#Home #poem Homesteader

I thought this was about a woman! Still is for me.

The ’37 Chevy pickup, retired to a rest
of rust and thistles, sloughed off its front
wheels—the better to munch the sod and
ruminate on great loads hauled: lumber,
a keg of nails, the tools and paint
for their first frame farmhouse, then
the bed, a castiron cookstove with its
clatter of pans, plus the barbwire and
feedbags, a pump… later, kids
and hogs and heifers to the county fair.
Lasting out the War to End All Wars, and
then Korea, she earned her ease, turned
out to pasture by the old woodlot, where
time and the weather wrought a work of art,
making her a monument to herself.

by John Haag

Born in Idaho in1926, John Haag was a member of the Merchant Marine during World War II and a naval veteran of the Korean conflict.

Hanlan’s Point, Souster #poem #Canada #children

I saw the same doors to underwater cities and secret woods and children hidden in a realm behind a rosebush and a cloaked parallel world entered through one door in one building on mid summer’s day right before noon. A lot of them were our own retellings of stories we read. Bless libraries and hurrah for writers of fairytales and fantasies. The joy they brought.
I wish I had my Dutch children’s books here in Canada. My twenty packed boxes of books are still back there. Dutch poetry, literature, YA novels…And coffee table books of penguins and aerial photography.

“Lagoons, Hanlan’s Point”

By Raymond Souster

[…]

And in one strange

dark, tree-hung entrance,

I followed the sound

of my heart all the way

to the reed-blocked ending,

with the pads of the lily

thick as green-shining film

covering the water.

And in another

where the sun came

to probe the depths

through a shaft of branches,

I saw the skeletons

of brown ships rotting

far below in their burial-ground,

and wondered what strange fish

with what strange colours

swam through these palaces

under the water…..

—-
(1)
Mornings

before the sun’s liquid

spilled gradually, flooding

the island’s cool cellar,

there was the boat

and the still lagoons,

with the sound of my oars

the only intrusion

over cries of birds

in the marshy shallows,

or the loud thrashing

of the startled crane

rushing the air.

(4)
A small boy

with a flat-bottomed punt

and an old pair of oars

moving with wonder

through the antechamber

of a walking world.

From: Oxford Book of Canadian Verse by Margaret Atwood. I found this a very dry and monotonous selection.

Black Poet, White Critic #BlackLivesMatter #poem Dudley Randall

Black Poet, White Critic

A critic advises
not to write on controversial subjects
like freedom or murder,
but to treat universal themes
and timeless symbols
like the white unicorn.

A white unicorn?

.

Dudley Randall

George

When I was a child desiring the title of grown-up
And toiling to earn it
In the inferno of the foundry knockout
I watched and admired you working by my side’
As, goggled, with mask on your mouth and shoulders bright
. with sweat,
You mastered the monstrous, lumpish cylinder blocks,
And when they clotted the line and plunged to the floor
With force enough to tear your foot in two,
You calmly stepped aside.

One day when the line broke down and the blocks clogged up
Groaning, grinding, and mounted like an ocean wave
And then rushed thundering down like an avalanche,
And we frantically dodged, then placed our heads together
To form an arch to lift and stack them,
You gave me your highest accolade:
You said, ‘You’re not afraid of sweat. You’re strong as a mule.’

Now, here, in the hospital,
In a ward where old men wait to die,
You sit, and watch time go by.
You cannot read the books I bring, not even
Those that are only picture books,
As you sit among the senile wrecks,
The psychopaths, the incontinent.

One day when you fell from your chair and stared at the air
With the look of fright which sight of death inspires,
I lifted you like a cylinder block, and said,
‘Don’t be afraid
Of a little fall, for you’ll be here
A long time yet, because you’re strong as a mule.’

From: Contemporary American Poetry edited by Donald Hall

Buy from Indie bookstores at abebooks.com here

Beatriz Hierro Lopes-It’s almost dark #sexwork is decent

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 10.45.57 AM

B/W 1951 Caucasian boy + Black girl walking on rural train tracks / Louisiana / documentary shot credit: Archival Films? No known artist.

It’s almost dark.
Women of different ages await the arrival of someone […] While waiting, they talk to the stones with eyes that bear the widowhood of days. I’ve seen them all my life. Away from the stones, close to the sea. In the days when striped beach huts were hired, picnic lunches and folding chairs were taken to the sand and the children were learning to swim in the sea, well away, golden little dots appearing in the tides. I can see their whole lives. They used to arrive in the morning and leave when the afternoon came to an end, shaking the sand off their feet. Their faces broken by the sun reach out today to the stones’ muteness. I see them and I walk on: this street is a route far too far away from the sea.
It’s dark. The traffic lights illuminate the clearings. The city is a forest where each man is a model for the meagreness of the vineyards. Slow, they walk along the avenue, vine bodies burnt by the January moonlight. The wind triggers no movement at all, not a single gesture: only twigs lie along the dark overcoat of these cold days. These are no women to be talking to stones. […]  I see them coming up the avenue, their shadows going down it, piercing them like a section of a past to which returning is not denied. Each one separate, divided, two marching selves, walking the streets in opposite directions and none truly knows up to which point they’re allowed to go back.
[…]

