Friday, December 30, 2011

A Cry Made Flesh

I want you to notice me--
I am not invisible,
I have so much love inside me,
you have no idea.
I want you to notice me--
I am made in the image of God,
so I know,
I am not ugly.
I want you to notice me—
so much heart,
I’m wearing it on both my sleeves.
Notice me,
I am just like you—
wanting to be noticed,
wanting to be “got”,
wanting to be seen
as I am,
not as someone else’s projection,
someone else’s prediction,
dismissed by
someone else’s predilection
or prejudice
or misconception.
Please, please
notice me—
as I try to stay true to myself,
as I seek to give myself
to you
as I long to be received
by you.
Please, please,
notice me.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Thursday, December 22, 2011

this is a hate poem

this is a hate poem—
in these interesting times
we live in,
it will probably be
the first of many—
no holds barred,
unashamed, unadulterated,
gloves off,
no more Mr. Nice Guy,
in your face,
unprotected poetry
(thank you, Mr. Jaffe).

first off,
I hate ignorance—
in this world we live in,
that covers a lot of ground
and describes
a lot of people
(you know who you are!);

I also hate hypocrisy—
this ‘do as I say,
not as I do’mentality;
the ‘what’s good for the goose
is not good for the gander mindset;
the inclination of those
who have money
and fame
and power
to tell those of us
how to live our lives.

I also hate the proliferation
of those who have no talent
being spotlighted
and celebrated over
those out here
with talent to burn,
struggling to create
their art
struggling to put
it out there.

I hate that
a very minute
minority of individuals
has far more wealth
than a very vast
majority of individuals
lucky enough
to just have
a roof over their heads,
if even that much.

I hate that
the concept of
love of neighbor
is defined by
sitting in judgment
of other people,
different than they are.

I hate that
poetry continues to be
looked down upon,
like it’s the bastard
of all the arts,
when it’s one of
the few places
you’ll find
the truth.

I hate mediocrity,
in all the guises through
which it rears
its ugly head;

I hate that
there is hatred
in the world
and that people
are dying
because of it;

I hate that
there’s a need
for a hate poem
(if only in my mind)
and that,
having written it,
it’s most likely
not going to change
a damn thing,
in this world we live in.

I hate to bring
this poem to a close,
because I’ve only scratched
the surface of things
I hate about
this world we live in
(or maybe I don’t),
but my hope is
having read this,
you might be spurred on
to hate
some of the same things
and led to
do something about it,
as I can only hope
I’ve done
the writing of
this poem.
‘Nuff said!

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Saturday, December 10, 2011

love as thick as blood

“we’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place.”

--Cissy to Brandon,
from the film, “Shame”

you’re my brother
and I love you,
and I want you
to love me too,
for that will be
enough for me—
that love will cover
over a multitude
of things
that were done
to us
and that we have done
to others.

we are not bad people,
the bad place we come from
does not define us,
will not define us,
if we choose
not to let it.
I want our love
to be as thick
as our blood;
let it wash over
the pain,
wash over
the shame;
make us free
to be
who we need
to be
for ourselves,
for each other,
for other people.

say you love me
and share your love
with me—
let us be
each other’s burdens,
bear the weight
of each other
on our backs,
on our souls;
we can rise above
this crazy,
fucked-up world
we’ve been left
to live in
find our way through.

say you love me,
share your love with me
and that will be

© 2011 Joseph Powell

starts with a ‘t’ and ends with an ‘h’(can you handle it?)

I’m gonna speak the truth,
the whole truth,
and nothin’ but the truth—
if you are easily offended
by colorful language,
taken aback
by raw, graphic detail,
or just can’t handle
bold, in-your-face,
naked truth,
you might want to
step away from the page,
close the book and
walk away,
because you’re not ready;
and for all that matters,
may never be ready.

because herein these words,
I’m about to come…
(let me finish)
I’m about to strip away
all the bullshit
(yes, he did!)
and fuck(oooo!)
with your preconceived notions
of what is true
and what is real.

so, if you’re not ready to deal,
if you’re incapable
(or unwilling)
to pay attention,
then go ahead and
turn on another episode
of “Jersey Shore”;
pop on that Katy Perry song
you have on your Ipod;
or continue reading
the latest issue
of InTouch magazine
to find out
what Charlie Sheen is up to
if Brangelina
are on again,
or off again.

I will direct my words
to the 99%
who have a brain;
who have ears to hear
and eyes to see;
and aren’t subject to
of sugar-coated “placebos”
every 4-6 hours
between meals.

