Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Straight from my Literary Corner

Dorothy Charles Banks
Pavlov’s Dog

like one of Pavlov’s
experimental dogs
your mouth waters
as your hot trembling
hands travel downward
to toy with the
diamond filled
pyramid nestled
between my
right and
left thighs

i hear your breath
rushing from
you in short gasps

I hear you panting
in labored agony

when I ask if
you are one
of Pavlov’s dogs
you hurriedly say

“Yes. Who is he?”

I knock your hands and
face away

turning on my side
I slide out of bed
leaving you
alone and panting

I was not raised to
make love to
 experimental dogs

copyrighted by dorothy charles banks
originally published in Metis Passages Women and Their Work

Looking Glass Self

you damn
I’ve looked down
hunger’s long
hollow throat

was close enough
to touch
its ugliness
to inhale its stench
to hear its roar

was close enough to
have it tease my
growling belly
with plates of food
it wouldn’t let me eat

was close enough
to have it ride
my back until it hurt

was close enough
to ask
if its name
was my own

I Can't Take You With Me

Forgive me, my love.
I can’t take you with me.
My journey will take me many miles
From here. Many miles from you.
If death was a bounty hunter, it would
Not find me until I’m ready to surrender.
Time will be my companion;
Space will be my temporary home.
I’ll devour the wisdom of scholars,
Retracing the footprints of their historical steps.
In the prime of my journey I’ll lay
In the arms of a mythical river with a half
Moon clenched tightly between my teeth.
On the river bank I’ll birth mythical twins,
Naming them Infinity 1 and 2.
I’ll recite ancient poetry to them
As we ride a fast hurricane across
God’s marvelous sky.
I will look for Jesus and ask
Him to bless the three of us.
The twins and I will hum 
Songs in the key of life: my life,
Their lives, our lives together.
On my journey’s end I return to you
With a clear head and a heart capable
Of loving you unconditionally.
I ask that you set me free to fly;
Free to grow in my own way.
I have to meet happiness
On its original terms. I have to
Meet me before I can meet you.
Please forgive me, but
I can’t take you with me.

when love walks out

you don’t recite love poems to me anymore
when you do, your mood is dry
and void of emotions
I don’t hear that melodrama and natural
excitement in your rhythmic voice
so meant to recite the classics
that boldly boasts of  love

when we’re together there is no
intensity in our exploring lips
no heat riding the full length of our desire
no sensation of any kind taking
hold of me, taking hold of you

I don’t see that badboy sparkle that
animated me in more ways than one 
ways that solicited a response to:
can your tire meet my road?
you knew what I meant

I hate the listlessness in our eyes
we pass each other like
night ghosts, barely touching
unwilling to acknowledge that our
love has grown lackluster

we both admit we are to
blame for love’s withdrawal
we reflected too much on the past when
we should have stayed in the future
going our separate ways will
cause some pain, some uncertainty
but if we must part,
take a piece of me with you
as I’ll take a piece of you with me
maybe one day you’ll hear:
can your tire meet my road?

Trying to Catch

white boys track hopping
tanning golden brown
natural white folk traits

salon curling straight blond hair
just to charm black girls
they hope they'll catch
in the coolest bars in town

black boys powder
down and sweeten up
to go downtown

whispering in low deep voices
trying to catch and
influence long haired white girls 
who are scouting for
genuine blackness

in color only

 poems copyrighted by dorothy charles banks

Ron Means
Taking My Time

When I was a boy many years ago
As my friends got into trouble, I waited.
I was chided and teased for being slow to act
But I wanted to go deeper than being baited.
Today I am often still waiting
Watching listening and taking my time
Deeper is my thing still
Someone is always running game or a line
I try to weather the layers
They hide under covers to conceal
Reality... I just wait until I can see their trueness
Deeper looks help to reveal
Who they really are.

my shadow

I travel with my shadow
around the world we are felt
though wandering into the night
my shadow shows great stealth

the night sky like a sleeping bag
as the ground below me a camp
my shadow and I together
exist like a hobo and a tramp

I muse if at the end of my time
As my life drives to its end,
will my shadow expire with me
or go find another friend?


