In Support of Dissident Poets and Poetry, Responses to last Wednesday’s Prompt sponsored by Poet-in-Exhile, Mbizo Chirasha

 

Mbizo Chirasha

“In my works on African culture, I am not against races or tribes, but systems that betray Africa. People must stop being stooges and writers must write against second and third colonialistic winds.” Mbizo Chirasha in an interview with The Herald HERE.



Mbizo Chirasha

We did something unusual with the last Wednesday Writing Prompt.  We asked poets to respond specifically to the situation of Zimbabwean Poet-in-Exile, Mbizo Chirasha. (Not all the poets actually responded on theme, but they did respond on related issues that concern them and so we included their poems in this collection.) The purpose of the theme is to help us create awareness of the plight of our fellow poets like Mbizo and other writers, artists and activists who are directly fighting authoritarianism, despotism and kleptocracy on the front lines and putting their general welfare and even their lives at risk in doing so. These are socially-engaged creatives who are in danger from amoral govenments in their own beloved countries. We appreciate your participation as writers, readers and humanitarians in this week’s unusual and important prompt.

Mbizo writes in response to the submissions:

Great poets around the world, readers of poetry, esteemed audience of  The Poet by Day: I salute you with my sincere gratitude for timeous creative support. You are word revolutionaries fighting with me in trenches for the attainment of social justice, human rights, and  freedom of expression.  This is as it should be. Writers should be first to shoot words, sling metaphors, and pose readily in the artistic armour to wage a resilient, creative and nonviolent war.

I am heartily touched by the amount of  commitment, depth and detail in these submissions. We should remain resilient, focused strong and creative in the quest for national harmony, regional peace, and global sanity. Writers must write and continue to write to mitigate bad governance, corruption, injustice, hegemony, dictatorship, political violence, and social malaise.

Aluta continua!
Mbizo Chirasha

Our thanks to Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Mike Stone, Pali Raj, and Sonja Benskin Mesher for the richness of this collection. Countries represented in the post are: England, Kashmir, India, Israel, Pakistan, United States, and Zimbabwe.

We’ll return to the traditionally prompt response layout and inclusions next week. We’ve modified it this week out of respect for the occasion. Thank you for understanding. A brief update on Mbizo’s status (not good) closes this post.



artivist artifice artemis bolt

artivist artifice artemis bolt
wring out a dream and give despots a jolt.
artemis arm&fist activist strike
shake out a mindset and shore up a dyke.
artifice artdoesthis anarchist grow
muralize justice for over and throw.
antidote anecdote anthemnote strive
make visitations of souls kept alive.

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers

How To Be Corrupt And Be Seen As Honest.

Here is the syllabus. This will be a tough course.

Introduction will focus on the psychopathology of hard business and unwavering pursuit of profit.
We will teach you how to see people as things. Your mother and father will be unrecognisable to you, as will your kids and spouse. They are merely objects to be maneouvred.

Main course content.

1. How to steal money from public coffers, whilst supporting charitable causes. How to steal food from babies mouths, how to watch the poorer become poorer.
2. How to store stolen money in off shore accounts, defended by laws not available in your home country.
3. How to employ PR to defend your reputation, white wash your actions.

Good luck on the course.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

In Response to Mbizo Chirasha Freedom Poetry

For I sang the freedom song for years
in vain, in pain,
One day I will return
O my homeland ,my heaven, land of
pure peace,

I am the native child, born in captivity
my feet never touched my beloved soil
I breathed but for a while in mother’s
lap,
In sleep, led away, far away, to refuge
One day I will return, I sang my song-

It is a nightmare
futile dream of the happy return
my earth oozes martyrs’ blood spills
resounds with raped women’s screams
burns with saffron spreads in wide fields
weeps with weeping willows in the streams
One day I will return, and I sang my song,
in vain, in pain

I am the houseboat abandoned
I am the ‘shikara’ floating,empty
I am the moaning water of Dal
I am the aroma of sweet apples
I am the snow of mountain tops
I am the color of pansies and lotus
I am the music of the ‘rubaab’
I am the child of a captive state

One day I will return I sang my song
in vain, in pain

But now my heart is silent,my voice
stilled, my feet in fetters, my home
locked, my road blocked, guarded
I am tired of pellets bullets and gas,

I am cold like a stone, no ‘Kangarri’
I carry , no greens or beans I cook
I am but a listed item, a numberless
number, a lost identity, snatched
wrenched annexed conquered

My song of freedom rings aloud
but can anyone hear? Will anyone
come? Will anyone cry for me? Or
my land, to set free? Perhaps one day,

if the music sails on, reaches the stars
Showers the rain which pours free
and washes away the mud of captivity
breaks the chains lifts the barriers and
calls-
Come Your land is yours, gone is the
enemy- but I woke up again, in pain
in vain,
I hear the fearful scream-heavy boots
shaking the soil, tearing up roots
I do not wish to sing, but pray, hope
It is all a dream-
In vain I sing, in pain I try to-sleep

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

To The Defenders of Freedom

When peaceful protest fails
and protesters are put in jails
then forces must stand
bravely to defend the land-

In attack
outnumbered ten to one
crawled under enemy tank
martyred to glory, sank in
body, blood in native sand

In loyalty
you saved the land
blasting enemy tanks
with bravery supreme
grenades in hands

In honor
you remain for ever you live
those who die a life they give
and repel the enemy aggressive.

