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Poem: Have I ever loved?

Who am I if not
A creature created in the
Image of love?
But what is an image
If not a facimile?
Non-original
Incapable of being
Authentic
If love is a reaction to receiveing
For we love because
We have first been loved
Then what of the love
That was supposed to pour into me?
What am I pouring out
If I haven’t first received?
In this dimension there has been no
Sheltering arms
Encouraging embrace
No partner or mate
With whom to lay down
Or to build up
What would I know
Of a gentle touch
A tender kiss
A thrusting merge
An expectant birthing
A purposed feeding?
How am I to learn
The deep nature of
Sharing in true
Relationship?
When my existence
At every level
Has been solitary
Relating to myself
Even in
Disagreement
I am right
Though my conclusions
May be wrong
If I don’t even know
What love
Looks like
Feels like
Sounds like
Smells like
Tastes like
How could I possibly
Recognize love
Identify myself
As love
Give what I haven’t
Recieved?
All these years
I thought I was offering
Though I knew I was begging
Trying to avoid my emptiness
Attempting to camouflage
My brokenness
Seeking to heal to
Wholeness
While offering my image
Of wholeness to the broken
But if love is
Absent from my being
How was I ever whole?
How was I ever able
To offer myself?

7/15/19

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Poem: No Straight Lines

If life isn’t linear
Then we’ve already loved
Believing time wasted away
Waiting for what’s
already been

If love isn’t chronological
Surely there are no regrets
Deja vu confirms
What’s come and gone
Past is prologue to future’s past

Reality is never knowing you
Even as my spirit calls you home
Though we’ve only shared shy fleeting touches, my body
Flushes with memory of joys
Yet to come
How can there be certainty of tomorrow while languishing on yesterday’s dead-end paths?

If life were a straight line
Perhaps we would have missed each other in the rush to reach all the next destinations

Perhaps it’s better that we met on this long winding road and continued our separate paths

Perhaps combusting too early would’ve been mutual destruction
Fire that once consumed may now simply keep us warm
Comfortable enough to sustain life
Not enough to turn back time
Maybe we needed to learn to control passions, hopes, expectations
Maybe we needed to unlearn biases, roles and assumptions

Is that reductive reasoning?
A function of call and response?
If existence is a squiggly fifth dimensional experience
Suffering must be an element
Necessary for elevating consciousness

I see you. I feel you.
Yet you’re always out of reach
Present in mind, absent in body
Still, I am here. Where in the continuum are you?

How do we reconcile space, time, and
Waiting through choices that made
Parted ways divergent lives?

~ by LaShawnda Jones, 2022

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Poem: Death is passive. Killing is not.

This poem came from frustration with the passive language most media use to report state-sanctioned murder and police brutality. They say “the death of” this person or that person, as if the person died in an unremarkable way. They speak of people who “lost their life” as if the opportunity to reclaim lost life is available. A more accurate wording would be “life was taken.” Life was stolen. Life was destroyed by someone who had no right to take a life.

Death is passive. Killing is not.
On the lynchings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breyonna Taylor and George Floyd

Death is a passive word.
There is no story attached to death.

Killing is an active word.
Someone does something:
Killer killed.

There’s always a story attached to a killing.
Who did the killer kill?
Why did the killer target the victim?
How was the victim killed?
Will the killer be prosecuted?
Is the killer still breathing?
Why do killers kill?

People who kill inherently believe
They are judge, jury and executioner.
They are the law,
Inhabiting space above, beyond
and around societal norms.
They enjoy an extrajudicial existence.
The law as we know it
needs to be eliminated.
We need to write new laws.
We need to establish new societal norms.
Killers need to know
Murder is not something else
Because of their badge
Skin color or family connections.
Murder is an intentional act.
It is purposeful destruction of an active life.
Murderers think they have the right
To take away life.
To steal another person’s breath.
To extinguish a human being’s light.
They do not have that right.

Witnesses need to name names.
Supervisors need to hold perpetrators
Accountable for their violence, brutality
And abuse of authority.
Administrative leave is not enough.
Job termination is not enough.
Payouts to injured families is not enough.

Full accountability and prosecution
of killers is necessary.
No matter their uniform.
No matter their perceived goodness.
No matter their community.
A killer is a killer. Their victims
Don’t just die. They are killed.

Breathing is active.
Breath is sacred.
Air is life.
We are all created beings
with the same Right to Life
and unhindered breathing.
Access to air should not depend on
Assumptions, opinions, political views,
Occupation, wealth, social status,
Skin color, mood, hatred of fellow humans
or self-hatred. Access to air should
not require legislation.
Yet here we are.

There is a great lack of understanding in America,
An astonishing general ignorance across the continents,
Of an elemental natural truth:

The deeper you grind US into the ground,
The stronger OUR roots become.
One day, your tsunami of brutality
Will wash you and your generations
Out into the sea you brought US across,
While WE who are deeply rooted in the soil
Will not only still be standing,
But will be flourishing. Gloriously.

