Friday, January 20, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Courtney LeBlanc

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


***


I HAVEN’T BLED
by Courtney LeBlanc

in months – a mix
of medicine and years
of manic running.

When we lost the election
I yearned
for blood to rush from me
and purge
the seed of hope that had grown
inside. Instead
the only thing that flowed
were tears.

I went to work the next
day, eyes swollen,
tampons in my purse
for anyone who might
need them.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Marilyn Zuckerman

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


***


The Day After
by Marilyn Zuckerman

Not depression
Not even despair
No retreat
More like weariness
Sysiphus shouldering the rock again
Just gathering again
Trudging lonely streets again
Going door to door again
Candles in the dark again
Talking until you're hoarse again
Trying to convince strangers
How dire the moment
Unless
Again

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – A. Kevin Valvardi

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


***


Flatulence
by A. Kevin Valvardi
Flatulence;
Nothing but flatulence
passes through his red lips,
yet,
he was still elected president

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Tara Campbell

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


***


When Peanut Butter Baby Ruled the World
by Tara Campbell

It began with the dreaming mothers.

Their babies came out familiar in shape
but not in substance

Pickle Baby
Ice Cream Baby
Crispy Tofu Baby

The first births were recorded
by nurses with trembling hands.
Others came

Chocolate Baby
Nutella Baby
Marshmallow Baby

The phenomenon had no ground zero, no borders.
Doctors around the world compared notes

Cassava Baby
Chickpea Baby
Spicy Squid Baby

and searched for a cure,
meanwhile pleading with mothers to maintain their health.

The mothers tried

Asparagus Baby
Broccoli Baby
Peanut Butter Baby

But they had needs

Bacon Baby
Rum Baby
Maraschino Cherry Baby
Tiny Umbrella Baby

They couldn’t control their dreams…

Vodka Baby
Wine Baby
Gin & Tonic Baby

…of all the things they couldn’t have

Highball Baby
Marlboro Baby
Raw Cookie Dough Baby
Unpasteurized Milk Baby

The doctors kept waking the mothers up to feed them applesauce and admonishment, but they kept on dreaming…

Imported Soft Cheese Baby
Beef Tartare Baby
Sushi Baby
Swordfish Baby
Just About Any Goddamn Fish Baby

…until finally the mothers said, “Enough!
We still love Pickle Baby
and Crispy Tofu Baby
and Peanut Butter Baby
and Highball Baby
and yes, even Just About Any Goddamn Fish Baby is okay.
They’re all our babies.”

And then they dreamed whatever they wanted.

And by the time Peanut Butter Baby grew up and ruled the world
there were even more kinds of babies, like

Equal Pay Baby
No More Street Harassment Baby
Corporate Leadership Equity Baby
Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation Baby

and

Respect Your Elders Baby,
who eventually had
To Hell With Plastic Surgery Baby

and

Male Pregnancy Baby,
who gave immediate birth to
Right to Choose Baby
and her twin
Self-Determination Baby

And when Self-Determination Baby usurped the throne
her first and last order
before abolishing the position of Ruler of the World
was to tell the mothers to dream
and keep on dreaming.


(Originally published July 2016 by Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry)

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Susan Bucci Mockler

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


***


Dark Energy
by Susan Bucci Mockler

--written originally for the parents of the children at Sandy Hook, but, now, sadly applies to many more

Notice what you remember this day:
how clean the air smells,
how warm it is for winter,
how you hoped it would be snowing.
Notice how bare the trees are,
black birds perched
in the empty branches,
cracked ice on a puddle.
Notice lips, hair, skin,
fingertips, tongue,
the place in the sky
you saw the first star
last night and closed your eyes,
from habit, wishing, wishing, wishing.
Notice what you won’t remember:
how quiet it was the moment
after the gunshots,
that the screaming
sounded like coyotes in the desert.
Notice blur of smoke,
river of blood,
skin stuck to walls, missing faces.
Notice your question: 
why must a coffin
hold a child,
why not rocks, mud,
burnt wind, even water?
Notice there is no waking from this dream,
the sky will always be this dark.
the only living will be living
on the edge of a black hole.
Notice a million stars exploding daily.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Salaam Green

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


***


Because in Alabama it’s Robert E. Lee’s Day
by Salaam Green

Doing time in this black body; haven’t gotten much justice
Dark wrists cuffed in front of ancestor’s graves
Bulky coffee colored thighs rubbing against each other
Unliberated muscles poised for flight
Walking on hot pavement barefoot
I resist
Thick skinned knees pivot
Obliquing tired aligned toes from the objected right
Marching in the key of David Baker’s uniformed Incantation
Shouldering the resistance across the Triade of tired biceps
Swaying birthing hips in the warfare of the wind
I Resist
Because in Alabama it’s Robert E. Lee’s Day
Celebrated on the bronzed back brother poet MLK
Eyes catching sight of knitted rebel flags on the chests of maverick mommas
Brandished lips loosed
Blowing the fray from conscientious fingers
Cutting throats with the salty spit swallowed during the “Make America great again repass”
I Resist
Laying wrinkled hands on the last dusty black bible
Bought early in Grandfather’s tenure
Smell the tall man’s cigar smoke lingering from the bent edges
Daring the treasure of any black body to fold
From the revelry of graveled roadblocks
My God, I Resist.

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Claudia Rodriguez

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.