And now I say and know
battles have been fought
public protests prevail
as Freedom must be saved
at all cost-

or else, all is forever lost

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

In Freedom

In Freedom There is Fear
When a close and dear
one, is no more,

In Freedom there is blood
When all you made in life
Is washed away in flood;

In freedom there is sacrifice
When all you claim and own
Is taken away without a price;

In freedom there is liberty
For many just a statue
fights, no rights, nor equality;

In Freedom there are letters
promises and false hopes
soon you are in iron fetters;

In Freedom I was born
I never saw my land
I long for its beauty
In dewdrops shining
In the morn;

In Freedom there is a gift
treasure not and you find
it floating by and adrift;

In Freedom there is ease
calm and harmony, hold
it strong for eternal peace

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Do Not Make War

1.

it must be painful for them to write, those poets in tough-times and hard places
where blood and tears and poverty contaminate the air, stain the sidewalks, and consume the people

the blood must be soul-sick and rusted and tasting of acid, not salt,
and the poems meant to heal the writer and stroke the cheeks of the wounded,
to dry their eyes and gently kiss their gray heads

to poem in such places must be like walking shoeless on glass shards

perhaps the most sacred thing in the dream-time meadow of poets’ desire is Light ~

can you awaken to meet the Divine when you are on the run, in hiding, on the battlefield, in the camps, in government housing or in the ghettos?

if so, you are a saint, not simply an artist

2.

in my small world, my civilized world, people fall asleep reading or after making love or playing in the yard with their children

if they wander, it is through books or planned travel

there are luxuries
there is food
there is cleanliness and paper on which to write
no bombs are dropping to scorch and scar the Earth
no government thugs stalk us with ill intent
there is a certain dignity

3.

in San Francisco we walk along the beach at night, near the Cliff House
we walk to the sound of the waves, the song of the Earth chanting its joys
our feet are bare and relish the comfort of cool sand

the air is clear and cold and easy to breathe, tasting of salt and smelling of sea life ~
here is a pristine moment of peace

i want to bequeath this peace to you, to everyone,
as though it were a cherished heirloom
it is really a birthright

i want to plunge into the waters and gather the ocean in my cupped hands, to offer it to you as sacramental wine

i want to form seaweed into garlands for all of us to wear, to hang over our hearts, a symbol of affection

i want to collect pine cones from the trees that congregate along the coast and feed them to the children to remind them to cherish this Earth and all its creatures, themselves included, and to say …

do not make war in your heart or upon your mother’s body

© 2016, Jamie Dedes

Silent, poor, innocent, youth
They witness democratic loot
Corruption rise,
And businessmen fight when
Economic slowdown
They are blown into religious fight
They seek a person with opposite ions
When their grief rise
You call me activist, but
I must also sleep the long night
Well, activism
I haven’t wished for it, nor consented to it
I only love my nation.

© 2019, Pali Raj

Then as Now

The sweet pungency of rose and violets
Floats on the gentle breezes
And down the road a ways the church bells toll
As they did then.

At the shooting range, you still see bullet holes
But they buried all the targets in mass graves,
Not helter-skelter like some graveyards,
But very orderly as they were then.

The tall poplar trees surround electric fences,
They seem inviting, leaves rustling in the breeze,
A nightmare inside a blonde and blue-eyed dream,
As it was then.

They scrub the showers, ovens, and the smokestacks,
The red brick raw and spotless.
A pile of shoes stands in silent accusation
But no one hears, then as now.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Hatred

And the prophet stood among a few people.
In the marketplace of ideas, there were many prophets
But this prophet spoke quietly. He said
Hatred is not a state of mind
That one can enter and leave at will;
It is a road that starts in innocence
Leading ever downhill
And ends in unplumbed evil.
I don’t tell you turn the other cheek
When struck, as another prophet said,
But I say don’t answer hatred with hatred.
Hatred comes from ignorance of others,
Thinking they are not like us,
That they don’t love their children
Or honor their parents
Or fear for their future as we do.
Why not answer hatred with hatred?
Because it creates a circle without exit or break
And perhaps their hatred comes from
Honoring their past or fearing their future.
What should you do?
When you understand those whom you call “other”
You will know what to do, and hate
Will wither like dry tumbleweed in the desert
Because there is no other,
There is only us.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Blessed Are the Rich

Blessed are the rich
For they shall inherit the meek
And enslave them.
Blessed are the rich
Who will inherit new worlds to suck dry
After they have sucked dry our only world.
Blessed are the rich
Who make their own blessings
And the gods to bless them.
Cursed are the poor
Who bow down to worship
The gods of the rich,
Who count the blessings of the rich
Who are sucked dry by the rich
Who are enslaved by the rich.
Cursed are the poor
Who bless the curse of meekness
For their children to inherit.

® 2019, Mike Stone

Birdsong

A small bird landed on the branch of an old tree
Where other loudly chirping birds were perched.
The other birds on this branch twittered critically
And decided she was not one of them.

If you want to perch on our branch, they said to her,
You’ll have to cut off your right wing like all of us
And the little bird saw that the other birds
Had only their left wings. But how do you fly, she asked.

One of the birds responded by jumping off the branch,
Flapping his left wing and spiraling downward
Until he crashed beak first into a rock.
To each bird, according to its needs, the other birds tweeted.