To my friend The Mouse:
How can you be in bliss
It’s both funny and sad, still the same
What was once sweet must now be a bitter kiss
For when she claims that she loves you
What it more likely REALLY means
Is that she wants to change you
THAT'S her ruthless scheme
And when she says that she cares
Forever and always
It’s really only the truth
If her manipulation of you stays
But if she really loved you
She’d accept you as she can
Why change whatever attracted her to you
You need to buck up boy and be a man
To transform you from you
Will not give a true heart...
Control, not love her objective
From the beginning, the very start
To wrap you about her fingers
Her world and especially bed
The love you believe is a hoax
Because respect for you is long dead
What kind of woman would want a mouse
Unless she wants to be the man too
What sort of man would allow it
But a weak and spineless fool
You're much better alone
Than getting caught up in a mouse trap
Trying to make something wrong work right
Isn’t worth the cheese or the flap
But a mouse can’t see that
Even if a friend like me tells him so
He’s blinded for his need for the cheese
Ignoring what he should already know.

all poems copyrighted by Ron Means
 poems from his self published book “Let The truth Be Told”

Cassandra Tunstall
Black is

Black is
Little nappy-haired children
With runny noses
Big brown eyes
Hungry mouths
Empty hearts

Black is
Living in poverty
Being ridiculed
Cheated and unaccepted

Black is
getting ripped off
Striving in vain
And wondering

My Love For You

My love for you
I cannot explain
It’s warm as the sun
And moist as the rain
It’s sweet as honey
And soft as milk
More desiring than money
And more nourishing than milk
Forever, always my love is true
Never old
Always brand new

Why Darkies Were Born

Born in the heat of Africa
    Born free
Yet born to be captured
Born to nurse the promised land
to look over little bright-eyes babies
to say yes sir master
        yes sir boss
to serve
    to cry
Born to obey
    to hear half-breeds
Born to watch their babies
    sold into captivity
Yet born to be unchained
To sing the blues
Singing of
        someday we shall overcome
Songs of love
        songs of joy
Born to dance
        to the music
    and forever be free
Darkies were born
   To overcome

 poems copyrighted by Cassandra Tunstall
 from her self published book “Poetry”

Mary McAnally

The Fat Lady Waits

the fat lady waits,
locked in her torpid tranquility,
for the movers to come and turn her.
They are late.
Already she feels the dampness beneath her,
the cloth chafing her shoulder and buttocks.
She longs to be able to turn by herself,
to roll off the slab that lifts her
for the circus crowds to see.
Her legs are giant redwoods
felled in the silent forest.
Her arms are vats of dough, rising,
he fingers lost in folds of flesh.
She calls
Hey  Hey  It’s time to turn me
No one comes.
She feels her heart race
at the exertion of the words.
The skin round her neck prickles,
she moves her toes.
If only someone would run her ankle.
She gazes at the ceiling fan,
listens to it whirring above her
like a giant gnat,
waits for the movers to come.

Meredith: Moon Maiden

Her eyes pierce the stones
this little one
whose nappy hair
is happier than her eyes belie.
The cynics and the seers
have congregated beneath her skin,
and lie in ambush there
for all the singing saints
passing on the other side.
Listen to her chant:
It is ancient as these hills
where snakes rattle warnings
against the approaching storm.
It sings of death to the messenger,
the bearer of the word
which will not be heard.

The Day the Whales 
Committed Suicide
In nature’s faulted cycle.
    There is nothing so rare
    as a natural death.
        Jacques Cousteau

A tiny paradise
not yet isolated by the biologist’s metal eye,
invades the ears
of the great herd of whales,
causes them to misread
the warning calls of loved ones,
to turn toward the land,
to cast their graceful hulks across the beach,
to die.

Baby whales flounder
besides their dying mothers,
thrash against the arms of men
who try to push them back into the sea.
The others, mournful,
wait in shallow waters,
calling, calling.

