#stopthehate poems by Laura Grevel : Texas Freeze Over & People are Looking

Night, Snow, Frost, Cold, Trees
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.

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.

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.

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?

Bio for Laura Grevel
Laura Grevel is an immigrant, poet, fiction writer and blogger. Originally from Texas, she has lived in Europe for 21 years. Her work is eclectic, tackling the immigrant experience, narratives, politics, nature, and character sketches. Her latest collaborative YouTube video is called “Girl Walking Across Europe” by Poets For Refugees.

3 poems by Rickey Rivers Jr. “Sour Cup of Us” “Living in the Past” “The Thing about Us”

white ceramic mug on white table
Sour Cup of Us
Akin to lemons from a seed
The sourness apt
Therefore we are strained

No bond here, only slices of couple
Two halves lay, a quiet yellow

Mix it all together
A nice cup, both of us entangled

Can't last much longer, this boil soon steams
We go up together, a half sick dream

Living in the Past

If history has taught me anything
It's that you'd be hated for anything
Beyond norm
Beyond complexion

History goes forward
Only bits change

Brutality is the constant

We pretend
We ignore
We move on

What a constant.

The Thing about Us

That's the thing about us
We will never be one again

That story is long gone.
That right is long wrong.

This book of lies divides.
I thought it truth
No title, just dates.

Every chapter opens eyes wider
The vise around my heart tighter

Tears hit the page
Making life blur

Fears into rage
Does the ink fade?

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a Best of the Net nominated writer and cancer survivor. His work has appeared in Brave Voices, Sage Cigarettes and Hell Hued Zine (among other publications). Twitter.com/storiesyoumight Sensurlon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XDHZXHB

2 poems by Annest Gwilym : Seasons in the Sun & Sometimes at Twilight…

silhouette photography of trees
Seasons in the Sun

She lived in a net-curtained house
with anaemic pot plants and china figurines
of big-eyed animals and ladies in long dresses.
There was always the smell 
of stale sponge cake and a scattering
of doilies, a brown flowered carpet,
drab furniture with crochet antimacassars.

She only spoke the island Welsh,
always with a twinkle in her eye.
We were no angels: girls that slipped 
melting ice lollies through the dark mouths 
of post boxes, stuck out our tongues
at strangers, danced the can-can
in her bloomers and best chapel hat
rummaged from her bedroom
while she spoke to our mother.

In a hot summer that reverberated to the sound
of roller skates tearing up concrete 
she took us in her shiny black Morris Minor, 
speeding past farms and fields of potatoes,
to the candy floss paradise of Benllech 
with its wide apron of sand and donkeys.
Me in my beloved yellow towelling hot pants, 
while Seasons in the Sun played 
from everyone’s open door.

Sometimes at Twilight . . .

I open my back door 
to the high clean ozone of the tide, 
when the chill small evening 
clinks with sounds of crockery 
from the beach-side bistro
and wine-hazed banter.

And I’m glad of cormorants 
that dry their wings
on the jetty’s end, 
sloe-dark eyes of a surfacing seal, 
plants that grow 
despite the wind’s salt charge.

Glad that in spite of poverty 
there are watery days 
of soft rain and poetry,
the past that is always present 
beneath the surface of earth and our skin,
the lost graves of my peasant ancestors.

Glad of the balm this place brings
to a frightened rescue dog 
who now calls it home, 
for being able to stand on my step at night, 
sniff the air like a fox,
for what the wind brings.

inspired by Glad of these times by Helen Dunmore

Poetry by Annest Gwilym : Rhosmeirch ’71

Wolfpack Contributor: Annest Gwilym

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Annest Gwilym

3 poems from ps pirro from Fevers of the Mind Anthology & Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

(a previous version of this poem was included in The Breakup Poems, a collection ps pirro published in 2017)


It took so much longer than anyone expected,
by the time it happened we'd nearly forgotten,
our children are old now, and theirs older still.
I remember that fortune inside that cookie,
be like water it said, and you tore it in two,
because who has that kind of time?
The soles of your boots have worn away
at the place where the weight of the world
meets the road that carried us here.
All those footsteps, all that leather,
all those people we used to be, they cling
like shadows and hide when we turn.
Did you ever think, I ask, and no, you say,
you never did, and we blink like mole people,
emerging from darkness, blind in the light.
Both of us knowing we got it all wrong,
you with your gun, me with my bowl,
you with no bullets, me with no spoon.

Daylight Savings
I spent the night
with Leonard Cohen
we were birds on a wire,
we were drunks
in a midnight choir.
We lost sleep
but saved the daylight,
it was springtime,
we were so high.
We were coins tossed
beneath a concrete bridge,
a fire burning in an oil drum,
we stumbled through
the deep hours,
losing one to foolish whim,
six months will pass
before we find it again,
In the glint of a new-rising sun
we took the uptown train
from Manhattan to Berlin,
there was music
on Clinton Street and you
looked so much older
your raincoat hardly famous
at all, just misty now
like the faded morning sky.
Come home with me Leonard
and I will do unto you what you
have done unto others
I will tie you to my kitchen chair,
and keep for myself a lock
of your hair and feed you
tea and oranges that came
all the way from China,
and pour myself like honey
into this daylight
we have saved, you, and I.

I Was One of Those

I would have fallen for you had the geography been right,
and the decades, even though it took another woman
to sing your song, and others still pierce your heart,
and you had a type and I was not it, the fates would not align,
and (even though) I could not comprehend the tales you told
or the cadence like a missed step in your poetry, still,
I was one of those.

I found you on a shelf in the used bookstore, dark eyes
full of something like soul, or desire, I saw you in the face
of my high school crush who could have been your kin,
so much your image, but he too, loved another, and died
on prom night, a pixilated photograph of his mutilated
automobile on the front page (below the fold, have mercy)
the following day.

We can be selfish in our poems, this I learned from you,
our stories tipping like drunks in search of solace, I clipped
the photograph, tucked it away in a drawer, told myself
(and no one else) that had he taken me to that dance we
would have taken a different road, and he might have lived
to discover how good he looked at 60 in a rakish fedora
and a well-cut suit.

ps pirro lives in a place by the river and blogs with some infrequency at pspirro.com

2 new poems by A.R. Salandy : Far Flung Lovers & Tepid Winter

Fire, Flame, Koster, Burning, Coals

Tepid Winter

Winter begins its blazing descent
Under banal clouds
That hiss at slow forming sun

And lament on thawed lands,
Warmed too soon,
And awakened only by severed seasons

Consumed by fossilised expenditure,
Frivolous, and just as stalwart
As the warming storms

That cry gelid clemency,
Not to be heard
By natures stewards, ironic,

But rising dusts reach crescendo
As beauteous skies drown out
Sullen whimpers and bring rimy peace

To mammals thawed, now silent
As winter sun fades. 

Far Flung Lovers

I blow smoke into your face
As your brown eyes undress me
Evermore with each passing second

As if ravishing me once more
As you did
From a hidden corner at the party

Where we grew the courage
To approach each other
Amongst the intoxicated masses

That fill the endless seminars
Where I sit enamored
By the thought of classes

Where we know of each other
But not of one another,
Even though we sit in lecture halls

Merely dreaming of the possibility
That our worlds might collide
Amongst the academic words

That fill our timetables
With the hope our paths
Might just cross

And give randy relief
To the infatuation
Which comes to dominate us-

Deep in the mundane timetables of academia. 

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with A.R. Salandy

Bio: Anthony is a Black Mixed-race poet & writer who has spent most of his life in the Middle East jostling between the UK & America. Anthony's work has been published 215 times internationally. Anthony has 2 published chapbooks titled 'The Great Northern Journey' 2020 (Lazy Adventurer Publishing) & 'Vultures' 2021 (Roaring Junior Press) as well as a novel 'The Sands of Change' 2021 (Alien Buddha Press). Anthony's Chapbook 'Half Bred' is the Winner of the 2021 'The Poetry Question' Chapbook contest. Anthony is the Co-EIC of Fahmidan Journal & Poetry Editor at Chestnut ReviewTwitter/Instagram: @arsalandy https://arsalandywriter.com/

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