Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Category Archives: Poetry

February’s 5-Day Writing Challenge: Twenty Questions Poem

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This poem is dedicated to every young woman who thinks she’s fabulous and has no fear of aging.

 

Why didn’t anyone warn me?

No one talked about aging the way they talked about puberty

Didn’t they know we wouldn’t fear lean muscles and high sex drives?

Why didn’t I know the bra I prayed for would become a daily chokehold?

Why didn’t I know my natural libido would require replacing?

What happened to energy and enthusiasm to      M     o      V          e?

Why is staying asleep each night harder than falling asleep at a matinee?

Where did my muscles go?

Are they hiding inside my bones?

When did my arms start flapping?

And why are my thighs CLAPPING?

 

Why didn’t anyone warn me?

Hair down there would grow wilder?

And getting waxed would become more rattling than a root canal?

Who’s face is this?

Did my grandmother sneak inside my soul?

Is my mother reincarnated in me?

Who’s ass is this all bagged up like cotton balls?

Does my back ache because it’s finished with standing up for me?

Do my feet hurt because they’re tired of walking in my shoes?

Why didn’t anyone warn me the way I am warning you?

Wait, what were we talking about?

January’s 5-Day Writing Challenge (Day 1): Inspired by Sandra Cisneros “Abuelito Who”

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I am guest-hosting the 5-Day Writing Challenge on a website for teachers who are also writers. Today’s prompt is to write an “Abuelito Who” poem.

Exes Who

Exes who poured love like butter

And made us adore them

Who were plans and dreams

Who were team us and we

Whose smiles were diamonds and pearls and paychecks

Were too stupid to think we didn’t know

When they said they were buying gifts for us

When they said they would never lie

Whose promises were disguised deceptions

That can’t hide behind our bonds again

Played the victims

Who once seemed invincible and brave

Are narcissistic assholes

Are incapable of commitment

Are locked out of our houses

Where our love no longer breathes

And memories hide in fabrics in our closets

Who shuffle sappy songs on our hearts’ playlists

And bind photos in albums and gold bands in boxes

Who reformed us into steel warriors

Like nails closing coffins

Who will love them again who?

Not us.

Living Without Her

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Almost ten years ago today

She left our world

My mother lets us

Live now 

Without her 

Not connected to anything

 

My beautiful Mommie 

Who made childhood so cool and easy

Summer was our favorite time

Waking to funky sounds on the radio  

And aromas of her good bacon 

And warm waffles

Playing Monopoly on scratchy shag carpet

On we would go

Dancing for hours 

To Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin

And Mommie cheering,

“Get it girls! Ahhh shucks!”

 

Until it was time to dive into the pool

Sometimes filled with intruders

In ugly pink swim caps

Who she called friends and could

Be themselves

Who had begun swim lessons

Who we’d see again and again

Year after year

Until she got too sick 

Or too tired to swim 

Or teach again

 

My mother lets us

Live now without her

But she’s close

We know it’s not going to get easier

Because it’s been almost ten years since

She left here

We remember that day

She left here

The way

She left here

But she’s close

Not connected to anything

Except us

November Writing Challenge Day 2: Unmuted Muse

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Today’s prompt asked me to write about a challenge I had to overcome and to write about it in couplets.

 

Unmuted Muse

With a new marbled notebook and purple flair pen

I would unmute my muse’s voice again

Surrounded by teachers who love to write

We’d compose together and find our light

 

I chose to face my deepest fears

Some I’d kept hidden for too many years

Wondering if I could reveal it all

Or if writers’ block would be my wall

 

I started with Malibu Barbie, that bitch

Who made me believe I could be rich

And blonde and tanned and skinny and pretty

My hair was kinky and I looked shitty

 

Then cancer found its way on the stage

While tears bled ink on my page

I birthed words that once knotted my noose

Never expecting my spirit would come loose

 

Until that poem I titled RAPE

Would leave every mouth and heart agape

Cocked to speak and release the shame

I am not my tragedy, shout my name.

November’s 5-Day Writing Challenge: Day 1 “My Nana’s Kitchen”

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My Nana’s kitchen

Jam-packed

10 x 10

Painted in holiday memories

Turkey 

“Help me pull the innards out.”

