Author: Charleston Poets

My mother’s skin is
darker than mainland women.
“Are you Japanese?”

As if the island
wasn’t Korean enough
to be considered.

“Arcadia”

We go now then, the five of us
Across the path stretched out across the green plain
Like a quilt-work blanket spread out for a picnic
We go now, through skies of gulls, and warm summer gusts
And quiet lusts
Past the shrill timbre of cellphones, and haptic feedback
And past team meetings, and Lunch and Learns; In pursuit
Of Serene Intent
With a question of why can’t you Dad, why can’t you Mom take
Time, and time to take now
We go now, we take now, we take now

Out in the big sky that can swallow you whole
We listen to the loud silence with our soul

With our chests full of light, beaming in
cheer and laughter we walk along the path,
with grit and mud, the baby chirps and birds
chirp, and wide-eyed and gleaming,
wonder twirls in her eyes like an
ever-changing kaleidoscope
Being newly created in each blink,
a folding beauty upon itself
And upon itself, dazzling and free
as neurons fire in synchronicity weaving
great webs of delight, I watch the delight and
in a moment, upon a moment
I am young again seeing it again and
a twinkling universe rises in my watery eye,
my hand holding hers as she looks up
To me

“Bird Song, Daddy!”

The Sun bakes us like shriveled dates
ripe with spirit and candy flesh
Our sandals scruff across the path in
metered cacophony like John Cage
Playing the beach path in discordant
swishes and tweaks, bonks, and bleeps
Up the hill, on the left a break in the path
yields an archaic sign with symbology that
Would make the Illuminati blush,
warnings of this and that but harkening to
Respect this fragile world, this fragile minute
with sweat running down our backs
And our children talking about
little hopes of dancing waves,
this chrysalis in time
Becoming a memory in their wide minds,
unfolding iridescent wings to stiffen in the open air
And give way to a flight on wind buffets
to dance merrily along future horizons

On the beach, bones of dead trees,
Bleached and dyed, their skeletal fingers
Playing in the surf, a Rhapsody in Blue
Flocks of gulls, sinuous and lithe,
float down the coast, patterns of
Organic energy (Wu Li) pulsing in tune to the
sky, moon, and earth
With the swaying fronds of the palmetto trees,
perfectly in unison, from the Conductor’s
Unseen hand

On the last day of summer, man, 1991

He was here/ Introducing Carolina’s rightful son/

Through the tears city shaking

Natte know they finally won

For whats to come

Many obstacles/

To prove that he’s the one/

Put him in the jungle/

Make the baby show us that he worth it/

Battle at the bottom

Make him fight and claw up to the surface

Make him mortal

Take his gifts

And put the power in his purpose/

Kill the truth/ until he search it/

Put the shame in all his choices

Stand strong as we stay hopeless

For the day/ that we Rejoice is/

When the visions at its peak/

When the visions fully focused/

When King and crown shall meet

Until then….

Vision Distorted/

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An angel guided me through hell, and asked me if I loved myself. I tried to lie, but she could tell. Said it’s okay to ask for help.

And as I walked amongst the flames, a part of me began to change. The inner beast inside of me, had gasped for breath so I could breathe. I’m not afraid, I said with grace, holding onto my mistakes. I’ve had regrets along the way, that made me who I am today.

She said these stones were thrown by those who lost their way along the road.

At first I pondered than I asked, is time my friend and will it last? She said of course your mind is still. And life is just an upward hill. Sometimes we’re weak and then we fall, with broken backs against the wall. But please remember you’re not alone. You’ll always have somewhere to go.

It seemed to me she didn’t believe, my darkest thoughts or wildest dreams. She let me know that I was troubled, and the price I paid would soon be doubled. I hope that I have made amends, and if not then I’ll try again.

She said these scars are seen by eyes, that most won’t touch or can’t describe. I said I’m done, nowhere to hide. I’ve built these walls so no stars shine. But beauty hides in empty eyes. And truth come out within the lies. Innocence is left behind. Just be aware you’re born to die.

But due before it is too late, don’t hide your shame with masks of hate. Ignite the flame that fuels the rage, and learn to live another day.

Before she left to say goodbye, she looked me, began to cry. Dead straight looked me in the eyes, said you’ve been low when you were high. And you will make it out alive.

The devil walked me to the gates of heaven but I had to wait. So patient in his evil ways, it’s funny but I’m glad he stayed.

We talked about the sins we shared, and just right then I knew he cared. He gave me lots of good advice, said angels sometimes come disguised.

