Sometimes a poem is a sudden tear You never know when and why it will rise Sometimes a poem is a vivid daydream It appears in color before your wide-open eyes Sometimes a poem is a fine sculpture You can chisel it into a beautiful shape Sometimes a poem is a lofty tower You can erect it into a soaring sky-scape Sometimes a poem is a naughty little girl Who mocks at you from behind a half-open door Sometimes a poem is a game of hopscotch Like skipping through patterns drawn on a floor Sometimes a poem is a playful lover Who creeps up behind you and says “Guess who?” Sometimes a poem is a bashful bride Tiptoeing tentatively toward an eager you Sometimes a poem is an April shower That makes the flowers in your garden bloom Sometimes a poem is a swing in the park That cradles you and lifts you away from your gloom We poets have a secret that is all our own One that we have never before shared with you Poems, like saplings, sprout on their own Laboring over them is a thing we seldom do!
I view every face with suspicion In a crowd I hold my breath This is how you’ve clouded my vision Where I once saw life I now see death They tell me to keep “social distance” They tell me to remain at home They tell me I’m old and lack resistance So I am confined now, while you roam It’s not only lives you destroy You can decimate an entire nation Does this give you some devilish joy While we squirm, helpless, at your invasion? Just as our nasty wars were ending And the world heaved a sigh of peace Just as our broken fences were mending We now face your deadly disease So all my plans are now on hold Everything is suddenly uncertain Dumbly I watch your drama unfold Will I survive it, or is it curtains? I feel you gnawing at my insides I fear that you’ll forever remain You may not yet be in my body But you’ve surely invaded my brain
Life is a thing most people take for granted For me, life is knowing I love you with every heartbeat Death is a thing most people are afraid of For me, death only means I won’t see you again for a while Love is a thing that means many things to many people For me, love is realizing how much you mean to me Loss is a thing people feel when they lose what’s precious For me, loss is missing you every second you are away Wealth is a thing most people covet but only a few get For me, wealth means nothing ‘cause I treasure you Health is a thing that most people care and fret about For me, health is glowing in the warmth of your care Faith is a thing that makes people believe strange things For me, faith is believing you will always be there for me Values are a thing that makes people what they are For me, our shared values have kept you and me together Friends are a thing that most people cherish For me, friends there are many but you are my best Foes are a thing that bothers most people For me, foes are no bother as long as you’re by my side Joys are a thing that everybody lives for For me, it’s a joy just to spend my days with you Sorrows are a thing that no one ever wishes for For me, sorrows took flight the moment you arrived Dreams are a thing that helps people look forward For me, every dream came true when I first held your hand Hope is a thing that helps people face each new day For me, hope springs anew every day I am with you Life, death, love, loss, wealth, health, faith, values Friends, foes, joys, sorrows, dreams, hopes…. Everyday things that everyone thinks about Every day of my life I only think about you
When I first left my home A young lad of seventeen I could not get farther faster Every new pasture was green When I first left my family Tired of being poor and sad I decided that going away Was the only real chance I had When I first left my city That bore, raised and nurtured me I couldn’t live there another day Its gritty streets forced me to flee When I first left my friends With whom I read, wrote and played I thought I would make new ones But soon my hopes began to fade When I first left my state Whose ways I had imbibed so well I had to find new experiences I had to learn new stories to tell When I first left my country Whose life was the only one I’d known I wanted money, fame, opportunity Oh how impatient I had grown I sit here now, a man with no home No family, no friends, no city, no state No country even to call his own Blaming his doings on innocent Fate “You only leave home once,” A wise man had said to me In a world that is full of people There’s no one left to hear my plea
(Please forgive the patois. I kinda had to resort to it. Hope you’ll see why.)
Take me to ma home man Take me to ma home I feel I alone man I feel I alone I gone to America man I gone to America I live life fit fuh king man I live life fit fuh king Den one day it all change man One day it all change Alla dem actin’ strange man Alla dem actin’ strange Dey elec' dis big asshole man Dey elec' dis big asshole De country it los' it soul man De country it los' it soul Can’t live dey no mo' man Can’t live dey no mo' I land in Jamaica man I land in Jamaica Paradise on Earth man Paradise on Earth But you gots to take good cay man You gots to take good cay Too much drugs out dey man Too much drugs out dey Man kill man for penny man Man kill man for penny I los’ a friend too many man I los’ a friend too many Can’t live dey no mo' man Can’t live dey no mo' Nex' to Trinidad man Nex' to Trinidad Bes’ time evah I had man Bes’ time evah I had Woman dey big eye man Woman dey big eye Nah safe fuh no guy man Nah safe fuh no guy Dat place not fuh me man Dat place not fuh me Not ma cup of tea man Not ma cup of tea Can’t live dey no mo' man Can’t live dey no mo' Full circle to India man Full circle to India Country of my birth man Country of my birth Life here nah so bad man Life here nah so bad But you gots to be a cad man You gots to be a cad Dey tells you what to eat man Dey tells you what to eat You eat it or get beat man You eat it or get beat Can’t live dey no mo' man Can’t live dey no mo' I feel I alone man I feel I alone Take me to ma home man Take me to ma home
Every morning I wake up and face a new day The first thing I do is kneel down and pray Tell me how to make it stop I see young children locked in a cage My heart is overcome with rage Tell me how to make it stop Bystanders getting killed by thugs Who want us all to buy their drugs Tell me how to make it stop Rich men who already have all they need Still grab more with obscene greed Tell me how to make it stop Cowards send their sons and daughters To fight their wars and get slaughtered Tell me how to make it stop Driven from their homes for taking a stand Refugees exiled in their own homeland Tell me how to make it stop Another school shooting - I hear their screams Innocents are dying - they haunt my dreams Tell me how to make it stop Parents grieving for their loved ones Politicians want still more guns Tell me how to make it stop Global warming has seared our souls Our leaders want us to burn more coal Tell me how to make it stop Lies from the left, hatred from the right We’re all stuck in the middle of this fight Tell me how to make it stop Racism, sexism, ageism, casteism All that’s missing is simple humanism Tell me how to make it stop God, if you are really up there And if you even pretend to care Tell me how to make it stop
The pit in my stomach When in a game of hide and seek I suddenly discovered no one could find me The short sharp instant Of asphyxiation during my very first dive When I thought I was literally dead in that water The ecstatic cartwheels My heart turned with its unbridled joy When I proposed and she said yes with her eyes The jet plane feeling When for the very first time I sped my car up onto an Interstate’s on-ramp The subatomic smallness That shrank me as I stood on the rim Of the Grand Canyon and looked down its boundless abyss The satiated silence Of a moonlit walk when nothing was said Yet everything was understood by our two clasped hands The wave of breathless grief That left me shaking like an aspen in a winter wind When I watched him draw a breath and never let it out again Memories time cannot erase I often reach for them in my little treasure chest What we have is only what we remember, as a great poet once said