The little bird flew to another branch on the old tree.

If you want to perch on our branch, they said to her,
You’ll have to cut off your left wing like all of us
And the little bird saw that the other birds
Had only their right wings. But how do you fly, she asked.

One of the birds responded by jumping off the branch,
Flapping his right wing and spiraling downward
Until he crashed beak first into the hard tree root.
To each bird, according to its capabilities, the other birds chirped.

The little bird flew to another branch on the old tree.

If you want to perch on our branch, they said to her,
You’ll have to cut off both your wings like all of us
And the little bird saw that the other birds
Had no wings. But how do you fly, she asked.

One of the birds responded by jumping off the branch,
But having nothing to flap, plummeted down
Until he crashed beak first into the hard ground.
We are neither left nor right, the other birds sang.

The little bird flew to another tree
And sang a two-wing song for you and me.

© 2019, Mike Stone  

What Use Is Beauty?

What use is beauty
If it merely masks an inner ugliness,
If it just confuses us
Like too much wine
Making us think we’re gods?
What good is truth
If falsehood is far more useful
For getting what you need or want
And easier to believe by far
Besides, who has time for truth?
What purpose does freedom serve
If it only starves us
or makes us lonely?
Most prefer a bond or two
To a mindless multitude.
What’s the point of words
If they are not the right words,
The precise ones that we think
Or those that others want to hear?

© 2019, Mike Stone

The Emperor’s New Changes

Raanana, September 11, 2016

A hundred thousand poets for change
That’s us.
That’s what we called ourselves last year
And the year before.
So they’ve stopped lynching the poets in Arabia?
They’ve stopped stoning the raped women in Kabul?
What about the mutilation of genitals of young girls?
So they’ve stopped burning down Black churches in Bama?
Stopped desecrating the lands of our Sioux brothers?
How about the carbon they’ve dumped in the atmosphere?
Did they stop that?
Do they believe now the earth is too warm to live on?
Are philosophers kings yet?
Are kings philosophers?
I don’t mean to be cynical
But it doesn’t seem like much has changed since last year.
We’ve read a few poems,
That’s all.
Come to think of it,
Have we really changed,
Except for getting a year older?
If that’s change
Then we better change change
So that it’s palpable
So that we can feed people with it
So that people can walk tall from it
So that people can protect themselves with it
So that people can make love to it
Until change is done changing
And the world is all the Republic we need.

© 2019, Mike Stone

:: exiles ::

i heard on the radio.

they decided to walk.

he asked her what she had..

nothing she said, nothing.

money? nothing, nothing,
nothing. nothing.nothing.

nothing left except my girls.

i have not lost them, we hold hands,
hold hands, hold hands.

we have nothing.nothing. nothing left.

they decided to walk.holding hands

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher



A Brief Status Update on Mbizo*

Mbizo Chirasha

We’re still $295 short of the Go-Fund-Me goal. Mbizo is in hiding, without any regular source of food or access to a computer, which would facilitate his radio interview and preparing his applications for asylum and other assistance. You are able to donate anonymously through go-fund-me. Even a few dollars will help us reach goal. This effort is hosted by an organizer from International Human Rights Art Festival.  If you can help in some other way, please connect with Mbizo at girlchildcreativity@gmail.com.Thank you!

*
RELATED

“We remain resilient in the quest for justice, freedom of expression and upholding of human rights through Literary Activism and Artivism. ALUTA CONTINUA.” Mbizo Chirasha



 

schrodinger’s heart . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

 

“May we find the language
that takes us
to the only home there is ~
one another’s hearts ….” from TAKING THE SKY: A Palestinian Childhood by the Palestinian-American poet, writer, educator and humanitarian, Ibtisam Barakat (ابتسام بركات).



Tuesday again! One of our fave days: Here are the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Heart Knowledge, October 16. The poems which form today’s collection include one from Steven Tanham, new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt and warmly welcome.  Thanks to Steve,  Gary W. Bowers, mm brazfield, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Ben Naga, Eric Nicholson, and Pali Raj we offer a heart felt (okay – corny, but I couldn’t resist) collection.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning. All are welcome to come out and play, no matter the stage of your career: beginning, emerging, or pro.


In Heart

Found always within itself
Yet never discovered
You named me so that
I could wander the world
And be known
By what turned out
To be me
All along

© 2019, Stephen Tanham

STEPHEN TANHAM (Sun In Gemini, Steve Tanham – Writing, Mysticism, Photography, Poetry, Friends) lives in the English Lake District, where it rains all the time but is very green. He writes poems, articles and books centred around the human search for authentic love and the self’s mystical quest. He also takes a lot of photographs.


heart of the matter

i love going to the hills
atop Silver Lake
where i can see Hollywood
my home my western shore
my dusty concrete paths
winding with a promise
to all that we are alive
in the City of Illusions
and that life is no illusion after all
paradox is my goddess
and Los Angeles my church
my habit was my pope
and my grit was my curse
perhaps we all strive
to go back home to reconcile
the hemorrhaging broken vein
and that’s all we want