I have written far too many words
to stop now
and I have got
far too many more words
yet to write,

I don’t care
if you like it
(the truth is often unlikable);
I don’t care
if you find the words
(I’d be happy
if you found them ugly);
I don’t even care
if they make you
laugh or cry
or angry enough
to do something
(that’s what poetry
is supposed to do!)—
the truth will out
and it will always
will out,
in every word
that I write,
in every turn
of the phrase
and every flow
of a verse.

Can you handle it?
Are you ready for it?
‘Cause if you’re not,

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Monday, December 05, 2011

a blues for Nina(for Nina Simone)

Sister, sing me a song
and speak the truth;
do not hold back,
because no matter what,
your story needs to be told;
and they won’t understand,
they never have—
because they don’t want to.
You still have to go on
telling it,
for the ones who have ears to hear,
for the ones who don’t have a voice,
for all the sisters
who don’t have someone
telling their story
or who are afraid to tell it
Sing, sister,
and make it plain—
it needn’t be sweet
truth rarely is.
Sing, sister,
and pour your soul
into that song;
let them see you sweat,
let them see you cry,
let them see you bleed,
for it’s not blues,
if there’s not
a little blood,
sweat, and tears.
Sing, sister,
for it may not ever know it,
but the world needs you
to sing.
Sing, sister,
sing your song.

© Joseph Powell

Monday, November 28, 2011

preach goes to Hollywood

I wanted to be a writer--
just like that skinny,
four-eyed dude
in the movie,
“Cooley High”;
like him,
I too
wanted to make it
in Hollywood;
like him,
I grew up
in the projects,
without a father,
with a best friend
who got
all the girls;
at least
that’s how
it seemed.

unlike him,
it would take
me a little longer
to make it
to Hollywood;
unlike him,
I’m still struggling
to make it
in Hollywood.
Like him,
my best friend
is gone—
but I don’t know
if he’s dead
or alive.
All I have
are memories of him;
memories of
tough city streets,
of storefront churches
and backyard BBQ’s;
of fights with brothers
and wanting to protect
baby sister,
while older sister
had a life
of her own;
while trying
to stay out
of Mama’s way
of keeping it
all together.
that I try to
into my
as I continue
to struggle
to make it
in Hollywood,
to be
a successful writer,
like that
skinny, four-eyed kid
in that movie,
“Cooley High”.
I’m gonna make it,
I got to,
because he did,
and others have
and are continuing to;
and because,
there’s likely
a skinny(or fat),
four-eyed kid
on some
inner-city street
who needs
to know
that it
can be done.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

a poem for he who shall not be named (and no, I do not mean Voldemort)

you think
you have
wealth, power,
and fame
you can
talk to me,
a modicum
of respect;
treat me
not like
human being
you probably
to be.

fuck you
and the horse
rode in
you don’t
know me—
who I am
what I am
what kind
day I had
am having
(not that
probably care);
the people
I have
take care
and support
(by which
would be
a drop
in the
for you,
by comparison,
if you
even gave
a shit,
I know
you don’t).

you don’t
my pain
the fact
I deserve
than to
cart around
lame ass
the bullshit
I had
to put
up with
the amount
of money
I made
wouldn’t support
for two days.

this poem
for you,
you see,
I am
a poet
and this
is what
I do,
you had
find out,
other than
my name,
which is
my last name,
also need,
is Powell,
one day,
by the
grace of
I too
might have
a little bit
of wealth
a little bit
of fame
you might,
in a
of circumstances
sometimes occur
in this
we call
look to me
a modicum
of respect
like me,
the other
find yourself

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Saturday, November 12, 2011

shelby lynne(a new poem)

the blonde at the microphone,
with guitar in hand.
is making me
fall in love with her;
she's breaking my heart
with each song she sings,
cause she's singing my story;
each lyric, filled
with the cold truth
that is my life.

