because, a poem

“Clouds are on top for a reason. They float so high because they refuse to carry any burden!”  Jasleen Kaur Gumber,  Ginger and Honey

“On cloud nine (or seven) – extremely happy. [A reference to a ten-part classification of clouds in which ‘nine’ is next to the highest.]



wind came through like an old bruja one night,
taking her broom to my cloud, scattering the seeds
of my poetry to all the four corners and the center
below where I do my shopping for earthly things,
down I went to try to gather them up only to

meet a philosopher peach who set me on my ear
with his questions on mind, matter and meaning,
wanting to know why he couldn’t taste himself
and how was it that I had a mouth that wouldn’t

in any trance, no matter the depth of it, be a
peach, pointing out to me how we needed one
another to get the job done and – Why?, he asked
and what could I say, having lived my life in the

clouds, drinking the vapors of trust and basic
instinct, and knowing tomorrow is today and
this day is perfect, and no matter the tears and
laughter, there’s a rightness to it all, so

on pale rimy breath, like the child I once was,
I answered him simply . . .
. . . ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,because

© 2019, Jamie Dedes


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


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



 

Depression era moms and a poem by Langston Hughes

“Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows,
Help us to see
That without the dust the rainbow
Would not be.”
– Langston Hughes



Family during the Great Depression (Oklahoma) by Dorothea Lange (1936), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Div. digital ID cph.3c29107

As a youngster, Mother to Son was one of the first poems I read by Langston Hughes. He had me hooked right away.  I wondered when and where he’d met my mother and my grandmother. Their native language and my mom’s American idiom were different from that of Hughes’ anonymous mom but the song was the same. These were Great Depression era (1929 – late ’30s) mothers. Yes! even mine. My big sister was born in 1936. It was a hard time for most everyone but harder still for minorities, emigres, and single mothers. Hughes wrote the poem when he was twenty-one years old, so the poem actually predates the Depression and he is illustrating the Black-American experience and a mother encouraging her son to preserver in spite of all. This poem, however, has such a wonderful heroic quality and a continuing universal appeal. This is the voice of mothers throughout time and all over the world who are living in strained circumstances.

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

– Langston Hughes, excerpt from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
© Hughes’ estate

Langston Hughes (1943) by Gordon Parkes / Public Domain

LANGSTON HUGHES (1902-1967), an inspiration in so many ways,  was a social activist and leader of the HarlemRenaissance, a poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist.  Hughes was an early innovator of a new style in his time, jazz poetry – i.e. jazz-like rhythms, improvisational feel – and much of his poetry was on social justice themes. (Jazz poetry tends to be consider outsider art. It is the root of poetry slams and hip-hop.)



ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


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



 

From the Churches and the Houses, a poem

My mother’s crucifix.

Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
Filling their hands with your bounty?
A Lover’s Call, Khalil Gibran



this is no city of ultimate bliss,
the traffic is backed up to kingdom come

and the streets are a scrimmage, full and rough,
teeming with feral bits of hope and hunger

the people here are virtuous though,
ripe with love for one another, for Christ and music

hear the music winding, insinuating
and tumbling from la iglesia y las casas

the rents are morbidly obese, don’t you know?
though the wages and hours are skeletal

too often along B Street and downtown,
a man begs a cigarette, a woman begs for lunch

© 2019, Jamie Dedes


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


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


 

How To Be a Poet, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading knowledge,
skill – more of each
than you have – inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity . . .
Excerpt from How to Be a Poet by Wendell Berry, Given: Poems



The poem stands somewhere
between your heart and mind,
Waiting to capture, to study
Nature in all its complexity,
The shock of the corpse that
Once was your mother
The sea that embraces you
The pain that drowns you
Floating on silence, words white
And black, pure and tarnished
Like Iustitia, you are moral force,
Not blind but tongueless, let the
Keyboard be your mouth, let fingers
Dance in sacred space, the words
That arise are your sword, your
mirror and your snake . . .

……….rest in this
this place, this quiet, this haven,
this heaven of cup runneth over,
nurturing your own true voice

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Your turn now: tell us how to be a poet.

Share your poem/s on theme in the comments section below or leave a link to it/them. All poems on theme are published on the first Tuesday following the current Wednesday Writing Prompt. (Please no oddly laid-out poems.)

 No poems submitted through email or Facebook will be published. 

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, June 10 by 8 pm Pacific Daylight Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check ​The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning non-judgemental place to connect.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


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