Friday, February 1, 2013

Poetry: "Vainglory by Circumstance"

Proud back with a chest high in the air
Swaying with desire
Never knowing when to bend
Afraid to break
Ushering into the wind
Bowing to the ravages of life
A life of hurling lessons
Mistakes that grow into another

Proud back with a chest high in the air
Swaying with desire
How do I stop this?
How do I bend?
When do I allow?
Questions urging a grown person asunder
Begging God, doubting that there is one
Abandoned again for worthier causes
Pleading for respite, but none found

Proud back with a chest high in the air
Swaying with desire
Familiar with a man’s desire for $5
Allota $5’s feeds young, hungry bodies
Those dirty $5’s keeps clothes on young backs
Stinky $5’s keeps a roof over children’s heads
Desperate that my children’s dreams realized
Dreams that look past this circumstance

Proud back with a chest high in the air
Swaying with desire
Stopping for briefest of moments
Catching glimpses of a stranger past dirty shop windows
Recognizing, this is not the dream that I once dreamed

Proud back with a chest high in the air
Swaying with desire
Staring into the broad sky where stars twinkle
Grateful at least it is from a back seat
Unexpected kindness
Throwing Wishes into the heavens
Under another man’s heaving, uncaring, selfish body
Unanswered prayers wash carnal desires away

Proud back with a chest high in the air
Swaying with desire
Hanging on - Hope is all that there is left

February 1, 2013

A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou


Maya Angelou
American Poet, Author and Actress


We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

This poem was written and delivered in honor of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

© Maya Angelou, from A Brave And Startling Truth
Published by Random House

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Poetry: "A Love to Match My Body"

I am not meant to shrink into an ideal.
Of desirable images of what a man wants.
Fed by mainstream media.
Popular notions he believes he needs.
I am built to be robust.
Wide to match the horizon.
Large to cause fear.
Stared at with awe.
Yes, I do taste as good as I look.
Don’t let it fool ya!
Wet parts with complicated desires.
No I ain’t gonna shrink to fit into an ideal.
I was not constructed for white girlz magazines.
I was built to be appreciated live-and-in-person.
All of me!
My love cannot fit into a tiny body.
It is meant to be amongst the starz.
Touched gently,
Gazed at longingly,
Breathless moments.
A man’s desire needs to fit me.
Not the small spaces limited by his imagination.
I was built for a long journey,
Deep – Meaningful
Never gently in the night.
Discovered by
A love that matches God.
January 12, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

moments of clarity and comfort

Have you ever experienced moments of clarity and comfort?  I have.  I’d be struggling with some issue.  I’d be worried.  I’d cry.  I’d be afraid.  Suddenly, a feeling would wash over me, I knew everything was gonna be all right.  The urgency of my fear and worry were gone.  I’d feel every hair on my body stand in attention.  It felt like someone gently brushed up against my skin sending shivers run down my back.  I’d just smile and say, “Thanks”. 
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

Nicholas “Nick” Metcalf Event Bio

"Nicholas "Nick" Metcalf - Cetanzi (Yellow Hawk) writes about his journey which may be a cautionary tale or a tale of triumph.  Stay tuned.  He also likes to write about the complicated lives of the people and communities he loves.  An enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, he has made the Twin Cities his home for over 18 years.  He still believes in love and is a hopeless romantic.  During the day, he is a cog in the wheel of state bureaucracy and at night, a fantastic ever loving parent of a teenage son, Hoksicila Cante Ma Yuha (Child of My Heart)."
This was the bio for a recent reading that I took part in.  It was my 3rd public reading of my poetry and it was incredible.  Here is the text from the promotional material:  
Dakota Writers
Speak to Presence

On the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in the history of the United States of America – the hanging of 38 + 2 Dakota men in Mankato for their role in the U.S. Dakota Conflict – and in the 150th anniversary year of the Dakota conflict, Dakota writers speak to Presence. Although our presence is often erased or misrepresented in mainstream media, we are here. Join us as we reflect, remember, and share.

