These Are My People: Sue Cline


Participation Ribbons

The ribbons that bound me to you
with generous abandon,
tied up in knots of
“I want you and need you”
have unraveled into muddied rainbows

puddled on the ground
I can no longer cherish them
because they serve no purpose
when my heart looked forward
instead of tick-tocking back
into the mess we created together
with scissors flashing
through the complicated maze
we’d woven together
then destroyed with guilty hearts &
shameless blame
of who was actually at fault
for our conjoined festivities.


Small Wishes

I wish a special someone
had a song in them for me.
Some music they just had to sing
with my heart the melody.

I wish a special someone
had a dream in them for me.
A waking place, built on grace
a feeling like reveille.

I wish a special someone
had some words for me
a declaration of their love
that would last for eternity

I wish a special someone
had a picture in them for me.
One that captured their emotion,
from the brush that set it free.

I could wish a million lifetimes
for something as rare as this
and still quite never find it
the love that is lost and missed.

These Are My People: Louise Palm

This is not a picture of my dear neighbor, but this was her occupation.

This is not a picture of my dear neighbor, but this was her occupation.

She sat across the room from me

on a faded floral armchair.

It covered in plastic,

wrinkling when she leaned

forward to encompass her cup

lovingly filled with tea.

Sipping silently the sugary mix

she turned her waxy face

towards the picture window

as if she could pull back

the curtains of time.

She smiled yellow at me

when she brought forth

her past in faded words

like old photographs

taken from the box hidden

under the stares of cobwebs.

Sometimes she’d tell me

stories of her youth and

her determination to teach

physical education which

mocked and giggled at her

now frail body wrinkling

in the faded floral armchair

covered in plastic

sitting across the room from me.

Sometimes she’d fart

as people sometimes do

She’d laugh and say,

“Pardon me, I’ve had a

passing of the wind.”

My eyes would water

my shoulders would shake

my snickers could not be contained.

Together we’d sit there

chortling over bodily functions

relinquishing control of time.

Jedi Garden

Your sugar-coated violence was used

to coax my sympathetic heart back

from where I felt safe

from where I felt protected

from where I felt alive

from where I could be myself

instead of a role that you glued on my back

a role that I allowed to be superimposed

a lampshade to dim my light which shined anyway

Did it ever occur to you

that once you punched me

that once you slapped me

that once you pushed me down

that once you pulled my gun on me

that maybe, just maybe,

you shot me alive

by demonstrating the very reason

I could no longer stay by you

because you’d have destroyed

the very me I’ve become,

a light to guide others through

the loss of their power.

Had you succeeded

the skies would have gone dark

My tears of mourning would have drowned me

I gratefully would have rejoiced in the absence of me.

The Battle of NOW

NOW is when courage gets strapped on like armor
with the buckle of character and the belt of strength.
With the grieving already completed
nothing left to lose but the chains of slavery
perpetuated by the blind by choice monarchs
of an antiquated sense of royal entitlement
I will heed the trumpets of battle calling me to arms
I will join those who require justice, balance,
My sisters and brothers united.

NOW is when the shadows should be fearful
for the Light is coming, I carry it.
Until the last breath is drawn from my lungs
with a battle cry as fierce as fire
I will hold my torch aloft without discrimination
but with mercy unknown to those ignorant of truth.
Know that the moon is my shield, the sun is my guide
The clouds themselves won’t allow dark to hide.
With my sisters and brothers I will unite.

NOW is when the warrior voices of those who survive,
covered in battle wounds, scars, and bruises,
raise up their outrage against the injustices.
Swinging axes of love and beauty against the darkness
Slashing red ribbons into pretty bows to enhance life
Encouraging the young to speak violently
words of compassion, kindness, and dreams
Reminding everyone of the language of their soul
United with my sisters and brothers, I fight.

NOW is when we band together
under the warrior’s banner that reads
with the sword of truth gleaming glittery
with freedom released into the air from the cage
where it stagnated under the weight of oppression
where it strangled under the lies of darkness
where it remained every hopeful of rebirth
Only we can be the midwives of this bloody mess
Only we can set the cries of the newborn into the world
with a swat on the buttocks of bad behaviors
apathy, disinterest, rejection, bigotry, anger
Only we can swaddle our neighbors and communities
in the dawning of a new age with baby steps of joy.

My brothers and sisters hear my please!

Come, oh come, oh come to me!

NOW is the time to refuse division of our spirits.
NOW is the time for progressing our peace through love.
NOW is the gift we’re given to make a difference,
you and me and the faceless stranger.
NOW is the time to be present in changing our future
one loving gesture at a time.
NOW we can recognize one another openly
know that it is not just your burden, but OURS.
NOW we can pull up our shirtsleeves,
honor our hearts, our minds, our hands together.
NOW we can continue the work of our ancestral souls
that are bound to our blood as we are bound to one another.

My brothers and sisters hear my please!

Come, oh come, oh come to me!