Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Tag Archives: Poetry

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
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.

Prompt: Before There Were Words

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Eyes wide awake at 3:28 a.m.

The chilling rattle of her snore

Kept him in a quiet disturbance

Medication schedules haunted his sleep

If only she could wake up and talk

And say their life together had been full

He knew but he needed to hear it again


In the morning

She stared from her pillow

With dawn’s light catching tears

In the corner of her eyes

Before there were words

Sputtering out in chopped pieces

That died as he cried.




Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom

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When she went to Heaven

I thought missing her

would be unbearable

I didn’t know

she would live

in a million different ways


She touches my life

like scattered rose petals

She is in my selfies

the little neck wrinkles

that were so genuinely hers

the gently furrowed brow

that I can’t filter away

She is in my reflection

the eyeliner that now wiggles

the thin lips that lipstick laughs at

the leg veins that resemble lightning

on thunder thighs


She is in my work

her writing on my students’ tests

her lectures about making better choices

her commitment to do more instead of less

leaving frazzled at the day’s end


She is my bedtime at 8 p.m.

and waking at 4 a.m.

She is coffee in the quiet of a new day

and prayers for her daughters

She is tired but doesn’t quit

She smiles and laughs and loves

without limits

I am she

Together always

we will be.


Happy Mother’s Day

Rest Peacefully and Joyously in Heaven, Mommie!

Lessons I Learned from Domestic Violence: Prompt 8 “No Visitors”

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San Bernardino School Shooting

Husband enters classroom

kills wife

and an 8-year old student

before killing himself.

I do not want visitors

while I am teaching.

We protect and serve

in classrooms

that are presumed safe.

Students should know

that no one would hurt them

inside of school.

Teachers settle arguments

and stop fights between students.

Teachers diffuse anger

and never tolerate bullying.

Teachers prepare lessons

group students for special help

and sit with individual children

who need that one-to-one time.

Karen Elaine Smith’s student

Jonathan Martinez

had Williams Syndrome

and probably spent many days

at his teacher’s side.

Karen Elaine Smith

did not have a chance

to protect herself or her students

but I believe Jonathan felt safe

as he ascended to heaven shortly after her

while she assuredly led the way.

Teachers and students don’t need visitors.

A surgeon does not receive visitors in the O.R.

Visitors are prohibited from approaching judges’ benches

Athletes don’t welcome visitors in the middle of a game.

But we who provide education

for students who seek careers

as doctors, judges and athletes

open our doors

open our arms

open our hearts

and give welcoming smiles

completely unaware that our visitors

may be armed

may be dangerous

may be ready to die.

How would the office staff know

that a visitor intends harm?

If someone needs to talk to the teacher

during instructional time

it should be forbidden

for the sake of the children’s learning time

and out of respect for the teacher’s time.

It should be forbidden

to interrupt protected classrooms

where students believe they are safe

where teachers leave their personal issues inside their homes

where unsettled family problems are locked outside the gates

and where life’s lessons

that children come to school to learn

won’t be nightmares of their classmates and teachers

shot in their safe zone

by a visitor.


Rest in Peace Karen Elaine Smith and Jonathan Martinez





Lessons I Learned from Teaching: Prompt 7 “ADHD, Gifted and Hungry”

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He comes to school late

almost every day

Moseys in with curved posture

under a hoodie covering uncombed hair

His backpack dangles on the back of his chair

it holds junk compared to others

packed with books and homework

Breakfast has already been served

but he’s hungry and glances at the table

where his tray of processed options begin to stiffen

He devours sweetened pancake-like dough

packaged pineapples and berry juice

while others read and write

He opens his tattered book

expecting to begin the day’s lessons

without a sharpened pencil

He raises his hand

to trade his dull pencil for my sharp one

we exchange pencils before engaging routine courtesies

while my eyes fight to conceal irritation

because 141 days of school have begun without readiness

His page is torn and smudged

like his backpack

like his hoodie

like his shoes

Holes in front from feet forging

heels breaking down the barriers of high-tops

until thread-bare socks graze the ground

Life moves in reverse

the way he backs out of his shoes

he writes yesterday’s answers

does not have today’s homework

saves Thursday’s fruit

for Friday’s snack

What will his future hold

if he never finishes anything he starts

if his feet never have room to grow

if his fingernails carry crud

if his hands never stop fidgeting

if his knees never stop bouncing

and his mind never breaks free?



Lessons I Will Share When She Falls in Love: Prompt 6 “Worthy”

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When she falls in love

I will tell her to accept and admire who he is today

Not who she wants him to become

I will tell her that he has to love her more

Than she could ever possibly love him

I will tell her that the sun will always set

But it can not bury lovers’ anger

I will tell her that if he won’t do something

She can’t make him want to

I will tell her if she seeks more than he does

She may find it alone

I will tell her how love changes over time

It will get old but it does not have to die

I will tell her how old love writes its own story

And young love is barely a poem

I will tell her that he has to be worthy of the kingdom

Otherwise she will be the queen alone on her throne.






Lessons I Learned from Parenting: Prompt 4 “Clenched fists”

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He did not have a male role model

that he wanted to emulate

a father who would love him


who would rescue and mend him

like a loving parent would

He craved his father’s approval

because that is what children do

but he never heard what he did right

and always how he was lazy and wrong

He grew up asking why

wondering why he fell short

why he never felt safe

and why he and his father

always walked away

with clenched fists.

Lessons I Learned on a Saturday: Prompt 3 “Falling in love with . . .”

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What happens when you fall in love

with a project?

You plan and search

for its vital parts

and commence construction.

Your desired outcome

its inner mechanisms

perfectly sync

with your vision.

As the project takes form

obstacles begin blocking


Pieces don’t fit.

Mixtures won’t blend.

Sparks don’t fly.

Like a scientist,

you try again

with a new approach

using the same materials.

But after repeated tests and trials

you determine your hypothesis

would never be true.

He was never meant

to be your project.

He was supposed to be

your man.

Fall in love with a person

not a project.


Lessons I Learned at Home: Prompt 2 “Resilience”

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Dear Mommie

I miss you

Wish you could be here

To hold me

Talk to me

Let me sit on your lap

Well, lie across it

And cry

While you gently caress my face

I miss your sweet touch

Its magic

Sometimes I want to scream

Instead I pray constantly

Knowing you and God hear

My every word

Even the unspoken ones

That seem to live on the edge

Of my lips

Thank you for reminding me

Through memories

That you loved everyone

No judgements

No exclusions

Thank you for reminding me

When I look at your picture

That a smile can cure sadness

Thank you for teaching me


And how obstacles are opportunities

And how struggles develop strength

And how love lives after loss