I seem to have a knack
for falling in love
with women
I can never have,
who don't want me.

she and I
will most likely
never meet
and I'm okay with that--
which is why
I'm writing this poem--
it's my way of saying,
'I love you'
'thank you'.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

precarious(for Heavy D and Smokin' Joe)

I didn’t know
this would be
if I did,
I would’ve rapped with you
a little longer;
told you a joke
a funny story
that you liked—
just to see you smile,
just to see you laugh,
if I had known
this’d be the last time.

if I had known
this was goodbye,
I would’ve listened
a little more closely,
because I know you had
some words of wisdom,
some knowledge
I could’ve used
right then and there;
even if it didn’t
come across that way,
I would’ve still
listened closely,
like a student
to his teacher,
if I’d known
this was the last time.

but one never knows,
does one?
tomorrow is not promised
and any word
could be the last;
any deed, good or bad,
would be the last one

so now, I’m forced to say
though I hardly
knew you;
am compelled
to hold on to
some memory
of you
that one day,
will make me smile,
will make me laugh;

to pray for those
you left behind
who did know you,
but who also didn’t know
this was goodbye;
to make every word
to make every deed
so that when
it is my time,
quite possibly,
could be
as unexpected
as yours,
that I might be
in words
such as these,
not in tearful regrets
or sad goodbyes,
but in
lasting memories
of what once was
in the hearts
and minds
of those
I left behind.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

the art of not caring

I don't care anymore,
for what does it really matter

The wheel continues to go
the sun continues to
and the rain eventually

the innocent are found
and then executed,
while the guilty
laugh all the way
to the bank;

wives and husbands
cheat on each other
in the name of love;
priests and preachers
abuse children
in the name of God;

children have to become
their own parents
or parents
of their own children;

and today, it's ok to be racist,
because we call it,
social commentary.

and, why do I even bother
writing another
fucking poem,
because people
don't give a shit
about poetry,
it's got a beat
you can dance to...
and not even then.

but I would dare
to put up any one poem
against any Hollywood
movie currently showing
on any screen,
for sheer audacity
in storytelling
and the conveyance
of hearts and guts,
for there is often
more truth
in one line of verse
than in 90 minutes
of utter celluloid bullshit.
and that's the double-truth, Ruth!

but like I said,
it really doesn't matter
because nobody wants
the truth
in a world
of reality shows
and fake celebrities--
where you're only as famous
as the last crime
you committed.

and I don't even care
if anybody reads
these words--
I wrote them down
and now they're out there-
my job is done.

'nuff said!

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Friday, September 30, 2011

Melancholera--A New Poem

There are feelings
for which,
words cannot express--
an overwhelming plethora
of sensations
so indescribable,
the mind reels
as to what to call it;
a mixture of heaviness
and sickness
so profound,
it's a wonder
anyone can endure,
that anyone can bear
the brunt of it;

the eyes go blind,
from the seeing of things
that no one else can see
and would be hard pressed
to understand;

the heart aches,
nearly to the point
of explosion,
so full it is
of a remarkable sadness
that almost
can't be contained;

the limbs are fraught
with palsy,
in their inability
to operate
with any reasonable
semblance of dexterity
or fluidity.

Oh, I imagine
that many
have been afflicted
by this amalgamation
of physical anguish
and mental
and emotional torment,
crying out to the heavens
for solace and mercy
and lucky to receive any;
searching near and far
for any modicum of respite
or relief;
at the very least,
to be sated by
the knowledge of
what this seemingly foreign
ailment is,
and why,
and how,
it lingers so.

on the other hand,
who has knowingly
been afflicted
and find myself
even still,
in my ever-present
I have conjured up
a word
that seems
appropos for this
nagging and
oh-so-insatiable ailment--
I choose to call it,
and those
who have ever taken
a breath,
are susceptible to it
and far from immune
to its effects.

The best
that you can hope for,
my friends,
is to strive
and endure,
for as surely
as you are living,
you will never be
beyond its reach,
or free
from its snares.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Tree Falls (for Troy Davis)

Last night,
a tree fell in the forest--
the sound it made,
is the cry of innocence
with the collective cry
of those screaming,"no!";
of those pleading,"have mercy!";
of a family crying, "please!"

When a tree falls,
without warranted effort,
I believe even God hears
the sound it makes
and I think
it pisses him off--
the unnecessity of
an early uprooting.

When a tree falls,
it cannot be replaced,
no matter how many seeds
are planted;
no matter,
how much time is allowed
to elapse;
no amount of sun
or rainfall,
or careful nurturing
will bring this tree
back to fruition,
to bloom and prosper
where it was planted
to provide shade and comfort
for those nearby.

