Monday, January 22, 2007

Pauline Ann McKenzie: Momma Pajama

(i am)

if i were slicing a mural
with every rubber-souled scuff mark
on your or someone elses
clean floor

if i were melting a painting
with every tear
evaporated into the air of an art gallery
or sunk into a movie theater cushion

if i were mixing a soundtrack
with the first note
of every question
every statement
of every no and yes
and amen

if i were keeping an archive
of every warm surface
every deep smoothness
every electric reflection
i glimpsed passing

if i was writing a poem
with the extra cradles
made from your brown arms
in embrace

it would all
every mural
every painting
every song
every library
every poem
every outfit
every outburst
every project
every event
every performance
every accident
every essay
every miracle
every sigh
would all be
to you

and I am.

Linda Bryant: Heart of Charis

for Linda

if home could be light
the weight of static attraction
the soft embrace of hair
tucked toward a shoulder

if home could be listening
your voicebox a doorbell
playing high notes of recognition
and low afffirmations
of specific me
being anyone

if home could be open
like warm brewezes
and free tea

than home may be
exactly what
you make
for me

Charis Circle

Elizabeth Anderson: White Mother Country Radical

for Elizabeth (WMCR)

we once named each other
in the urgency of acronyms
codes both mocking and protective
of how dangerous it was
to speak

even then
i recognized in you
a diligent faith in words
a demand that shapes in ink
were spaces for holding
what the world would deny

and you with your dependable wardrobe
and i with my charged (if symbolic) fist
insisted that printed and scribbled letters
were black on white pages
by so much more than coincidence

so when we draped Atlanta
in recycled black panther party slogans
all power
to the people
more power
to the youth

we were desperate
for a prayer we hadn't made yet
we were dazzled
by the glamour of illegal youth

but we were also saying
what we still say now
over distances more literal
than the ones we first noticed

we were already saying
all we need to say this time
which is


Click here to read or listen to an award winning short story by Elizabeth!