Illustration of book cover drawn by me
The poems that I have posted the past couple of weeks were first published in 1974 in my book of poetry, I Am That We May Be. I used the Swahili name, Damali, which meant a beautiful vision, explained in my introduction: “Poems are visions to be shared for the creation of our tomorrow. . .”
The book was published by Third World Press, Chicago, as part of The First Poet Series, being my first – and only – published book of poetry, so far. The favorable comments I’ve received for the poems posted have given me confidence in my abilities as a poet. Here are two more poems from that book.
That We May Be
In accordance with the natural laws of harmony, man dropped the solitude existence of “I” and found the ever changing perfection of “WE.” (painted on a wall on 14th Street, between Euclid and Fairmont, NW, Washington, DC)
the shields from our eyes
that we may see our sameness.
our clenched fists
that we may join hands and create.
our closed ears
that we may hear the other’s song.
For our peoplehood will never rise
the strength within the other.
the meaning of Family
That We May Be.
Rays of the sun
filter through piled clouds
like light reflected
from cut prisms.
The gray cloud
across the pied sky
like a huge spider
inching its way
against the white
and the blue
This is the first review I’ve received from a fellow writer. He also asked some interview questions. I’m working hard to increase my sales. The book will be available for Free to Amazon Prime members on February 9th, 10th, and 23rd. I’m also offering to review other Kindle Singles in exchange for a review of my book on Amazon. So please help spread the word and enjoy the writing of Uzoma.
It could have been dismissed as forgetfulness or wasteful thinking but Jewel, a science teacher, is not taking this particular feeling lightly. Not even the sceptical remark of her close girlfriend, Diane, is able to dissuade her from paying attention to this ‘out-of-body’ experience. The more her mind seesaws from her conscious state to realms on Earth and beyond, the more she gets to see, admire, and embrace life from a wider perspective. This divine alteration alongside physical observations finally point her to a sad truth about John, the man she’d loved for more than twenty years; the one who is the father of her children.
This novella is delivered with well-structured lines (some of which I find quite poetic). Told from the first person point of view, Payne tactfully reveals the emotions of her main character, Jewel, and how she’s able to relate with other characters as…
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Fellow WordPress authors, I know you are out there with your published Kindle Single seeking reviews and readers. I, too, have published a Kindle Single, Illimitable Beauty, and my friends who can read or review it, do not have Kindles, so can’t purchase from Amazon to write reviews. I just listened to a webinar that said I should have five to ten reviews on my free days for Kindle Select. I have three free days scheduled, February 9, 10, and 23rd.
If you have a Kindle Single, I will read and review your book in exchange for you doing the same for my book. Just comment to this blog your interest and the title(s) of your book(s). This offer applies to the first ten people who respond.
In addition to reading your Single and reviewing on Amazon, I will post a blog of all of the books I review with links to them on Amazon. Please share and re-blog. Thanks for participating.
I walked down Euclid Street, in Northwest Washington, DC, a black neighborhood of working class families in the 1970’s many times. Now it is a very upscale street with ultra-modern apartments and condos priced from $300,000 to $900,000 dollars. So, this poem, I wrote in the seventies, is dedicated to those families that made this street memorable to me.
Greenness grows in this ghetto
(dirtiness and bareness
this we know)
Trees do tower here
and lawns small as match covers
are neat behind wire white wooded fences.
Flowers like flames flood from
yards and trees.
One large full bloomed pink rose
stands starkly alone
before a pealing gray plaster home.
Ignoring the gray littered concrete
delicate violets and blood purple leaves bend,
and almost hidden behind one fence
soft velvet blossoms rest.
Do not say these yards are not green.
Or that the sky is always gray.
On days rare as a trusting smile
the sun blasts the sky clear and bright
as new washed windows.
More children than doors grow here
free as waves of smoke
“I shot you and you ain’t dead”
“I’m gonna beat his ass”
They speak without fear
and question only with
the curiosity of newness.
The women sit on porches of row houses.
Old women quietly watch worlds walk on.
And the other women, young
and not so young
carrying children, without children
faces work worn and warm
walking wanting wishing
for space and time and dream fulfilled.
Men stagger and stumble and swagger
tired, torn, without a revolution
but alive beyond the slight breath.
And young men
who think they are cool
so jive, they only fool
Life smolders here
within the dark walls
of our black homes.
Life boils here
like a rising tide
to wash the world clean
to begin a new creation.
Tomorrow this country officially celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe, if he was still alive, he would say, do not celebrate me, I just did my work as a minister. Celebrate this country’s achievement for removing racist laws. Celebrate the descendants of the sons and daughters of Africa who continue to contribute to this country. The following three poems celebrate this community.
