Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Audre Lorde  Feb 2010
Afterimages
I

However the image enters
its force remains within
my eyes
rockstrewn caves where dragonfish evolve
wild for life, relentless and acquisitive
learning to survive
where there is no food
my eyes are always hungry
and remembering
however the image enters
its force remains.
A white woman stands bereft and empty
a black boy hacked into a murderous lesson
recalled in me forever
like a lurch of earth on the edge of sleep
etched into my visions
food for dragonfish that learn
to live upon whatever they must eat
fused images beneath my pain.

II

The Pearl River floods through the streets of Jackson
A Mississippi summer televised.
Trapped houses kneel like sinners in the rain
a white woman climbs from her roof to a passing boat
her fingers tarry for a moment on the chimney
tearless and no longer young, she holds
a tattered baby's blanket in her arms.
In a flickering afterimage of the nightmare rain
a microphone
****** up against her flat bewildered words
"we jest come from the bank yestiddy
borrowing money to pay the income tax
now everything's gone. I never knew
it could be so hard."
Despair weighs down her voice like Pearl River mud
caked around the edges
her pale eyes scanning the camera for help or explanation
unanswered
she shifts her search across the watered street, dry-eyed
"hard, but not this hard."
Two tow-headed children hurl themselves against her
hanging upon her coat like mirrors
until a man with ham-like hands pulls her aside
snarling "She ain't got nothing more to say!"
and that lie hangs in his mouth
like a shred of rotting meat.

III

I inherited Jackson, Mississippi.
For my majority it gave me Emmett Till
his 15 years puffed out like bruises
on plump boy-cheeks
his only Mississippi summer
whistling a 21 gun salute to Dixie
as a white girl passed him in the street
and he was baptized my son forever
in the midnight waters of the Pearl.

His broken body is the afterimage of my 21st year
when I walked through a northern summer
my eyes averted
from each corner's photographies
newspapers protest posters magazines
Police Story, Confidential, True
the avid insistence of detail
pretending insight or information
the length of **** across the dead boy's *****
his grieving mother's lamentation
the severed lips, how many burns
his gouged out eyes
sewed shut upon the screaming covers
louder than life
all over
the veiled warning, the secret relish
of a black child's mutilated body
fingered by street-corner eyes
bruise upon livid bruise
and wherever I looked that summer
I learned to be at home with children's blood
with savored violence
with pictures of black broken flesh
used, crumpled, and discarded
lying amid the sidewalk refuse
like a ***** woman's face.

A black boy from Chicago
whistled on the streets of Jackson, Mississippi
testing what he'd been taught was a manly thing to do
his teachers
ripped his eyes out his *** his tongue
and flung him to the Pearl weighted with stone
in th e name of white womanhood
they took their aroused honor
back to Jackson
and celebrated in a *******
the double ritual of white manhood
confirmed.

IV

"If earth and air and water do not judge them who are
we to refuse a crust of bread?"

Emmett Till rides the crest of the Pearl, whistling
24 years his ghost lay like the shade of a ***** woman
and a white girl has grown older in costly honor
(what did she pay to never know its price?)
now the Pearl River speaks its muddy judgment
and I can withhold my pity and my bread.

"Hard, but not this hard."
Her face is flat with resignation and despair
with ancient and familiar sorrows
a woman surveying her crumpled future
as the white girl besmirched by Emmett's whistle
never allowed her own tongue
without power or conclusion
unvoiced
she stands adrift in the ruins of her honor
and a man with an executioner's face
pulls her away.

Within my eyes
the flickering afterimages of a nightmare rain
a woman wrings her hands
beneath the weight of agonies remembered
I wade through summer ghosts
betrayed by vision
hers and my own
becoming dragonfish to survive
the horrors we are living
with tortured lungs
adapting to breathe blood.

A woman measures her life's damage
my eyes are caves, chunks of etched rock
tied to the ghost of a black boy
whistling
crying and frightened
her tow-headed children cluster
like little mirrors of despair
their father's hands upon them
and soundlessly
a woman begins to weep.
Pieces of my soul
Pieced together in memory
Starlight in a Black Hole
Of what never again shall be

A floating fading glow
Darkened room image clear
Now seeing IS believing
Desperate attempt at keeping
The fleeting spectre in view
A faded dream of a
Once upon a dream come true

         --Daniel Irwin Tucker
Afterimage:
A visual image on the retina that persists after the stimulus that caused it is no longer operative.
Andrew Parker May 2014
Personal Perspective Poem (Spoken Word)
5/30/2014

To the women who say they do not need feminism,
for fear of being seen as whiny or sensitive,
or for whatever reasons I may not comprehend as a mere male ally.
Please have it in you to look beyond your personal perspective.

