Monday, January 30, 2012

Who I Am--A New Poem

I have forgotten more words
than I have written;
I have loved more women
than I have been with;
I've shed as many tears
as there are stars in the sky,
I am almost sure of it;
I've wanted more in this life
than I would know
what to do with
and have received more
than I have ever expected;
I have seen prayers answered,
I have seen prayers denied;
I have tasted the sweetest kisses,
I have felt the sharpest pains;
I have heard the most beautiful
of music;
I have seen things
that would break
the hardest of hearts.

Who am I?
I am the culmination
of everything
I have seen and heard,
touched and felt,
spoken and written,
breathed and smelled;
the accumulation
of everyone
who's ever affected me
and who I've been
blessed to affect;
I am the everyday;
I am sacred
and I am profane;
I am that
which is beautiful
and that
which is ugly;
I am my mama's son;
my sisters' brother
and the inbetween
of my two brothers;
I am the fortunate one
whose daughter
calls him father;
I am a poet,
whose best words
have been written,
not spoken,
whether you've read them
or not;
I am a child of a God
I see in the mundane
the magnificent--
the homeless man
who asks me for a dollar;
the little child
whose laughter
is as sweet
as any music
I've yet heard;
the mountains I see
in the distance;
the trees I pass by
on my morning workout.

Who am I?
Someone who doesn't
want to be squeezed
into any of
your handmade boxes
or slapped on
by your erroneous labels;
someone who doesn't need
to be defined
by your narrow categories
and myopic sentiments.

I just am
will continue to be,
as long as
there is breath
in my body,
as long as I have eyes
to see,
and ears to hear;
as long as I can
continue to write,
continue to love
and be loved.
You have been duly informed.

© 2012 Joseph Powell

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Because--A New Poem

Because I'm still breathing;
Because I still have things to say;
Because my job does not satisfy me;
Because it's what I always wanted to do;
Because not doing it,
makes me very unhappy
and a little insane;

Because I still miss my friend,
and he was a writer too;

Because, in spite of what she'll probably say,
I'm still trying to make my mama proud;

Because, in spite of the seemingly
overwhelming evidence to the contrary,
there's still not enough
poetry in the world;

Because I don't believe my father did
and I'm trying,
very hard, in fact,
not to be him;

Because, I'm hoping,
in spite of the seemingly
overwhelming evidence to the contrary,
my words might
make a difference,
to at least one person;

Because, it was given me to do
and I'm trying to return the favor;

Because, my daughter needs to know
that she inspires me,
every day,
to be a better artist;

there's a whole litany of reasons
that I could probably come up with,
that would fill up several more pages,
but I need to get to
the business of writing;


© 2012 Joseph Powell

Monday, January 23, 2012

Turntable--A New Poem


She plays me like a jazz record—
caressing my grooves,
fingering my edges,
making me sing
under the gentle touch
of her fine needle.

She can’t get enough of me,
playing me over and over;
she’s got me spinning
in ecstasy,
spinning in infinity,
spinning like
there’s no tomorrow;
and I,
powerless to stop her,
not even certain
if I want her to.

For I am the subject
of her devotion;
she shows me affection,
like no other;
and I am reminded,
that love is
a mixture of pleasure
and pain,
as my spinning gradually
comes to a halt,
and I await,
her attention,
her touch,
on my
black-as-vinyl body.

© 2012 Joseph Powell

Saturday, January 14, 2012


A man
Not divine,
But touched by
the divine;
A man,
born of a woman,
and a black woman
at that;
A man,
who was blessed
with a gift
to unite
and to divide;
to comfort the afflicted
and afflict the comfortable.

A man,
just one man,
who helped a nation
open its eyes
and lift its ears
to the cries
of its own people.

A man,
like you,
like me--
no greater,
no lesser,
A man,
like so many
come before him;
like so many
who continue to come
after him.

Is that you?
Any of you?
out there,
is waiting
for an answer.

© 2012 Joseph Powell

Friday, January 06, 2012

Not That It Needs Any Explanation

This is my first poem of the new year--here's to many, many, more.

I am writing for my life,
trying to find the right word
or words
that will, somehow,
make it all make sense.
I don't wanna repeat myself
and I've grown tired
of explaining myself--
the time for explanations
is passed;
what you have before you
in word and in deed,
is someone
who is simply
trying to hold on,
just simply
trying to be
in a world
that seems to be,
more and more,
rejecting authenticity;
rejecting raw honesty
and naked truth.

I am writing for my life,
because i know nothing else,
because I don't want anything else;
the jobs I've had,
the job I now have,
they are not who I am;
even the education I pursued,
though an integral
and meaningful part
of my life,
is not the sum total
of my existence.

At the time of this writing,
these are the facts
as I understand
and accept them to be--
I am a poet,
not because
of monetary gain
wide renown,
but because,
I continue to be
able to
put word to paper
in some sort of
coherent sense,
regardless of audience
or venue;

I am a husband,
still struggling to,
on a daily basis
to figure out
how to do that;

I am a father,
still amazed
that I get to be one,
having never really
had one
and still trying,
on a daily basis,
trying not to
repeat his mistake;

I am a man,
black and proud
of that fact,
all that that entails--
blessed by a God
that I don't always

I have loved much
and hurt more;
I have friends
from a long-ago
shared history,
and I have friends
who know me
as I am now
and count myself
to say so.

These are the facts
as I know them;
as real as
any that can be expected
to be;
take them or leave them,
that is the only choice
And, as for the entirety
of this poem,
the same choice applies
here as well.

End of story.

Draw curtain.

Fade to black.


© 2012 Joseph Powell