In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


***


Y Volver, volver!
by Claudia Rodriguez

Y volver volver
VOLVER
con la opresión
otra vez.
Llegare hasta donde estés
yo se perder, yo se perder
pero jamás me venceré.


History repeats itself
spins like a 45
but then there’s the
scratching- (sound funny)
I keep coming back
to the same place- like
literally. Like a poem
about writing- writing itself.

I teach at Cal State Dominguez Hills
Toro Pride Tuesdays
burgundy and gold horned
students, learners and spiel-lers
of knowledge , ideas bouncing
off those 70s concrete walls,
between the Japanese gardens
bonsai trees growing little
and back to CAMS, the high school
I went to when I was just a little
9th grade girl
from Compton, which started to feel
little for me so I knew I had to go.
Looking for an alternative and CAMS high
landed on my map- my route in this road
less taken but now we’ve started a path.
CAMS is on the campus of Dominguez Hills
and back in 1990 I never fathomed
that in 2014 I’d be
back in my old English classroom, spinning another
story as “Prof. Rodriguez and students Breaking
Down the Gender Binary, And Other Ideas Crossing
Like Intersectionality.”

History repeats itself

It’s just like heaven
reincarnated to be
hovering up above
over you, I’m so over you
you, you my prop
I do whatever it takes
to rule over you
rules over you, to strap you down
these rules of how to rule the masses
It’s my privilege
my privilege that I do it to you
I stick it, twist around my stake
you’re cooked my little brownies
die, rot in the scent pool that you created
everyone is on my trail but I don’t lose
track of the ones I’ve laid, they  call it rise
to power for a reason.  Now come over here
fluff me up, you with your misdirected anger
and misinformation the economic pressure
you feel it on your lomo, that’s what the bad hombres
call it, when they put their back into it.
And you my chickie with your liberal views
your attraction to standing by all voyeuristic
as the position we’ve inherited all the way to our
veins wrecks havoc, too funny to turn away. Get a good
look in the mirror.  See the ghosts of oppressions past
it’s a hate that will not concede….
yes there may be lots of people that hate me
but there’s that one kid who doesn’t
come here and fluff me up
my desire it is magnetic- like a yuge
magnate- cause opposites attract


together bonding they stick together
through their fear of another planet
that’s what they sound like, like they’re
from another planet, this isn’t a turf war
we’re not gonna be smudged out
here WE come
come get your smudging
smoke screen against your hurt,
your broken place- your broken
place in society, you have us
pockets of macro-classes spinning our
lives like a saucer on a stick 
stuck in between my teeth
still speaking out against your lashing out
you didn’t break but you are broken
and you hurt at the memories we conjure up
cause we do it like Ouija speaking to our spirits
ending the vicarious pain, memories I have of you
nightmares I call them. So I stay woke
I’m alive
I survive
(deep heavy breathing) Please join me if you feel like it, please join
me so we can feel like, alike
like a….close my eyes
lets focus on our breath,
just our breath
our breath, our breath

our breath, I open
up my eyes and I see my people
I see women who stay lit
I see blacks who stay lit
Latinx who stay lit
Queers who stay lit
like a bomb fire, healing those cracks with our
breaths, we’re not done filling in the gaps
of what you call history,  one you wish
to forget it hurts, you feel unliked, not wanted
welcome to the nightmare. I’ve been holding
my breath waiting for the day that I can
finally say ‘They’re here”
“Woke white folk they are here”


History repeats itself and I am here today
and know that I’ll be here again
some tomorrow that our attraction
for each other, through our breaths
is a magnate for positivity, to, like superman
tuning back time flying around Earth backwards,
we hopefully  turning back some of the negativity
that has been spun out into our society.  Our breaths
none bigger than the other, none smaller


Y Volver, volver!

History repeats itself
spins like a 45
but then there’s the
scratching- (sound funny)
I keep coming back
to the same place- like
literally. Like a poem
about writing- writing itself.

I teach at Cal State Dominguez Hills
Toro Pride Tuesdays
burgundy and gold horned
students, learners and spiel-lers
of knowledge , ideas bouncing
off those 70s concrete walls,
between the Japanese gardens,
bonsai trees growing little
and back to CAMS, the high school
I went to when I was just a little
9th grade girl
from Compton, which started to feel
little for me so I knew I had to go.
Looking for an alternative and CAMS high
landed on my map- my route in this road
less taken but now we’ve started a path.
CAMS is on the campus of Dominguez Hills
and back in 1990 I never fathomed
that in 2009 I’d be
back in my English classroom, spinning another
story as “Prof. Rodriguez and students Breaking
Down the Gender Binary, And Other Ideas Crossing
Like Intersectionality.”

History repeats itself
only if you don't understand the reason.
 7 years now adjuncting
at CSUDH
a campus of commuters
full time workers
part-time students,
commuters commuting not planting solid roots
on the campus.
59% low income
64% female,
53% Hispanic/Latino
17% African-American
So many older adults, not traditional
no prior traditions of degrees in the family tree
of first generation college students.
Mentoring not just lecturing
became my motto: group work and office hours
I tell them are about social networking
making those ties that will help us grow,
pull each other and learn to ask for help, among other
things. Over 50 letters of recommendation written,
5 independent studies and 4 classes with social learning components
are how I encourage my students to pursue higher level of education.
In service to my department I attend departmental meetings
and advocate on my students behalf.