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


schrodinger’s heart

with an imagined ribcage like the box
schrodinger kept his imagined cat in
let us bring to thought-experiment life
a heart that is not only both alive and dead
but also both stone and gold
both weeping and exultant
hard and soft
sleevebound and hidden
light and leaden

but instead of poison
and coinflip
there would be an unknown substance
and rheostatic delivery
perhaps love potion #9
perhaps oil of cloves uncapped in a forest glade
perhaps the memory of shunning
or the sight of a breathtaking face
and the release would not be binary all-or-nothing
but any intensity from barest hint
to full blast

the physical heart of an unborn human being
may be heard through the uterine wall
and its resting rate is quicker than that
of most of the born
if my unborn daughter was typical
and as i listened to her rapid-blessed vitality
it seemed to me that her heart not only beat
but spoke
a repeated word of yearning:
wishwishwishwishwishwishwish

some day some ultrasoundish nanotech
may make available to us
a means to free our own schrodinger’s hearts
from their ribcage confines
and reveal to us via virtual emoji and annotation
a snapshot of the exact shape and substance
and level of toxicity
or salubrity
how alive
how free
and how
attuned
are our
hearts

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers

Gary’s site is: One With Clay, Image and Text


My Heart

Bolt upright awake at 2am.
My heart pumps
its cage door.
Asks to be let out.

Rapid breath tries
to bolster the door,
heaves and heaves
until heart calms.

Breath sighs slows
head on pillow.
The door is bruised,
sleep uneven.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Their Hearts

Their long heart stretches
from sunrise to sunset
from moonrise to moonset
arcs skies as if travels
to another world.

Their short heart blinks once
at sunrise and at sunset,
at moonrise and moonset
never arcs across skies
stays where it is.

Their great value heart,
meets their expectations,
is thoughtful of others
tells them how they’re doing,
and how they might improve
is open to suggestions and feedback,
especially when things go wrong.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Your Door Is A

valve that opens
and closes
Lets me flow round
the home of your heart.

Keeps us both in good health.
One day the door will shut
And I will not move

© 2019, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Heart To Heart ~ Dil-e Nadaan O Innocent Heart

O Heart I never saw you nor ever will,
you give me life keep me pure and strong-
do you hold me or do I keep you?
Others told me that you do,

I must be grateful
O heart you were with me, I knew that day
when I gave you away, I could hear your
sound, but felt you were not there, you
sustain me constantly without rest in the
Bony cage and give me the best-
I must be grateful
With a faint rhythmic whispering beat
I heard my inner seat of the will, speak-
I keep the epignosis for you , the intellect,
feelings and spring of all desire, you keep

me clean and tranquil , without ire
Fill me not with indigestible oily food
nor pride or deceit or sheer laziness
nor hate nor envy nor revenge or
greediness, keep me joyful and good.
You must be grateful
O heart my unseen life , keep me warm
with love and strength, fill me with care
that I may with others share, drench me in
peace that I may spread and sprinkle everywhere
O Human then use the knowledge that I
carry within, the line between life and
death is tender fine and thin….
work in time do not be late
lest loss become your final fate.

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


..my heart..

my heart is quiet

i do not feel it beating yet

the rhythm is there

may heart is silent

while all comes well around

yet roused it will sound

louder

come the other days

come the sadder ways

heart is there just there, look

&

i think my soul is thereabouts

where the feelings come and pain

or gain

quietness

again

they say it is the brain that does the thinking

yet

we may also listen to our heart

carefully

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Hearts

He plays the queen of hearts
She moves her castle – Check
Though she has a queen too
They play two different games

© 2019, Ben Naga

Ben Naga’s site is: Ben Naga, Gifts from the Musey Lady and Me. “Laissez-moi vous recanter ma vraie histoire.”


The Heart of John Ruskin

[part-found poem]

1. Childhood

Mr Runciman’s instruction sustains disgrace
in my long memory. He gave no indulgence
to the extraordinary gift I had of drawing delicately
with the pen-point. Yet he taught me much.
He taught me perspective and composition;
he cultivated in me the habit of looking
for the essential points in nature so as
to abstract them decisively. I find my quite first
sketchbook, an extremely inconvenient upright
small octavo in mottled and flexible cover; the paper
pure white and ribbedly gritty, filled with outlines
irregularly defaced by impulsive efforts at finish.
I have set aside for preservation the first really fine
sketch I ever made from nature being No.1
of a street in Sevenoaks for which I had no praise.

2. Art Tutor

Imagine this dialogue if you wish:

Please sir make artists of us.

I could as soon tell you how to
manufacture an ear of wheat
as to make a good artist of you.
Perfect art proceeds from the heart;
imperfect art proceeds from the grasping hand.

There are two paths; see how the lotus
is rooted in the mud. Don’t quit this living
stem; quitting root and branch
leads to death; the other dark path.

First: seize some natural facts, say
a silvery necklace-web
and the glistening jewel in its centre,
and let them lead to the life
of the crowned spirit. Make
your choice boldly and avoid seeing
your manufactured face. Learn to belong
to yourself and give the gift of a flower
to a stranger.

3. Pedagogical

Have we only to copy, and again copy,
for ever and ever, the imagery of the universe?
Not so. We have work to do upon it,
but the work is not to improve, but explain.
The infinite universe is unfathomable; every
human creature must spell out each part, extricating
it from infinity as one gathers a violet out of grass,
making the flower visible in a new way.