I second guessed, and questioned time. I thought that it was on my side. I’m blinded by these bloodshot eyes, I’ve tried my best to just survive.

This world has brought me to my knees, I cannot pray or live my dreams. I know that darkness comes from light, and someday that I’ll be alright.

I cannot fight these waves of fear, I’ve carried on throughout the years. But silence is my only friend, when I can’t seem to love again. But I have so much left to say, I won’t back down or fade away.

You’ll find me in a better place, far amongst the fog and haze. I’ll lie beyond the verdant trees, and pass by like a summer breeze.

And as he left me there to stay, the last thing that he said to me, was maybe you’re not meant to lie, but stand your ground, and find your place.

With the smoke beginning to clear
Shouts began to sound through the air;
As a line of black and blue
Began to press us back,
We stood there firm
To make our voices heard.
In peaceful protest demanding more
Asking for real justice and liberty for all,
But with force they tried to drive us back
Making our demands mean so much more;
To where we will protest day by day,
Organizing folks to turn out and vote on Election Day,
And on that day with a tremendous roar
From coast to coast,
We will make our voices damn well heard!

There are some who usher calls for unity,
But what do they really mean?
For a nation that should be united
As it says in the pledge,
Liberty and justice for all,
But what good is unity
If these words are hollow and mean nothing at all.

For how can one have liberty
If they are unable to read!
How can one have liberty
If they lose their ability to see!
How can one have liberty
If economically, they are limited to who they can be!
And how can they have justice
If they cry, I can’t breathe.
For can we not see;
That by the votes we have cast
In all the election days that have passed
That our brothers and sisters do not have liberty!
So, how can we ask for there to be unity?

Swiping

Swipe left, swipe right,
While built to give choice,
The choice it offers soon becomes addictive,
But at the end of the day
With all the swipes that have been made
In hope of just one connection.
Do we really feel satisfied with all that time spent
Trying to find a match
Even though we know we are quite a catch?

For when no responses are received,
How deflating that can be,
When searching for deep and meaningful connection.
Maybe there is a better way to spend this day;
That will lead me to cross paths
With someone who is cool and unique.
Then I will find that I had wasted all that time
On that infernal app, but then will rest assured
Had it not been for finally getting off the app,
I would not have met the person sitting in front of me.


A National Day of Mourning

What if we had a national day of mourning?
A time for us to collectively grieve;
For the jobs and loved ones we have lost.
Would we take that day and pause,
Joining our hands in prayer
As we collectively weep and mourn together
Showing compassion to one another?

Or, as we have seen these past few weeks,
Are we so eager to get back to how it was before;
That although part of us cares for all that’s been lost
All we want now
Is for things to return to how they once were
Leaving this chance to collectively grieve
Laying on the floor.

However, the thing about grief,
Is that eventually it needs release
And may take a form that is not as tidy and neat
As would be a national day for us all to mourn.


E Pluribus Unum

Red, white and blue flows in the air.
Sometimes singed, tattered and torn,
Even soaked with the blood of our fathers before
Represents a dream and promise guiding us still.
Yet, so often we have seen the dream broken and left unfulfilled;
That gave rise to many who picked up the torch for freedom
To give new life and hope to the vision the flag reveals.
For while its symbols and colors may be different,
When seen as a whole it gives credence to the motto,
E Pluribus Unum, we are one out of many.

Their sweat began to bead and fall down their backs
Gazing at the crowd before them under a hot Alabama sun,
Whilst the dogs they held ferociously barked.

In the sultry southern heat they crossed the bridge,
Marching in peace for the rights they were denied,
But with a single call it turned peace to hell.
Blood and sweat dripped and pooled on the road,
Which was caught on film for the world to watch.
In horror people watched from their homes,
Giving credence to the crowd’s cries for freedom
And led to their cause gaining power in this crucial hour.
Such shame, anger and sadness many felt from the footage;
That bills for change started to come from many who held power.

But today,
When we seem to have Selma’s happening every hour
With the footage filling the news and our feeds.
There are many who cry for justice and change being placed;
For the systems and structures that perpetuate such a state,
But where are those with conscious hearts who hold power;
That are working every hour to make those crying heard,
Showing that their voices truly matter?

So, fight for change they must each day,
Until those at the top experience changed hearts
And finally decide that change we must.

Slow breath in and slow breath out.
The sound it makes brings to mind;
The sound that waves make rolling on the shore.
For the sound it makes
Sets my heart at ease;
Calming me down and filling me with peace.


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