The Mist in the Quiet

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There in the land of heroes and beauty is a lady.
Who moves like a wisp of smoke.
Penetrating all barriers, emerging on the side
Of life that most fail to see.

A forbidden love that falls like a fallen leaf off a
Tree-slowly drifting through the gentle breeze.

Bonding with a plethora of others.
Lying among them with no difference in hue

As she glides effortless over them,
All towards her destiny in the mist in the quiet,
Of the evening...there she sits.

 

(c) 2019 “The Mist in the Quiet”, Paul S Hickman, All Right Reserved

 

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The View of Fire

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There the fire starts, raging across the grassy seas,
Into the worlds of the lost tribes.

Gathering them up into a wind swept caress,
And hurls them back to the dusty lands,
Out of deep blue seas.

There they rest until the last days.

None shall be able to touch,
Their inner spirit.

From the top of the mountain,
Lies a vision as far as the eye can see.

No other land will prevail over this land,
As we watch from a distance.

Too far, for many, to short for a few.
As the fire rages on....

 

Copyright (c) 2012, “The View of the Fire”, Paul S Hickman, All Rights Reserved

 

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The Copper Lady

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Your name has lingered with craving
In the mouths of the innumerous
An affirmation for the downtrodden
A passionate desire for the adventurous
Your dignity symbolizes women’s fortitude
The pursuing man's wistful privy desires
Many have watched you from distant shores
Yearning for the promise of your name
Celebrations have dignified your presence
People flock to witness your magnificence
Your iconic symbol of independence
A beckoning torch of light
The mystique of new frontiers
Refugees fleeing from persecution
Conceiving freedom from destitution
A sacred heritage embodied
Democracy, and the pursuit of happiness,
Opportunity and equality for the seekers
An assertion that progress is inevitable
A Declaration of Independence
Conceived in your honored name
We name you Liberty.

 

[email protected] All rights reserved
Camille Elaine Thomas
February 18, 2021

 

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Alone In a Room Full of People

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Alone in a room full of people, I find solace in the corner. Purposefully trying to shrink as small as possible. Wanting to be invisible but screaming to be noticed.

Alone in a room full of people, I see it all. The head turns, tone changes, the hair flips, the side glances, the crossed arms.

Alone in a room full of people, I ask myself are they doing that because of me. Are those about me. Am I small enough. Do they see I'm trying to be smaller.

Alone in a room full of people, I feel everything. The stares, the tension, the energies moving around creating waves of passion and lulls of stifling despair.

Alone in a room full of people, I know everything. They all hate me, was it something I said, was it something I ate, did I sit in the wrong place. Am I not shrinking small enough.

Alone in a room full of people, I find no solace, no respite. Just harsh thoughts rooted in painful memories of failed attempts to shine.

Alone in a room full of people...

 

By: Alexandra Smith

 

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When We Were Created

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When we were created
We were told that we were meant for something great.
We were told we were created for a purpose
And that purpose would find us.
Because that purpose was
us.

That we would one day understand what we were created for
it was inside us.
They imparted their knowledge to us;
I absorbed it.
I thought I was their best student…

They trained us to lead; I tried to take the reins from them.
They threatened to leave me,
I gave them back….
They trained us to believe in ourselves; I set ambitious goals.
But they told me I was being unrealistic,
I limited myself…

They trained us to ask questions, I questioned them.
But they embarrassed me,
I stop talking…
They trained us to behave properly; I held my head high.
But they told me I was putting on airs,
I lowered my standards…

They trained us to listen; I listened to my heart.
But they told me it was wrong,
I doubted myself…
They trained us to think for ourselves; I thought differently than them.
But they rebuked me.
I stop thinking…

They trained us to be individuals; I tried to replicate them.
They praised me…
I sat up straight!
They trained us to go draw our own conclusions; I waited for them to tell me what to draw.
They drew it for me;
I understood…

When we were copied
We were told that we were meant for something great.
We were told we were copied for a purpose
And that purpose would find us.
Because that purpose was
us.

 

By: Alexandra Smith

 

