Thanks to Margaret Simon at her blog, Reflections on the Teche
I posted this image and link on my Facebook feed earlier this week. It’s s powerful collection of poems for our world right now. These poems need to be shared.
This poem, “To Bless the Memory of Tamir Rice” really touched me. I can’t fathom losing a child, the fear of losing a son or daughter because of their skin tone, because they carried a toy gun, because they were in the at a park at the wrong time (because how can a park be a wrong place?)
To Bless the Memory of Tamir Rice
BY TSITSI ELLA JAJI
Plant twelve date palms in a ring around the tarmac. Make them
tall, slight towers, leaning into the wind as princes do. Fear that
the sweetness of dates will churn your stomach. Plant them anyways.
Plant the pudge of his fuzzless face in the arrested time of a school portrait.
Plant his exotic name—found in a book that spelled dreams
of eminence and hope for an uncertain coupling—in your ear.
Know that whether it leaches into the soil or not, this ground
was watered with his blood. This tarmac turned a rioting red. Strike that.
There was a screech of brakes, and sirens howling like a cliché, then
a volley of pops that might have been a game if only
what came next was not such utter silence.
The tarmac was red. There was no riot.
Build a circle of palms and something to keep them safe.
Build a greenhouse around the twelve palms.
Yes, a green house. This land is not our land.
Dig up the tarmac, the dark heavy loam of this side of town.
Be sure to wear gloves as you dig through the brownfield’s
mystification. Once the Cuyahoga River was a wall of fire.
God knows how rain melts metal.
Dig into that earth and build
a foundation. Quarry it.
Let the little boys and little girls of Shaker Heights and Orange
bring a Game Boy or cellphone, or other toy made our of coltan that,
chances are, a little boy or little girl dug up by hand in the DRC.
Let the children lay their shiny toys in the foundation.
Seal up ground with molten lead. Die-cast its melted weight.
Yes, make a typecaster’s mold, and leave it a dull grey, like flint.
Stamp out a broadside, only set it in the foundation’s floor.
Let us read the letter that says this officer was unfit.
Let us go over it step by step, every time we walk toward the green
house of imaging what this boy’s boyhood should have been,
the fulfilling of his name, his promise.
Plant an oasis here. How is not my problem.
Read the rest HERE.
What will you do to bless those who have died by the hands of brutality?
Sylvia Vardell has an excellent list of poets and books by Black poets for 2020 at her blog, Poetry for Children. Go there to find books to buy and give as give.
All photos and poems in these blog posts are copyrighted to Jone Rush MacCulloch 2006- Present. Please do not copy, reprint or reproduce without written permission from me.
2022 Progressive Poem
1 April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing