Ghazal #1 – The Imperfect Rhyme Scheme

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

The Ghazal (pronounced ghuzzel) is a poetic style from the Middle East which I learned about in 2001. I wrote only a few and then revised several of them years later. This is the first one I wrote and I don’t know if it’s a revision or not.  I called it imperfect, because this one does not follow the traditional scheme exactly. The style of the poem includes the use of the poet’s name in the last verse.

Dream

Leaving a taste of sweet delight came the dream

opening my mind a joyous sight although but a dream.

What are the schemes of men about but fulfilling their dream?

When an artist inspired does shout others critique the dream.

For years thousands do toil to realize a dream

even the planting of soil is to make flourish a dream.

Is that soft vision in the dark merely a fleeting dream?

Or is the action of day stark a cruel unending dream?

Are these words by me written in a dream?

Or is she, Skywalker, merely another dream?

Free Write Friday – Yellow

 

This week’s prompt me took me to an unexpected place.Thanks to KellieElmore.com for another intriguing prompt.

Yellow

The room filled with yellow light and she felt herself ascending into the light like a feather on a wind current of energy swimming in a sea of emotions beyond space and time into an infinite sphere of softness swelling into an overwhelming wave of sensation smiling in the arms of warmth and love that could not be explained or limited she was happy. Finally after weeks of unspeakable unbearable pain it was gone she was released she could rest in the comfort of that sweet yellow blanket of joy and welcome so long in coming.

Gently the nurse closed the old woman’s eyes, gazed on the now serene face, and wiped away her tears as she walked out of the room.

Revolution – A Poem

IMG_0339

This is the last poem I will share from my book published in 1974. I think it is appropriate for the state of the world today. It is sad to see that even in the 21st century with unbelievable advances in technology and science, human beings continue to handle disagreements with violence, continue to believe that weapons provide protection, continue to believe that an immaterial debt is an excuse to deny living beings shelter, food, health care, and education.

When will we remember that compassion is the measure of greatness and the quality of justice is measured by its mercy?

Revolution

Too many tears

with the blood

have been wasted

too many years.

In May, not all children play,

nor all lovers

walk together

tree shaded lanes.

A vampire

reddens the earth

darkens the sky

drinks the blood

of young living.

Is there any good?

Will fear ever end?

Where is escape

from this labyrinth

of lies, of half-truths?

Will dreams

like birds

with fractured wings

ever fly again?

Tomorrow is a question mark.

Today is an answer.

The earth needs

a strong scrubbing

to clean its blighted

bloody floor.

And man

a broken bead necklace

needs a patient hand

to make him one again.

Free Write Friday – Serendipity

Friday has now become my favorite day of the week because of these inspiring prompts provided by Kellie Elmore

This time her prompt led to the following short story or is it flash fiction?

Serendipity

Her name was Serendipity and she loved to hear her father ring the syllables out like a song Ser-en-di-pi-ty, his voice started off high and ended in a sweet bass, as he’d pick her up, or tickle her, or kiss her good night. When she started school, teachers would ask what she was called at home. Her deep black eyes opened widely and she sang out, just as her father did Ser-en-di-pi-ty and she smiled broadly as her classmates laughed and musically sang out her name.

Of course, finally, in fourth grade, the stern, unsmiling teacher asked, “Do you know what your name means?”

She had never thought about it, it was her name. Do names have meanings? She waited impatiently for her dad to get home and before he closed the door, she ran to him and said, “Daddy, what does my name mean?”

He closed the door behind him, and sat in the chair, pulling his shoes off.  Serendipity stood right next to the chair, staring into his bold blue eyes. Gently he pushed her hair off her face and smiled.

“You, my beautiful child were a gift to me. My wife and I had been trying to adopt a child for years, because she could not give birth. Then she died. But, I still wanted to raise a child, I wanted to share my love and good fortune with someone.

“None of the adoption agencies wanted to let a single man adopt a child. Then I had an assignment that took me to the Somalia. I was helping out a refugee camp and visiting the hospital and I felt a warm hand grab mine. I turned and a very sick woman held my hand but in her other arm she held a beautiful baby. I looked at her and she looked at me. Then she let go of my hand, picked up her baby, and handed her to me. I looked at the mother and could see she was dying. I looked at the baby and fell in love immediately.

A Somali doctor translated and told me the woman wanted me to take her baby because she did not have any relatives left and I looked like a man who needed a child to love. The doctor told me he could help me adopt the baby, if I wanted her.

I said, ‘Oh, yes, and I will name her Serendipity, for she is something good I found without looking.’”

Serendipity’s face burst into a sunshine smile as she hugged her father tightly.

Angela Davis and I – Poetry, Cinema, and Social Justice

Angela 1970Afro girlAngela I Met

Angela 2012

1970, Professor Angela Davis and myself, a college freshman; Angela in the 80s our second meeting; Angela in 2012 at the Toronto Film Festival.——————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Angela

My conscience commissions me/to take pen and paper/and give meaning to the meaningless word./Your silence castrates me./Day dawns but I am weary/the pages empty, the hours wasted./What is your glory or right?/I would know you/if Knowledge was Freedom./Yet, I am aware of its lie/for knowledge promises prison./I would love you/if Love was Justice./But, law shattered this myth/in the broken faces of his children./I would die for you/if Death was Victory./No, death is defeat/when the hour is not in hand./All this you know and the/unspoken I know not./For after your words/I am ignorant./In the teeth of powers against you/I am weak./And in your woman’s loneliness/I am numb.