One can only weep
at the loss
and pray for the day
when innocence is acknowledged,
when mercy is given more freely,
and every tree is given
a chance to stand tall
and live.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hard Tears Are Gonna Fall

She cried hard tears--
tears that seemed to say,
love hurts more
than the lack of love
and asking why,
the hardest question
of all,
and the one least answered;
and I remembered,
remembered those same tears
streaming down my face,
the asking why;
and like her,
not receiving a satisfactory answer;
but the lack of said answer
is what drives me forward,
to try,
and try again,
because love does hurt
but the hurt,
like all pain,
lets me know
that I'm alive
and I can still feel
and I can still fight
through another day;
fight through
all the whys
that may
and will continue
to come,
and hope that
and others like her,
will know
that hard tears
are gonna fall
and whys
will continue
to be asked,
and through it all,
the most important thing,
you're alive,

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9-11 Redux

As we approach the 10th anniversary of that fateful day, here is a resharing of my remembrance...

9-11 Redux

Echoes of F.D.R.
Ring in my head—
“A day which will live
in infamy”;
Like the phone
Which awoke
Me from sleep.
While somewhere,
Scores were dying.
And now I find it harder
To sleep
‘cause now I hear blood
crying from the ground.

People will ask,
‘Do you remember where
you were when?’
And I will say,
‘Yeah, in a state of shock,’
which turned into
a New York
state of mind,
wishing I could stop
the madness
that crashed into
the twin brothers
in this first year
of the new century
on the 11th day
of the 9th month—
a day whose numbers
are linked
with the number
for emergency;
a day when chaos ruled
and the news became
a liturgical obituary;

when my bloodshot eyes
were red, not from lack of sleep,
but from the carnage
that filled my TV screen;
when the local news
battled the world news
for body counts.

They say in space,
‘No one can hear you scream’,
But on this day,
I think I heard
The whole universe
A sound matched only
By the falling of teardrops
In a forest of humanity.

© Joseph Powell

Sunday, August 21, 2011

the reasons why

because she fought for us when I didn't think I had the strength to fight;
because a little girl needed to show a man that he could be a father,
when I didn't even know what that was;
because God works in mysterious ways;
because I needed two more muses to help me write;
because 2nd chances don't always come along, and when they do,
you got to grasp 'em and hold on to 'em with all that is within you;
because she chose this man(I'll say it again because I don't think you heard me),
because she chose this man, to be her husband;
because love really is that simple sometimes;
these are the reasons why.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Monday, August 08, 2011

swimming to pass the time

and so it goes--
creeping ever onward;
a puzzle
wrapped in an enigma;
the knowing
and the unknowing,
thousands upon thousands
of small moments
and, of course,
large ones, too

I don't even like
these words
I'm writing;
just writing
to be writing,
it's too much time
that passes
between the writing,
too much
that goes

I need to find
a stream of consciousness
to swim in,
its calming waters
soothing to my soul,
the freedom it allows
to feel,
the opportunity
to be as nakedly real
as can be
possibly allowed

right now,
I'm being distracted
by people walking by
and the disparate sounds
of flowing water
and 40's jazz
and honking horns
and the cacophony
of conversations
I could care less about

of course,
nobody cares about
the words
that are being
put to paper
in a haphazard fashion
to pass the time
until I have to
go back to work

to pass the time
so I don't fall asleep

to pass the time
as I fill out
the remaining pages
of this writing pad
that has recently
become useful
to me

and how many pages
are there left?
do I have enough
words to
fill them all?
I should--
I would like to
believe that,
as long as
I have breath,
there will be
more than enough
to fill
a thousand pages
a thousand more after that

but for now,
I think I'll stop
this sun
is starting to
make me feel
like I 'll melt
and the words
are starting to feel
it's like sex,
you can't force it,
it has to come
(and yes,
I did say come)

but it's just
a temporary pause
in the proceedings
I will be back
with more words
that will allow you
to do more than
pass the time
as you read them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

a declaration

if you can't
feel my heart
on the page;
can't read
my blood, sweat
and tears
between each word;
glimpse my soul
within each line,
I'm not doing
something right
and then
it might be
to stop writing,
to cease
and desist...
and I will
never be
to do that.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

sunrise, sunset

I have seen
the sun rise
I have seen
the sun set--
never aware
that somewhere,
in some part
of the world
I will
probably never see,
a man,
I will
never meet
is wishing
for one more sunrise
with his son;
a mother,
one more sunset
with her daughter.

in another part
of the world
I will
most likely
never see,
Jesus is
still weeping.

for the loss of that son;
for the loss of that daughter, too;
yes, even,
for the grief
of the mother,
the grief
of the father;
but also
as much
for my
lack of awareness.

and now,
as another
sun sets,
I find myself
unable to look,
unable to see,
because now
I am

© 2011 Joseph Powell

saga of the preacher man

from the pulpit
to the street
the man
is making it plain,
making it sweet;
he wields
his bible
like a sword
like his life
upon it,
a blues song--
this is
the saga
the preacher man.

