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Jaelin Rose Oct 2012

A Brave and Startling Truth

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
Maya Angelou

loshni nair May 2014

I never had the privilege to know you well enough,
I never had a chance to meet you in person,
But I know you well enough,
To know that you've changed the lives of millions.

It takes real talent,
To be able to touch and alter,
The deepest, darkest,
Angles of the human mind.

It's something you did almost effortlessly,
You showed us the power of the pen,
And the paper.

You may have left us,
But you will never be forgotten,
This is a promise.

Rest in peace, Marguerite Ann Johnson.
Gone, but never forgotten.

I don’t want to read anything about or

or from Maya Angelou

I don’t want.

I don't want to be sad

I know she must have been an amazing person

No, she had to be an amazing person

but I only heard her name once or twice

once or twice

in my life time, in her life time

So I don’t want to be sad that she is gone

That I never knew her

I don’t want to be sad

I don't want to be sad about not reading her material when she was alive.

Not knowing

I just don’t want to feel that way

Not knowing her

Rest in peace, beautiful human being.

I turned on the news tonight, and saw a familiar face
Maya Angelou speaks of Nelson Mandela
“His day is done, our skies are leadened.”

It hit me then,

Forgiveness is more than  “Oh…it’s okay…”

If a man, a single freed prisoner, can change a whole country,
can forgive oppression, and depression, and apartheid brutality,
Forgiveness is not simple.

Sorry is not simple.
It’s a chance, to open the door to redemption,
Entire countries have forgiven the inhumanity of the past,
And yet all of us, each day,
Become angry for such small matters.

If nations can rebuild,
If Polish person can love a German
After the Holocaust,
We CAN forgive.

Forgiveness is the key to our self-imposed prisons.

This is the poem that I wrote for the State Speech Oral Interpretation of Poetry competition of 2014. This poem, among others, I performed in a Forgiveness themed poetry program. I received first place at the state level with it.
unnamed Dec 2014

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
Ben Ditmars May 2014

I wrote a tribute to Maya Angelou in 2010 that I would like to share today in memory of a great poet. Please excuse the dated references.

I Know Why the Twitter Bird Tweets

The free bird leaps
on Google’s back
and scrolls down page
till the browser ends
and dips his wings
in Facebook rays
and dares to claim the internet.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow page
can seldom see through
his lists of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his claws to tweet.

The Twitter bird tweets
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tweet are read
on the distant hill
for the Twitter bird
tweets of freedom

The free bird may watch tivo'd Glee
And order up some good Chinese
and laugh as Sue Sylvester drones
On and on of kids off tone.

But Twitter bird stands on the grave of tweets
Getting “trends” for Trick or Treat
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his claws to tweet.

The Twitter bird tweets
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tweet is heard
on the distant hill
for the Twitter bird
tweets of freedom.

Danielle Shorr Jul 2015

Maya Angelou once said,

"I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel"

although the thing is,
I wont forget
any of it.
the open ears,
the listening,
the understanding that was so easily given
I will always remember
the way he congratulated me
the day I pulled poetry from my teeth

I wont forget how he made us feel-
we    wont forget how he made
us feel

the many conversations that lived in his office are
now stuck in between the cracks of the walls
I imagine the dark of the theatre in mourning,
the curtains heavier,
more blue than they are usually
the black of the paint floor chipping backwards to
share the memories saying,
It is all here underneath
your feet."

if you have ever wondered what magic feels like
I can tell you with certainty that
it is a bear grasp from a tower of a man and
a laugh that can be defined more correctly as a chuckle
or most importantly, a smile that
knew comfort when
it was most needed

what is hardest about it all is
this reality, the growing up that comes with losing
I am trying to comprehend the fact
that there are going to be students,
new ones,
will never know the magic that
is a Conway hug

I know
we will all be reminiscing, telling stories and
his name will be a past tense we
didn't want to have to use
this is a poem I
never wanted to have to
one about a man who carried so many hearts
inside his own
the same one who
reminded me of my worth on
more than one occasion
this is about the man who was like a father when
my own was sick
this is about the man
who directed my first kiss
on the same stage where I learned how to be vulnerable
and how to trust

it is so easy to say,
this isn't fair.
but then I picture him,
arms crossed, replying
"Life isn't fair"
and he would be correct in
saying it isn't, no,
life isn't fair.
but what a privilege it is
to have had him
in mine
what a privilege it is
to have known him
at all

Maya was wrong,
we wont forget what he said,
sitting in the center of the studio referencing someone's house
"Treat it like your grandmother's"

I wont forget what he did,
what he taught me,
we wont forget any of it,
I promise.