“Free Angela Davis & All Political Prisoners,” a documentary film by a Shola Lynch was featured at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. From the clip below it looks like it does a very good job of documenting Davis’s life and the events surrounding her imprisonment and trial from 1970 – 1972.

She was arrested after my freshman year at Stephens College, an all girls school in Columbia, Missouri. Mere months before Angela Davis was put on the FBI’s most wanted list, I visited Fred Hampton, leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, Illinois. I interviewed him for research on a paper I was writing, for a class, about revolution. He was a soft spoken, young black man committed to improving the lives of black people. In less than two weeks of my return to college,  police  murdered Hampton while he was sleeping.

That event, coupled with the earlier police brutality I had seen inflicted on peaceful protesters during the Democratic Presidential Convention, and then the arrest of Angela, led me to take a position of opposition and distrust of the American government and “system” for my young adult years.

Angela Davis was hired to teach Marxism at UCLA and later fired because she was a member of the Communist Party. Then her affiliation with the Black Panther party and her association with imprisoned members, led to the trumped up charges that  placed her in jail and on trial. While she was in prison I wrote her a note, just saying I knew she was innocent and supported her cause. I was very surprised when I received a hand written note from her from jail. That she would take the time to write a total stranger, in her situation, greatly impressed me, and confirmed my feeling that she was not a criminal. I wrote the above poem some time after receiving her letter. Yes, she was found innocent of the charges against her, became a professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz, and continues to work for social justice.

When I was living in Washington, DC, a few years later, I met Angela Davis in person. She and I both appeared in a program against South African Apartheid. I danced, she spoke. She appeared shy and nervous, was chain smoking, and still wore her large Afro. In the late eighties, once again, I was graced to be in the company of Angela Davis. This time we met at a woman’s conference in a former convent in Pennsylvania. I represented the Austin, Texas Women’s Peace House. This Angela Davis was the one wearing long locks, no longer smoking cigarettes, her skin vibrant and glowing, her smile warm and welcoming. She was approachable and we engaged in a friendly conversation. Now Angela’s smile is wisely warm as we can see from the photo of her appearance in Toronto last year.

I think “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners” is a hidden cinematic gem which can shine a bright light on the continuing contradictions and injustices keeping this nation from resolving its ongoing problems. Angela Davis continues to hold onto the beliefs that led her to leave Birmingham, Alabama, earn a degree in philosophy and teach. She teaches that another economic paradigm must be developed to counteract the inherent inequities created by capitalism and works to find another form of justice, other than dehumanizing mass incarceration, in order to  realize the sweet dream of “freedom, equality, and justice for all.”  While continuing to teach, in answer to a question about the values and activism of today’s youth, Angela said, “Older people have to be willing to learn from younger people.”

This  movie trailer gives a good preview of the quality of the documentary.

The press conference provides insight into Angela Davis and the purpose of the film.

Free Write Friday

Thanks to Sean Bidd  for introducing me to kellieelmore.com-free-write-friday-lyric-prompt/

This is my first time with this free writing, I look forward to more. The prompt is in quotes, my writing follows.

“Oh yea, they say ‘life goes on’ long after the thrill of living is gone.”

So the Buddhist says, the thrill of living is but an illusion as we travel this endless universe of consciousness. Our bodies change, along with the names, and at some point in the journey we discover that still point of light and the revelation that this life we hold so dear is just a passing game, a momentary dream, we are slipping through. Our true lives so much grander than this material meandering through man’s many malls of meaningless ventures and soul scorching schemes. Oh, but how we can linger in the pleasantness of dreams until we awake into the great consciousness that is one vast illuminating emptiness beyond desire beyond pain beyond pleasure oh to taste the oneness of the great beyond.

As it is Black History Month, today I’m sharing two blogs that I found very worth while. The first you will find at this link, http://browneyedspin.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/paul-robeson-an-extraordinary-man-part-1/. Brown-eyed Spin is doing a series of Black History posts that are well worth the read. Her latest blog led me to research Paul Robeson and the Spanish Civil War, which led to this one, I’ve reblogged. Great photos, a film clip, and information new to me. Plus for film buffs an organization worth knowing about. Savor this moment in Black History.

Black Film Center/Archive

Paul Robeson, the consummate renaissance man, is known as well for his amazing talent (an athlete, polyglot, orator, intellectual, singer, actor) as for his political involvement and passion for social justice.   His involvement in the Spanish Civil War[i] on the side of the Republican forces, though less well known, stands out as an episode that brings together Robeson’s multitude of talents, and shows his backbone in the worldwide struggle against fascism.

After the fascist coup attempt and ensuing breakout of war across Spain in July of 1936, Robeson’s support of the democratically elected Spanish Republic against grew strong.  He explained his support for the effort at a rally in London’s Albert Hall on June 24th, 1937:

The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery.  I have made my choice.  I had no alternative.  The history of the capitalist era is characterized by the degradation of…

View original post 502 more words

I Am That We May Be

Poetry Cover

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)

Let us
Remove

the shields from our eyes
that we may see our sameness.

Release

our clenched fists
that we may join hands and create.

Open

our closed ears
that we may hear the other’s song.

For our peoplehood will never rise

Until

We find
the strength within the other.

Let Us
Discover
the meaning of Family
That We May Be.

The Calm

Quite

Rays of the sun
filter through piled clouds
like light reflected
from cut prisms.

Silence

The gray cloud
crawls
across the pied sky
like a huge spider
inching its way
quickly
against the white
motionless whispers
and the blue

Hush

Review of Illimitable Beauty

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.

85 Degrees

41gvl4UJfML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-52,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

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.

My Review:

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…

View original post 728 more words

Review Offer for Kindle Single Authors

Hand writing

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.