Stuffing 

“We have to burn the toast first.”

Rice Dressing 

“Use the grinder for the onions and peppers.”

Candied Yams 

“Have you seen my marshmallows?”

Ham 

“Stick the cloves in.”

Green beans 

“You need to eat your vegetables.”

Mustard Greens

“Everyone loves my greens except you.”

Mincemeat pie

“You don’t know what you’re missing.”

Icebox cookies

“Stir the batter the right way!”

Fudge

“It has to melt all the way down.”

And her fizzy foamy fruit punch

Mixed with rainbow sherbet

Pineapple juice

And 7-up

In her antique punch bowl

“You better not break my cups.”

My Nana’s kitchen

Steeped in

Love

Family

Recipes

Life

Where I wondered 

if her cigarette ashes

ever fell into the greens

and the pie

Or if the food stuck to her dress

was from last year

or from when my Mommie was little

Where I couldn’t question her

because it was not appropriate

I had to trust her

because she was my Nana

October’s Writing Challenge #2: Use 100 One-Syllable Words to Tell a Story

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The C Word

a mass

stage four

in her right breast

the rare form

“What can we do?”

the dim doc said,

“Be there and take the time to help her through

she will get weak

and won’t want to eat or drink

she cried, “I won’t quit.

I’m strong.

I can beat this.

Don’t leave me here

in this cold room

take me home

where I can rest.”

Her kids and friends and us kin

watched her wilt

it took one year

to kill the bad cells

it took two more years

to kill all of her

rest on wings

pain free

In memory of my Shero, Donna Fulbright, who will always be remembered for her love, life, and unforgettable laugh!

Writing from a Picture: October’s Writing Challenge #1

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Imagining You

At 6:28

You stretched your old wobbly arms

Across autumn’s fiery sky

To find a quiet place

Where your crinkled crackly hands

Could touch both of your daughters’ hearts

You reached past a zillion grains of sand

Above dirty blankets swaddling homeless bones

Over salty hair flying in the evening breeze

On winding paths where bicycles whizzed by

And mothers towed tired children towards home

The sun’s gradual disappearance

Echoed how you silently slipped away

But its warmth and peace

Reminded us that what goes away eventually returns

We faced each other

And there you were

In our eyes

Looking right at us

Owning Your Narrative: A Tribute To Hispanic Authors Who Didn’t Allow America To Control Their Narratives

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Teaching my fourth graders

To be the authors of their narratives

To be the definers of their identities

To be the harvesters of hope

To be dreamers

Teaching my fourth graders

To shout their stories 

Until they ECHOOOOOOOoooooooooo

Beyond the boundaries of disbelief

Beyond the borders of shame

Teaching my fourth graders 

About the House on Mango Street

About Red Hot Salsa 

About the importance of family traditions

About Abuelita and Nana and Grammy

Who dreamed of and harvested hope

Ancestral Dreams (Choose art for Hispanic Heritage Month and write a poem that speaks to the artist’s work.)

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My poem was inspired by Carlos Almaraz’s pastels on paper called, “I Dreamed I Could Fly.” © 1986, Carlos Almaraz Estate

"I Dreamed I Could Fly" Carlos Almaraz, 1986

 

Ancestral Dreams

Standing tall and old
in front of my childhood home
was the tree that held the faces
of relatives long gone
of ancestors in chains
who called out to me
soundless
hands reaching
with love
eyes like guiding lights

Divine powers cloaked me
into sacred sap
down to invisible roots
“Fear not the flames
Nor the storms.”
Fires burned rooftops
Smoke billowed from windows
But heaven’s hallowed haze
Shifted to show me myself
Flying and free.

Chocolate, a Relative, and a Diploma (a 3-Elements poem)

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Everyone graduated from college

My village of educated relatives

Framed diplomas adorning our walls from

The UC’s, the Cal States, and the HBCUs

 

But no one talked about

The pain or the insanity

Of trying to fit into petite square boxes

With our plump chocolate hips

 

No one sat us in the family circle

To discuss how divisions

Destroyed mama and daddy

And how he never wanted her to work

 

And we walked on cat’s feet past the door

Where mama’s light began to dim

Where her song shallowed

And daddy always left at night.