Poetry Showcase from Gayle J. Greenlea

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Homestead

There are ghosts here. They breathe
in unseen spaces behind walls,
under floorboards, in shafts of light
filtered through dust motes. At night
they drift into fields where once they
put shoulders to the plow and tended
cotton. Their shape, if you could see
them, is amorphous as cotton fruit,
diaphanous as gossamer with glints
of light like fireflies. They are more lonely
than scary, tethered to the windowless
homestead with wind-sanded fieldstone
and peeling paint. They wait for souls
long gone, beloveds who worked the land
side by side, peeled potatoes for supper,
sighed as they tucked children into bed
to cicada lullabies, rubbed salves
and embrocations into cuts from cotton
bracts and aching muscles, smiled
through wavering firelight before making
love under a diamond sky. Now fields
overgrown with weeds hide once furrowed
earth, sculpted by generations through life,
death and birth; a claim on humanity,
still longed for. Memory anchors them.

The Old Homestead by Mj Saucer

originally posted in Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge in The Wombwell Rainbow

The Night Tree

The night tree with grizzled bark,
roots milked dry by suckling humans;
starved of dignity, the arc of history
bends toward justice, dimmed. Scars
limned in moonlight, memorialize
strange fruit, harvested from branches
weary from farewelling souls
of dark-skinned men, more worthy
than murderous landowners.

Cities and rain forests burn, oceans
rise. Will no one turn the toxic tides
of extremism? Roll back the currency
of white privilege to diminish and destroy
wealth that belongs equally to all?
Ignorance is a pall spread over creation,
blocking sun, forswearing Earth’s
creatures. The Night Tree foretells our
fate. These branches are connected.

Night Tree by Terry Chipp

originally posted in Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge in The Wombwell Rainbow

Moveable Feast

My privilege is not wealth, social
standing or gender. My currency
is the color of my skin, the “lily
white” of southern women,
Nordic and Celtic genes overtaking Native
American. Whiteness has opened
doors closed to others, opportunities
denied sisters burnished by sun
and melanin. I took the heaping
servings I was offered from the table,
but they did not satisfy my hunger.
So I set places for the missing
and stepped back. I cannot atone
for my color, my straightness,
my ease of passage in the world;
but I can open my hands,
my ears,
my heart.
My voice is not my own, alone.
I am a side dish on a plate,
enhancing a meal called Justice.

Fragile

We collide in a tender fugue,
reeds with slender necks
jostled by wind
and circumstance.

Fragile beings,
we rush through time
as if it were of no consequence.
Bumps and bruises crush

red stains into our skin;
panes where air is thin
and the soul breathes
more visibly,

purpura witnessing
where words
will not. How we suffer
from small wounds

inflicted unconsciously,
intentional tramplings
in the fields. We wield
power carelessly

or not at all, watch silently
as another brother
goes down; a sister falls
in the moonlight.

Oh, the terrible ways we fail
each other, refusing to speak,
allowing wind to carry our pain
over the horizon in soundless

ripples until the ones with scythes
come to cut our necks
and leave us rootless
from the land.

Fragile was originally posted in Headline Poetry & Press

Reality Fascist

No one believed the dystopia you described
as you launched your inaugural obsession with crowd
size, though one distinguished guest called your spiel
“some weird shit”.

Who could know you hid avenging wings beneath
your coat? That your gloating brimstone utterances
were match-strike that would set the world
alight? Now, in these Days of the Dead, wisdom

arrives late. The ashes of innocence choke
breath from the lungs. Arms are drawn brother against
brother, mother against son; our daughters a broken
Eucharist on the altar of your ego. Your apparatchiks

screech over fields of warriors, Valkyrie come
not to save souls, but to desecrate heroes. Justice
seekers march as you part their waves with flash-bangs,
tear-gas children, train weapons of war on the peace-

full, their blood your red carpet. You, Reality Fascist,
riled by fearlessness, enraged by women who will
not bend, those who take pride in the color of their skin,
the old who’ve seen your kind before.

You’ve made believers of us all. The emperor stripped
bare, walls himself in the palace of the people. Benevolence
escapes him. He sells the furnishings to foreign kings,
betrays his allies, crushes the weak, tweets while Rome

burns. We are spurned, turned out of our own houses
while you pour gasoline on our wounds, rob us blind,
put a “for sale” sign on our honor. Narcissus with a sharpie
throwing tantrums, courting porn stars, stacking courts:

art of the steal. We see through your veil of lies the rifts
you sowed. Once you told the truth — the day we
sheathed you in power — you said you would destroy us.
Trickster in a cheap suit, you are no match for Lady

Liberty or our own rebellious bones. Unworthy apprentice,
today the people rise, armed with more than a hundred million
ballots. How’s that for crowd size? We are coming for you.
You’re fired.

Revolution

Hunger is a maddening mistress,
fatal attraction, grave tease, more
palatable than the gnawing loneliness
of isolation. Who would believe
a rival, small, invisible could rob
so many of health and dignity? I leave
my home one final time, one suitcase
with a change of clothes. My wife
pushes the stroller with our baby
and a box of kittens. The oligarchs
quarantine in castles, calculating profits
over cognac, while the rest of us count
costs, build tent cities, swarm streets
with protests. Revolution is coming.
History proves power belongs to the
people. Heads will roll.

Er gaan koppen rollen (Heads will Roll), by Marcel Herms

originally posted in Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge in The Wombwell Rainbow

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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