To recognize that eye to eye, you do not see other women.
That there are those who cannot see,
acid dripped down their eyelids,
like a tear that burns their skin as much as the insides swell,
all just for wanting to reject a stranger's ****** advances.

To recognize the backs bruised,
bloodied buddies removed from bodies.
That little life extensions not allowed to live,
just for being born girls or maybe boys,
or somewhere in between sometimes.

Please, to recognize that no matter how inner your beauty is,
no matter how many months you spend spinning a cocoon,
so that you may emerge an empowered butterfly,
there will be evil spiders who prey and wish to restrain your flying wings,
in the entanglement of their webs.  
Spinning **** like it is the finest of silks.

To recognize a young female's suicide pressured by her peers,
either called fat, considered undesirable as a volcanic eruption of ash,
and coal, as dark as the hearts of those who have rejected her.
Or she was of dark skin which you might consider just as bad,
because your personal perspective probably left behind women of color.

To recognize that *** should be a sweet something,
not a spontaneously evoked sitting or standing or shouting and screaming,
inside silently, but knowing nobody will hear because you fear,
how they might react in the middle of a frat party,
where **** culture runs rampant,
ripping open limbs to toss in the trash with ****** wrappers,
but blame it on the ******* empty beer bottles.

To recognize that discussions about female TV characters,
and video games, are not about the pixels on the screen,
but the pixels ingrained in young girls' minds, an afterimage.
Left as if women who don't feel they have a place in this world,
do not deserve the avatars they want to represent their digital escape.
Such a simple request, please give her character armor suitable for battle,
her ******* need not be exposed to archers' arrows,
or a swordsman's stab, plunging carelessly into cleavage.

To recognize that commercial prostitution isn't something to sneer at,
when our society prostitutes women in commercials.  
Selling burgers that look like toxic bombs,
you are actually being advertised a buffet of *******.  
Selling beer with a wet white t-shirt contest,
drinks shouldn't be poured on anyone other than a **** at a bar.  
-
Climbing views in ****** slip videos trending on YouTube,
for a moment not worth the notice of any hash tag other than #YesAllWomen.
All of this shameless showing of the human anatomy,
as though it were a product.
Yet we can't seem to get behind feeding a baby the nutrients it needs,
anywhere in public other than an unsanitary bathroom stall!

To recognize the pioneers of past and present,
whose names now whispered in the footnotes of history textbooks,
can't be screamed loud enough at you!  
Shouting, Nellie Bly cannot save you if you voluntarily are a lunatic.  
Shouting, Mary Wollstonecraft cannot avert,
the monstrous male gaze you feel on your *** as you meander,
if you do not join her tribe as an Amazon Warrior of the Pen.  
-
Shouting, Betty Friedan cannot persuade you to liberate yourself,
if you do not think there is anything mystical about feminine mystique.  
Shouting, Laura Bates' 2012 Everyday Sexism Project,
in this modern fourth wave of feminism will become useless.
If you let it wash over you like another small wave,
in an ocean of daily sexist struggles you deny exist,
and blame on anomalies like the mental health of a certain shooter.  
-
Shouting, Kitty Genovese who screamed at everyone.
They watched but they didn't help. 
They watched but they didn't help.  
They watched but they didn't help.
And now shouting at you,
you are watching, but not helping.

Most importantly, to recognize the up and coming feminists,
of the future, with whom you do not identify,
because you think you don't need feminism.
To recognize those who will have to fight so **** hard,
to give you the privilege to be such an *******.
But that's just my personal perspective.
Spenser Bennett Mar 2017
If I could stare at the sun
For forever and a day
Would you leave the light on
Would you love me the same

There will come a time
When the absence of light
Will burn out my eyes
And I will know your name

What we do not see
Is the darkness around you
That falls around me
That falls regardless of the truth

Are you watching now
The light is burning out
And we all fall down
Painted roses of blood and shame

The image comes after
Those cracks in dead light
Beauty became fractured
Like lightning that split the rain
"And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." -FN
A H J Nov 2017
engulfed in viridescent
i suffocate,
there’s no way my existence only live in one color!
at this rate, i will only absorb monochromatic colors-
boring, black and white colors-
my life isn’t an empty chess board!
my life is supposed to be a prism after sunlight, reflecting the colors of the rainbow rays after heavy rainstorm.
my life is supposed to be a clear cheerful lights that invite happy beams from every eyes that saw me!

where are those beams now?
there are,
but all of them are
impish
smiles.

it can’t be.
it can’t be.
now it’s only one solid color,
a color that allows me to be invisible.
perhaps
it’s better this way.
i would die rather than letting my morose colors transparent.

