Come Home Come Home a poem for George Floyd (June 7, 2020 Catrice Greer) These wombs, sacred, we build placenta worlds of blood and bone cord by cord, cells churning with life a zygotic landscape s .. a .. f .. e safe from gunshots, lethal force, blue bias, blows safe from bent-tongued accusations, chokeholds, grief tears and pain light-years away the amniotic sac aglow you hear only my voice Mommy … I walked with you, my love, my sun floating close to my own heartbeat tethered in the mitochondrial house we are one my peace, your peace my child, to lose you to this world that does not know you never carried you is not the deep-rooted tree of life I birthed a premature exit is not the afterbirth of my labor Call my name when the end is near I will come again for you I will come again for you, my angel my sweetness you will reside here with me, rest in peace. Come home. breathe breathe breathe Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Catrice Greer Fevers of the Mind Interview Catrice Greer w/poetry “Yearning Through the Fog” & “Cortical Cartography” #StopTheHate Poetry Challenge for Social Justice, Injustice Poetry, Essays, Rants & Unity
This poetry shouldn’t be a challenge. This will be a celebration of unity & a place to unleash any sadness, tensions, exhaustion regarding the ongoing unjust killings due to racist ideologies & terrorist who like to re-invent their own history to match an idea in their head that was never theirs. Give us your feelings, give us your words. Tell us what you can do to encourage others, Tell us how you can help stop political & blue corruption, systemic racism, and most importantly give us words that you feel will stop these deaths.
It has been a year since George Floyd, longer for Breonna Taylor, longer for the shit that was Jim Crow Laws, Slavery, don’t forget Rodney King, don’t forget Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, thousands upon thousands others. Martin Luther King Jr gunned down for change. The leaders that preached for change always met with resistance. Stop this hate America!
Poem #1 by Catrice Greer
Check below link for what Catrice and other poets are doing for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Events.
Come Home a poem for George Floyd (June 7, 2020 Catrice Greer) These wombs, sacred, we build placenta worlds of blood and bone cord by cord, cells churning with life a zygotic landscape s .. a .. f .. e safe from gunshots, lethal force, blue bias, blows safe from bent-tongued accusations, chokeholds, grief tears and pain light-years away the amniotic sac aglow you hear only my voice Mommy … I walked with you, my love, my sun floating close to my own heartbeat tethered in the mitochondrial house we are one my peace, your peace my child, to lose you to this world that does not know you never carried you is not the deep-rooted tree of life I birthed a premature exit is not the afterbirth of my labor Call my name when the end is near I will come again for you I will come again for you, my angel my sweetness you will reside here with me, rest in peace. Come home. breathe breathe breathe
Poem #2 Links to my social justice poems on this blog & other links
Above is a link from my wife HilLesha's blog Tothemotherhood.com HilLesha is a mixed-race writer, blogger, co-editor, mother, wife & so much more. *this was from her blog, any content about contests is no longer available*
Poem #3 link to R.D. Johnson’s poems about civil rights & social justice 4 Poems by R.D. Johnson : Malcolm & Martin, Angels, Dr. King’s Dream & February 1st (re-post)
Poem #4 link to Troy Jackson’s Essay “We the People” from the Anthology An Essay “We the People” by Troy Jackson (from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020)
Poem #5 link to Samantha Terrell’s social justice poetry 3 social justice poems by Samantha Terrell : “Advocacy” “Who We Are” & “Hurry Up Justice”
Poem #6 Stop the Hate Poem by Sarika Jaswani
Below the lambent candor of periwinkle sky Beneath redolent shades of sovereign sun In a garden of remembrance lays a Martyr Farther from littered complexities Yonder of stinking grudges Away from leaking old bottles of comparisons Mildew and rotting timber of America's foundation Off the beaten track Floyd breathes beyond color of skin Where grief ceases to be transient And shuns mute palette of emotions At the end of rainbow where they each call out and Say their names There rests a harbinger of hope and change. Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Sarika Jaswani
Poem #7 Able & Sable Hearts in Color & Deed by Pasithea Chan
The world is a stable filled with creatures both able & unstable. Those who are able have hearts capable of empathy towards their community. But those who are unstable have hearts so sable they cripple humanity. Their differences define a life of dignity for the rest of humanity. Able hearts play their parts sorting people by acts not words in the name of equality & justice But sable hearts take part in breaking people's hearts sorting them by color to spread terror in the name of service. Able hearts have peaceful minds that analyze words to sort what they fear from what they see or hear. But sable hearts have broken minds that pander to their fear blinding their eyes with what their hearts steer. Able hearts are driven by compassion to foster good even if late because for them right and wrong are black and white. But sable