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Oct 2016 · 1.3k
We don’t get to pick our family
Or the country in which we’re born
Most families are quite imperfect
High praise will seldom adorn

Our country acts as, in absence of,
A national family
We’ve come together as mighty fist
To overcome tragedy

Just as you have complained about;
The faults of sister and brother;
The arbitrary dad’s imperfect justice;
The imperfectly care-worn mother

So it is with the family national
Not every behavior good
Complaints and suggestions are rational
Don’t banish before understood

One’s right to protest what isn’t good
For the national family
A founding right that’s understood
Wherever that protest be

Some family members are not all good
Most not prone to riot
Some bring dirt to the nation’s house
While others stay, clean, and quiet

If you demand “protestors leave”
You fail to understand
There’s no place to go but home
And clean the dirt that demands

National attention not just blind scorn
Your so self-righteous display
You can help with hearts reborn
To clean or get out of the way
My response to the Colin Kaepernick protest of police brutality.  I had to rethink my stance when the Chelsea Bomber, a terrorist,  weeks ago was shot wounded but not killed. Intentional? Why then are Black men with no offending evidence (other than skin color) killed without consideration of potential innocence? What's wrong with my country? Why do I fear for my African-American adult son?
For 21 days I saw changes wrought
by the freedom of 22 years  
Secrets of razor wire straight and taut
Speak of those who continue to fear

I saw nature’s beauty in land and face
As black heel continues to rise
Via school, ambition they prep for the race
Even as secretly despised

What’s changed in Soweto? I did not live
But photos and newsreels survive
Pictures of shanties bulldozed to give
Whites room to extend their hives

Now malls; monuments to white retail
Built on Mandiba’s words
Polished chrome and marble hail
“Happy” workers in a black-faced world

Monuments ringed with vendors tribal
Carved goods for sale and cheap
The rands they make do not rival
What multi-nationals’ continue to reap

Happiness is shallow until sundown
When the curtain of decorum lifts
Showing reality’s new shanty-town
Where space and plumbing are gifts

I wonder if He would be okay
Seeing his people so used
As pawns for labor with little say
As black is seldom excused
The young know the time is now
As old hatred’s in shallow graves
To be unearthed by book and plow
Keeping dreams from stunting and fade
It may not seem as such, but I had a terrific if not educational time in South Africa. The Kruger animal photo opts, the Swaziland kindergarten where half of the five and six-year-olds are orphaned due to the aides epidemic. The glassmaking co-op where exquisite glass figurines are all hand blown from recycled glass. I witnessed the resilience of a proud people even as I was saddened at the extreme draught nature has visited upon man and beast alike.
May the road rise up to meet you
As you travel on THE WAY
May the music in your heart
Untangle the worries of your day

May old dreams be tossed
Upon that pyre of strife
And personal manifestos of peace
Ascend to take on life

And when the night closes in
Anxiety and bliss compete
Remember growth is hard my friend
Some truths come incomplete

In the meantime:

May you step easy o’er the rocks
That appear on The Way to defy
Keep in mind your destination
To reach that far-rimmed sky
This time last year I prepping to make my 1st Camino with a girlfriend from college. We walked the Camino Portuguese -- the last 100 miles. It was a time of sheer excitement at what was to come and after we completed our trip - two women carrying our lives on our backs raised a glass of proseco in the ancient town of Santiago - there was and remains the incredible feeling of accomplishment. I will do another Camino - most certainly.  This poem was written 6 months prior for a young man who wrote (on the Camino blog) of his life fraught with troubles that he knew would dissipate once he started his Camino. I wrote this with him in mind - and have since dedicated it to a dear friend who did her partial Camino last month. Bien Camino to all.
Sep 2016 · 1.2k
On the playgrounds of the future
Children will laugh and sing
And we’ll cross the bridge to real peace
Where the bells of sanity shall ring

Until then we’ll play the game
Which will all add up to naught
“It’s your fault, no, it’s theirs…”
Why some fail at what is taught.

We’ve been given new books and bosses
Numerous regs to do the job
But money flows to the burbs
Inner-cities fair game to rob

Touching the future may seem easy
From a point too far away
One could assume it’s all just ditto -
Then lunch -  then math - then play

If this is your belief
You could not be further from the fact
That success is measured forward
As we have our students’ back

So forward we will plod
Secretly teaching to the mean
We will test, and test and test
From which all congress shall glean

Information in nice neat form
Of bars and charts sublime
Symbolic of teachers and students
Who have been sentenced to hard time

And the monied districts shall rule
Golden in and out
And the bootstraps will appear
Accusing all who doubt

Good will be the words to spread
And many who will eat them
The failures will be shown the straps
But for pity’s sake, don’t beat them

                                                                             G. Davis-Feldman
Sep 2016 · 496
I stand before my college class struggling
For the forty-dollar word to replace
The two-dollar one
That inadvertently slipped my lips
You know -
Those words that tell
The skeptical you’ve been there
Done that
Read that and
Know this

Those words have worn smooth
My rugged road from Compton
Words speaking a sub-text of
Silhouetted meanings
The words that bring on the dreaded
Compliment “articulate”
As if I could speak
Any other way

But, it appears I can
I have a way with words plentiful
The two-dollar variety
Like my cheap shoes
Of childhood:
Sometimes embarrassing
Always loyal    

Today, my two-dollar
Words work quietly
In poetic dungeons
Hooded in simplicity
Fooling no one
Laboring, as they do,
Under the
Trappist Creed:
Give up everything
Give up everything
Touch –
An act that’s been corrupted
Even through clothes -
Your 2nd skin  

I am
Crossing a barrier
Erected by
The tyranny
Of a false decorum

We don’t touch that which
We fear, distrust, hate
So I touch you,
Your smooth unscarred arms,
Hug your broad
Sometimes slumping shoulders
As I tell you that
You remind me of my
Niece, the one in Vegas
Who danced
For her supper;
My nephew,
Kind, clever, innocent,
And dead.

Arrest me
For touching
Your face to allay
My fears; nightmare
Dreams of you sprawled
On some ***** 8X8, gas station
Bathroom floor
Searching your dreams
For the money, the needle,
The power to control
Your future

I can only give you
One key
A book
With hopes
That your 3rd grade
Self has not
Been forsaken and
You can read

I can’t teach you
What my fears
Teach me

The news rings out
Pictures of lifeless
Black Bodies carried
From the filthy 8X8s
Potential men & women
Who’ve flunked
Their assignments
In search of ease,
Acceptance and

How strong are you?

My fears fall flat
Against the bathroom walls
That have touched your history
A history from which
Only you can
Draw on
That 8X8 cell


                      By Gwen Davis-Feldman © 2016
Sep 2016 · 399
The Life Limited
Not the express train –
The uneventful
Quick-trip to decay

We’re on the Limited;
Confined within limits
On life’s platform
Night watching
Brief recognition vanishing outlines
Illuminated windows, They stare ahead
Silhouetted profiles against flashing light
Glimpsing the gold coins of
The Paradise Express

We remain for the day
As we see ourselves
Age and wisdom
In separate cars
On that same track
Tearing through
A landscape of
Scattered grace
To the train that passes my rural NY home
Aug 2016 · 344
Toxic Mix: Haiku
Why'd we stop writing
'bout love? was it the mortgage?
the kid? ambition?

— The End —