Featured Poem of the Week

Dead Roses

A Collaborative Effort with Barry Dawson IV|Musical Selection: Little Brother Featuring Joe Scudda/Lovin’ It

boxing
Ryan Tang|Unsplash

it is easy to gather roses
for the dead,

words for listeners
 —
you hide in the shadows, content
on stealing what does not belong
to you.

I have eyes in the back of my head,
protecting what feeds me.

licensing age-old lyrics,
no duplication, B.

if you’re stepping up,
ready for the game,
bring your best uppercut.
I gotta jab and a crazy left hook
gearing up for top lips
and pretty noses.

a cruel business, the world of writing.
your heart is on display —
the hungry come in droves,
salivating for something
fattening.

give’em slim fast,
Ensure, or Pedialyte, but
never ever give them
steak and potatoes.

trying to eat the whole meal
in one bite
instead of the portions
we gave you
.

headhunting for
a one-shot KO

will never save you

from your ribcage-rattling,
shook from combos
of famine and body-blows
;

still, you try to steal my soul
like your name was Jim Crow.

not one to hide, you open wide
to gulp down the fatty talent,
but leave the conscience
on the platter,

and then get mad at me
when diabetes takes your sight

as if your mad-hatter,
reckless appropriation
had vision to begin with.

I scatter dead roses
at the headstone where we met.

your fat festers, decomposes,
existing as undead,

but I ain’t dead yet


©2019, Barry Dawson IV and Tremaine L. Loadholt. All Rights Reserved


Originally published on Medium via  A Cornered Gurl:

*Barry and I have been collaborating for about a decade. If I think it, he can bring it to life. If he starts something, I can usually finish it. We have meshed well for such a long time that I was beyond myself with glee to finally see him get active on Medium. Every time we work together, it is fun to see where we are in our work at that moment. He is a great Writer and a dope fiend. 

We Will Not Be Silenced: I Have My Copy. Do You Have Yours?

Survivors write and contribute art of their survival in this Anthology. All proceeds will benefit a great cause. It would be great to live in a world where something like this isn’t needed, but… that isn’t our reality.

We Will Not Be Silenced… is available now via Amazon. The Writers collective for this anthology is a jaw-dropping list and I will name a few: Sarah Doughty, Ali Grimshaw, and Candice Louisa Daquin

I have my copy. Do you have yours?

Courtesy of Youversion Bible App

Even the most subtle hint of creating change can bring out the beasts of the world. An army can obliterate them. The problem is, we don’t have enough people willing to don his or her armor to fight for what’s right in the open when the light is perfectly set. Fear is a mongrel, steadfast when it has a target. “Stand up for something or fall for anything.”

Liberation

A Collaborative Effort With walkerjo lee|Music: Outkast–Liberation

smokemanhat
Courtesy of Erik Odiin via Unsplash

He comes —

sits real calm-like next
to Daddy, puffs out a heap of
smoke and says, “Gotta make a decision, Tony.
We bulldozing through this city block
with or without your consent.”

I watch Daddy’s eyes turn cold,
he can’t sit, can’t stand, he just
looks frozen in time. 

the man in the perfect hat

pats my Daddy’s leg once, then
lifts himself from our porch swing,
a trail of smoke follows him
down the block, connecting his
lies as it forms.

Daddy gives me a quick smile,
reassuring me.
he isn’t a big man, short and thin.
he looks like time swaying in
the breeze, waiting for a lifeboat
that’s never coming his way.

he tells me that the Big Wigs
are making us move, taking our
home from up under us.

“We got thirty days, Pumpkin.”
and, I don’t know where
we gonna go, but I hear my
Mom’s soul sigh
in the dead of night. 

if she was still alive,
she’d cut that man in the perfect hat
with her words and tell him
where he can stick his ideas.

A strip mall.
that’s what they’re building.
fifteen homes on our block
and three on the next will
be demolished in a matter of days. 