Beatriz Hierro Lopes

Translated by Ana Hudson, 2015

http://www.poemsfromtheportuguese.org/Beatriz_Hierro_Lopes

“Beatriz Hierro Lopes was born in Porto. She has a degree in History.
Poetry books since 2000: É quase noite (2013), Espartilho (2015)”

É quase noite.
Mulheres de diferentes idades esperam a chegada de quem as há-de levar. Enquanto esperam, falam às pedras com os olhos que carregam a viuvez dos dias. Vi-as toda a vida. Longe das pedras, junto ao mar. Quando se alugavam barracas listadas, se levava almoço e cadeiras desdobráveis para a areia, os miúdos aprendendo a nadar no mar, distantes delas, sendo só os seus pontinhos dourados, aparecendo entre marés. Vejo-lhes toda a vida. Chegavam de manhã e partiam ao fim da tarde, sacudindo dos pés a areia. Rostos quebrados de sol que hoje convergem até à mudez das pedras. Vejo-as e passo: esta rua é um caminho demasiado distante do mar.
Está escuro. As luzes dos semáforos alumiam as clareiras. A cidade é uma floresta em que cada homem serve de modelo à magreza das videiras. Marcham lentos ao longo da avenida, corpos de vinha queimada pelo luar de Janeiro. Nenhum movimento é despoletado pelo vento, nem um só gesto: só galhos estendidos ao longo do sobretudo negro destes dias frios. Não são mulheres que falem às pedras. São os homens para quem o haver ainda rosto é uma irregularidade que brevemente será suprimida. Uma individualidade que se esgota na divergência entre o andar recto e o andar por dentro. Vejo-os caminhando avenida acima, e as suas sombras caminhando avenida abaixo, atravessando-os como parte de um passado a que não negam regresso. Cada um separado, dividido, dois eus caminhantes, passeando pelas ruas em direcções opostas, sem que alguém saiba verdadeiramente até onde se pode regressar.
Voltar só é possível até um certo ponto. Regressa-se e regressa-se à possibilidade possível, e o que não é possível, o voltar à forma original, embrionária de colo materno, mantém-se na linha questionável deste horizonte que os braços podados das videiras já não podem alcançar. Resta-lhes isto, o corpo metafórico de uma ideia que apenas existe como forma de dizer: — já é noite há tanto tempo.

 

 

 

 

 

el Jones I have a hard time seeing #BlackLivesMatter #poem

White space between pockets of lines are mine, so I (and others) can read it easier.

I have a hard time seeing justice as a reserve without a well
But then we bring its children a smudge kit in their cell

Don’t we wonder what will happen when there’s foster kids living in hotels
Or black children in the principal’s office 5 minutes past the bell
Because they never learned to read and they fell between the gaps
We start with zero tolerance by the time they’re done taking naps

Is it justice when some people start the race ahead by laps
In a country where we can’t even guarantee clean water from the taps
And there’s indigenous land under every prison on the map
And as you move up from minimum to medium to max
It’s a funny thing in Canada how the skin just gets more black

And that lack of access to parole that is kind of like a tax
A couple years of extra sentence that they tack on to our backs
And there’s those weapons laws they pass that they claim are for the gangs
While there’s white supremacists in prisons with KKK upon their hands
And there’s guards who give them daps

And the police can gun down teenagers and never hit the stand
I won’t even get into asking why we never charge the banks
But should anyone be sent to where they have to carry shanks

Eljoneslyrics.wordpress.com

 