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Being Black

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Someone once said to me, “You’re not black, Alex. You’re just like us.”
I immediately became offended and he didn’t understand why?
They thought they had paid me a compliment.
As if to say what everyone aspired to be was white.
I do not. I am not.
They simply said, “Well, you don’t act like them. You use proper English. You know what I mean.”
I was amazed.
One second we were having a conversation about Obama. The next I’m being told that neither of us is black.
And he thinks he’s paying me a “compliment”
As if, being white is far superior.
As if, all blacks are uneducated with no money and children before their fifteen.
As if, being black is a curse that people hope to rid themselves of.
I never stop being amazed at the level of ignorance that pours from people’s mouths.
Not just his, from so many others as well.
I was at work one day and an elderly couple approached my counter.
They were there to get pictures developed and somehow.
Over the course of me placing their order they decided that I was educated.
I learned this because the man said to me, “Well, since you’re educated. I have something I want to say to you.”
I laughed out loud because I am educated
And any educated person would notice the implication in that statement which is that other people like me weren’t.
He went on to say that he had grown up not knowing very many colored people.
And he never knew what to say to them.
Till he met one that was his landlord.
She was a chubby little lady with a heart of gold.
And she would tell him: You know, the most racist people are black people with money.”
He laughed as he told me this. I listened and nodded.
He then told me that Black people were not African American but colored.
After all, he’s not European American. And his ancestors lived all over the world.
At that point, I simply laughed
My name is Alex. That is what I want to be called. If you feel need to group me do so on your own time. When I describe people race is an after though. Why?
Because sometimes people’s personalities speak for themselves.
We all know people like that. The ones where all you have to say is: She’s really loud and crazy.
And everyone knows who your talking about, but I digress
After the couple left, I took a few minutes to recover.
It is hard to be nice to people who are offensive and don’t know it.
Especially when they think, they are paying you a compliment.
That’s when I began to think.
What does it mean to be black?
How is it that Oprah is not black while people who choose to not get jobs are
Why is that if you choose to be educated you’re white
Why is that if you choose to not have a baby’s mama or be one your white
It’s as if the stereotype that was created to describe me couldn’t hold me so
I had to be removed and because my characteristics are so “civilized” I can be honored with and upgrade to the white class
Why can’t I be a black women in America making her way to the top the hard way?
Why can’t I be a black women in America working her ass off to support herself?
Why do I have to be an ignorant thug to be black?
Why can’t I just be me?
I don’t fit molds. I use to want to, but now I know better.
I am ok with who I am and where I want to go in life.
I don’t need to be thrown into a category.
I don’t need to be changed. I can’t be. I WON’T be
Yet, when something bad happens or if I have an “Alex” moment.
I’m black then. When I get angry or start to swear. I’m black then.
What does it mean to be black.
I always thought it meant beautiful and brave, loving and loyal, athletic and artistic, charismatic and cultured, kind and keen.
I thought it meant human
Was I wrong? Am I wrong?
How am I black on some days and not others?
If I bumping into the KKK. They’re not going to ask me to recite the preamble.
They’re just going to hang me.
Why is it that I can judged by my skin color and receive two different verdicts.
Why is black a complement and an insult?
Why is that over a hundred years ago
When blacks were not allowed to be educated.
Our ancestors risked being beating to death to learn to read.
Why is that Fredrick Douglas fled to England upon publishing his autobiography because he knew that his owners would come after him.
Why did they fight so hard for education and freedom?
For people to now look at having those things as not being black
I am convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t black
After all, he was a college graduate. He led a movement that was felt around the world
How could someone so influential be black
Despite the fact that all the characteristics I just named are what he fought for
Who cares? What does it mean to be black?
Does the meaning change with the century?
With the mood?
Will it mean prude and egotistical tomorrow?
What does it mean?
Why did so many people fight and die for me to be confused.
What does it mean!
Does it mean pain and sorrowful, broken hearted and depressed, angry and ghetto?
Someone tell me.
I am on bended knee. Screaming up to the sky’s
Where is my answer?
Or do you not know either?
Are you just as confused as I am?
Do you too, not understand this paradox of being black?
Are you as lost as I am? As confused? As angry?
Are people placing you into a mold that does not describe you?
Are they?
Do you know what it means to be black?
Do you know what it needs to mean?
It needs to means: mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, friend, coworker, teacher, athlete, manager, actor, model.
It needs to mean bravely, persevering through all the tribulations.
It needs to mean community, sisterhood, brotherhood,
It needs to mean life and death
It needs to mean a people sharing stories of how they got through.
It needs to mean faith, hope and peace
It needs to mean a hope for a brighter tomorrow
It needs to mean change
It needs to mean equality
It needs to mean a people, of a similar culture working together to make it through
It needs to mean song
It needs to mean respect
It needs to mean you
It needs to mean me
It needs to mean us, united

 

By: Alexandra Smith

 

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My Paradox

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Someone once said to me, “your not black, Alex, your white.”
I immediately became offended and he didn’t understand why
he thought he had paid me a compliment.
I was amazed.
One second we were having a conversation about Obama. The next I’m being told that neither of us was black.
That’s when I began to think.
What does it mean to be black?
How is it that Oprah is not black while people who choose to not get jobs are
Why is that if you choose to be educated you’re white
Why is that if you choose to not have a baby’s mama or be one; you’re white
It is as if the stereotype that was created to describe me couldn’t hold me so
I had to be removed and because my characteristics are so “civilized” I can be honored with and upgrade to the white class
Why can’t I be a black women in America working her ass off to support herself?
Why do I have to be an ignorant thug to be black?
What does it mean to be black.
How am I black on some days and not others?
If I bumping into the KKK. They’re not going to ask me to recite the preamble.
They’re just going to hang me.
Why is it that I can judged by my skin color and receive two different verdicts.
Why is black a complement and an insult?
Why is that over a hundred years ago
When blacks were not allowed to be educated.
Our ancestors risked being beaten to death to learn to read.
Why did they fight so hard for education and freedom?
For people to now look at having those things as not being black
I am convinced that with these standards Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t black
After all, he was a college graduate. He led a movement that was felt around the world
Despite the fact that all the characteristics I just named are what he fought for
What does it mean to be black?
Does the meaning change with the century?
With the mood?
Will it mean prude and egotistical tomorrow?
What does it mean?
Why did so many people fight and die for me to be confused.
What does it mean!
Someone tell me.
I am on bended knees. Screaming up to the sky’s
Where is my answer?
Or do you not know either?
Are you just as confused as I am?
Do you too, not understand this paradox of being black?
Are you as lost as I am? As confused? As angry?
Are people placing you into a mold that does not describe you?
Do you know what it means to be black?
I know what it needs to mean
It needs to mean bravely, persevering through all the tribulations.
It needs to mean community, faith, hope and peace
It needs to mean change, equality, and respect
It needs to mean you and me
It needs to mean us


