Transition

         By Alicia Schooler-Hugg

 

It’s time to move to another place

To occupy a different space

To taste of richer, smoother wines

And sweeter fruits from vintage vines;

 

It’s time to march to a different tune

To contemplate each passing moon

Appreciate life’s ebb and flow

And gladly let the old things go;

 

We weathered all those greening years

Laughed our laughs, cried our tears

Watched our loved ones come and go

Through summers’ sun and winters’ snow.

 

We grew into this golden age

And hesitate to turn the page

To close the chapter on our youth

And ponder now upon the truth.

 

It’s time to set aside our fears

And wisely use these precious years

To counsel those who cannot see

We know we’re all that we can be.

*     *     *

Wattspawn

 

Sunny days at 111th Street School

We had flag drills every morning 

And watched with envy those big kids passing by

Laughing on their way to Jordan High

Hi Kindergarten Baby!

Grandma, how far is it to grown up?

Hush child.

 

Church and chicken every Sunday,

Grandpa was a preacher

Hi Ho Hitler! Kilroy was here!

Hush child, don’t say that

Your daddy’s away at war

Overseas?  Where’s that?

Hush child.

 

May Day.

We danced around the maypole

In paper hats with brightly colored

Crepe paper streamers

See the ruffle teacher sewed on my skirt?

Aw, now its torn, how come grandma?

Hush child.

 

Summertime.

Daddy’s home in a brown uniform, 

Then gone.

He gave me a stick of chewing gum

Why can’t I go with daddy?

Hush child.

 

Blackout.

Shaking, shivering, scared

Blankets at the windows

Blue lights in the ceiling

Quick child, under the table

But grandma, I don’t want to die!

Hush child.

 

I pledge allegiance,

Lift every voice and sing

Deep in the ghetto, 

Patriotic black folks

Grandma, what’s a nigger?

Hush child,

Hush.

 

*     *     *

 

 

Some Come in a Blaze

For Grover Washington, Jr.

From Borrego Springs on a dusty windy day – March 28, 2016

 

You bring molten sound,

Sax exhaling magic

Spinning sanguine ribbons of mellow

A musical landslide of rubies and roses

 

You bring green sound,

Germinating growth like the flame tipped ocotillo,

Or the supplicant Joshua tree

Rising from soft desert sands

A musical landslide of emeralds

 

You bring magic

Sparkling like a universe of stars

Canvassing the blackness of night

Over desert creatures

A musical landslide of diamonds

A mystical thrust of sound.

*     *     * 

 

Montecello, Utah

September 15, 2016

Wind Rivers

Rocky mountains loom above

Sculptured by invisible hands

Shadows frolic across canyoned carvings

Refining patinas midst desert sands

Tourists occupy viewing spaces

Cameras capturing families of stone

Eternity releases, embraces

Sun-stained sanguine cliff rock

Sentinels of time carelessly flung

Into wind rivers

 

 *     *     *

Once upon a yesterday

 Posted January 7, 2017

 

Once upon a yesterday I sat upon my soul

As slippery as glass it was and white as burnt out coal

It wriggled here and slithered there and tried to cast me out

But I hung onto its writhing mass and won the wretched bout 

Once upon a yesterday I found my way to home

Although I’d journeyed all the way from Watts to ancient Rome

Home is where the heart lies, my soul cried out from me

And my heart is in the forest of life’s eternity.

 

*     *     *

 

Seige: A tribute to the Million Man March

Seige: A tribute to the Million Man March and to all of the marches to come...

 

And so it came to pass that in a giant village square, a throng of African American males raised their collective voices against the weight of hundreds of years of oppression.

 

Diamonds erupted in the square, sparkling messages of hope, faith and love.  Soon the miracles began.

 

The crooked were made straight, sight returned to the blind, the hearing-impaired heard sounds of community for the first time, and those who previously could not speak delivered prophecies unto the elders.  What, then, became of the rest?

 

They were crucified.  The multitudes watched as crowns of thorns were placed upon their wearied brows.  They shouted their anger:

 

“Crucify them, crucify them.  For they are bowed but not defeated, bent but not fallen.  They hunger but are not starved.  Though their tongues are parched from an age of thirst, their campaigns against the monarchs continue!”

