Under the Clouds the Children Play

Breathless giggles

and

toothless smiles,

bright-eyed innocence

and

unconditional love.

See the children

play in the sun,

the shadows

of their faces

filled with

light.

Their small throats full of

improvised songs and memorized prayers,

both offered freely to

the pale blue sky.

For hours,

For years,

For decades.

Life settles on them,

lifts them up,

as the melodious bells of innocence

turn to a

discordant death-knell,

and  flowers wilt

away the will to live.

And the questions

in their eyes

take root,

and grow

unanswered.

And now clouds gather,

dark and threatening,

full of dread powers

and

poisoned winds.

A shadow of a

human being watches

from the edges,

its stench lost

in the wayward

wind.

It approaches

One,

alone

in its sandbox,

putting its life into

an hourglass

to be flipped over,

and over, and over…

Wind-driven rain

drowns the cry for help,

and now a toothless smile

slowly slips on the mantle

of the lonely

One,

now sitting in its window,

clear as rivers,

who dreams

it was one

of the children

playing

under the clouds.

 

Our Future

Looking into

the distance

her eyes

contain

the vision

of herself

 

On stage

in front of

thousands

 

But now

the working through

the struggles

and failures

 

the pain

and the waxing

desire to quit

and leave it all

behind

 

Until tomorrow

when the

echoes of

thundering applause

and the phantom scent

of

bundles of flowers

 

And the

smiles and tears

the fruit of her

labor of love

will generate

 

will one day

no longer

be only

echoes

and phantoms

 

So, my people,

 

Let us strive

Together

toward the reality

of our dreams

Lifting not only

our voices

but our

Souls

 

 

 

Just Say Know

No thermostat heat

No central air conditioning

No storm windows

No waxed floors

No cafeterias

No new books

No shiny desks

with compartments

for your stuff

 

No high tech lighting

No cell phones

No smart boards

No desktops

No laptops

No gaming consoles

No wi-fi

 

No bullies

No nonsense

No cheating

No missing homework

No disrespecting teachers and elders

No smartass remarks

No sagging your pants

No midriffs and cleavage

No smoking to get high

No cutting class to have sex parties

No baby daddies

No baby mamas

No drug dealers

No gang bangers

 

No dropouts

Just say Know…

Know technology
Know reading
Know math
Know science
Know history
Know music
Know mechanics
Know carpentry
Know electricity
Know geography

Know your brothers
Know your sisters
Know your purpose

Know your future
is in

your hands

You do know that, right?

 

Why You Leaving Now, Daddy?

Back then

the shovels,

picks, hoes,

rakes, pitchforks,

axes and scythes

were held high

on tired shoulders

that had to make it

through

one more day

to eke out

a hardscrabble

living

under people

with hardscrabble hearts

 

They sang and joked

and laughed between

the grunts of effort

that went into

breaking ground

 

Their sweat brought

the flies and mosquitoes

 

Their existence brought

bullies carrying violence

 

But their thoughts were

on their wives and children,

who knew that when their men

left them

it was to make the

best life

they could until

they could do better

 

There was hope in their toil,

and love in their hearts

and it hurt them to see their women

standing with the children waving, sad smiles on their

little faces, and his wife with

worry in her eyes even though

she smiled too

 

He might run into the wrong man today…

 

Coming home tired,

to a cooked meal,

and children on his lap,

and a warm bed with

the love of his life

holding him close.

 

So

 

Now that the chains are off,

Now that you’re free

Now that you can dream your own dreams

and lift up the next generation

 

Why you leaving now, daddy?

Why you in jail now, daddy?

Why did you shoot that other Black man?

Was he a daddy too?

Why you don’t come by to see us?

Why is mama crying?

Did you hit her again, daddy?

 

Don’t you love us anymore?

 

Daddy? Daddy?

 

Don’t go…

 

Why you leaving now, daddy?

 

 

Across the Miles, Across the Ages

Across the miles

Across the ages

Parchments

Scrolls

and ancient pages

 

Tell of Beauty

Dark and Sweet

from palace royal

to city street

 

Our daughters

Mothers of the earth

The queens of men

of noble birth

 

Protect them

Love them

Make them strong

while death yet tarries,

but not long

 

Instill in her

a sense of self

that no man

places on a shelf

 

And father,

when you’ve gone away

with her inheritance

she’ll say

 

I want a man just like my dad

who saw the worth in what he had

in me and mother with his love

that he now shares in skies above

 

Across the miles

Across the ages

Parchments

Scrolls

and ancient pages

 

Tell of Beauty

Dark and Sweet

from palace royal

to city street

 

 

 

 

I Wanted to Surprise You

I wanted to surprise you

I’m hoping that I did

I had to steal these flowers

because I’m just a kid

 

You see I had no money

to buy them on my own

because it seems you only

earn money when you’re grown

 

But still I hope you like them

although I couldn’t pay,

because they mean I like you

and that I’m going away

 

I wanted to surprise you,

I’m hoping that I did.

I’ll be in jail an hour;

I have to do my bid

 

 

You see, the cops are coming

to put me in the jail,

but I’m returning for you,

so be here without fail.

 

They’re only gonna keep me,

and call my mom and dad.

I hope you like me too though,

‘cuz I’m not really bad.

 

I wanted to surprise you…

 

There Are No Monsters Here

Knock-knock

within your closet

child

There are no monsters here

 

Knock-knock

beneath your bed

my child

There are no monsters here

 

Knock-knock

upon your dreams

dear child

There are no monsters here

 

They’re all inside your head

my child

That’s where the monsters dwell

 

I promise in the morning

child

you’ll find them in the well,

 

For there they find

the entryway back into

childhood’s hell.