Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

The Dixie Death

August 13, 2020

By ’n by, way down South

that sleepy ole antebellum way

of honky life got laid low—

had to kowtow to a new master

whose color was darker

with features more Africana.

A newfound integrity

has ultimately laid low

the ole mint julep on the front porch days

of white


 cuz the good ole boys

and gals got laid on them

by the sands of time

a rectified blend of African charm

and a revolutionary new testament of grace.

But the racist honkies

took a long damn time to 

figure that part out.

So they were in for a long hard

lesson, but

they didn’t know it yet.

Black folks knew the lesson would be 


‘cuz they’d been livin’ it for over 400


though it took them a while to figure out 

just how stubborn and contrary the whites

could be

when they got that deer-in-the-lights look

in their eyes.

Things got serious

after Brother Medgar was assassinated

in his own front yard

after speakin at the New Jerusalem


And then

the ancient soulful cry of Rachel

weeping for her children was heard

all along the magnolia boulevards

and carefully-tended camellia pathways of white

privilege . . .

here, there and yonder

throughout the black community

and beyond.

Brother Medgar had caught a glimpse

of the Promised Land,

but he never got there

like Brother Martin never got there.


there was a burning bush down south


where they lived and breathed

and had their being

and worked tirelessly among their people.

Sister Anne, during her last week

at Tougaloo College 

accompanied a small group

of intrepid black folk to order luncheon

at a downtown dime-store lunch counter,

following the example of them bruthas

in Greensboro 

a few years earlier.

Brother Medgar’s call,

Brother Martin’s call

for voter registration

and just plain-ole freedom

and dignity and justice

was ringin’ out!

It reverberated

from the red clay hills of Georgia

among the magnolias and

carefully-tended camellias

of the Deep South,

formerly thought to be the Solid


before it got fracked with a fresh

delirium tremens of

falling-apart white


and got run outa town

by the great grandsons and daughter

of former slaves.

As the dews of Dixie used to drop on us

so are the pages of  that history long-gone

droppin’ down on us 

as a decadent dust 

cast on us:

Ole mint julep on the front porch white

privilege been sho’nuff proven wrong,

laid down low

in the dust heap of history

Yessir, that Ole South system is now long gone;

but for it I wouldn’t give you a damn dime

‘cause the weight of that abuse could not go on 

as it broke the back of American liberty

liberty just tryin’

tryin’ to be free!

The weight of our abuse came all tumblin’ down on us

with Rosa’s resolve—her courageous dignity.

She refused  to go to the back of the bus,

and so sparked the long-slow death

of segregation integration

in this nation

land of the free

home of the brave:

Brave Rosa!

Rosa’s refusal changed the course history.

But in some ways

we still be traipsin’ along

on that Edmund Pettis bridge

with Abraham, Martin, and John Lewis

Anybody here

seen the long hard-won legacy of Sister Rosa?


Anybody here

heard the death cry of Brutha George?

Glass half-Full and King of Soul

The Swan Song of Arnold Yates

August 7, 2020

The world is mad tonight.

Unresting souls feed-bleed into

the turbid ebb and flow of online ire.

Yearning and burning in the worldweb gyre

the world is radical tonight.

Reason’s been flung apart; the Net cannot be told

what to do.

The sender cannot comprehend

the far-flung manipulation of what he sends.


A data-driven tide is loosed into the swirl

where hackers whack our data-driven world


the ceremony of benevolence is drowned

in the turbid ebb and flow

of human usury.

Clueless proles lack all comprehension, while wizards twirl

their trolled-up swirls

into cookie-coded streams

that nullify our naive dreams

and herd us, the cattle-driven teams

in programmed herds of Left and Right

as online armies clash by night.

The world is mad tonight.

Glass half-Full

COVID Culpability

July 8, 2020

Our strains of virile enmity

manipulate this dread contagion 

as strains of lethal Covidity

mount a viral invasion.

Politicians fling out accusations

of who’s and so’n’so’s to blame

when really the Covid causation

slumbers in risky scientific games.

Big Cheese says China this and Wuhan that;

but we were partners in that venture

when yankee NIAID and Wuhan bats

concocted crowned-up Wuhan misadventure.

DNA mutates into many versions

through nucleotides of A and T and C and G;

but how does a 12-tide insertion

show up so improbably?

So if Covid critters escaped some batty Wuhan woohoo

surely our ecohealth and yankee dollars shared

some culpability in that gain-of-function yoohoo

as Covid strains through danger games were paired.  

Now when potus flings forth some virile tweets

of Wuhan woe and Chinese blame

let us not overlook our own laboratory feats

in Ecohealth and NIAID gain-of-function games.

Just sayin’.