By: Alexandra Smith

 

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Pitter-patter

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              Pitter-patter squirm -roll -squirm.
   Small in size as you may be. Be mindful of your
intelligentsia capacity. Our footprints are in the sands
    of life for you to step in and keep going into the
             realms left by us by our kingdoms.

Kingdoms erased by academicians of shallow depths.
 Unable to fathom all that which was created for us
 and now you. Some think too soon -you are given
              that which is your inheritance.

     I am looking out for you. So you can spread
     Your wings and fly to the highest mountain.

  Into the forceful winds and the raging seas. On
   our backs you can sit without tiring us. As we
    cuddle you with our God Given gentle arms.
         As you smile gleefully into our eyes.

    There we see into your soul- invisible to us.
          But it is there. Be kind to us as we
     Wither away into the eternal resting place.


(C)2021 “Pitter-Patter”-Paul S Hickman-All Rights Reserved

 

 

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My Sweet

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Little did I know, with my heart
dancing like the glow off the
silvery moon.

My mind in flight, racing with the
raging winds.

Strange rushings through my veins
like the ocean's tide against the
sands.

As my feelings and compasion, kiss
the stars beyond the universe.

This is love, a love for an eternity.
A love beyond all loves - a love
forever.

And I can say I love you. I love you
my sweet valentine.

 

(C)1996 “My Sweet” -Paul S Hickman-All Rights Reserved

 

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American

 

My uncomfortable truth
prompted you to
ask me if I
consider myself American
and what that title means.

Oh, I’m American, indeed
I’ve considered many things as I’ve tussled to undo
The inculcation meant to make me a
Patriot
On the road to realization that America means something different to me than it means to you.

It means the telling of my history in this land starts at bondage while yours starts at courage
So your ancestors could brag about coming over
While mine wailed of overcoming

It means you dabble in my history as an exercise of periodic contemplation
But it’s compulsory for me
to memorize yours on the path to graduation

I have a social security number
But no security
I have a hometown
But no home

You can trace your family name back to your motherland
But I can only track mine back to where my folks were fieldhands

Your ancestors sorted us into colors like laundry
And now that we take pride in our pigmentation
You take pride in claiming that my complexion
Is something you can’t see

It means whatever you do is because you’re you
but whatever I do
Is because
I’m us
You ever carry the weight of a race on your shoulders?
Even once?

It means your heroes are hailed for making a way for my people
Your hero, the Great Emancipator, who proclaimed,
“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor
of bringing about the social and political equality
of the black and white races.”
Your hero, Lincoln, proclaimed
“I am in favor
of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Some savior…

And because of that when someone who looks like you gets a look, their resume can’t be denied
But when it’s me, you’re quick to question if we’re even qualified
So we pay our black tax, twice as good for half

But nevertheless, we are creators
Of air conditioners and almanacs
3D tech and protocol to chit-chat over the internet
Improved elevators, the traffic light, and the pacemaker
Because we’ve always been pacesetters

But when we do this
And still fight injustice
You say stop complaining
You’ve arrived
You’re officially more like us than
Them

You, pure, standard issued American
Me, on the dark outskirts
Until you deem my worth
Part of me used to appreciate your acceptance
Until I unwashed my brain

It means on days I feel I can touch the stars
Someone tries to convince me I won’t
It means I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t
But I do anyway
Because someone did for me

It means the lies about us have permeated the globe
So when I travel, they grab their children and purses because
they only know the prejudices
they’ve been told

It means we’re always too much and we’re never enough
Malcolm was too radical
Martin was too uppity
Rosa was too defiant
Huey was too dangerous
Kamala is too snarky
Tulsa was too mighty
Colin was too divisive
Angela was too violent and hip hop is too
But anybody who looks like you?
Good, good people

What’s most amazing about grace is who
you’ll withhold it from
but extend it to

This skin’s a blessing and curse cause it don’t crack but it might burst
Under the weight of carefully constructed
Confusion and hate

You think you own my thoughts of my experience?
You think you can build another you from me
Like yet another model minority?
Well, I recognize all this history
And own what it means
And throw off a mask of shame so I don’t suffocate
and build a legacy on my ancestors’ dreams at any rate
And fight for anybody deemed less than
And pursue liberty and help create our happiness, in spite of this country’s sins

So tell me, sir
Considering what your ancestors claimed they came here to do
Is my American
American enough for you?

 

Jasmine N. Cochran
February 2021

 

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