He is
a preacher
and yet,
he's still
a man
consumed by God
and yet,
consumed by desires
his control.
He is
given to drink;
smokes incessantly;
beds women
other than
his wife.

and yet,
King David,
he is
an apple
of God's eye,
if not
the apple.
for God
is said
work through
men and
as these.
a blues song,
the truth
is made
the truth
is made
this is
the saga
of the
preacher man.

do not
judge him,
you yourself
be judged
as well.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

in dreams begin...

my dreams
are better
my reality.
in my
there are
no rules,
no judgments--
like jazz,
are improvised
and seem
I haven't thought
in years
become characters
in my
immorality play,
from various stages
of my
current life.
were these
to become
it would
not be
better left
to be
for a
graphic novel
an adults-only
if I could
remember them.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

mofo' rises again--a new poem

the beautiful
fucked-up man
is at it again:
having risen
once again,
he sits
at the keyboard,
writes another
peanut butter
at his side,
his woman
and a child
just this side
of womanhood
to beat
the band.

it’s another day
of ‘I love you’s’
and misbegotten
another day
that the sun shines
on the just
and the unjust;
another day,
just to get
a few more words
down on paper,
just to
another day,
so as
not to feel
like another day’s
been wasted.

a mofo
will not be
to mundane
and on-the-job
will not be
by the whims
of others
who think
they know
better than
a caged bird,
a mofo’s
gotta sing,
even if
it is
only on paper;
even if
no one else
sees it.
other than
the love
of a good woman
and a child
more talented
than he,
other than
the camaderie
of a few good
and the
of family;
maybe even
other than
the unmitigated
of a
silent God,
it’s the only
fucking reason
to rise
and face
another day.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

for your eyes only--a new poem

your perception
of my reality
is an
you are
by the mote
in your left eye
and the
blurred vision
in your right;
you can’t
handle the truth
of me;
you need
to go
back to school,
where I will
be your teacher
and learn
you some knowledge,
cause clearly
you’ve not
been educated.

what you have
before you
is a
of multitudes;
the culmination
of blood spilt
and wisdom
passed down
from centuries;
the sum total
of what
a village
can produce.

for truth will
only be
spoken once
and if
you miss it,
you have
no one
to blame
but yourself.
you’ve been
duly notified
and put
on record
for being
what should
be obvious.
if you
the meaning
of these
you are
if in fact,
you are reading
I will
give you
more credit
you deserve,
for this,
first lesson,
which hereby,
is now
until further

© 2011 Joseph Powell

this is what's real--a new poem

I haven’t given up the ghost
just yet.
I’m a poet
in an age
of fake reality
I’m more liable
to be killed
in an accident
on the 405
than I am
for speaking
truth to power
with the stroke
of my pen.
no one
gives a damn
about the beauty
in the ugliness
of poetry—
it’s a fool’s
quixotic quest;
and yet
here I still am,
my ink-ed sword
at windmills
both real
and imagined.
even fools
have to be
some time.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Word Was And Still Is God

"and you can't force the word
to do anything it doesn't
want to do.
you can't overwork it.
and you can't awaken it
when it decides to

"the word will treat you well
at times,
depending upon what you
ask it to
other times, it will treat
you badly
no matter what you ask
it to

"the word comes and

Charles Bukowski
from his poem, "the word"

"Anyone who says he wants to be a writer and isn't writing, doesn't."