You and I watch on color TV.
I weep. I am frightened.
All night long I dream of wars and separations,
of children longing to be loved,
and wake exhausted to this poem.

poems Mary McNanally
poems from her self published book “We Will Make a River”

Lorenzo Fitzpatrick

Unrivaled Artist

Of all the pictures artists paint
    And hang upon the wall
Still, Mother Nature’s paintings are
    The greatest of them all.

For who can rival beauty as
    Reflected by the Spring?
And who can pain a scene to move
    The little birds to sing?

The Autumn is a masterpiece
    Of blended color scheme
With leaves of yellow, read and gold:
    A painter’s fondest dream.

Such art from  mortals still attempt
    To shape and recreate
Yet, with their best performance, they
    Can only imitate.

Nature’s Melodies

When all is peaceful in the vales,
tune your ear and you will hear
Above the song of nightingales,
Sounds of Nature loud and clear.

In pomp of ageless mystery,
Whisp’ring grass and rustling trees
All join in splendid harmony,
Singing Nature’s melodies.

Fleeting Rhapsody

Gazing at the twinkling stars
    On a clear, summer night
Caught up in a rhapsody
    And all the world seems right.

Fantasy In-Flight

Soaring high above the clouds
All troubles seem so far way:
A momentary fantasy
Released from cares of day to day.

© by Lorenzo Fitzpatrick
poems from his self published book “Seasons Of My Mind”

Patricia Robinson Arnold

Death With An Understanding

She appeared so young to die
but yet there’s a season
and time for all things

Maybe this was her time
I remember how sweet
she was and how
pleasant her smile

When death calls
it takes what it prefers
even a little child

Oh how beautiful things
can seem sometimes
then later it can be so dim

How bright the sun
some times shines and oh
how far it can glow

But even in the brightest
hours the dimness can
still come and show

She was so very young
and one might even think
she had a choice
for she lay there still
and quiet but I can hear
her voice, she is saying

I ask for your understanding
because I am happy
I would not exchange the
pleasure that I feel right now

For indeed I know it is
ever lasting
It is joy, I feel joy
So much joy I cry

Then I looked at her corpse
A tear drop fell from her eye
and her face had a peaceful smile

My Love Affair

I have a love affair
with poetry and music

I have a love affair
with its beat

It is in my heart
and it moves my feet

I have a love affair
that is truly sweet

I Didn’t Know

I didn’t know you wanted me to touch you
I couldn’t read your eyes
You know the way you perform
With that perfect disguise

I couldn’t see your heart
And only you could feel the pain
Now it’s even harder
Since we are both out in the rain

© Patricia Robinson Arnold 
poems from her self published book “Silent Seasons”

Penny Chalmers

The Recovery Room

She is white and red, her scalp bloody, flaked.
        (Jake had been smooth, clean
I seem to remember her
        The Powerful Maiden
She wrinkles her brow and whimpers like a puppy
        (Jake had stared and stared
Back to the blackness, she wants. Me, too.
I want back, blackness, sleep.

Dwight appears masked. Russell hovers. Dwight cradles her rocking.
Dwight and I and the baby encircle one another.
We have been here before. Less awe now, but she is here.

gentle and determined, none of Jake’s ferocity, refined and persistent
A red papoose, creased along the line of her eyes across her nose
to her temples. Her eyes are long, almond shaped–Amanda

Let me sleep. Where is the reality. My legs quiver from shock as before.
Thru pain this being baby. there. But where am I?

Who am I, so many people now, voices. Nanny/mom/me as one person
clinging roll down the green hill. Curl up and sleep.

What do I resent? The masks. the officious voices.
Being held during the delivery. rape.
Tossing in panic. Where is the celebration?