Here’s a painter casting his whole soul into space,
content to be quiet amongst the rustling leaves
and sparkling grass, and purple-cushioned heather;
simple-minded as a child, his brush lovingly
dropping pigment into rose-suffused clouds,
now flying with the wild wind and sifted spray,
now climbing with the purple sunset, now resting
among modest grasses and humble snails;
but always working with the passion of nature’s
freedom burning in his own heart.
*
® 2019, Eric Nicholson

Eric Nicholson is a retired art teacher and lives in the NE of England. He blogs at:
https://erikleo.wordpress.com


My heart is my heart
I opt to say
It’s is ignite only love.

© 2019, Pali Raj


I included this mantra along with my poem in the last Wednesday Writing Prompt:

Heart Mantra

gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā / gone, gone, everyone gone to the other shore, awakening, so be it

In response, Ben Naga shared this video.  If you are reading this post from an email subscription, it’s likely your’ll have to link through to the site to view this.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“you buy we fry” . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt; Roald Dahl and His Writing Hut

Newstand Chapbook illustration by J.C. Leyendecker circa 1899

The women and men at their devices …
In fine Whitmanesque publishing tradition
Put out newfangled electronic edition
A word symphonic record to leave behind
Carefully tweaked, tempered and timed
Baring witness to love, history, and crime
All good-natured, well-reasoned, and rhymed
© 2016, Jamie Dedes



And the week flies by and we find ourselves at Tuesday again, the wonderful day when we share poems submitted by diverse writers in response the last Wednesday Writing Prompt. Everyone Should Have a Chair, September 11, a peaceful suggestion this time around asking poets to tell us about their favorite spot in which to write. A modest collection today courtesy of Jason Muckley, Paul Brookes, mm brazfield, Sheila Jacob, Urmila Mahajan, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Pali Raj.  Along the same theme, I’ve added a short seven minute documentary featuring Roald Dahl and his writing hut.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning.


The Mountain

The mountain calls
Draws me to her slopes
Overlooking the world below
Above, my perspective changed
The solitude is freedom
A peace and rest
To forgive
Begin again
Mind clear of every expectation
My thoughts flow
Responding to the mountain

© 2019, Jason A. Muckley 

Jason’s site is Poems for Warriors

JASON MUCKLEY: I have been writing since childhood and I self-published my first collection of poetry in July 2018. Writing is both a hobby and a way to express myself that I don’t find in any other facet of life. It is something I truly love but also I feel like the more I write, the more I have to write.

My first self-published book is called “Poems for Warriors,” and it is available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

When I am not writing, I work full-time as a Project Manager. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I am also a father of three.

Jason says of his poetry collection: “We are at war. Life is a battle. Every day we fight for joy, peace… love. This is correspondence from the frontlines. Exploring themes of the struggle, love, and change, this book of poetry will take the reader through the ups and downs of life. The reader will journey through the exhilaration and challenges of being in love, of working through difficulty in a relationship, and reflecting on what you have and what it costs. The reader will descend into the pain and trials faced day in and day out. The reader will see the clouds breaking as the morning dawns and everything begins to change. This book is the story of one man’s life, similar to a life lived by millions as he tries to make sense of the constant battle that surrounds him.”


we buy you fry

my favorite chair
are the sidewalks
those in the 20’s and 30’s
edge of downtown streets
a mix of rustic houses
shacks and alley ways
some with flowers
some with trash
my favorite chair
is not comforting at first
it affords me front row view
to the less palatable aspects
of genteel society
exposed vaginas cocks
twisted tongues
defecation out of
hundreds of orifices
then there’s the strip mall chair
with the upright and honest
vendor my favorite one
is Donicio from Panama
he has a way of telling
funny stories
across from there
is another chair
‘you buy, we fry’
it’s mostly busy
on the sabbath
my eyes their
veils of formal education
lifted and the life of life
exposed to all my senses
there is something thrilling
about hopscotching through
dog shit in a city
that treats us all the same
my favorite chair
in the bars of the people
although people aren’t
what they used to be
my amiga Casimira
has the latest I Phone
when i want to look in to
her deep brown eyes
and have her Oaxacan accent
transport me to another land
especially on jury duty day
to no avail
i lost my friend
to the latest pop up store
at the end of most days
when the journey’s done
i go home to my derelict
dog and two jaded kitties
with caffeine in one hand
Phoebe Ann the cat on my lap
the memories of my rest stops
deposited silently
in the removable data bank

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


Everywhere is my favourite place to sit and write.

Every weather notes made in the pad of my brain.

Sat on metal forms in cemeteries gusted by autumn, deep in leaf litter.

Sat on metal forms in towns while Dippers dip around, and shoppers hustle their lists into bags.

Sat in my garden as the pears blush with the last few days of rain,
ready for the fall and separation from their mam.

Sat at home in the leather armchair my muse curls up in my lap after a good scratch, her small heart taps and purrs a rhythm on my thigh.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  •  Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


A Strawberry-Red Sofa

Give me the warmth
of a padded sofa
where I can cat-curl
with pen and notebook.

I could ink my poems
at a mahogany bureau:
a gift from Mum and Dad
when I passed my 11-plus.

A place to read books
and write essays
for English homework.
The Haunted House.

A Rainy Night
and later, A-level critiques
of The Windhover
and The Wasteland.

I could replace
the bureau’s worn hinges
and search old words
locked in wood-memory.

