Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Isolated and Free (Day 10: Golden Shovel Poem)

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Today’s Prompt: Write a Golden Shovel Poem. Find a poem that speaks to you, use the words of that poem down the margin of your own poem, then write your poem around those words.

My poem is inspired by a poem by Reyna Biddy from her book A Psalm For Us. 

Isolated and Free

What was life like BEFORE
This pandemic thought PUTTING
Us in isolation might bring FORTH
Kindness? Are we to BLAME
Can we ACKNOWLEGE
Or consider THAT
Our collective hatred and ABUSE
Would have consequences? God DOESN’T
Like ugly, people ALWAYS
Say. But what may COME
FROM
Our solitude and shelter is AN
Embracing and gratitude of the beauty OUTSIDE
An unquenchable desire to discover our SOURCE
For peace and love. SOMETIMES
We need silence and stillness. WE
ABUSE
Others beyond repair but we abuse OURSELVES
To God’s despair. Go inward and examine yourself MENTALLY
Give your mind and soul an EMOTIONALLY
Uplifting message. Sing, dance and find a PHYSICALLY
Healing and strengthening practice. Rest assured, SPIRITUALLY
You are covered in God’s grace and mercy. Use your isolation to FREE
YOURSELF

 

Voices in the Darkness (Day 8: Inner Voices Poem)

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Voices in the Darkness

 

“I need to sleep or I won’t be any good today.”
They say when you can’t sleep, you should just get up and write
“Who said that?”
God is trying to get my attention and He has it at 2, 3, and 4 a.m
“But what does He want me to do if I am sleep deprived? That can’t be God.”
Maybe it’s Mommie trying to send me some signs from Heaven
“Surely she can see that I need to rest and sleep, slobber and snore.”
I’ve been giving too much attention to devices and distractions
“I should commit to meditating and yoga after my morning worship time.”
You can barely sit in a chair without getting stiff, imagine sitting on the floor
“I got that yoga mat for sitting on the floor, so it’ll be comfy.”
What yoga class will I try, I saved about 15 when I felt ambitious
“If I keep eating bacon with breakfast, I will need to jog not meditate.”
When did jogging become impossible, did I ever jog for fun
“Joggers get high when they run!”
Wine makes me high and I don’t have to move
“The article I read said that wine can interrupt my last hours of sleep each night.”
Pandemics and masks, gloves and deaths, my students without school, missing friends and family, listening to an idiot calling himself a leader, watching the numbers jump by the thousands, staying at home, remote teaching jokes, parents homeschooling nightmares, to zoom or not to zoom, staff meetings, virtual happy hour, throat tickles, cough, pray…
“Shhh, do I hear something outside? No one should be outside!”
It’s the neighbor coming home from graveyard shift so maybe I should be grateful and go back to sleep
“I hope she’s safe and well and knows she’s appreciated.”
Maybe I should get up and bake her some cookies

They Haven’t Yet (Day 7: An Ekphrastic Poem)

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Today’s Prompt: Write an Ekphrastic Poem. Spend time in the scene of a photograph and write a poem in response to the work of art. My poem is a response to Group of African American Children Playing from the early 1900’s.

They Haven’t Yet

They haven’t yet heard their mamas wailin’
When their daddies got caged no chance for bailin’
“Don’t understand, ain’t done nothing wrong!”
But skin too black and mind too strong

They haven’t yet gone to the Negro schools
Where white folks be callin’ them nasty fools
Young church ladies try their hands at teachin’
On Sunday evening after pastors done preachin’

They haven’t yet been beaten or kicked in the streets
But they seen Hatred ridin’ behind white sheets
White men breedin’ their power and hate
In a country where nothin’ ain’t never been great

They haven’t yet stood in line to vote
Rights and equality ain’t even been wrote
Their own children haven’t yet been born
In a nation where they’ll forever be scorned

They haven’t yet died while trying to live
They had only one smile and laugh to give
They had only one hand and hope to hold
They had only each other to love and behold

What I Want Is… (Day 6: Object Poem)

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Today’s Prompt: Choose an object to focus on and write a list describing it. Then compose a poem without using any words from that list. My object that I focused on and wrote about was Rain.

 

What I Want Is…

 

What I want is

To play in puddles

 

To kick and splash

Their bootless feet

 

To call five names

For running ahead of the group

 

What I want is

An umbrella for the world

 

To take shelter

Not in place

 

But in memories of this sacred space

Warm blankets to cover

 

People who sleep on the streets

With nothing to dry their freezing feet

 

What I want is

God to cleanse the earth

 

Wash away sickness

And nourish souls and soil

 

So sunshine can soothe

And seeds can sprout tall

 

And proud like my students

Who will lock arms and splash each other again.

Nightmares (Day 3, an Etheree Poem)

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An Etheree Poem follows a syllable pattern of 1-10 per line for a 10-Line poem.

