#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.

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Because if you write it enough maybe you can save them? by Yovanka Paquete Perdigao

Beautiful and sad and strong and vulnerable.

– See more at: http://brittlepaper.com/2015

By Yovanka Paquete Perdigao

I.

You are one of those introverts that fidgets way too much and, drinks too much wine to conceal how shy you really are. It’s not easy for you to connect with people, usually it takes a second meeting to come out of your shell and a third to really be comfortable around someone. But first time encounters you do the standard nodding at whoever is talking and smile even though you have no clue what they just said. Then they ask you the usual niceties of your background, you gladly volunteer that you used to be a refugee. “Three times a refugee, once in my country and twice in Ivory Coast.” They usually look at you unsure to offer pity, hugs, or just act as normally as possible. You’ve always loved to throw off people with the refugee line, it’s sometimes the best icebreakers for an introvert like you. You chuckle. If pressed, you tell them that you spent the summer of 1998 underneath a bed with your sister afraid a bomb might rip the ceiling.

II.

They become awkward, and you laugh even more. You remember that strangely enough you spent that whole summer too laughing away. Like when your aunty was too big to fit underneath the bed so she hid in the closet. Or when you crossed your city waving around a white flag. Just in case. Or when you finally arrived in Senegal and sat inside the bathtub of the hotel looking at the luxurious soap bottles.

 III.

You don’t tell people that although you are one the fortunate ones, although you pretend like it’s nothing, although you pretend like you barely remember it, you live in a house of ghosts with a pen that doesn’t stop writing.

Because if you write it enough maybe you can remember what went wrong?
Because if you write it enough maybe you can give them another life?
Because if you write it enough maybe you can save them?

Because if you don’t write, who will tell their story?

The door closes ,and you hear Nha Clara sighting as usual:

“Guerra fidjo, Guerra ta dana tudo” (War child, war ruins everything)

 

– See more at: http://brittlepaper.com/2015

#BlackHistoryMonth #poem Sometimes Things Don’t Go From Bad to Worse

From left to right starting top left: photographer unknown; Reuters; NOW Magazine; Reuters.

Sometimes – Sheenagh Pugh.  A poem she didn’t much like herself. Sometimes things go THAT WAY. Subverted twice gender/colour to (something which Pugh doesn’t appreciate either):

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a black woman aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest black woman, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some black stranger poor.
Some black women become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of snow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez #intersectionality #iNeedFeminismBecause #borders Natalie Scentres-Zapico

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 9.25.21 AMPhoto by Dominic Bracco II

Endnotes on Ciudad Juarez

1. The larger portion of this text discusses El Paso, Texas, the boring sister to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

2. There are apartments that feel like they are by the sea, but out the window there is only freeway.

3. The geraniums always wilt either from heat or pollution.

4. El Canelo is the red-headed Mexican boxer that only speaks Spanish.

5. Sometimes the candles are religious, sometimes they are not.

6. The girl from Juarez is beautiful. The girl from Juarez is God.

7. The tortilla border has shanties on one side and trailers on the other.

8. Some call them Fronchis because their license plates read: Fron-Chi for Frontera Chihuahua. Some just call them fresas.

9. Some summers, roaches cross the street and travel home to home like people.

10. Campestre, Anapra, Chavena, Anahuac, Flores Magon, and Independencia are only some of the neighborhoods in Ciudad Juarez.

11. Some streets are lined in wires because it’s so easy to steal electricity.

12. Moxas graffiti walls: mee aamooo!! noo aa laas coopiioonaas!!

13. Some days saliva evaporates from the tongue.

14. The river has become the only blue vein left pulsing on the map.

15. The river is only blue on the map.

An interview with Natalie Scentres-Zapico is done on Blue Mesa Review here!

.

a flier in my hand—

 

a seventeen-year-old girl I knew

her picture splotched with toner.

Her physical description reads

 

like an epitaph looking for its grave.

I let the paper fly again. I know

she is dead.

                                                                                               From “In a Dust Storm”

 

Photo caption: “Youth hang out in the Diaz Ordaz colonia, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Ciudad Juarez. The group hangs out out a lookout above the neighborhood to see if outside gangs are coming to attack or rob them, after they had recieved death threats and a series of violent exchanges between neighborhoods left them nervous.”

Pamela Sneed Say Her Name Black Lives Matter

I had just begun to relax
celebrate the marriage equality ruling
I had just begun feeling with Obama I was
watching Ali in trouble off the ropes
delivering to his opponents the rope-a-dope
my fathers eyes
excitement
I was just beginning to breathe air
feel exhilirated at images of
Joe Biden and President Obama running
down halls of the White House with rainbow flags
like boys with kites-soaring
I was just beginning to forgive deaths of my brothers
to Aids
not forget
there should stil be tribunals
for them and every woman abused
by the medical system
I had just begun to turn a corner on Mike Brown, Freddie Gray
Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, The massacre at AME
not think of it all everyday
Then the police kill this young Black girl in custody in Texas
claim she committed suicide
I remember we’re a war nation
in war times
I imagine how James, Bayard, Nina felt
seeing a nation turn its dogs, teeth, gas, hoses, bullets,
on children, adults, humans
I cant stop thinking about Steve Biko
his battered face
they say he hung himself too
the worlds outrage
who will pray now
for us
America

You. love yourself: i bleed every month. but do not die. how am i not magic. 5 poems by #NayyirahWaheed #BlackLivesMatter #ValentinesDay

i am mine.
before i am ever anyone else’s.

i fell apart many times.
so.
what does that say about me
besides
i live through
wars.

if
the ocean
can calm itself,
so can you.
we
are both
salt water
mixed with
air.

sometimes
the beauty of my people
is
so
thick and intricate.
i spend days
trying
to undo my eyes
so
i can sleep.

she asked ‘you are in love, what does love look like’ to which i replied ‘like everything i’ve ever lost come back to me.

Nayyirah Waheed

Love your mama/s and your papa/s. Loving your family!! “Monument in Black” by Vanessa Howard #ValentinesDay #BlackHistorymonth #BlackLivesMatter

I think this is a great idea. Father, mother, grandfather and brother because

they built and sweated the nation.

Easy visual way to think back to what happened and how important they are. I would like to see the aunt and the nieces on the nickels too. All steps in one time. People would forget most of the day who is on their money of course and that’s okay: it can be part of the remembering, one step, one drop or one butterfly flapping. Slow is how it goes. Too slow. Pardon the pun.

Monument in Black by Vanessa Howard!

Put my black father on the penny
put his smile at me on the silver dime
put my mother on the dollar
for they’ve suffered for more than
three eternities of time
and all money couldn’t repay

Make a monument of my grandfather
let him stand in Washington
For he’s suffered more than
three light years
standing idle in the dark
hero of wars that weren’t begun

name a holiday for my brother
on a sunny day peaceful and warm
for he’s fighting for freedom he
won’t be granted
all my black brothers in Vietnam
resting idle in unkept graves.

.

From: My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry (A Puffin Poetry Book)
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry 
NEW at independent bookstores NEAR you: My Black Me