But give me comfort
and today’s open page.
A family living room
with deep-pile rugs.

A strawberry-red sofa
with three plump cushions,
wide windows
onto my garden

and a view of treetops,
T.V. aerials, satellite dishes
and cotton-wool clouds
dreaming across the sky.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

To purchase Sheila’s little gem of a volume, Through My Father’s Eyes (review, interview, and a sampling of poems HERE), contact Sheila directly at she1jac@yahoo.com


The Rocking Chair

It gleams
genuine teakwood I’m told

so smooth

ideal for dreaming through a tv show
contemplating voices in my head
staring at finely worked saptaparni
leaves past a money plant
frothing the window ledge and
a white metal flash of car roof
reflected in the pumpkin soup
in my white ceramic spoon

and carved too

ideal for leaning into the pillowed
back, cancelling muscles and
joints completely

heavy-set

rocks gently
not the best place to work alert
at anything remotely productive
and yet it can be

durable

for I carry its numbing ease
through the day
enduring between thoughts
that flow between the glazed
slats imprinted on my mind

so durable

one day it’ll carry mine
without me

© 2019, Urmila Mahajan

Urmila’s site is: Drops of Dew


13 years ago I wrote….

“Don’t be scared of the empty chair.

Sit on it.

Don’t be scared of the empty chair.

Stand on it.

Don’t be scared of the empty chair.

Draw it”.

this chair has since been in exhibition; now one of my favourite chairs…..

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Old, young, he or she
Everyone shouts after me 😀
because everybody likes
happy to be
While you are human being so
Everyone should have a chair, a poem requests
Old, young, he or she
Everyone shouts after me 😀
We are human beings 😊

© 2019,, Pali Raj


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

… the story of my life . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

FromMother’s Day: Flowers and Native American soapstone bear

My Life Is Not Mine—
Give wanting what other people have.
That way you’re safe.
“Where, where can I be safe?” you ask.
This is not a day for asking questions,
Not a day on any calendar.
This day is conscious of itself.
This day is a lover, bread, and gentleness,
More manifest than saying can say.
Thoughts take form with words,
But this daylight is beyond and before
Thinking and imagining.

Excerpt from The Essential Rumi, Colman Barks



Well, it’s rather late Tuesday here, but still Tuesday, and apologies for the delay in publishing this post and for some of the confusions in correspondence with poets. The past week has been complicated by low oxygen saturation and if you understand oxygen hunger, you know it’s disorienting and exhausting. Thanks for understanding and patience.

We have a profoundly moving collection today with responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt. Silent Life, September 4, which asked poets to write about their lives.  This is another collection where you might want to keep a box of tissues handy. There are a few that will touch your heart. Some others will make you nod your head because they present experiences that you’ve had as well.

This fine collection is courtesy of  bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov), mm brazfield, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sheila Jacob, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Tamam Tracy Moncur, and Pali Raj.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning.


Silence

and on that day of sun
the leaves of the chestnut
like arms are shielding
by
the gleeds
and I see through the dream
like through some mirrors
the garden with some boats
cranes
and
tones
far steps of the see
and beauty
that is killing me

© 2019, bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov)

bogpan’s site is bogpan – блог за авторска поезия  блог за авторска поезия


happy

sometimes in the middle of the night
i take the train from one part of town
and then back to the other side
i can’t sleep so i face my curiosity
tipping into the cleavage of the city
and her girlfriend moon
outside of the rolling cab my eyes
they register that it’s dirty
i swear i can see the car exhaust
black sooty pungent belching vulgarity
in the lungs of LA
behold the automotive crack pipe
then my attention flutters to the men
velvet skin plastic smiles and silver tongues
selling me a piece of Jesus and His hotrod
Hollywood Boulevard how much to eat me tonight
i burrow my alien feelings into the tunnels
And the cocky rail rides me to the platform
where humanity scrambles at the truth
of how small we must be to the Bitchgoddess
of everything all poets in history
have lamented about
to chase and purr on the formidable
lies that we are fed
only to show who kindness i wonder
i’m too old and out of time
to place gender or definition on my pleasures
the time to gamble with the rules and regulations
is quickly ending
at dawn pink and gray
with the smell of the city and
her beautifully cruel courtesans
on my hands and lips
i stagger up 7th street
and bum a cigarette from the Meals on Wheels guy
chat up Bang Me Billy and ask about his truck
we stroll to the rich folk Starbucks
he waltzes me up to the lines
we both feel very alive again
and smile at the young savvy people
when they turn up their nose

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


One

It is a day of discovery,
a loft of belonging,
her mid sentences with
no beginning or end.

Empty cases and rucksacks,
hide paintings he did in the fifties,
a still life framed in dark brown wood
a delicate vase sprouts colour,
another Mold Memorial day.

Two

No time to stop and stare
the memory house, its corners,
its edges must be made bare.

We have no time to contemplate
every memory we find, ancient letter,
we have our own homes to decorate

with memories of our own, employment
pays for us to accumulate
thoughts in physical enjoyment

for our sons and daughters to sort
once we can no longer recall
what recollection we bought.