~ LaShawnda Jones, May 2020

#newpost #blog #poem #wordpress #policebrutality #murderbycop #murderismurder #kill #death #media #biasreporting #passive #active
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Poem: Gwendolyn Brooks by Haki R. Madhubuti

 

Gwendolyn Brooks

she doesn’t wear
costume jewelry
& she knew that walt disney
was/is making a fortune off
false-eyelashes and that time magazine is the
authority on the knee/grow.
her makeup is total-real.
a negro english instructor called her:
       “a fine negro poet.”
a whi-te critic said:
       “she’s a credit to the negro race.”
somebody else called her;
       “a pure negro writer.”
johnnie mae, who’s a senior in high school said:
       “she and Langston are the only negro poets we’ve
       read in school and i understand her.”
pee wee used to carry one of her poems around in his
    back pocket;
       the one about being cool. that was befo pee wee
       was cooled by a cop’s warning shot.
into the sixties
a word was born . . . . . . . . BLACK
& with black came poets
& from the poet’s ball points came:
black doubleblack purpleblack blueblack beenblack was
black daybeforeyesterday blackerthan ultrablack super
black blackblack yellowblack niggerblack blackwhi-te-
       man
blackthanyoueverbes ¼ black unblack coldblack clear
black my momma’s blackerthanyourmomma pimpleblack
       fall
black so black we can’t even see you black on black in
black by black technically black mantanblack winter
black coolblack 360degreesblack coalblack midnight
black black when it’s convenient rustyblack moonblack
black starblack summerblack electronblack spaceman
black shoeshineblack jimshoeblack underwearblack ugly
black auntjimammablack, uncleben’srice black
       williebest
black blackisbeautifulblack i justdiscoveredblack negro
black unsubstanceblack.
and everywhere the
lady “negro poet”
appeared the poets were there.
they listened & questioned
& went home feeling uncomfortable/unsound & so-
       untogether
they read/re-read/wrote & rewrote
& came back the next time to tell the
lady “negro poet”
how beautiful she was/is & how she helped them
& she came back with:
       how necessary they were and how they’ve helped her.
the poets walked & as space filled the vacuum between
       them & the
lady “negro poet”
u could hear one of the blackpoets say:
       “bro, they been calling that sister by the wrong name.”

Haki Madhubuti, “Gwendolyn Brooks” from Don’t Cry, Scream © 1969 by Haki R. Madhubuti. Used by permission of Third World Press, Chicago, IL.

Source: Don’t Cry Scream (Third World Press, 1969)

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Poem: Life is happening.

Picture1So many years
wasted
waiting
wanting
forgetting
life is always happening
it doesn’t accommodate our schedule
or ask for an appointment
it isn’t scouting for the perfect environment
or adjusting for the most flattering angle
it doesn’t care about having
enough money, enough time
enough energy or enough of anything
life is simply happening
it’s on-going and going on
don’t let it pass you by
don’t get left behind
while looking back
or too far ahead
be where you are
fully
life is happening there
whatever you’re doing
wherever you have your being
life does as it does
it continues to happen
whether you’re ready or not
it will happen no matter what
don’t waste it on hopes for tomorrow
don’t wait to live out loud
don’t allow your wants
to diminish what you have
forget what isn’t
relish what is

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Poem: The Weirdest Dream

You were here with me (in a room, in the
sun, by my side, one on one).  I could see
you so clearly, feel you, even, and smell
all your scents – you know, the natural ones;
the perfumed ones; your hands – so warm, so strong
and comforting (all, your essence) – so missed.
I talked with you; laughed with you; saw your smile,
as if never gone; in my arms, alive.

I rolled over and reached for the phone.  Hi,
Mom… “Hi, baby, what’s wrong,” you would ask me.
I just had the weirdest dream about you….
We would talk; our closing of choice being,
“I love you, baby.”  Love you, too, mommy.
Rolling over, as sleep left me, my smile
faded.  Glancing, pitifully, at a
telephone with no connection to you.
How can it be, you’re not here with me?
These dreams only intensify my pain. 

Lost so absolute and unexpected.
Time doesn’t heal the wounds – it spreads them out
to de-intensify… or to numb one.
Memories… they don’t fade, as we sometimes
wish they would – they become detailed through our
rose-colored 20/20 hindsight, as
we see our past as we wish we’d lived it;
perfect and happy, absent of pain and
misunderstandings; moving together,
not apart, one unit, blessed throughout time.

The Weirdest Dream from Clichés: A Life in Verse by LaShawnda Jones

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Poem: Happy 43rd!

Today you would’ve
been 43.
Amazing!
Simply astonishing
how time speeds on
encompassing
other milestones and
life altering events.
Forty-three years old
today. Can’t picture it.
Painful to never
see you age.
Unreal –
you are forever young
eternally ageless….
So desperately missed.

Happy 43rd! from Clichés: A Life in Verse by LaShawnda Jones