hearts are driven by obsession to spread blind hate because for them freedom is a bait to catch black enjoying whats white. Able hearts will do what's fair because they care But sable hearts will just be there to hunt those unaware. Like day and night, one is light bringing wealth the other is dark with crime bringing death. Show me a man who ran & I'll show you fear from those near. But show me a man who stood his ground & I'll show you justice. There are many George Floyds and Breonna Taylors out there but sadly there are few who truly care or dare to say times have changed yet sable hearts haven't Because right and wrong are not the only black & white In a world where grey is for those who chose to bray blind lies to hide behind a colorful rind. In the end, hearts and minds dictate the kind of life we lead not our colors because we all bleed Red So how can color decide who is good or bad? We are all one; color is just one kind of human kind I'm sure we can agree that deeds can sort the human kind. Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Pasithea Chan
Poetry: Nine by Anneka Chambers
Nine Minutes I Fight For Life In an instant my body is slammed to the ground Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Exclaims from the public echo all around Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am unarmed, handcuffed and I pose no threat Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Enforcement of this kind is unlawful, do you have no mercy, nor any regret? Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am pleading with you, please stop! Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Emotionless is the expression of every standing cop Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I lay here helplessly, one against four Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Excessively this Officer pins me to the floor Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am in excruciating pain Nine Minutes I Fight for Life Explain why you have chosen my soul to claim? Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I hurt until I bleed Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Executing your act of violence, as I cry and plead Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I cannot breathe, I cannot move, I only feel Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Encourage this Officer to remove his knee, from where he kneels Nine Minutes I Fight For Life I am doing all I can to hold on Nine Minutes I Fight For Life Every cell in my being is fighting this wrong Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive I love you family, colleagues and friends Nine Minutes And I Will Not Survive Eventually My Life Ends. REST IN POWER GEORGE FLOYD 25.05.2020 Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Anneka Chambers
More Links: https://subterraneanbluepoetry.com/SubterraneanBluePoetry.IX.II.html including a poem by Wolfpack Contributor Megha Sood WolfPack Contributor Bio: Megha Sood
Poems by Laura Grevel:
Texas Freeze Over—February 16, 2021 On that freezing eve in a winter storm, where nothing was the norm, eighteen-year-old Rodney Reese was walking home down a Plano street. He’d finished his shift at Walmart, groceries in hand, still had a good ways to go, slipping and stumbling in ice and snow, still had a good ways to go, when they showed up and slowed. He heard the shout, saw the colors of the car, felt a shiver run over his memory wars: remembered what happened to George Floyd in Minnesota, Eric Garner in New York, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Daniel Prude in New York. Did the cops remember the truth as they told him to stop? That they’d been sent to make a wellness check? Not to be a pain in the friggin’ neck? That the state was now a disaster zone of ice and snow, bodies freezing in homes? Did they remember that he was a man? That warnings were given by the weathermen? That warnings were shouted by the BLM? They asked him to stop; he sweated and labored on. If only he could get home or where someone could see what was going on. He peered resolute through the snow, through the dark, and he prayed. “Where you going, son?” “I’m going home.” “Why you walkin’ in the road?” “Sidewalk’s icy, man.” “Where you goin’? You need a ride.” “I’m goin’ home. Don’t touch me!” The cops get out, come close. “Why don’t you stop? We want to talk.” “Don’t touch me, man!” They grab his arms, cuff him. “This is an investigation!” So though it makes no sense to anyone with a few cells of gray, they charged him for walking home—charged him with being a pedestrian in a roadway. He spent the night in jail, managed to keep his heart from fail, managed to keep from other travail. Next day the police chief let him go, said they should ‘a’ taken him home, didn’t know what was in those cops minds, was it race? The chief couldn’t say. Rodney, when asked later why he didn’t want to stop for the cops, said, “I seen all this stuff with George Floyd. It hurts, man.” People Are Looking They just keep killing black men— these self-appointed vigilantes and cops—killing men jogging down the street like Ahmaud Arbery or men coming out of a shop like George Floyd and the BLM started marching and the Trump response sent an Armageddon of armored cops and henchmen to attack people who were not armored who were protesting the murders of black men. A Star Wars attack on regular people, and the protesters march wearing Covid masks, march those streets, through smoke and tear gas, and the robotic cops bear down bear down brutalize and my mind races to find the puzzle pieces because I seem to have missed something. 