Three

We clear dads loft
walk over asbestos,
lift objects out of the fluff,
I say we ought to wear masks

as dad died of industrial disease,
could not walk, his thoughts
Asbestos clouds struggled
like loose strands out of his mouth.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  •  Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Life Yesterday-Life Today

My Life began in a state of war and fear, so I was told
I was too young to understand or remember the operation
after my birth, our life was threatened by the enemy,cold
and to safety was no way, but a journey of urgent migration

Life After Crossing the Barbed Wire Border

On awakening I found life full of family and love, picnics
in the hilly forest with fresh water springs,cherries apples
tinned fruit, Hollands condensed milk, England’s Lipton’s tea,
Marie Biscuits Danish Butter cookies, jujubes,n home made ice cream

I learned to ride a bicycle and how to drive a jeep
I loved the illustrated dictionary story books to peep
played hopscotch, enjoyed the swing, and loved school
school life was a treasure, in memories buried deep

Come September as college began, when war returned
sudden attacks by tanks and artillery blackouts all were in-
fear returned as Father left, to tend the wounded soldiers
no one really wins a war’ lives lost, all is over but the din

Oh dear life began anew with strangers all around, unknown
many a ground, five years ago life was full of reading books
so soon life takes a turn,as one is taken and given away to
a strange world of changing dresses and preparing looks’

Life was all in young motherhood, pain and pressure
care and concern, away from home life put me in a home
and I as a mother also became a cook and a cleaner
where did love go I wonder’ the world seemed a lot meaner

we changed cities, houses, bought a blue Volkswagen
bought a five band Sanyo transistor and a 20inch TV
life was kind to us as a family, books returned as school
began and I found real love in kids in nature as a rule.

Life never seemed silent for more than a few hours
color music laughter and fun, filled the atmosphere, then
separations gradually seeped in as one by one, death
started catching up, now and when, who next will lose breath?

War Returns

fear returned, life had books but no school fun, as day by day
terror warnings halted life, my day uncertain, will I be back home?
yes, I would but with numerous stoppings at armed barricades
am I back in enemy territory, or am I in a war story movie?

Life became a bit peaceful with a mini migration from city to city
all was quiet in a small town,simple people,seemingly content
sipping tea in their roadside shops, and I would see through the
window, simple life in a village is better and I silently joined the party

nature blessed me with family to care,spent the day in cooking and
knitting, a bit of teaching but a lot more of writing reading and poetry
life is a dichotomy of war and peace of love and hate, of good and
bad, my life today has more than before, I think I don’t need any more

Life Now

Now I am again on my own,each day with my pencils and books
I make my own breakfast mug of tea, toast with jam or honey
I wash my own clothes and cook too but dishes I leave for my
partner to do, he loves to clean so i am free to leave aside the broom.

there is no garden nearby where I could enjoy flowers or walk
my partner avoids conversation and ‘talk’ so that leaves me with
my unseen friends, to text talk share and chat’,till its summer the
sounds I hear are the perpetual whirring of ceiling fans or muezzins call

I am grateful to be alive to be able to understand the purpose of life
to be a giver’ a helper’ to spread love and kindness and be silent’
If one has a silent life one hears the love and kindness of the divine
I was given a life and time, I must give too for ‘nothing was nor is’ all mine

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

From the Redness of Dawn to the Golden Grandeur of Dusk

Who is it ? Ah, it wakes me again, in silence, with half opened eyes,
I half rise shaken from oblivion, turn again, sit up, sense the darkness,
The unseen power has put life back in me, I am fortunate but let me be
not proud, I could be asleep for long,to miss the obligation, and be a sinner’
but no, the power gives me time, ‘Away Away O Sloth, tempt me not in dreams
pleasurable,in sleep drugged,for my life has a purpose,to fulfill, I must achieve.

Express gratitude O ungrateful soul, you have wasted enough time,the sky is still
dark,a few stars show hope,I have hope I will always have hope, I have seen
the golden orb smile with changing colors, I will see it again,forget the mug of tea
the sweetness of mixed fruit jam, the faint burnt aroma of toast, stand straight,bow
and bow again,as rightly as you can, soon the birds will stat to chirp their prayer, are
they better in faith and manner? they are, and how regular and disciplined, alas’ but

I am not a bird, my nest is empty though, no giggles or laughter do I hear,no steps
no songs,loneliness hovers around-Ah light appears behind the curtains,dawn breaks
I have the gift of day, tea tastes good with honey,sip it slowly,eat a bit for just energy
two pills now, one for hypertension,the other a blood thinner,life depends on the tiny
red and white tablets, panic strikes when I misplace the medicine pouch, forgetful me
now where are the reading glasses, again? well, I guess its normal at the platinum edge

kitchen table displays the bowl of vegetables, cut and washed, awaiting my attention,
must I cook? wish we had not lost the ‘mann o salwa’ , it’s past eleven, half the day
slipped away,let me check the mailbox,perhaps someone remembers me there’ -nothing
elsewhere in the world, killing, more killing,innocent killing,quarreling,arguing,commenting
impatience,intolerance,the planet has gone crazy,am I contributing to all the chaos? Yes?
the muezzin calls, Come to Prayer Come to Success’ so I must turn’ I must be on the right

afternoon,a bit of lunch and again drowsiness takes over, what did I do ten years ago
I would smile at the flowers,hug the kids and trees,listen to songs and skip a little too
Oh I see my children coming in the room smiling Mama Mama ‘ but what’s this, no one around
a short vision, curtains aside show the hillside green, a small house, wonder who lives
there? alone or with family? light clouds cover the sky, its all grey now- cries I hear of
people in captivity,without food water and medicine ‘freedom we want freedom’ Oh my heart

trembles and I move away from the window’ what tyrants are still ruling and roaming on
this planet, dinosaurs long gone instinct, big though were less harmful, Oh mankind what
greed ails thee what hunger for power makes thee mad? evening draws near,thoughts filled
with fear,nothing concrete have I done today’ news of deaths has droned all day, where is
peace where is joy, then Oh a beep a tingle of joy’ a friend far away, a spirit which cares
remembers with all the suffering in her share’ Ah now my day is made I thank the Almighty