Observations of a Saturday Night Crowd
A smokey kaleidoscope my people create
fashioned in coal, khaki and cream,
sewn from spring soil they stream
in tones of acorn and chestnut ornate.
A dusky rainbow, they unfold
eclipses of David’s cloth, in ink and alabaster.
Groomed from the dark that precedes disaster
they glisten in glimpses of gold.
Subtle as autumn’s sober hues,
a variegated harmony of delight
my people of sable sight
redeem dingy chalk avenues.
In the Tradition of Beautiful Women
We wear our smiles
with grace and warmth
sweet and delicious
on a summer night.
Thanks again to Uzoma for nominating me for this award. It’s an especially meaningful award, because it recognizes those who comment regularly on my blogs. Uzoma is a very talented poet and short story writer, do check him out – Uzoma.
Here are the rules for this award:
- Assign your top 5 bloggers who have commented the most.
- Be grateful.
- You cannot award the prize to someone who already has it.
- Do not forget to inform the bloggers involved with this award.
- If you do not want to spend the money, no problem. Just admire it.
Here are five bloggers who you know read your blog because they make meaningful comments consistently.
Magic happened when I saw my writing in publication, even if it’s just a Kindle Singles. I have a published work. Maybe I’m just one of thousands of Amazon writers, but I can say I have a book for sale. The magic is like fairy dust sprinkled over me making me feel golden and light. And then the magic exploded with a story idea I hadn’t seen coming. So, while I pursue print publication of my manuscript, The Ultimate Wonder, expanded from my story podcasts, I am researching for my next story. I feel a sense of excitement and adventure that is refreshing, energizing, and renewing. I feel like I’ve tasted the river of eternal youth and everything is possible.
This is the story description. For almost twenty years Jewel was an exemplary wife, mother, and high school teacher, but after an out-of-body experience her life changes completely. This story examines how one woman recognizes and resolves contradictions in her life and discovers the illimitable beauty an awakened consciousness reveals.
Below is the link that will take you directly to my author’s page and my book. Please buy it and share it with your friends and families. Everything I read about marketing these days says the key to success is word of mouth.
If you do not have an e-reader, or have friends or family without the latest technology, but would like to read my story, I will gladly send you the story in PDF, with the request for a supportive review on Amazon. (If you have criticisms you don’t want to share on Amazon, just send them to me in an e-mail. I can always make changes.) This offer is good for exactly one week and ends on January 19th.
To request the PDF please send an e-mail to email@example.com
Today Brian Payne and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We were married at Udiyan Maitreya Kosha, a Buddhist Center, in Denver, Colorado at 11:11, January 11th. Gretchen Groth, now a Lama, conducted the ceremony that Brian and I wrote.
Even though, I’ve been spending the morning with head congestion and repeated sneezes, we’re having a cozy celebration in cold, snow covered, windy northern Arizona, Hopiland, the Center of the Universe.
Today is my birthday and I feel the best way to celebrate is to share the story of my birth. I posted this poem in August and received some comments that it was a sad story. In a way it could be seen that way, as at the time it happened my mother she was sad. But, Mama always had a back-up plan. She left Reno and went to Las Vegas to join her high school sweetheart who was stationed at Nellis Air For Base. So it is that I became an only child with seven brothers and sisters.
I wrote this poem when I was working as a secretary for the Linguistics Department at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. As I looked through a dictionary of slang, written by one of the professors, I came across very interesting expressions for the actions involved in conception and a child born out of wedlock. By that time, the three sisters I grew up finally knew I had a different father from theirs. And I had lived with my dad and met my three brothers and one sister who had not known about me. I feel blessed to have all of them in my life and it wouldn’t have happened any other way.
So, I hope you will now enjoy watching me perform this ballad with the sense of joyous humor in which I wrote it.
In November the talented writer, Uzoma, nominated me for this award. I was grateful and flattered and intended to accept it by abiding by the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
2. List seven random things about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
It just took me longer than I thought to finally complete the rules. So, again thanks Uzoma. Check out his excellent poetry and stories.
Seven random things about me:
1. I was a professional dancer and performing artist.
2. I am an only child but have seven brothers and sisters.
3. I have a collection of international dolls.
4. I make dresses from old skirts and blouses.
5. The spider is my totem.
6. Riding in trains is my favorite mode of travel.
7. In my life I’ve taken singing, piano, djembe, and wooden flute lessons.
Selecting 15 Lovely Blogs was a challenge – but here they are, writers, artists, photographers, and travelers from around the world. Visit their blogs if they are new to you.