1968 I am seven. I walk into a church in East Austin with my mother, brother, sister. Moselle who cleans our house and takes care of us kids invited us to her daughter’s wedding. And when we walk in and walk down the aisle and sit down, my heart begins to thud because people are looking, then not looking, at us. We are the only white people there. 1988 I am 27. I walk into a church for the wedding of Sara. She is a friend, a co-worker, a fellow accountant at the State Auditor’s Office. And when I walk in and walk down the aisle and sit down, my heart begins to thud because something is similar, something is wrong, people are looking, then people are not looking, at us. We are the only white people there. 2020 And my mind races to find the puzzle pieces as a despot’s robot army marches on people who are protesting the murders of men— murders because of the color of their skin. An obscene scene of spleen sent by a President who is more mean than man, sending a smokescreen to make a show that is the only way he knows. And my heart thuds and my mind races to find the puzzle pieces: 1968, 1988, 2020, and I look back and ask Sara, where were the other people from the office? Why did none of them come to your wedding? During workdays, we all worked together. During lunches, we ate out together. During out-of-town audits, we travelled together. My God, Sara, I remember back then I heard one or two excuses busy, kids . . . but most had no kids— most of our co-workers were single, and white. Oh, Sara, how blind have I been?
Catrice Greer @cgreer_greer is a poet and writer who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a 2020, Pushcart Prize Nominee. In November 2020, Catrice served as a Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Poet in Residence. Catrice’s poetic work explores a range of topics about the human condition. She currently performs as a featured poetic artist or via poetry artist collectives in international virtual open mics. Her recent poems were published in Icefloe Press, the historic Afro-American Newspaper, a Phenomenal Womxn Anthology, Baltimore Health Behavioral Services art gallery, and local newsletters. She is currently working on publishing her first chapbook.
*The following interview & poetry was published in Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 Anthology*
*Catrice Greer is a Spotlight Poet in the Anthology*
1) Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood?
Catrice: I am working on my first chapbook publication. I expect this to be a selection across topics. I have several books planned. The books planned beyond that one are specifically themed. Themes I write about are a broad span of Spirituality, transcendence, trauma, consent, disability, healing,mental health, love, the environment, human nature, the cosmos, ancestral topics, cultural traditions, identity, dialect, food & culture, Orishas, and music I often weave my love of the sciences, math, astronomy, astral travel, biblical spiritual references, and futurism into my work.
2) What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?
Catrice: My first chapbook would be my introduction to the literary world in print and encapsulates many ideas from over the years. Although I have written for several decades, I did not choose to publish a book. I chose to focus on refining my voice and craft. In the last few years, in service to the work I am creating, I felt there was a purpose, an audience and space that would be a good fit for the work to speak for itself. My choice to publish now is solely in service to the work itself. It feels like the right timing. I get a sense the work will live best published now versus earlier.
3) How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?
Catrice: I began writing early somewhere around ages 8,9,10. At 10, I began to be compelled to write. Ages11/12, I experimented. By age 14, it was clear for me that it was a necessity. I was mentored one to one by a high school teacher. I wrote for academic publications in high-school and was editor and editor in chief of a creative journal. While in my senior year of high school, I also began writing as a Features writer intern for a local historic newspaper at age 17. I went on to intern, associate produce (credit) and write scripts as an intern for a local tv station in my college years. I continued a smattering of explorative involvement in media in various forms off and on through my twenties. My own private writings of poetry simultaneously continued to grow and refine. My declared major in college was English Literature. During that time, I began to perform spoken word and recite poetry. Mainly I did this at events via another mentor in college who felt it was a good avenue for me to learn to conquer my shyness. I’ve continued to write privately since then, until now.
To your second question, yes, to some extent my work is always growing and adapting. It adapts as I grow and as my vision of the world and of myself grows. As my perception refines and my craft refines, so does my work and approach to the work. At this time, I am clear that I write in service to bringing work forward in its divine nature.
