July 22, 2019

Grandpa, the Reverend Alexander Robinson Schooler, grew roses in our garden on 112th and Antwerp Streets in the Los Angeles suburb of Watts. That he valued the rose above all other flowers is evident in this song he wrote, a tribute to the “loveliest flower of all.”

To ensure his words would never be forgotten, he implanted them in the heads of us–his four grandchildren.

The Rose

What is sweeter tell me than a pretty rose?

Pure and sweet and modest, its the loveliest flower that grows


Rose, rose, rose, prettiest flower that grows

Emblem of love that came from Heaven

Through which our Savior Christ has given

Rose, rose, rose, not ‘till the whole world knows

Of our dear Savior King will I cease to sing

Of sweet rose, rose, rose


Jesus keep me ever, like unto this flower

Pure and sweet and modest everyday and hour


The Prayer

The beauty of the sunset at eve-tide

The glory of its evening glow

When the setting sun is worldwide

With its garments white as snow

When the shepherd calls his sheep

From the distant hills away

And the world is still around us

It is time for all to pray


Father in Heaven thy voice we will obey

Keep thine arms around us

Guide us as we pray

Keep thine arms around us

And guide us all the way



View From the Window of My Soul

March, 2019


Clouds cast a mantle of grey here and there

Shroud valley vineyards and redwoods in air

Spew moisture o’er vine and seeds seeking rain

As outward I peer from a window of pain


Puddles form slowly on verandas cobbled

Geraniums reaching, some freely, some hobbled

Dampness engulfs, then embraces the air

While birds glide above, unencumbered, with flair


Earthbound I sit humbled by life

Emerging at last from a circle of strife

Knowing in time this storm shall retreat

Like all of the others, I’ve known their defeat

Spirit resilient, I let loose my tears

Remembering battles I’ve known through the years

Borne by life challenges beyond my control

Reclaiming my place, I recover my soul.


Alicia Hugg Cutting


Death of Joshua, age 26

December 26, 2018

By Alicia Hugg Cutting


And so you left us

on Christmas day

abandoned this life

for eternity’s lure

Was this part of The Plan?

your mother just two months gone

Why could we not feel

your anguish, your pain?

questions live on

and continue to chafe

Did you live enough life

to grasp its meaning–

Have we?

Can we?


Questions precede and follow


Through this challenging riot

Of dusty roads

caught in life’s ragged seams

We’re blinded

By torrents of images

Soul shearing tufts

Of energy


At what cost survival

Is it worth the pain,

Is the fleeting joy

Gleaned from living

Quenching enough

To endure it?


Most think so

Plod through life’s thistles

Never heeding

its warning whistles


You will live on, oh gentle soul

through fragmented memories

gold-spiced and enduring

Pulsating with each heartbeat

Your opting out diminishes

But cannot erase

The star-spun trail

Of your being.



My Pilot



Your arms shield me from imagined dangers as we together fly


Across the blue Pacific through a sun-filled morning sky,


Scattered cumulus cloud puffs linger high above the seas


Dotting waves that shimmer brightly, coddled by the breeze


Your gentle kisses soothe my troubled brow


Your voice so sweet, returning me to now


It’s time to love you say, not harbor fright


I want so much to show you stalwart knight


That I am brave on this, my maiden flight




Can you not see me moving to the light?




We lie on a sandy beach beneath a swaying palm


Consuming island beauty, we inhale its blissful calm


Children laugh, young men build castles in the sand


Hawaiian music wafts from a nearby radio band;


Bikini-clad mermaids flee ceaseless ocean waves,


That bring in sparkling sea gifts from ancient sunken caves


A sudden warm shower drives us to a nearby lanai


Where we order margaritas and crispy calamari


Mahalo says our handsome server, as we wave goodbye


Aloha we call back to the clear-eyed muscled guy


Returning to the pristine sands and waters’ mystic lure


Their ebb and flow recall again our Pearl Harbor tour


Where we saw the names of sailors memorialized in stone


Resting now forever in their battleship tomb


You sob for their unlived lives, into the cold sea cast


That long ago December morn some seventy years past




Can you not see them moving to the light?






Tomorrow from this magic place we’ll board another plane


And watch Oahu disappear through its little windowpane


Ahead the hourglass promises a flow of waning sands


But these golden days will find us tracking other distant lands


Tonight we dance beneath the stars on Waikiki’s dark bay


To music from a distant band ending another perfect day


And now you promise me your heart, your fingers lacing mine


We’re locked together, lover, until our suns no longer shine




Can you not see us moving to the light,


My Pilot?


(Posted July 4, 2018)




*     *     *


Paint My Tomorrows With Love


I will sing you a song of love


Edged with sweet longing


Colored with rivers of magic


Chords of bliss, lyrics of soul.


I will gift you with magic


Paintings of love songs


In hues of sweet bliss


With shadings of sorrow


Love captures our essence


Makes our souls soar


Showers our tomorrows


With yesterday’s longings


Sweet core of my being


Sing love songs to me


Carols of beauty, mysteries of life


Paint my tomorrows


With love.


(Posted June 30, 2018)

*     *     *




Amazon Says



Amazon says a merciful death awaits

rats caught in their best-selling trap

A demise so swift the creatures would

transcend this world


most patrons agree


this morning

kitchen noises

coaxed an early rise

from my bed

Tiptoeing to its source

I beheld a rat  entrapped

Its long-tailed furry body struggling

for freedom and

I wondered

Do rats have souls?

The answer comes fast

Yes, all living creatures have souls

With one exception, I reasoned: Flies!

But even those independent prolific

Disease-carrying insects

Have souls

Don’t they?


My love placed the tethered

rodent outside in a

Shaded resting place

Where to life it clung

Baffled by its new prosthesis:

The trap that lured it to its death

by peanut butter



A  buzzard

Swooped down

Scooped  up

The struggling beast

And took to the sky

Trap and



*     *     *



         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.



*     *     *


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.


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.


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,


*     *     *


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.



*     *     *



Wind Rivers

Montecello, Utah

September 15, 2016



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



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.


*     *     *


The Woman, the Rose, the Cat

April, 2017



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

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