Glass Chimera

Spring in my Step

May 3, 2020

Spring rolled down into the blue ridge today

blastin all our covid cares away;

she rolled in like a queen

with corona crown of royal green.


I be strollin’ now out in the sunshine

glad to leave them Febs ’n March behind

out walkin on the greenway trail

these bloomin’ good vibes cannot fail

cuz aint no covid ’strictions now gonna crimp my gait

no not today my April blues were worth the wait.

With my pocket miracle transistor radio

I be striding in sunshine and sayin’ hello.


But lemme tell you ‘bout this tune that really makes me lose

them covid crimps and those wintry blues:

the wonder of wonders is that Motown sound

bustin outa deep dark Detroit as I walk around

keepin’ perfect time with my springtime stride;

Yea! now it’s time to take a ride!

down memory lane with my lifeline bride

cuz she was surely My Girl back in the day;

yet she’s my lifetime woman still today,

and though she be now in ICU as a nurse

her love strolls beside me just like at first.


Glass half-Full

COvid Confusion

April 23, 2020

COVID conveys

Confusion, by intrusion,

Contending against our

Contemporary illusions. This damned

Corona thing prevents people from

Congregating, cuz social distancing


Constricts us to

Collaborating in

Convoluted ways. So we must let ourselves

Commiserate over the loss of


Collaboration. But hey!

Coincidentally, we can


Connecting online

Can take the place of the old face-to-face

Conversing like we used to do before this

Cockamamie commotion

Came along, to

Collide with our former

Conductions of


Cooperation. But this

Collapse of our real

Convening capabilities

Compels us to somehow find new solutions to old

Conundrums. I know this seems a little

Convoluted, but maybe we

Could please try a little harder to

Coordinate our

Collective tactics for the

Continuation of life under these


Conflummucks! these


Conditions! Dam! hey we’ll just have to

Conjure up some

Confidence in our public health officials who

Could contrive some strategy and

Concoct some solutions, hopefully better than

Chloroquine, cuz too much of this



Confinement gets them


Confederates all

Conflagrated and

Coiled up like friggin’

Cobras with a

Conniption fit, like, like

Contending, like:


Could we please get this

Cockamamie Covid Contusion

Concluded?! like the

Ckid in the

Car-seat who

Cried out about

COVID Conclusion:

Are we there yet?

but hey I say

Nolo Contendera with

CDC’s strategy of

COvid agendera. Just please

Conclude. You

Copy that? If not,



Glass half-Full

I hear America flinging

April 3, 2020

I hear America flinging

challenges of COVID dare;


I see America stringing up a net of Covid care.

I feel America wailing, with going-viral fear:

Pleas from nurses, sending out the call for protective gear,

Journalists following every viral report they hear

Doctors attacking the dreaded virus’ lethal spread

Families mourning for—and remembering— their dead

Health Officials call forth our care-giver legions

Media transmit the message to far/near regions

Friends fling phoning nets of loving, living care

Brave RNs march into the battle as they dare

Administrators send out urgent staffing calls

  flinging open clinic doors in crowded hospital halls

Governors rush out urgent calls for public health protection

Reporters fuel the urgency of that damned fast-spread infection

Every citizen who inhabits regions far and near

   gets affected with this dreadful viral fear.

As pleadings sound forth to maintain some social distance,

you could save a life—maybe your own!—in every social instance.

Hey you! Ask not what the world can do for you, in this anti-covid call;

Ask what, together, we can do for protection of us all.


(with appreciation for inspiration from Walt Whitman and John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

Glass half-Full

Tiananmen talk

Queen Corona

April 1, 2020

Hey! Who knew?

Somebody somewhere

must have been dreaming

this one up

for next blockbuster

disaster flick

while we were looking the other way

searching for needle in a haystack

next thing you know

we’re  caught in the middle

of hundred year flood

so to speak

though it started as a trickle,

but suddenly swirling whirling

wuhan never saw it hurling

its way through hubei

exotic epidemic

starting, like, quite anemic

but before you know it

mutating to pandemic

mutilating expectations

it was one in a million

i’m tellin’ ya!

straw that broke camel’s back

the damn thing—

a wild card

that brought down our worldwide

house of cards

flinging shards of dollar hordes—

so steadily deadly

everywhere it went

strickening  our system’s

wheelin’ dealin’

achilles heel

nobody saw it coming


black swan swimming

in the dead of night

just aint right

left without a clue

who knew?

the next big thing

going viral

would be some very vague


nobody ever heard of

who’d’ve thought it

the queen of quite a

lot of unlikely


crown it queen

of destruction:


Even with 2020 vision we never saw it coming.

Blindsided we were.


I noticed one person did

see it coming: Chris Martenson.

But don’t blame the messenger.

Don’t blame anybody. Just

Do unto others

as you would have them

do unto you.


