Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Tag Archives: Poetry

Memories of Mondays

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My Grandmother, Patsy Ann McPherson

Memories of Mondays

On Monday’s Chili Night
We’d drive down the hill
From our house to Nana’s
For a delectable family dinner
And bellies brimming with love
Five long miles later
Her old wooden door ajar for air and us
Enough to let the spices pique
We knew
It was a two-bowl night
A two-tortillas-and-cheese-on-top night
Some added Tabasco and black pepper
Nana’s Chili, always just right to me
Scooting up close to the table
My chin parked on the doily mat
All that good stuff
Nana’s family spread
Her “good bowls and plates”
Rolled up napkins because she’s fancy
Punch bowl ladle we couldn’t touch
Because our hands were wreckless
Mommie and Nana side by side
My sister and I eye to eye
Stepdad and cousin head the table
We’d eat
And laugh and talk
Joke about what Nana forgot to make this time
The cornbread or the salad
We would serve up round two
We’d eat again
And laugh and talk
I’d watch and remember
And make Chili Beans on a Monday night
Thirty years later

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?

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

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

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.

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