor who a cruel fate befall,
But their beaten faces tell it all.
My home, my roots, I did come to find
But I am a stranger to my own kind!
Mine is a New Age that time begot -
I know not who I am - just who I am not!
Yet there is a rhapsody I can't deny
In the burlesque street that passes by...
Behold the "King of Broadway" Mr Ali,
Holds court at Trestrail & Company -
That Little General - my "padna" in ole talk,
A puppet master on the sidewalk
He's safeguarded for nigh on forty years -
His voice still ringing in my ears!
In the back room, Yankee and Stowe
Load their goods barrows to go;
Cane sugar, grain, oil, tobacco, and rices,
Salt and flour and island spices.
Vat, Old Oak, Budweiser, Dewars, Jim Beam,
And walls of paper by the ream.
On old post-war flatbed trucks that come
Town and village and enclave from.
Silton too, a working man sheepish still,
Like a smiling minstrel does his will;
Now inescapably slowed (the passing years),
A lifetime of service proudly bears.
All Empires are like a dimming star
And remind us of who and what we are.
But still ghosts of the past dance to their lilts
Like the moko jumbies on their stilts!
Yet I was born and bred a son of Trinidad
And verily so I am still that lad -
So is my brief testament to what I saw
In a day in the life at The Store
Copyright © Keith Trestrail | Year Posted 2014
Long poem by
William Masonis | Details |
I remember 20:
Aflame with ideas and visions,
A mind unfettered by necessity's constraints,
Spirit open to everything -
Tomorrow held no fears,
Yesterday no regrets;
There was only day following day,
Each new and with something to give,
And each corner I turned
Led down a new road
Where the joy was ever in the going,
With a horizon impossibly far and bright.
Do you still see that youth somewhere inside
When I gaze on you, Love,
As I still see that girl with the laughing eyes
Who ran down those roads with me?
That was our dreaming-time,
The cloudcastle years
When we could scarcely bear
The brightness of our own being.
The wonder of the world embraces the young,
And they return the embrace,
But like the children they so recently were,
They are distracted, and break away
Enticed by the next marvel
Peaking 'round the corner.
A part of us yet runs there, Love;
Running and running
Through the endless light.
I remember 30:
Young parenthood, responsibilities.
We showed them all the light we could,
Let them run into it and find their ways.
Small voices grew to sound like our own;
Busy days and nights fly past
Like leaves blown out of the grasp of their trees,
Tumbling, mixing, moving on
Until at last the bigger voices went off on their own,
Running down new roads
Chasing their own marvels.
Now and again they return,
And we share our found treasures
And fondly laugh together
At Youth's follies and discoveries
And sigh within
At the beautiful light.
This was the time when we were Fortune's Fools,
And proud and happy to be.
I remember 40:
The time of Action
The time of Challenge.
This is the time we found our strength,
Though it was sometimes purchased with pain.
This was the time of lessons,
Some of them hard.
This was also the age of flowing friendships -
Some growing, some degenerating, most holding stable,
Especially, of course, the good old ones,
The ones that stretch to childhood, and go on stretching still.
And finally, also our era of finding out:
Our spouses really are our best friends
How relative time truly is
Why learning to Just Accept pays off
Where the foci of our lives need to be
When to roll over and when to dig in
Who's a Friend and who's a Face.
The forties were something special.
So now we stand in the middle 50s.
Less ahead than behind, for sure.
Youth is still not quite out of reach,
But age is on the horizon and beckoning.
Has Age brought wisdom along?
I think yes, but she's holding back,
Not saying much just yet.
Now the light has begun to slant;
There are decades to go,
But the afternoon has come on,
The hot day is cooling ...
Sunset is gathering into its birth,
I know where we are now.
I know who we are now.
We walk the shore and look ahead,
Knowing that after sunset comes the dawn again,
After a little rest in the starland between
As go the hours, the days, the years,
Pulled out, away into the great Unknown.
Now we walk together towards that sunset
And all the mysteries waiting there.
Together we shall find them all,
And when we reach the last, the Greatest,
I expect to turn and find again
That girl with the laughing eyes beside me,
Ready to run, and run, and run.
Copyright © William Masonis | Year Posted 2014