until when?
will i hide my colors forever?
but then, i will never witness the rays of the sun.
how will i refract rainbows, if i only let myself hide in the color of the night?

the sun.
the sun won’t come out.
but the clouds are here.
gray, heavy clouds leaking of water.

ah.
maybe i should wash my colors.
wash, wash, until i’m cleanse.
wash, wash,
the loud sounds of thunderstorm.
wash, wash, rain,
volatile sky projecting a vicious achromatic light.
let my colors melt in rain.

until my vicinity is filled with fluorescent bulbs,
‘til the sky is pastel,
'til holographic air diminish,
'til then,
i can see others beams,
and my own cheerful color
is the best one i could display so far.
showing your true self to others is hard. but it's not impossible.
mark john junor Jan 2014
sunset faces
seem filled with thoughtful reflection
eyes drawn to their own page of living
 and their own written in stone paths
the golden light of the westbound sun
gives its kindness to her weathered face
hides the lines of worry
that have shadowed her days
and in the dark hour
it will be the afterimage of her golden moment
that will sketch this day in ink for me
that will define this place for me
the profile of her face in  golden sunset
her proud strong frailty
that her standing spoke so loudly
as to confound the darkness
and in thouse dying embers of daylight
behind and by her side all these silent spectators
to this strange day shall mark it within their own hearts
what they beheld on this side road of humanity's circus
one old woman stood and defeated the darkness
nel  Oct 2018
how it was for me
nel Oct 2018
tattoos are permanent
thats how it used to be
just like how my love used to be for you
now its just a afterimage of what used to be
tattoos are permanent
they hurt, they mean something, and —
tattoos are permanent
thats how it used to be
just like how my love used to be for you
now its just a afterimage of what used to be
tattoos were permanent
thats how it is now
just like my love for you
not present tense but the past
were
just like how you were playing with those
other girls
were
just like how you played with me
my heart and my feelings are up to date
presently, the past is the past
tattoos are permanent
thats how it used to be
just like how my love used to be for you
now its just a afterimage of what used to be
tattoos are permanent
they hurt, they mean something, and —
i mean that’s how it was for me
Carlo C Gomez Mar 2020
You're an afterimage
You shine so bright upon me

You're an inducement
Your eyes draw me forth

You're a vibration
Your voice shivers my spine

You're a compression
Your legs wrap about my will

Here I am now
My fatal sweet
Waiting to be consumed
Dimitris Sarris Nov 2017
Giving a chance
testing my luck
defying my dream's will
feeling like sculpting.
I think i am going to put
you in trouble for that
cup of coffee
my memories like
offerings to an altar
of old scars.
Forgive me
excuse me
for such a long talk but
i think the trembling in
my heart has stopped.
The tone in your voice was sad
our minds were gone in feelings
we could not name.
Dan Kipp  Feb 2010
Now
Dan Kipp Feb 2010
Now
read this aloud, mind the punctuation,
and, finally,
enjoy.


amethyst eyes alight with nighttime lightning, clapping lashes spark ruminations rumbling across the savannah of memory imprinting in me the afterimage of Now.   Now, Now makes me hers -- though i’m more willing a captive than she imagines: imprisoned in the present, tasting the electricity resounding in this soundless cell () deafeningly solid --
she grooves before me.
slowly rolls me
me rolls slowly  
molasses boiling tongues twisting towards me
ba-da doom ba-doom doom doom.

i don’t know if it’s the fireflies caught in midnight-amber jars suspended by strands of suicidal curls tumbling down the pitch of your back,
or
your touch, come tentatively, but nonetheless titillating, for it softly pleas me to get grounded, stay a while in the timbre of warm fireside conversation and cocoa,
or
your teacup of a navel compelling i to lift laughter, fish up reminiscences, and transcend time,
or
when you lean close and lick me with your eyelash, as if a butterfly’s kiss,
or
your soft voice smoothly singing songs of four-lettered blues .   .     .

.     .   . my god you’re gorgeous.

dance with me, Now     for two more turns of the moon let’s defy posterity and traverse the curves of each other’s words and purge our selves of self     let’s anesthetize Now, marinate in the moment, savor the silence and become sap-trapped fossils left for the future     let’s live a lifetime together in two more turns of the moon, Now,     so that I may memorize every quark of every electron of every neutron of every proton of every atom of every ion of every molecule of every cell of every sinew of every tissue of every ***** and every system of all your beauty, Now, you are perfect because you are am is and will never be anywhere else but here and nothing else but Now.

feel me?
   feel her?

      feel here?


Now.

— The End —