Tag Archives: The Year of the Poet VIII

“Snail Mail”, a Poem

snail mail

tucked in inside various kinds of envelopes,
postcards and personal (or professional) letters
donned their two-option stamp:
domestic or international

they are now on their way
to become a mere memory
of the fast-disappearing past

long before emails won the popularity contest
having gained a steady support
at a record-breaking speed,
snail mail used to be the long-distance venue
with its two-option destination:
domestic or international

if you are my age,
you too have probably seen many a stamp
some, uplifting in their flower prints
or season-specific images;
others, destined to mark awareness
for many a fatal disease

who recalls ever seeing the Duck Stamp
of the U.S. Postal Services in 2020?
i do not, nor did i know about its significance
as far as helping people conserve wildlife
or its contribution to the visibility
of educational programs in the United States,
those that focused solely on largely neglected issues
of environmental and conservation concerns

yet . . . for years – clueless
about the notable mark of the Duck Stamp,
i have been donating to the one leading U.S. organization –
well-known in its efforts in this arena

clueless no more . . .

*”snail mail” is one of the three poems I have contributed for the June 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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“My Beloved Grandfather”

my beloved grandfather

he was still young enough to climb up and down
those multiple steep concrete steps

the most exciting part of his every single day
would announce itself with the arrival of the mailman

after his historically unique private home,
he lived in an upper-most flat of an apartment complex

the mailboxes were right at the entry of the building
down, way down the seemingly unending stairway

he would rush to get to that floor,
hoping that his children or grandchildren
had written to him once more

when i visited him the last time,
he mistook me for my Mom
and my daughter, for me

Alzheimer’s had become his steady companion,
along with the postcards he long ago secured
with his longing and love on his self-made pin board

*”My Beloved Grandfather” is one of my three poems that will appear in the June 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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“Skin Hues”

skin hues

what i am about to say is a no-brainer, for sure
my intent is not to assault your intellect
but rather to express the most obvious
so that none of us attempts to disrespect
the basic reality of our humanity
any longer

we are all born with melanin in our bodies
some of us have more of this natural pigment
while children are blind to such nuances
(unless they are taught at home)
as adults, some of us beg to differ
we then choose to go against the stream,
disrupting the most natural flow:
all for one, one for all
for the sake of harmony within humanity

skin hues, thus, become a means to hate,
to hate unconditionally and passionately
it is only a matter of a short time then
before that hatred turns into sizable inheritances
for generations to come

on account of our outer traits . . .

on account of variations in our pigments . . .

what a badge of shame
to wear as the heritage of one’s family!

“skin hues” is one of my three poem contributions to the April 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet VIII, published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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“The Meeting”, a Poem

The Meeting

a painting by Pablo O’Higgins
catches the eye
it is said to be
representing unity within humanity
the banner on this artwork claims thus:
“Build a free world. No masters. No slaves.”
Signed: “Makers of the world united”

a portrayal of men only . . .
Caucasians only . . .
clothing . . . differentiated by class
mimics and gestures of the few front-view men
stress who has the last word

unity within humanity?
“Makers of the world united”?
i, for one, do not think so!

this visual art is more like an emphasis on hierarchy
amidst various segments of societal authority . . .

*This poem appeared in the April 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet (volume VIII), published by Inner Child Press International. The theme was to compose an ekphrastic poem (as in Ekphrasis Poetry) in view of the painting of focus below by Pablo O’Higgins.

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Poems, continued . . .

Come Closer!

I am known as “The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum”.
I have embraced my fame.
If you are the same, we all have everything to gain.

Come closer! Much closer! Do not fear!
I am here for you to see.

Can you not hear the beatings of my heart?

Listen to that which is inside me,
and you will know right away
we are, in fact, not that far apart.

*This poem was one of my three with which I had contributed to the January 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet VIII, published by Inner Child Press International.

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“Emory Douglas”

Emory Douglas

1968
Summer Olympics
The medalists’ podium for the 200-meter race

America’s own two Black athletes,
Tommie Smith and John Carlos –
One, the recipient of the gold medal;
The other, a silver-medalist

Visual history depicts these winners’ fists
Inside black gloves as they raise them into air

To bring to the attention of the world
The centuries-long oppression of Blacks,
AKA the good ole American way

As Smith and Carlos make their unspoken voices heard,
Their medals are being taken away

Standing against the brutally discriminatory
and fear-, hatred- and violence-filled white-domination
is enough reason to strip them both
of their justly earned honors,
you say?

Nay!