Nightmares

Dreams

Return

Tidal waves

Swallowing me

Whole. No lifeguards out

Swimming in slow motion

Breathe one last breath before death

Screaming, gulping, emerge, crying

I awaken to a damp pillow

Wipe wet eyes and pray, “Stop COVID19.”

Joy for Humanity (Day 2 of April’s #Verselove Writing)

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Today’s prompt: Write a Blitz Poem with 50 lines and follows the pattern of repetition.

Joy for Humanity

Honoring life’s complexities
Honoring grief and joy
Joy in moments
Moments of solitude
Moments of gratitude
Gratitude for life
Gratitude attitudes heal
Heal anxious doubts
Heal the broken-hearted
Broken-hearted grandparents
Broken-hearted students
Students missing school
Students who suffer
Suffer without interactions
Suffer at home
Home but lonely
Home isn’t safe
Safe is relative
Safe isn’t equitable
Equitable for whom
Equitable provisions fail
Fail education
Fail our children
Children within the gaps
Children starving for love
Love is an action
Love their teachers gave
Gave without expectations
Gave when exhausted
Exhausted is normalized
Exhausted rat-race life
Life prescribed in dosages
Life balanced on edges
Edges of insanity
Edges of faith
Faith to jump
Faith now wavering
Wavering into fear
Wavering back to God
God knows all
God sees all
All the wrong
All the grace
Grace during suffering
Grace for humanity
Humanity being tested
Humanity on hold
Hold for safety
Hold your breath
Breath is life

Peace Divine

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This is 1 of 5 poems from the March 5-Day Writing Challenge. We had to use words with aural texture that create a unique sound palette. We were challenged with even creating a unique made-up word. Mine is “Prastinktidy” and you can decide what it means after you’ve explored my poem, Peace Divine.

Peace Divine

Panic

Plucking away

Fibers of your smile

Truncating prayers

As undulating heartbeats 

Rattle and trottle your spirit

Masked madmen slither 

Into your dawn to dusk

Spewing 

Botulinum toxins

Over your grocery cart

Your gas station

Your favorite cafe

Your neighbor’s greeting

Your classroom

Your snakeskin fingers

Making your faith in humanity

Oozeebboozeebb clop

And glut in mustard seeds

Then one seed falls

Onto balmy palm soil 

Your hands receiving it

To take root

Savory splendor sprouting

Piquant prayer of praise

Gratitude 

This moment of wellness

This day’s torrential downpours

Cleansing your dirty hurting Earth

This knowing

That God brings peace

In the midst of

Prastinktidy

ElevenEleven (Day 4 of 5-Day Writing Challenge)

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ElevenEleven

I am born of the power and mystique

Of eleven

Born the eleventh day of the eleventh month

11 days before America’s great mourning

Before a ripped nation 

would forever be severed

Born in the eleventh hour and only 120 seconds 

After the eleventh minute

I am born of New Orleans 

Oklahoma and Los Angeles

Of struggle and success

Marriage and separation

Divorce and devastation

I am born of revolutions 

seeking solutions

To injustice and segregation

100 years after Emancipation

A nation steeped in sickness and hatred

Medgar Evers 

President John F. Kennedy

And Four Little Girls

Dead

But of a King who would

March

Speak

Stand 

For equality in our stead

He had a dream!

Will we let freedom ring?

I am born of a distant father 

fighting in Vietnam 

For a country that denied

His dignity because of his color

A father who sent letters

But rarely spent time

At the house he chose for my family

Where 3 bedrooms and 3 baths

Were as easy as warm waffles for us

With hopscotch and laggers

Barbies and Beany and Cecil

I am born of a gifted mother

Who balanced her cigarette on her lip

Like she balanced parenting and parties

A master of words, pools, and school

A teacher who never stopped learning

And made us beg for crossword puzzles

Boggle and Rummikub

A woman scorned but undefeated

Someone who lived with cancer 

Like a warrior 

Adjusted her armor and kept fighting

Until she was ready to be released

Into her ancestors’ arms

I am born of strong legs and working hands

Of bright smiles and freckles

I am born of tears that fall like rain

“As a joyous daybreak to end

The long night of captivity.”

I am born of African kingdoms and royalty

Of the Bantu and the Congo

I am born of a long lineage of power

I am born of God.

February’s Writing Challenge: Day 2 “What I Want Is…”

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What I want is

A backyard with a lap pool

 

For daily swims and summer luxuries

What I want is

 

Two chocolate Australian Labradoodles

Who wait for me each morning

 

Through my garden path, we walk

Up to the clearing on the hill

 

Where the ocean view welcomes us

Before I sit on my meditation mat

 

Basking in gratitude and blessings

Giving God all praise and thanks

 

For sunshine, salty breezes, and lavender

For intentional breathing, and stillness, and joy

 

What I want is

Peace that surpasses all understanding

 

That shields and guides my path

Back to my home where love abides

 

Where journals and books await my hands

Where inspiration flows beside the fountain at my back door

 

Where I write, read, and live the way I want

Have what I want and when I want it.

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?