Featuring Nick Metcalf, Monique Leith (reading poems by her grandpa Ron Leith), Richard Merlin Johnson Jr., Terri Yellowhammer, Colleen Casey, and Lisa Yankton

location: Black Dog Cafe
308 Prince St. (corner of 4th and Broadway, downtown)
St. Paul, MN 55101
date: Wednesday, December 26th 2012
time: 8:30 – 10:00 PM

Agenda: 7:00 – 8:30 PM Lowertown Reading Jam
8:30 – 10:00 PM Dakota Writers Speak to Presence


Thursday, January 3, 2013

"....Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure..."

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reasons to Succeed

Surround yourself with reminders of the reasons you have chosen to do the work you do. Keep the thoughts of those reasons foremost in your mind.

Achievement never happens for its own sake. Achievement is built when there are solid, meaningful reasons behind it.

The only enduring impediment to success is the lack of a reason for that success. Connect with a good reason, keep that connection strong, and you will find your way through whatever challenges you encounter.

When you have a reason, you have a stake in the outcome. When you have a reason, you're able to summon the discipline, commitment, persistence and creativity necessary to get the job done.

The best motivation is not to be found in some sophisticated secret techniques or procedures. The best motivation is to constantly keep yourself in contact with your reason.

Give yourself plenty of reasons to succeed. And you most assuredly will.

Ralph Marston

I Become Vigilant

When I write about the ugliness of what has happened to me, then please know and understand: Without those experiences I WOULD NOT know Joy, Happiness, Contentment, and Love.

It is when I look into my minds dark places, where secrets reside and untold truths are bound by shame, I am able dismantle them. I pay my respects to that part of my journey. I keep what is necessary in those experiences. I let go of the rest. 

Ultimately, my telling these stories is a part of my healing journey. By writing about them enables me to release the heaviness and burden.  I am no longer shackled by the shame, fear, and silence.  I let go of them back into the Universe.   I pray never to harm another...

It is my hope that I will never have to experience those life lessons again. They become a part of my past.  They become a foundation to who I am.  By understanding this process then I ensure they do not rob me of my humanity, kindness, and spirit. 
I write those stories to inspire those who need it.  I write to give hope to those who need it.  Especially, when the darkness descends...

What I know is this - I am responsible for my own healing and the affect of those lessons on my life.  I need to remain attuned to them so I become vigilant to never repeat them.  So I write!

Poetry: "A Dream of a Time and Place"

In the solitude
of my room
I would look out
the expansive prairie

I watched
The light brown wheat
as they danced in the wind
The evergreen trees
as they bowed
along the horizon
just beyond the hills

I dreamed of a time and place
I hoped beyond hope
Prayed for saving,
Begged God,
The Universe,
or anyone who'd listen
to my silence

I dreamed of a time and place
Beyond this circumstance
A place
I could be
Pain Free

The flimsy wooden door
holds back yet another
drunken man
Another man who
took me for
his sick
sexual pleasure.

A knife hidden
Used to lock the flimsy door
Too late – I'm awoken to terror

I didn't yearn nor want
Stank beer breathe
Fumbling in the dark

The darkness would descend

I would dream of a time and place
Beyond this circumstance
I'd hope beyond hope
I could be there
Be Safe
Pain Free

How could the dead dream?
I'd wonder
I could covet these dreams!
I'd resolve
Hide them from discovery

My dreams
My sincerity
My sacredness

Once I found that place and time
Pain Free

I now tell that truth
It drips off my soul
Slithers off my body
Festering old wounds

I tell those stories
Secrets I held
Stories I've kept hidden
For the universe to claim
The burden is not mine
alone any longer

I dreamed of a place
beyond that circumstance
of a time
that I'd
be safe
pain free
And I AM HERE...

January 1, 2013