 

Among them dwelled the spirits of slave mothers whose fatherless sons strained for knowledge to survive the coming destruction.  House slaves now refused to sit silent in their insular kitchens while their kin wailed songs of sorrow in the fields.  Their attitudes revealed a hunger for the message; their shrugs of indifference created a needed diversion enabling those for whom the message was intended to receive it unaltered.

 

The messenger cried: “Peace, peace be unto you my brethren.  Know you that the light within is your key to salvation.  The light is life fueled by the soul within each of us, and we’re all connected by an invisible umbilical cord to the sun.  (Charles of Mingus noted the messenger’s fingers were crossed and strummed his truth from his bass).

 

And the Angela of Davis cried: “Nay nay!  Listen not to the water bearers, for you might drown in the River of Untruths.  Listen not, for knowledge must come in rivulets, not floods.  Listen not, for too much of it may create saturation and with saturation the end of learning, the demise of living.”

 

And the Colin of Powell said:  “There are no issues that we cannot all claim as a nation, no battles we cannot all fight as a clan and no problems we cannot all solve as one nation under God.  Remove those polyps please.”

 

Now the Louis of Farrakhan, his voice cut like crystal, said:  “Even though the word be stripped of blood, fear no evil.  I am responsible for comments that come unbidden from my flawless tongue.  I mean well, sleep well, eat well, am well.  Be you well and go forward, leaving lands to the landless and flowers strewn along the paths of change.”

The infants, long imbued with the Secret Knowledge of the Ages, cried: “Enough already.  We want to slide on the slides, swing on the swings and make loud preposterous noises when we’ve done the best we can.”

 

The young men in the square took heed.  When they had supped they said: “It is written.  We have mingled with the prophets, drunk the wine of contingencies and labored under love’s lost days.  Our Sammy of Davis danced for three decades—Bo Janglin’ through Christianity and Judaism, black and white and still they did not believe; Louis of Armstrong trumpeted his way through half a century, his sweet blues wafting to life’s ceiling; Josephine of Baker danced the seven veils of life, creating a coat through her many-colored children until the last one fell away.  And now our prophets call down through the mists:

 

“Listen and hear us well.  It was for you we lived and shouted the messages crafted to guarantee a place for your children and their children’s children.  Truth is life’s vintage byproduct, its best lesson.  Your task is simple, yet as hard as that of any living creature:

 

Seek out the great truths, embrace them, live them, and note their relationship to one another.  For without truth your lives will not have mattered and you will have cast not a stroke upon the canvas of eternity.  Life’s basis truths are eternal.  Live your own truth moment by moment and your crops will be bountiful.”

 *     *    *

Weathering Storms

Posted March 1,  2017

Alicia Cutting

 

Cleansing rains soak vineyards, trees and other growing things

Raindrops cling to dead leaves and sturdy evergreens

Unbent by wind and steel grey skies and Winter’s ravagings

Then stillness rules as breezes quell and souls revive again

 

We sit inside our warmed caves of wood and glass and stone

Our hearths breathe fire from faked logs that warm us to the bone

Reading, contemplating what the weather yet might bring

Our patience worn like winter cloaks against Ma Nature’s sting

 

We’re heartened by the rose bouquet from yesterday’s brief ride

“They came from South America,” said the lady clerk with pride

She wrapped their lovely pinkness in Chinese scripted print

“They’ll last until you’re home again and keep their lovely scent”

 

The winds return to sweep our streets of fallen leaves and trash

As mothers usher toddlers through their puddles for a splash

We Grands watch with moistened thoughts of yesteryears gone by

When our own dear babes intrigued by rain helped our younger days to fly.

*     *     *

April, 2017

 

The Woman, the Rose, the Cat

        By Alicia Schooler-Hugg

 

At my window watching children play

Thoughts scamper winged like birds in flight

Destined for warmer climes the dove, the jay

Head southernmost or toward a blazing light

 

Stemmed in the coolness of pregnant soil

Red petals shoot toward puffed floating cloud

Unveil from bud to fullness now uncoil

Their messages of growth they shout aloud

 

Watching ever stealthily I pounce

Movement smooth as finest silk

Cat’s eye ever vigilant to trounce

Upon that treasured trove of sweetest milk