Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Irrespective--A New Poem

I will continue doing what I do,
regardless of whoever is watching,
whether God or the neighbor next door;
living my life,
writing my words,
... loving my woman,
loving my neighbor--
in other words,
being a human,
irrespective of color,
which is black
(and I wear it proudly,
thank you very much);
irrespective of religion,
which in today's world,
has become a plaything,
by those who don't know how to play
(but if you must know,
I still do believe in God,
in spite of His followers);
irrespective of my sexual orientation
(which means, I am oriented
to like sex
and like it as often as possible,
again thank you very much).

These are the facts,
written in the only way
I know how to write,
which is poetically,
even provocatively,
irrespective of your willingness
to read it
or to agree with anything
I just wrote.
I will continue to do what I do,
but for now,
in this context,

I am done...
nuff said,

until next time.

©2012 Joseph Powell

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Reflection Of A Bright Light

I wanted to take a moment to share a few personal reflections on the loss of Ms. Whitney Houston. Usually when I've been inspired to write something following the death of a loved one or a famous icon, it manifests itself in the form of a poem. But, aside from being admittedly reluctant to write yet another death poem, I wanted to, in this particular instance, write something a little more prosaic, a little more deliberate, for lack of a better word.

I consider Ms. Houston to be one of the integral elements of my ever-evolving jukebox, during my transition from boy to man, the period I somewhat fondly refer to, as my 20's. From the midpoint of my college years to and through some key monumental life changes and crises at the end of that personal decade, the persona that was Whitney was fairly and uniquely prevalent. From her music videos to her songs on the radio and through mine and my friends' cassette and, eventually, CD players, to her appearances in films, like "Waiting To Exhale", "The Bodyguard", and "The Preacher's Wife", she presented herself as someone who was beautiful, sassy, sexy, self-confident, and irrevocably talented. Also, I might add, to say that I had a crush on her would be a mild understatement.

'The voice of a generation' is a phrase that often gets bandied about in describing certain singular individuals, and arguably so. I would venture to posit that Whitney Houston was, and is, the voice for a whole generation of young people who were influenced and affected by her music at the height of her heyday. Her songs and her ability to interpret them will, I believe, place her in the pantheon of great vocalists who came before her--like Aretha, Gladys, the late great Minnie and the recently departed Ms. Etta; her aunt, Dionne, and mama, Cissy, just to name a few.

At least two of her songs had a deeply profound impact on me personally, during a rather emotionally tumultuous point in my life--that's when you know that you're in the presence of a great artist, when their art resonates so significantly in one's being that it almost defies explanation.

I realize that all this I have heretofore written is a mere hodgepodge of thoughts, a feeble attempt to make coherent sense of what is essentially a tragic loss, particularly for her family, as well as a world of fans. But as I was deeply touched by her life and her music, I am equally touched and saddened by her passing. And I know, given the cynical and rush-to-judgement world we live in, there will be, and already are, the naysayers who will want to solely focus on the negative aspects of her life, her inability to overcome her weaknesses and conquer her personal "demons". And I am reminded of these words, spoken in regard of another woman, who too was chastised and lambasted for her apparent weakness--"let he who is without sin, cast the first stone".

I will conclude by sharing that one of my chief regrets, as an inordinate music lover, and one that invariably comes up whenever there's a passing of a musical legend, is that I never got to see her perform live. But it is tempered by the satisfying realization that her music and her iconic images, chief of which, is her stirring and memorable rendition of the National Anthem, which alone would almost be enough to cement her legacy, will continue to live on and be enjoyed for future generations to come.

R.I.P., Ms. Houston. Keep singing!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Infinite Possibilities--A New Poem

When I look at a blank page,
I see infinite possibilities;
a canvas, a clean slate,
upon which
to paint myself
to draw the world;
the place where my pain
and my ego
can converge
to make art.
It does involve a struggle,
a tug-of-war
against myself---
the need to be vulnerable
and the desire
to retreat;
it's the place
peace and war
where there is only room
for truth;
for there is too much
at stake,
to hide behind
bullshit and "virtual reality"--
leave that for
the entertainers.

The blank page before me
is the chance
to fulfill my destiny,
to be that which
I was meant to be
since the day I was born,
to join the pantheon
of those who've come
before me,
who paved the way
for me to follow,
so that I might help
make infinite
the possibilities
of those who
come after me.

© 2012 Joseph Powell

Diamonds In The Distance--A New Poem

Glittering lights
on the horizon,
Like diamonds
in the distance;
White streak across
a perfect blue sky,
Or as near to perfect
as I will ever see
in my lifetime.
It is daybreak
I am alive
Thinking of words
for the new poem
you are now reading...

You're welcome.

© 2012 Joseph Powell