I sit and think of that smoke
and how it followed the man
in the perfect hat and I
wonder if it’s gonna come
back without him one day
and liberate us.

thirty days to go and no new home in view
wanting to stay knowing it’s time to leave
sights set on tomorrow

get a new home that fit our porch swing
a patch of dirt to grow bundles of greens
mom’s energy nearby
while i pick and pull from the stems

she keeps a watchful eye over me
while i soak and rinse in the kitchen sink
dandelions in the kitchen window
daddy’s head hangs over the daily news

we beat the thirty days

we walk at our pace
no new development looming near.

daddy gives me that quick smile
a sway in the breeze, he stands
on a sunday afternoon
a dream
memory of my mom, she stands beside us
in between

daddy washes his hands and opens the oven door
our home smells of roasting meat
that time, mom had me snapping fresh peas
our family, as whole as can be
before

home was home, our yard had a tree swing

lay mom to rest, our three turned into a two
all our memories stuffed into a one bedroom
daddy on the sofa

i have a door with a window view of a toxic factory

maybe, a strip mall in our place
won’t be so bad
mom would have the paper preparing for our new home.

i smile daddy’s quick smile, turn to the real estate section
we sit in the sun
i reassure him this time
dream big enough for us both

sure we won’t see the man with the perfect hat
gone before he returns
it is time and we will go

i know one strip mall where we won’t shop


Originally posted on Medium via A Cornered Gurl

Reparations

A Collaborative Effort With walkerjo lee |Music: Jill Scott-My Petition

rage
Courtesy of Mwangi Gatheca|Unsplash

pay me for the many bodies slain
in cold blood at the hand of their
protectors for simply being alive
for walking down an unfamiliar street
for pulling out a wallet
for covering his child with his body
for revealing a water gun
for breathing air that is free in
a country that charges me for water
in a plastic cup bound to kill
me twenty years from now

for a woman knowing her rights
and unafraid to back down when faced
by fake authority
for gentrification
for replacement of all things familiar
in a neighborhood that needs complacency
to build it up during its struggle

pay me for scheming my ancestors
moons ago with slanderish tongues
bathed in honey
for neverending lies
for belligerence
for bigotry
for disguises in broad daylight
for the Ku Klux Klan

that will burn my community by dawn’s early light.

oh, say can you see?
for i am owed,
much more than can be repaid!

therefore,
i have the right:
to take a knee on any new age plantation field
to reject the bullshit that white supremacy truly is
to dodge PEACEkeepers that have a badge to kill

they serve money and the news/poliTRICKS and corporations have quotas and dues/bait trucks filled with shoes?

my country tis’ of thee —
WE the people, will lose.

i have the right:
to be this color face
zero damns left to give
sacrifice this lie that’s become a goddamn disgrace
still it questions the I in ME?!

i have the right:
to choose an alternate reality
to love and live.

i have the right:
to be this black moon

these copper colored blues
to travel with these autumn colored leaves
decorated in this auburn flesh
skin tones thick with tribe
standing with bronze feet in gold suns

textures of faith armed with all this love
they said, i couldn’t have/i couldn’t be
this speech, touched by godS/moved by ancestors/guided by winds

like, trees/ocean bottoms/creation
i ain’t to be moved

I AM owed!

i have the right:
to not have my skin rigged
a weapon against me!
how can i be victim AND criminal?!

fuck this place as a nation!
i have the right,
to be this color of pride

pay me, nation of forgetfulness
for years of contemplation and misguided ways
for unearthed demons in positions of power
for silencers and AK-47s and Mac10s
and the nerve to say we asked for it
pay me for everything I am due
and increase it tenfold

but, how do you put a price
on a dwindling race in a nation
that wants to annihilate it?


©Tremaine L. Loadholt & Walker Jo Lee, 2018. All Rights Reserved

*No one else could have written this with me. It came to me when it did and I immediately sent the draft to Walker. Originally posted in A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

Thank you for reading.