For Mr. Conway, my high school acting teacher.
Valsa George Jul 2016

Let me be,
As God intended me to be:
Neither a wicked elf,
Nor a fairy godmother,
Never a demon,
Nor an angel,
But a true woman,
Oh! No, not the ‘Phenomenal Woman’
Of Maya Angelou,
Drawing a hive of honey bees round
‘With the span of my hips
Or the stride of my steps’
One with a loving heart,
Calm and caring
Though at times touchy and itchy

A gracious host and a helpful neighbor
Able to stand in my own light
And lessen the darkness of the night

An abiding spouse
In whom my man can see
An ocean of love in my dewy eyes
And feel the steady warmth of my grip
When the seas of life grow stormy,

For my children, an adorable mother
In whom they can confide,
Their doubt, despair or delight
A counselor, a friend and guide
With the balm to heal their wounds
Touch and move their spirits
And show them the miracle of love

Piecing together these different roles
Let me, into a close knit texture weave
The fabric of my life!
Like the interlacing threads
Of a great tapestry!

In a way, is not living the art of quilting
Bringing out unique patterns
Of exquisite beauty and delight
From the scraps thrown in our way!

Dre Feb 2011

I imagine the angelic way you move like the earth is your runway

Seeing your pretty eyes hidden behind eyelashes that resemble silk

I ponder your frame

Your silhouette is a stencil for a goddess

No one’s perfect

But your my perfection

I think about how I would grace your lips with discretion

Gently placing mine on yours and floating to a sexual purgatory

Where we just leave the wrongs and the rights of the world

Then I imagine the lips between your thighs puckered up with the elegance of a freshly blossomed May flower

I think about you so much my thoughts don’t know any other thoughts

Ideas of how I can be yours

Plans on how I can make you my forever

Well forever doesn’t last

So, lets be together until we both cease to be

I just would love to hear the words of you

You speak and I hear Maya Angelou

You speak and I hear Erykah Badu

You speak and I hear Lauryn Hill

You speak and I hear my wife

You are what I need to make us

“We” needs to be

As I think of you I can envision you looking at me and telling me yes


(Published in Miami Herald on May 26, 2014 Brigitte Jacobs Arnold
Obituary Guest Book View Sign ARNOLD, BRIGITTE JACOBS, 78, MIAMI. Services will be held at 7:00 pm and a viewing from 12:00 pm to 8:00pm at Maspons Funeral Home located at 3500 SW 8th Street, Miami Florida 33135 Wednesday May 28th.)

Don’t ask me why but
I went online this afternoon.
Read the Miami-Herald obituaries.
And not just the Biggies:
Maya Angelou at 86 and
A one hundred year old Herb Jeffries.
Of course we knew Maya,
Her caged bird singing
Softly in our souls,
But may not be aware of Herb Jeffries.
A former singer in the Ellington band,
Herb was known as the Bronze Buckaroo,
In a series of all-black 1930s Westerns--
His nickname evoking
His racial identity,
Quite muddled, flexible.

Although both sad passages to be sure,
It was neither Maya nor Herb
Triggering my tender tears.
But the obituary of:
Known as Oma, Mutti and Mama.
Well, not exactly the Brigitte obit,
My tears for her long-lived mother,
Brigitte’s mother, durable & abiding,
Still breathing at 97:
Hildegard Wolle.
Reading Brigitte’s bio—
German born, Berlin student,
Singer-fashionista &
Proud, naturalized
American citizen—
I can’t stop thinking about Hildegard.
As if the woman didn’t already
Have more than her share of trouble
On this planet nearly a century,
Having already lost her
Grandson Roland, and now,
Her daughter.
Something wacky is going on here.
Some long-distance life lesson
Being applied here.
Poor Hildegard: ungifted with Alzheimer’s,
Suffers crystal distant memories,
Some really bad karma
Stored up in past lives.

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