The grudge against authority. Who Are They?
Let me give birth, let it happen.
That that stupid intern should determine where I see
Their hands their control of my body send me flying out

To Delivery

        8 ladies in labour: 2 nurses
Dwight disappears    asks an intern what’s happening to me
            who yawns How should I know?
                I just got up
            And 10 minutes later delivers me

scream        O NO I HAVE TO PUSH
they check and panic, wheel me off        goodbye i love you
down the hall to the delivery room I have been before

        IT PUSHES ME        Upanishads

gas.  a mask. Caesarian? Breath in. AH RELEASE relief relax
No don’t go under. She’s gone under. She’s gone, he says. Ha. Stop breathing.  


slyly stop breathing it’s no Caesarian I can feel her coming OUT

the thick satisfaction of pushing out.    The placenta

Russell appears        where were you? You weren’t on time.
            In time for the important part,
            to sew up the stitches.
            Doctor, did you know the ancient Egyptians
            kept the placenta in a special box as soul
            brother to the newborn?

Turn left: the baby in an incubator
Bring her closer
The anaesthetist is in my line of vision. I twist to see.
Heavy eyebrows furrow above the green mask
    Hold still for the intravenous 
Don’t you be cross with me     I am pleased at snapping authority.
                as if I’m an incubator
the Warmed Blanket        sounds like regressing, says Russell.

Some Kind of  Myopia

I see thru the crack in the bathroom window
    where my father-in-law
on his sixtieth birthday
        has climbed in his Sunday coat
        the tree out back
    shaking a stick at the branches

        )years ago I saw 2 llamas bounding down our street
            /Russian wolfhounds as

    And once I thought a porpoise was a shark
            The shark was a shark
        another time
sawing deadwood

© by Penny Chalmers 
poems from her self published book “Bearing Down”

Dorothy Charles Banks

Rude Awakening

he couldn’t hold back the laughter
as he repeated what
I had said to him

“You’re going to leave me?
where are you going?
what are you going to do?
you can’t work
you don’t have skills
I made sure of that ten years ago
by keeping you home and pregnant
all you’re good for now
is keeping my clothes clean
having babies
and cleaning house
this house 
I’m not worried about you
leaving me . . . you can’t afford to ”

still laughing he turned
and walked out the door
confident I wouldn’t leave him

to prove him wrong I borrowed
bus fare to go job hunting

at the employment office
the interviewer asked me
what kind of work experience I had
I hesitated told her: none
when she asked what kind
of work I expected
to find without experience
I bowed my head
and told her I didn’t know

my husband’s words refreshed
themselves on my mind

a feeling of hopelessness
washed over me
even before the interviewer
told me that she couldn’t
help me because I was

at the moment

she told me to learn a skill
then they would be able to
help me find employment
I left the employment office
jobless and disgusted
with myself

I picked up my babies
and returned home to my
unpaid maid’s job
and more unwarranted abuse

copyrighted by dorothy charles banks
this poem appeared in “Family Violence: Poems of the Pathology”
Mary McAnally,

In My Secret Room

In my secret room
located at the back
of my house
I can be anybody
I want to be.

I can be Jane Pittman
Through Cicely Tyson
Living her life
All over again.

I can be Superwoman.
Bionic Woman.
A wondrous WonderWoman.
A semi-masculine Superman,
Wearing high heels,
A femme fa tale.
I can be Cleopatra
Of the Nile
with men falling at my feet
Like flies off a
Raid washed wall.

 I can be a Soviet spy.
A street informer.
A hooker and pimp myself.

In my secret room
I can be anybody
I want to be.

Anybody except me.

copyrighted by dorothy charles banks
poem appeared in “Young American Poets”

Acute 7th Sister

    That’s what
         it is.
Poignant. Penetrating.
I was born
with an intense veil

     Covering my face.

I am the 7th
Sister to 6 Unveiled Sisters.

    I can forecast the
     future before it
        reveals itself.

I can state at
nothing and
visualize World Wonders.

I can look like
a Veiled Sister.

I can look Acute.

copyrighted by dorothy charles banks

David Delahoussaye

Moody Malady

O’Manic depression
You moody malady
You took me to the limit
You set me free.

I soared with the eagle
I swam with the whale
I was an angel from heaven
I was a nightingale.

I would do anything
I was drunk with glee
You made the TV
Talk to me.

And then the Thorazine cast its gloomy spell
I crashed from heaven, down into hell
I felt a great weight, too much to bear
I was overcome with grief and despair.

