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