4) What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
Catrice: That’s a complex question. I’ve read so many poets and writers. Off the top of my head, I can say Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, Laini Mataka, Sonia Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Pablo Neruda, Wislawa Symborska, Jean Auel, Deepak Chopra, Zitkala-Sa, Ivan Van Sertima, T. S. Eliot, Milton, Lacan, Saussure, Descartes, Jung, some Freud, Kafka, Andrew Marvell, Shakespeare, and many, many more.
My love of music is vast. I love opera, R&B, alt rock, alt classical rock, gospel, jazz, alt Christian music,Hymns, African-American classic hymns, some folk music, the list goes on. Those influences show up in my work time and time again. It runs through my soul. I write through the music I feel as emotion and the words for me are music.
5) What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?
Catrice: I am a former photographer, former dancer, former dessert caterer and entrepreneur. I still like to cook. I enjoy nutrition, and herbology. I garden sometimes. I keep a small personal healing apothecary. I enjoy fermenting foods for health. No longer in a home, but now an apartment, I keep a modest plant system and a fledgling kratky garden. I sketch a little, use various creative mediums sometimes. I enjoy singing with a community choir. I like creating songs lyrics to express some type of emotion. I listen to music for hours and hours. I used to be active in athletic pursuits for several decades. I am healing from something that creates an impairment and disability for me at this time, so being that active is abbreviated for the moment. But at heart, I am athletic. Currently, I enjoy walking, light hiking, yoga, weights. I love films. I like science and enjoy learning about various sciences in my spare time. I enjoy learning languages.
I am a Christian. I am of Catholic faith. And I am human. The combination of those elements as well as my own broad curiosity, acceptance of spirituality in general factors into my work. I see and channel much through a very spiritual lens with an understanding and respect that we are all connected and that the universe is vast. All the activities I noted above show up from time to time in my work or in how I come to the work itself and process life. The more fully and vibrantly I live, the richer the work.
6) Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled, or a spontaneous freewriting style?
Catrice: It depends. I mainly channel my work. I feel it is given. It is then my responsibility to refine the bulk of what was given to be sure it expresses clearly and serves the message of the work. The craft I have honed over the years and continue to hone is a skill. Those literary skills for editing then come into play. But often while I am writing, what I am channeling my mind is working very fast to edit at the same time. I allow my mind to simply speak what needs to be said. Sometimes I receive a lot. And other times, a phrase, a word, an idea, a partial Stanza. All of it eventually, shows up later in layers that are building to create something new. I feel that my job as a poet is to be present, listen intently to myself, be a witness, and scribe.
7) Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?
Catrice: There is nothing singular for me to point to. My writing is influenced by the totality of life experiences, education, observation, perceptions, spiritual faith, heritages, connection and spiritual receptiveness. It is a reflection of an acceptance of my fellow man as I observe, receive and process enormous amounts of information.
8) What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
Catrice: Most frustrating — sometimes the poems come channeling through so fast and it may be an inopportune time for me to write it down. Or the lines are coming in so quickly that I am not fast enough to write it down verbatim as I am receiving the lines. I end up sometimes writing an approximation and that is often not quite on target.
Most rewarding — is the fact that I am allowed to channel through and write down these beautiful, divine, words and sentiments. The fact that I am a part of this divine process, I often feel very humbled and grateful to be a writer. The process for me is filled with music, emotion, colors, rhythms, visions, that somehow translate into words. That process even for me is well beyond me. Yes, I am an academically trained writer. But I didn’t start out that way. I was quite young when I started. For me, my process is unique as well as it has a foot in classic approaches.
I am grateful when anyone feels organically connected to the work when it is healing or creates healthy dialogue that can foster positive change. If a heart is touched, if someone feels seen or heard by my work, then I know I have been of service to my greater community and that when I was called by said poem to write it into existence, I was correct in answering that call. It served a soul. To me, that level of service is a high honor.
I did not get to be the doctor/writer I had hoped to become like William Carlos Williams. I wanted to be a psychiatrist. But, in this way, I am taking part in helping with vastness of unity and oneness of healing, speaking truths for my fellow man as well as for myself. For me, to be allowed to be part of that divine miracle, even as a scribe and a witness, is humbling and rewarding.
9) How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?