————————————————————

Full poem
I know a man who stabbed a man inside and got sent off to the SHU
But he says when somebody comes after you then what else do you do
I don’t believe that he’s a monster but that’s what the system say
And now he’s doing double life and might not see the light of day
And when you’re 15 and your family teaches you to sell crack
Well is there any coming back so you grow to manhood in the max
And we define entire lives by a person’s worst acts
So we just list their various crimes and believe we have the facts
So here’s another story of another lost defendant
He’s 20 years old and he’s 8 years into his sentence
Brought over to the prison from juvenile detention
Sometimes children in this country they just don’t deserve a mention
Until they commit a crime and then suddenly we pay attention
There are people in society we label as disposable
When you’re already doing time shouldn’t be the first time you’re diagnosable
And so we put them in a prison where at least they are controllable
And I suppose it isn’t notable and no one gets emotional
Unless we find out they are innocent then maybe humanity’s negotiable
But for the rest, you did the crime so your humanity’s ignored
And men are in so long they don’t know how to use a door
And men are in so long they’ve never heard of internet explorer
That’s what happens when you’re black when you’re indigenous and poor
When you’re considered to be a criminal before you’re even born
I get an incoherent call at 3 o clock in the morning.
The same guy who called me crying to report he was assaulted
He says he’s locked up in his room surrounded by guns and knives
If they come to take him back it’s either his or their lives
He says ever since he left the prison he’s been numbing with a high
But people say to close his mouth because it doesn’t happen to real guys
I suppose it’s ironic he’s from the same reserve as Donald Marshall
So it seems to me that justice there was only ever partial
When we look back at that case and say those 11 years were awful
But for everybody else the same suffering is lawful
I’ve heard so many tragic stories I could almost tick off a box
But still we call it justice when the prison doors are locked
We believe that punishment comes to the people who deserve it
But punishment mostly comes to the people who can’t swerve it
Can’t avoid it, can’t employ it, can’t voice it, can’t afford it
And then once you go to prison whatever happens can’t report it
If you can’t write how can you file Roebothams or habeus corpus
So we talk about wrongful but where are the rightful convictions?
Sure there’s Paul Bernardo, Clifford Olson, Robert Picton
But what about the man on his 50th charge of shoplifting
When it’s obvious to everyone the problem is addiction
And the truth and reconciliation commission can only be a fiction
As long as indigenous people out west are still filling up the prisons
I have a hard time seeing justice as a reserve without a well
But then we bring its children a smudge kit in their cell
Don’t we wonder what will happen when there’s foster kids living in hotels
Or black children in the principal’s office 5 minutes past the bell
Because they never learned to read and they fell between the gaps
We start with zero tolerance by the time they’re done taking naps
Is it justice when some people start the race ahead by laps
In a country where we can’t even guarantee clean water from the taps
And there’s indigenous land under every prison on the map
And as you move up from minimum to medium to max
It’s a funny thing in Canada how the skin just gets more black
And that lack of access to parole that is kind of like a tax
A couple years of extra sentence that they tack on to our backs
And there’s those weapons laws they pass that they claim are for the gangs
While there’s white supremacists in prisons with KKK upon their hands
And there’s guards who give them daps
And the police can gun down teenagers and never hit the stand
I won’t even get into asking why we never charge the banks
But should anyone be sent to where they have to carry shanks
I watch police roll into Ferguson with snipers riding tanks
I don’t think you have to not have done it for justice to be miscarried
When I’ve known men so long in prison that their babies now are married
Hell I’ve known men so long in prison that they first meet their son out on the range
And I don’t know that it is justice if we decide you can never change
And I don’t know that it’s justice when there’s men inside a cage
And I don’t know that it is justice if the scales will never budge
And men in prison with so much legal knowledge they could be a judge
And maybe they could have gone in that direction if they only got a nudge
And it’s true that I’ve known men who did a killing for a grudge
But does three seconds of your life make you only human sludge
And let’s not talk about the corporations that profit off it all
Like the predatory phone companies gouging prisoners for a call
Women going broke when their man’s conviction’s not their fault
I could talk about the scanners and how many hits are false
And how families are turned away after driving up for hours
Cause I dont know that it is justice when it’s so easy to abuse powers
I could talk to you for days and it would all be the same ruin
And I know men who did their time in prison with Assoun
And they’ll never be set free to share their voice in these rooms
And I know lawyers, guards and judges who do their best to change the tune
but in a society that’s broken it’s like reaching for the moon
And I confess I once believed that every person could be saved
And then it took a couple of years and it’s true that I got played
And I had to face that there’s some people who seem to always dig a grave
But I still don’t believe that they deserve solitary just because they misbehaved
And I still believe we can do better and that we have to find a way
And I’d still rather know I tried even if it means I failed
Because it will never be justice while the our solution still is jail
So from people doing time in Kent down to people in Renous
From people in the county up to people in the SHU
If that was your life story, what do you think you’d do?

 

 

 

 

 

#BlackHistoryMonth #poem Tired by Fenton Johnson

Don’t read this when you’re tired or sad or have given up hope. This is a poem by a writer who is tired of the world we are still building together: a racist society. Ta-Nehissi Coates (he/him) and El Jones (she/her) aren’t  the only ones who feel hopeless.

Tired
I am tired of work; I am tired of building up somebody else’s civilization.
Let us take a rest, M’lissy Jane.

I will go down to the Last Chance Saloon, drink a gallon or two of gin, shoot a
game or two of dice and sleep the rest of the night on one of Mike’s barrells.

You will let the old shanty go to rot, the white people’s clothes turn to dust, and
the Cavalry Baptist Church sink to the bottomless pit.

You will spend your days forgetting you married me and your nights hunting the
warm gin Mike serves the ladies in the rear of the Last Chance Saloon.

Throw the children in the river; civilization has given us too many. It is better to die
than it is to grow up and find out that you are colored.

Pluck the stars out of the heavens. The stars mark our destiny. The stars mark my destiny.

I am tired of civilization.

.

.

From: The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry
NEW at independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780195125634

#snow #haiku #wintersolstice Issa, Greig, Hashin!!!

de94b8046dc873f97f868026c7e9f921
Photo by: unknown. Searched over 30 websites, no source.
.
The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.
Issa

 

Looking at the clouds
blue in the ice-wind
space flows.

Thomas Grieg

No sky
no earth- even so
snowflakes fall.

Hashin