Category Archives: poetry

Poem: Thoughts and Prayers by Michelle Garren Flye

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Thoughts and Prayers

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

I prayed for you.

You were in need, so I prayed.

I didn’t speak up.

I didn’t help.

Is it my fault He didn’t answer?

It can’t be; I prayed.

 

I thought about you.

I knew what was happening,

And I didn’t take action…

Or responsibility…

It’s not my problem, it’s yours!

So thoughts are enough.

 

The pain is outside.

I see it through my window,

But I don’t open it!

I pray and I think.

If I open my window or, God forbid, my door!—

The pain may come in.

 

And then I’ll know.

My friends may pray.

They may think all day.

A Nation may send me thoughts and prayers—

And I’ll watch them float by—

Dandelion fluff on the wind.

dandelion nature sunlight

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Poetry is meant for more

I’m reeling. I read in The New York Times that The Nation apologized for publishing a poem because of social media backlash. The editors apologized—as did the poet—for using language identified as black vernacular because the poet is white.

Okay. I get the whole black face thing. I agree that no one should ever attempt to use language or cultural appropriation to make fun of another race. However, this poem (“How-To” by Anders Carlson-Wee) had a certain beauty to it and was not, in my opinion, intended to outrage anyone. But if it was…so what?

You think Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn with its anti-slavery views without intending to outrage his fellow Southerners? Do you think it would have been as effective if Mr. Twain had not used black vernacular? And yes, I know in today’s world old Huck has become somewhat despised among some literary snobs, but I still—and always will—love that book.

But poetry! Poetry is meant for more than being politically correct. Poetry is meant to entice and outrage. Poetry is meant to make you think about things a different way. Why the hell do you think it’s so difficult to understand? Why do you think your English professors could spend an entire class period on a ten-line poem? Because poetry is different. And it’s off limits to political correctness.

To those who think Mr. Carlson-Wee had no right to appropriate black language, I say this: He has poetic license. He’s a talented writer who sees the world a different way. He’s white but, for this poem at least, he spoke for another race because that was what his muse whispered to him. Who are you to say he was wrong?

By the way, I had a whole other post planned for today extolling the virtues of this cover for Dickens Magic. Because I seriously can’t stop looking at it. Many, many thanks to Farah Evers Designs for the fantastic work on it!

dickens-magic

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Poem: The Ice Cream Truck

architecture auto automobiles bridge

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The Ice Cream Truck

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Don’t say goodbye yet.

Just wait. It’s not time to go.

The ice cream truck will be here soon enough.

See—you can hear the music.

I know your mouth is dry and you’re hungry—

I know the music is still far away,

But I can give you water while we wait.

We can watch the cars together.

Maybe there’s a fancy one.

They streak by in multicolored glory.

You almost forget the ice cream truck if you watch.

You almost forget you’re waiting.

But wait. Don’t leave.

I hear the music now.

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Poem: Why Can’t You See the Dark?

Why Can’t You See the Dark?

By Michelle Garren Flye

 
Why can’t you see the dark?

It creeps up on you

Concealing all that is bright—

Why don’t you see it?

 

Please see the dark.

Shadows fall and evening rises—

The sun is gone, leaving…nothing.

Please see it.

 

You’re blind to loss.

You don’t miss what’s gone,

The light you let go.

You are blind in the darkness.

 

You could still fight it.

The dark can’t take everything.

Maybe if you reach out

You’ll find the light again.

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Poem: Take a Knee

For the #KneelingMan. I heard you. My heart believes in you. #TakeAKnee.

 

Take a Knee

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Red and White and Blue and White,

Symbol of long-forgotten bravery—

Of men who fought and men who died

For our right to be free…

 

To take a knee.

 

Salute no star whose unworthy light

Shines on the path of treachery.

Beware the stripes of men who delight

And celebrate their criminality.

 

Just take a knee.

 

What is a flag when democracy fails?

When leaders grub for riches at the feet

Of a false idol who demeans and defiles

All that once made us great?

 

No. Take a knee.

 

Take a knee, say a prayer

That God can save us now.

Plead forgiveness—

Your head must bow.

 

Simply take a knee.

 

Ephesians 3:14 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.”

 

 

 

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Poem: Alternative Anthem

united states of america flag

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Alternative Anthem

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Oh say, can’t you see

In the day’s last blue light

That our country has bailed

And the darkness is looming?

 

What good are stripes and little stars

When we don’t do what’s right?

And our laws are all botched,

By our government’s scheming?

 

And the lies that we’re told

Well, they’re really getting old!

And there’s proof of what’s right

But we must stand up bold.

 

Oh say, can’t you help me raise a flag we can praise—

O’er a land of truly free and a home to all the brave?

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For Santa Fe High School…and all the others we’ve failed since Columbine

As a parent of teenagers, my heart breaks at these high school shootings and the texts exchanged between parents and children during them. In a way, this is found poetry, based on actual text messages, though I changed the wording so it could be between one parent and child. Please, please, when November comes, think about how long it will be before you are the one who receives that first text followed by the next desperate If-I-die one.
A Last Tenuous Connection
By Michelle Garren Flye
Someone shooting in the school.
I love you.
I’m coming.
Don’t. We’re on lockdown. You might get hurt.
My teacher is dead.
OMG. Stay quiet. Stay safe. On my way.
If I don’t make it, I love you and thank you for everything.
Don’t talk like that.
I’m so scared.
I know you are. I’m almost there.
No matter what I love you.
I love you too.
I’m here. Where are you?

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