Catrice: For me, I have a long personal story. Too long for this interview. For a number of personal reasons, disability as healing, being one, I was already living sequestered and very alone prior to the pandemic. When this began, emotionally I was already on a path to find ways to reach out to connect even though I could not physically reach others as well. This year, not due to Covid-19, but two of my close friends died. I was already mourning so much for so many loved ones that passed away. Emotionally, I needed to connect with other humans and live again. Feel alive. I did not wish to impose my will on changing the situation. I felt and prayed that I would like to walk through this with my fellow humans and somehow live as much as possible and authentically as possible. Emotionally, that meant managing any anxiety, or depression, any last hurts that can show up when we have time to think. Allow myself to clear and let go of all things no longer needed and to even now commit to honoring my solitude, my need for connection, interdependence, joy, love, need for healthy intimacy with self and others, and healthy boundaries.
All of these things have some contingency on voice and its authenticity.
Being honest with self about what I truly feel, what and who makes me feel uncomfortable, knowing what I truly need and want, desire, and voicing that clearly is a healthy evolution in my state of being. This also includes me being able to take action with healthy boundaries and not be crushed under the weight of dissension, intimidation, silence, lack of connection or understanding or respect from others. In this space, I learned to honor my voice unapologetically in the healthiest way. I also learned to embrace my deepest needs and desires. By doing all of that, I am like most humans a continual work in progress, my work reflects this authenticity and growth.
The more I see and accept my self, the higher divine self, the shadow self, the unspoken, the traumatized self, the unloved self, the unseen self, the healing self, the transcendent soul, the imperfect self, the creative self, the unbound spiritual self, the grounded self, the bold, the loving self — all of the parts as integrated parts without judgement, then I have been more adept in my poetic work to speak clearly in the service of the work. It seems that humanity resonates for other people who feel connected to the work and the voice I have to offer to our community of humans. This moment in time is one for which I share in collective mourning and also appreciate our collective unity, transformation, and healing. Emotionally, this year has shown me a great deal about myself and others.
Creatively, I have become even more in tune and immensely prolific. All for which I am deeply grateful.
Thank you for this interview. Be well.
Yearning Through the Fog by Catrice Greer
It’s a busy time
the car exhausts, the fires breathing smoke over the twilight
pollution laying across the horizon as if on a chaise, lounging
overstuffed dumpsters, overflowing with wrappers,
peels, discarded boxes, and stench
trees half bare dangling windblown bags at their tips
trying to take a stand, hold back the school of loop-winged
billowed-bottomed plastics flying by
the grass sparse, dirt scratched patches,
concrete overtaking the landscape
We miss the deer and their morning hellos
We miss the murder of crows and their caw caws
We miss the foxes leaping over and under the brush playing hide and go seek
We have not seen enough rabbits before dawn
Cortical Cartography by Catrice Greer
I give thanks for you bravely doing this again
traveling synapse by synapse
trails of electric pulses
jumping blackhole gaps
that used to remember
holding the dead space
a new soma body
birthing from bleating darkness
show us the nucleus
of what we were made of
like kamikaze flying squirrel bodies
with arms akimbo
Grateful for even
this axon potential
Praise for brave
dives and jumps
Grateful for re-birthed
making sure that we traffic on
our way by the quickest route
in this dark matter
wrinkled city of light,
gyri and sulci,
ridges and valleys
sectioned by lobes
all speaking trillions
prayerfully all at once
this chatter mines
the neuronal network
and we build
a whole new world
Catrice Greer @cgreer_greer is a poet and writer who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a 2020, Pushcart Prize Nominee. In November 2020, Catrice served as a Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Poet in Residence. Catrice’s poetic work explores a range of topics about the human condition. She currently performs as a featured poetic artist or via poetry artist collectives in international virtual open mics. Her recent poems were published in Icefloe Press, the historic Afro-American Newspaper, a Phenomenal Womxn Anthology, Baltimore Health Behavioral Services art gallery, and local newsletters. She is currently working on publishing her first chapbook. She has recently read at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival with Damien Donnelly
Links to published poetry:
“The Heights” https://www.afro.com/the-heights/
“Presence and Absence” https://www.afro.com/presence-absence/
“I Am Home” https://www.afro.com/i-am-home/
Behavioral Health System Baltimore:
“Your Path is Your Own Virtual Art Gallery”