A white Australian runner, Peter Norman –
A silver-medalist, chooses to stay with his fellow athletes,
Though sans fist, to show solidarity
He thus lends hope to humanity
And reminds us all of the foundation of our existence:
Unity within diversity. Unconditionally. All-inclusively.
Watching unjust actions unfold for even one of us silently
Is, after all, complicity. Put simply.

Still . . .
The Black athletes
Get their Olympic medals stripped off
They had, however, earned them justly

Promising careers, ruined . . .
In the hands of the white powers that be

How about the rights to practice Civil Rights advocacy?

Huh, what a laugh!

Such freedom for Blacks does not come for free!

In the year of 2014,
A visual art project, “We Can Be Heroes”,
Makes waves across the borders of many a country
The piece is crafted collaboratively
Between the Australian artist Richard Bell
And the American graphic designer Emory Douglas

Bell and Douglas not only eternalize
For the 1968 Olympic medalists
Their moments of protest on an Olympic-athlete stage,  
The stance they took against discrimination and inequality;
But also demonstrate injustices to be witnessed globally

As it is evident throughout the volume in your possession,
Our collective efforts geared toward poeticizing
Some segments of the once diligently-recorded reality
Jointly, we are anon sharing the marvel of a phenomenon;
Namely, how Bell’s concept of ‘Liberation Art’,
Coupled with Douglas’ talent in design and illustration,
Grew larger than life and entered the annals of history
In the form of a silent yet utterly vocal iconography

*This poem is one of the three I have submitted to the February issue of The Year of the Poet VIII published by Inner Child Press International.

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“A Simple and Silent Gesture” – New Poem

A Simple and Silent Gesture

It is August 26 in the year of 2016
in the good ole US of A.
Colin Rand Kaepernick sits in the bench
during the anthem in San Francisco
to raise awareness . . .
because “the country oppresses black people
and people of color.”
He was known not to have stood for the anthem before.

That date passes by.

Writers of headlines get busy,
when Kaepernick sits down again a day later.

Reactions are two-fold: some condemn him,
and others applaud.

The NFL speaks up,
citing the lack of any requirement on their behalf
for their athletes to stand up for the anthem.

After three days, former NFL player
and ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer has a suggestion
for this young man of higher consciousness:
“kneel rather than sit.”

Kaepernick kneels before a game on September 1st, 2016
and goes on record with his plan for a donation
of $1 million to organizations that support his intent,
as I have noted earlier, “to raise awareness”
for the centuries-long systemic racism in the country.

September 11, 2016 marks the first full day
of the regular season.
Several players kneel during the anthem.

On Sept. 27, 2016, Kaepernick becomes the subject
of harsh criticism from the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The young man responds: “He always says make America great again.
Well, America has never been great for people of color.
That’s something that needs to be addressed.
Let’s make America great for the first time.”

Kaepernick plays his final NFL game on January 1st, 2017.
The 49ers plan to cut him.
He opts out of his contract instead.

The month of September of the same year
witnesses players’ kneeling before
and / or during the anthem
without the civil rights activist in the league.

In the following month,
Kaepernick files a grievance against NFL team owners.
He cites collusion to keep him out of the league.

The powers that be, unfortunately, have a final say.
NFL season ends on December 31, 2017,
having made certain that this epic role model
for equal justice remains unemployed.
Less than a year afterward, NFL owners construct a rule
banning kneeling during the anthem.
It is ‘president’ Trump now . . . as he has made it
into the People’s House. He applauds the divisive initiative.
NFL owners soon retract the rushed rule
because of its divisiveness.

As the second straight season begins –
sans the name “Kaepernick” on a roster,
some players still kneel . . .

The third NFL season enters the world’s calendar,
and ends eventually.

No Kaepernick.

Following the murder of George Floyd, a black man,
on May 25, 2020, nationwide protests begin.
Numerous other sports organizations
join the cause of awareness,
to include the NBA, Baseball, and many more.
Kaepernick offers support.

A few months later, the NFL apologizes, denounces racism
and delivers a promise to further promote social justice.

Thank you for your simple and silent gesture,
dear Mr. Kaepernick.
Your gentle voice was and continues to be
loud enough to stay at the core
of many an equality-for all-seeking soul.
Hopefully, for us all, generations to come
will embrace your contribution to humanity,
understanding and knowing that social injustice
is our common enemy.
Thank you for showing this ‘white’ woman
that which we all-inclusively must fear.
So, in humble solidarity,
I, too, kneel.
Ever so respectfully.       

*This poem is one of my three submitted for the February issue of The Year of the Poet VIII to be published by Inner Child Press International.

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