But God lifted me up
From my misery
You see O’Manic depression
He is greater than thee.

And tho’ now I am truly free
Our bouts will always be a part of me.

The Sign of The Cross

We are gathered here today.
We exist; we hope; we pray.

In the name of the father
Wondrous creator of all
You are so magnificent
We, so dependent, so small.

You steer the whole universe
You keep each star in its place
Yet You care for each of us
You sustain us with Your grace.

You are the God Almighty
You love us so tenderly
You let us call you Father
Even “Abba”, our daddy.

You forgive our transgressions
No matter what we may do
With compassion and mercy
You welcome us back to You.

Thank you, most gracious Father
That we are part of Your plan
To share with us Your Kingdom
And divine love without span.

We children need you, Father
Without You we have no hope
You are the purpose of life
Without you we could not cope.

And of the Son, Jesus Christ
Our Father’s gift from above
You humbly dwelt among us
To reveal the Father’s love.

It’s beyond understanding
How You could love us so much
That You became one like us
So we could, hear, see and touch.

You were sent by the Father
To save us from sin and death
You died, emptying Yourself
Until Your very last breath.
You suffered and died for us
That we might forever live
Your precious body and blood
You still continue to give.

Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh
God, made man yet still divine
The Good Shepherd, our Savior
You are the branch; we’re the vine.

Son of God, and Son of Man
King of Kings, yet our brother
You left us this one command:
“That we love one another.”

Making the sign of the cross
We should always keep in mind
It is the greatest act of love
Ever done for all mankind.

copyrighted by David Delahoussaye
from his self published book “The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Man”

Olive Spitzmiller


My skin cracks; I break like an egg.
Dying once again in the spring,
I shall plant my seed in a barren garden.

    A Passing
Under my feet the street unwinds,
and I’m running with long thighs away from death.
This is the marathon I don’t have to win.

A headwind tears my eyes,
pale faces blur
my mother, my father, a husband, my children.

I reach my hand to touch, cradle the little ones
in my arms, but there isn’t the time now,
and the children draw back from a thin stranger.

For I have grown lighter in my running,
polished, pared to bone and sinew,
with no nipples left, no handles to grasp.
The faces fall away; the hands drop.

    My Mother
I hate the sight of you, seamed and exhausted.
In the long tub you round your shoulders.
I want to strike you, lash you upright,
beat you into bravery.

How supple-strong you were in my childhood,
and unredeemably stern. When I cried
you kissed me, never in
my own strength, only when I lost.
Only you could kiss me, not my father,
who kissed too many little girls,
or the freckled ball player who taught me to pitch.
Mother-Demeter, to keep your fields blooming
all the year, you kept mine fallow.

Cool in your diamonds before the mirror,
your shoulders wrapped in silk, your dealt
me shame in your magistrate’s voice
that never had to shout.

Where are your soft hands
light on my temples at dusk,
your thin lullaby voice that killed
Aunt Rhody’s old grey goose
while her goslings were crying?

It was fine to be ill when I was ten,
barricaded with goose down
in the bed that smelled like you:
a sweet smudge of Eau de Joy,
Wild Turkey, cigarettes and come.

When you were power I hated you.
Now you labor to breathe,
your frightened eyes ask only to please,
and I hate your weakness because it is my strength.

copyrighted by Olive Spitzmiller
poem appeared in “Metis: Passages, Women and Their Work”

Peg Runnels

Who Is This Woman

She’s Marsha McGuire’s Sunday School teacher
third grade bread factory tour chaperon
and invoice 6419
(broken TV)

She’s Senator Young’s envelope stuffer
Jason and Jennifer’s mom
Troupe 136 Brownie leader
and Bob’s wife

She’s Mr. Lynn’s 4 o’clock Friday standing
Tuesday night bridge sub
and Dr. Scott’s D&C next week
(no liquids)

She’s the out-by-3:00 brake job
the covered dish salad
Monday carpool
and toilet roll changer

copyrighted  by Peg Runnels
poem appeared in “Metis: Passages, Women and Their Work”

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