Glass half-Full

The Second Thummin

January 30, 2020

. . . with acknowledgements to WB Yeats and Biblical canon . . .

Yearning and burning in a maddening ire

the westbank will not heed the politic;

Deals fall apart; the treaties cannot hold.

Teargas mask is worn into the streets,

the rage-dimmed riot is loosed, here and there

the ceremony of negotiation is torched;

the dealers have no persuasion, while the rebels

are full of fired-up intensity.

Some new negotiation is perpetually at hand;

surely the second drumming is at hand

as dissenters thrust their ire upon the streets

while our imagined urim of mideast peace

crumbles every now and then, again, again,

And signed intent once again is bent

to pathetic riot in westbank streets,

‘cuz discontent, predictable as levantic sun

moves its riotous claws to dismantle what’s been done,

as skirmishes between these ancient tribes

cast shadows o’er our peacenik vibes.

Oh! That forty-one centuries of tribal strife

could be laid to rest in a rocking cradle!


When prince of peace, his Bethlehem phase  done at last

descends to Olivet, with peace that  lasts!

Oh, You may say that I’m a dreamer,

but I’m not the only one!

Glass half-Full

Those Three ConeSpun Mills

December 31, 2019

2020 rings in another hyped-up year,

as traffic rumbles o’er this city’s streets.

The people slog through their habitual gears

as nights pass by and days repeat.


My stopping by this mill’s ancient smokestack tower

drums up crumbling dreams of 120 years ago

When rev-upped steam drove industrial power

as workers toiled to make America go.


Except for this site’s massive piled-up, silent heaps

no remnant’s here of their past incredible productivity

We hear no rumbling of gears, no wheeling peeps

Nothing but our clueless, wizzing auto-driven activity.

But down beneath those obsolete smokestack towers

under jagged rebar heaps and brickish piles

behind walls of long gone, humming industrial power

rolled miles and miles of denim ‘n flannel styles.


’T’was there and then through toiling sweat and flowing tears

workers spun off vast bolts of denim cloth;

in feats of toiling ’20’s roar, then Depression fears,

cranking textile miles, yet with no thread of slouching sloth.

 A shrill whistling of the factory call is no longer heard at all,

just a sunny breeze in unseasonably warm December.

These three landmark chimneys stand so stubbornly, so tall

commanding us by their stature, to remember.

As if we could remember, but no; this legacy is lost to us.

For we, so enamored, or ensnared, by electronic spell,

cannot attain to the fierce pace of their spinning, weaving opus.

Now we demolish their wornout legacy, no more to tell.

But massive was their output–their product so dearly spun;

‘though its flannel flappings waiver yet in this, our age’s fatal breeze.

Soon our bulldozing might will render this heritage undone

as fiberoptic spinning of our  sorcery now weaves.


Glass half-Full

Rain, Flame, Eternal Name

October 27, 2019


The springs of eternity

cast their  perfect pearls of rain

upon our windowpane.


blackness of the night

casts dim soundings of our worldly plight

splashing faint toccatas

of lonesome drip-drop, drip-drop sonatas

Oh, this just seems like the end of the world,

as I hear rain against our window hurled.

Or . . .

the beginning of something grand

with baptismal sprinklings from some angel’s hands.

Whichever one it is

is up to us to decide.

There is, you know,

deep within our breast

of pilgrim restlessness

a hope—

a desperate pattering of some purpose,

dropping in this midnight rain

dripping with our blood-borne pain;

It persists in thumpish pattering,

oh, such a dreary smattering,

that falls gently in plip-plopping drops

to bring the harvest of our hoped-for crops—

our dreams, my schemes,

here In this autumn’s irrigated ending.

So far we’ve come from summer’s fair beginning.


Now in this darkness of October night

by solitary glow of  low lamp light

wired in by human ingenuity

enabled by divine gratuity,

behold  this lamp-fire that burneth not;

it merely glows in element, slightly hot.

Oh! but here’s the wonder of my soul!

If I may be so bold—

as to compare this glow, so tame

with eternal Yahweh flame.

I see it burns for me the same

as for our long-gone brother

who beheld  some earlier other—

in a bush it brightly flamed

to reveal the ancient I Am name.

Yes, I see it  shining  brightly

On the table here next to me.

What a wonder to behold!

A phenomenon so very old.

Whether by electricity or flame;

all is powered by Eternal name,

YWHW I AM and I AM again,

always will be,

I can clearly see.

Now you may say that glow came with Edison,

True, but it did originate  with  Eternal One

who set us spinning ‘round the sun,

after His Big Bang  fun.


The springs of eternity

cast their  perfect pearls of rain

upon our windowpane,

and I’m aware of Yahweh name;

it glints into our human game

again and again and again.

From time to time

we see it shine.

Ah ha!


King of Soul