He is present He cares and sends comfort in His own special way’
Hoping for the darkness to be light,praying for another peaceful day’
Hoping to make it worthwhile while I can while,here my spirit stays.

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


Forty-four words is not enough…

In the nick of time
My motto, my nemesis
My days overfilled with
Kids needing
Husband wanting
Daughterly obligations
School “volunteering”
Catholic guilt
Running miles – Ha! No
Running behind – yes
Secretary, chef, driver
Driving myself crazy
Oh look something else to sign up for!

© 2019, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . .


Coming Up Roses And Daffodils

“So how are you guys?” our kids text
and we try not to bore or alarm them
with a litany of aches and pains
and murmurs of our mortality.
We’re fine, we reply, and so we are
when we itemise each blessing,
tell how we’ve painted the kitchen
in a colour called lemon sorbet,
ordered some new roller blinds
to co-ordinate and plan a shade
of powder blue for the bathroom.
Our roses have spread from a single,
stringy bush we bought years ago
into an ebullience of sugar pink
clustering that empty corner space
we thought nothing would fill.
We’re pulling up stubborn weeds
pruning deadwood, filling tubs
with fresh compost for winter pansies:
might buy more daffodil bulbs
though there’s a crowdful underground
slumbering until next spring.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

To purchase Sheila’s little gem of a volume, Through My Father’s Eyes (review, interview, and a sampling of poems HERE), contact Sheila directly at she1jac@yahoo.com


.the story of my life.

i could write the story of my life remembering all that was,
forgetting the things i forget. i could start at the beginning,
work through to the end when it comes. it could be that way.
may be, i have already written much of it in bits and scraps
here and there. such is the way of it. some things come random.
not as you expected. i was to tell my story, you said.
i cannot be
bothered. there is no interest.
if there is, it can be googled, gathered, stitched quilt like into some
image.
i cannot remember my granpa fondly, for he was dead a while before.
you told me your tale, silked tongue, the things you wished me to know.
not
impressed.
no need to impress. cat piss leaves on skin leave black marks. remember?
recall the…

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


My Silent Thoughts

Silent thoughts ride through a cloud of memories scattered freely into the bay of time that resides in the mind…alas a constant reminder of dreams and aspirations still to pursue and undone goals left to do in a future stretched out in a haze and a maze of aging and uncertainty.

Silent thoughts…private thoughts tiptoe tentatively along the path of restoration seeking new musical sounds to bring to fruition amid creation…singing abstract harmonies that dance in between the syncopated rhythms of eighth notes gliding into victory.

Silent thoughts perch on the branches of tree lined streets observing cars neatly parked along curbs of hospitality and in driveways of ownership waiting patiently for drivers to take possession and drive off into their respective realities and obsessions.

Silent thoughts cringe at a world obsessed with violence…violence in defense of ideologies piercing the fibers of sensitivity refusing to embrace diversity…violence in defense of the dollar sign raping the economies…raping the environment…raping the positive use of technology.

Silent thoughts search the heart for inspiration…for courage…for creativity to permeate the USA in these dark days of insanity to persuade minds to incorporate once again democracy and justice for all…to stand tall on the legacy upon which this country was built.

Silent thoughts seek to “reach out and touch” and captivate the minds of the angry, the lost, the weary…to replace hate with tolerance…to replace dope with hope…to replace anger with a peace of mind that comes from on high… that comes from “something bigger than you and I”.

Silent thoughts escape from under the weight of oppression into the setting sun colored by deepening orange hues blended with shades of pink coloring the sky with magnificence and brilliance inspiring a myriad of poetic words to send messages of love through out the universe.

© 2019, Tamam Tracy Moncur

Diary of an Inner City Teacher is a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line. Over two decades in the trenches, educator Tamam Tracy Moncurexposes through her personal journal the plights, the highlights, the sadness, and the joys she has experienced as a teacher. Come to understand why the United States Department of Education and the various state departments of education must realize the teaching of academics cannot be divorced from the social issues that confront the students. Let s be innovative together and design new millennium schools that address the educational needs of the inner city students before it s too late! Our children s very existence is at stake! Laugh, cry, and become informed as you embrace the accounts of an inner city teacher.


Calm down today, but how
Our house is bigger ….yeah,
Today, we loud ever
Allah-Hu-Akbar, or
Jai Shree Ram,

or make prayer?
Silent life, a poem wish to live
LIFE GOES ON

Live it wow
Live it up ….yeah,
What can live up to this amount of pressure?

Silent life, a poem wish to live.
Today, I wish to live.
Today, I wish to work.

© 2019, Pali Raj


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton