Turner, Nahal, Darby-Newton, and Rodgers ignite Day 6: aaduna's National Poetry Month

                                 Army of Artists             
                             (For My Friend Horace)

Harmony of a hug,

Rhythm of a rose,

Melody in the mirror

We are an army of artists

Merchants of life,

Beauty's our bomb,

Love its shrapnel…

We are an army of artists

Infantry on feet of celebration,

Toes polishing

Hardwood floors with perspiration

We are an army of artists

Brandishing sticks and brushes,

Softening up enemies with

Strokes and notes,

Partisans wielding pastels,

Oils and acrylics—

Connecting dots, hitting spots

On canvas and paper

We are an army of artists

Foreign fighters, formerly known

As Dukes, Counts, Birds and Pops—

Militant magi weaving dreams in

Azure skies, etching prayers

In mirrors with our acid tears

We are an army of artists

Asymmetrical warriors,

Mopping up murals

Gracing broken-down buildings—

Enemy combatants crying clear

Lacquer on contrabasses,

Snipers shooting sunlight into

Hearts held hostage by the 1%

Ellingtonia is our tonic…

For subdominant dreams

We are an army of artists

Dangerously unselfish,

Enemies of ignorance

Drumming to different dancers—

Staging attacks in theaters

Exploding in applause!

© 2010 Raymond Nat Turner
Harlem, New York

Raymond Nat Turner (Photo credit:  Mary Ann d'Urso)


Graphic created by poet, Anita Nahal for her work, "Minimalist Immigrants"

Minimalist Immigrants

Our way of surviving none came to seriously believe. Living in America, after all, the land of honey, milk, and plenty… freedoms of the myriad. Should have been a cake walk. Freedom does not come without sacrifice. And sacrifice is not without a pound, or more, of flesh. Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice lurks in most of us…
We taught ourselves there was no use of crying over spilt milk and reverberated with Somerset Maugham “…because all the forces in the universe were bent on spilling it.”  Aftermaths are usually dirty, smelly, dried up, and shriveled like a body submerged in water far too long. Clocks are mono-directional… and minimalism seemed warm… accepting… peaceful… an exercise…a yogic mantra...

We can breathe deeply now… meditate in the streets of minimal harassment and maximum strength. 

© 2017 Anita Nahal
Princeton, New Jersey                       
Anita Nahal, (photo provided)


The Lesson

Won't use his name,
But he changed me.
Montgomery, Alabama
Not exactly an incubator
Of tolerance
They were just "sissies"
To us.
Undeserving of any scorn,
Noticeably different
But just there
With us.
Would have probably stayed same

If not for him.

Most handsome man met.
Liquid eyes, spilling
Sweet, funny, tender
We bonded over
Snark and humor and smart.
I Crushed harder
Than unknown elements
Until, I said the "word"
One day
Tossed blithely, proving cool
Saw liquid eyes dulled, by friends’ betrayal
Considerate enough
To spare my feelings
For hurting HIS feelings
He let the night end genially
But I was savvy enough to know
What I'd thrown away!

Self styled rebel.
Carried my MAMA’s
Black Panther card
In a secret place
Since given with admonition that
It wasn't for everyone
To see,
But to remember
Uncles, "first black"
Everything in Montgomery
Raised to call
My brothers and sisters
“brothers and sisters!”
From birth

Talking about HURT!
Cracked in half
By the oceans of tears
I shed
For what was unthinkingly done
Would have drank them
All if there had been room
Enough inside me.
Simple, ignorant
Wayward tongue
Lashed someone
I loved
Whose only crime
Which wasn't one at all
Was in not being able
To love me
The way I loved him.

Life, being black and woman,
Had already
Proffered pointers
The good white lunching ladies
Who’d breathlessly waited
To smirk
If I wrongly used a fork;
Teachers who praised to face,
Still whispering
“She’ll never make it!”
White friends who’d
Drink with me
But wouldn't consider
Inviting me
To their homes
During school breaks
And never accompanied ME
When I’d ask.

“F” became my scarlet letter!
I tried to make it up to him
But things weren't the same
We passed the next year
In uneasy silences
When “please forgive”
Couldn't be held in
Any longer
He just smiled and asked

I have a picture of him
Sitting in a high place
In my grandmother's
There's still a hint in the
Eyes of how we started out
Full of ourselves, sniggling
Over a southern professor's pronouncement
Of the word "Nietzsche."

That girl, smiling with mortarboard,
Next to the man she still loved, but differently,
Has changed even more.
I am an intolerance tyrant.
One of my gay students told me once
That my defense of him
Had saved him.
I have a reputation
For detesting prejudice that borders on
I teach about the ravages of hate over time;
I am different because of him, and
I can't tell you how much it would
Mean to me to hug him
And whisper
My thanks
For changing me.

© 2012 Kimberlynne Darby Newton
Montgomery, Alabama                                  

Kimberlynne Darby Newton, (photo provided)


Li Po

Li Po
talked in his sleep
beside me and said
passion so intense
like green grass
hitting our fence
in a storm
like little oceans
we painted long ago
like the faint hardness
of the tender mountains
my heart trembles at
5 in the afternoon
and the tree outside
my window has
no birds.

© 2013 Matthew Rodgers                 
San Francisco, California       

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