Poem – When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.
When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken.
Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance,

fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance

of dark, cold

caves.
And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed. 

Poem – Old Folks Laugh

They have spent their
content of simpering,

holding their lips this

and that way, winding

the lines between

their brows. Old folks

allow their bellies to jiggle like slow

tambourines.

The hollers

rise up and spill

over any way they want.

When old folks laugh, they free the world.

They turn slowly, slyly knowing

the best and the worst

of remembering.

Saliva glistens in

the corners of their mouths,

their heads wobble

on brittle necks, but

their laps

are filled with memories.

When old folks laugh, they consider the promise

of dear painless death, and generously

forgive life for happening

to them. 

Poem – Glory Fall 

Glory falls around us 
as we sob 

a dirge of 
desolation on the Cross 

and hatred is the ballast of 

the rock 

which his upon our necks 

and underfoot. 

We have woven 

robes of silk 

and clothed our nakedness 

with tapestry. 

From crawling on this 

murky planet’s floor 

we soar beyond the 

birds and 

through the clouds 

and edge our waays from hate 

and blind despair and 

bring horror 

to our brothers, and to our sisters cheer. 

We grow despite the 

horror that we feed 

upon our own 

tomorrow. 

We grow. 

Poem – Kin 

FOR BAILEY
We were entwined in red rings 

Of blood and loneliness before 

The first snows fell

Before muddy rivers seeded clouds 

Above a virgin forest, and 

Men ran naked, blue and black 

Skinned into the warm embraces 

Of Sheba, Eve and Lilith.

I was your sister.
You left me to force strangers 

Into brother molds, exacting 

Taxations they never

Owed or could ever pay.
You fought to die, thinking 

In destruction lies the seed 

Of birth. You may be right.
I will remember silent walks in 

Southern woods and long talks 

In low voices

Shielding meaning from the big ears 

Of overcurious adults.
You may be right. 

Your slow return from

Regions of terror and bloody

Screams, races my heart.

I hear again the laughter 

Of children and see fireflies 

Bursting tiny explosions in 

An Arkansas twilight. 

Poem – Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.

Some of us are serious,

some thrive on comedy.
Some declare their lives are lived

as true profundity,

and others claim they really live

the real reality.
The variety of our skin tones

can confuse, bemuse, delight,

brown and pink and beige and purple,

tan and blue and white.
I’ve sailed upon the seven seas

and stopped in every land,

I’ve seen the wonders of the world

not yet one common man.
I know ten thousand women

called Jane and Mary Jane,

but I’ve not seen any two

who really were the same.
Mirror twins are different

although their features jibe,

and lovers think quite different thoughts

while lying side by side.
We love and lose in China,

we weep on England’s moors,

and laugh and moan in Guinea,

and thrive on Spanish shores.
We seek success in Finland,

are born and die in Maine.

In minor ways we differ,

in major we’re the same.
I note the obvious differences

between each sort and type,

but we are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike. 

These Yet To Be United States – Maya Angelou 

Tremors of your network 

cause kings to disappear. 

Your open mouth in anger 

makes nations bow in fear. 
Your bombs can change the seasons, 

obliterate the spring. 

What more do you long for ? 

Why are you suffering ? 
You control the human lives 

in Rome and Timbuktu. 

Lonely nomads wandering 

owe Telstar to you. 
Seas shift at your bidding, 

your mushrooms fill the sky. 

Why are you unhappy ? 

Why do your children cry ? 
They kneel alone in terror 

with dread in every glance. 

Their nights [‘rights’ ? – Schrift nicht lesbar] are threatened daily 

by a grim inheritance. 
You dwell in whitened castles 

with deep and poisoned moats 

and cannot hear the curses 

which fill your children’s throats.

The Mothering Blackness – Maya Angelou 

She came home running 

back to the mothering blackness 

deep in the smothering blackness 

white tears icicle gold plains of her face 

She came home running 
She came down creeping 

here to the black arms waiting 

now to the warm heart waiting 

rime of alien dreams befrosts her rich brown face 

She came down creeping 
She came home blameless 

black yet as Hagar’s daughter 

tall as was Sheba’s daughter 

threats of northern winds die on the desert’s face 

She came home blameless