--Ernest Hemingway

I am writing to save my life. The reason probably why I feel that I am suffocating is that I'm not writing. Writing should be as breathing to me. It's all about the word, stupid. Even God said it--"In the beginning was the Word." The word was and still is God. It's the lifeblood of any writer worth his or her salt. There is nothing else. There's no reason not to be writing. No one else is going to do it for me. No one else is going to push me to do it. I have to be the one to cut the vein; to puke out my guts; to exhale. Whether it takes me all day(what a glorious possibility I wish that was) or an hour or even 10 minutes, there is no excuse. None! I should be prolific. I could be prolific. Even if a lot of it is just crap, I should be utilizing every possible space available to get the word out. Whether it's in prose form or free verse. I should be consumed by the same fire that allowed me to make up three months worth of journal entries in a week and a half's time for a class project. Be reminded of the young man who frequently visited the student lounge of the University of Illinois-Chicago Circle campus just to jot down his thoughts and impressions. Be infused with the same inspiration that caused me to write such poems as "Apple and Rose", "A Hymn For Sister Maya", and "Resolved: To Be Seen And Heard". If not directly influenced by their genius, at the very least, motivated by the output and prolificacy of writers such as Baldwin and Bukowski, Hemingway and Shakespeare, et al. Compelled by the very notion that God in His infinite foolishness decided to bestow upon a wretch like me the talent to string together a few words into some kind of coherent shape. And even though I, like most writers, will continue to strive to make my words available for public consumption, that will not be the be-all, end-all for my writing. If another living soul never, ever sees my words, so be it. I am a writer, dammit! If I had a chalkboard at my disposal to write upon it 100 times or a billboard to post it, I would convey this truth. As much as I am a son, a brother, a husband, a father(the degree to which how good I am at each of these, you'd have to ask those who benefit from these roles), I am a writer and I sum up by humbly acknowledging that I believe I'm only as good as the willingness and effort to be one.

A Poem For Bukowski--A New Poem

A Poem For Bukowski

hey, Hank—
this is me
not trying;
putting one word
after another
after another;
keeping it simple,
shooting it straight.

maybe not
like you did—
I didn’t have
a whiskey bottle
or even a
beer bottle
next to me
as I write
just the desire
to put it
all down
whether anybody
cares to read it
or not.

I don’t even know
if you would
have read it
or not
when you were
even then,
it wouldn’t have
you always said,
it’s all about
the words
and as with you,
for me,
that is

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Not Just A Passing Phase--A New Poem

Not Just A Passing Phase
(for Santi)

the girl-child
has become
a woman
right before
our very eyes.
it was expected,
but it still surprises.
that’s what time
does, even
when you’re not looking.

she has graduated
from one phase
to the next
and seemingly
unknown one.
she will put away
childish things;
but hopefully,
not the child
we’ve known
and loved
all these years
as she becomes
the woman
we will get
to know
and learn
even more.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Monday, April 04, 2011

She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

In Honor Of National Poetry Month 2011

"Poems are like clouds on a June morning or two scoops of chocolate ice cream on a sugar cone in August...something everyone can enjoy. Or maybe poems are your cold feet in December on your lover's back...he is in agony but he lets your feet stay...something like that requires a bit of love. Or could it be that poems are exactly like Santa Claus...the promise, the hope, the excitement of a reward, no matter how small, for a good deed done...or a mean deed from which we refrained. The promise of tomorrow. I don't know. It seems that poems are essential."

"Poems know no boundaries. Poems fly from heart to heart, head to head, to whisper a dream, to share a condolence, to congratulate, and to vow forever. The poems are true. They are translated and they are celebrated. They are sung, they are recited, they are delightful. They are neglected. They are forgotten. They are put away. Even in their fallow periods they sprout images. And fight to be revived. And spring back to life with a bit of sunshine and caring."

--Nikki Giovanni
from the Introduction,
The 100 Best African American Poems

Friday, March 18, 2011

All In A Single Sitting

I'm listening to birds chirping in the background
There's water falling in a fountain nearby
I'm surrounded by people sitting at patio tables
People walking about, going about their business
A slightly gentle breeze blows in
From the marina across the way
A U.S. flag flies at half-mast
I've just put the finishing touches
To a poem about the loss of someone
Life and death,
Considered in one sitting
I choke back the urge to cry
As I get up and walk away.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

A Black Man's Lament

'My man, look what they did to my man'
I've heard this cry
Too many times to count
I've cried it myself a few times
Another brother,
Somebody's son,
A child's daddy,
Felled by an assassin's bullet;
Felled by a cop's bullet

Too many streets have been covered in blood
Like a ballroom's stage
Or a motel's balcony
And the mothers cry
And the wives and sisters moan
And the whys are hurled to the sky
Screamed in anger,
Screamed in grief
Only to go unanswered
And the silence is deafening
Outdone by weeping
Drowned out by sorrow

I write this as a man,
Somebody's brother,
A mama's son,
A father
And a husband,
A man troubled,
A man searching,
A man hoping
And praying
That no one has to endure
Me being taken away unjustly,
Taken away violently,
Taken away senselessly

Maybe someone will read these words
Maybe someone will heed these words
Maybe God will hear my cry first,

© 2011 Joseph Powell