A Paisley Tale

22 Apr

Once upon a time in my girlhood, I changed my name to Paisley and wholeheartedly believed my Prince Charming would find me bearing roses and my raspberry beret. We’d marry and make melodies in a purple mansion and grow wise and beautiful as Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. That was a long time ago but still the tears run deep without ceasing. I will not say good night but instead, sleep well with your beloved.

Prince Rogers Nelson June 7, 1958- April 21, 2016

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Sirius

5 Apr

Watery waves above seared asphalt,

I wonder how long we’re to bare this

inferno, this burden. How did we get here?

 

Summers of long ago were built for mindless

laughter, and the splashing of dirty tiny feet.

We ventured out at 8 am and surveyed the wild

hills behind us, be they made of concrete or granite.

Under the paramount of 80 degree palm trees

We dined on the likes of Pop Rocks, Coke, pickles and

America’s Best, Project Kool-Aid. Why did we leave?

 

Roads warped and lawns parched, we huddle now

in vacant spaces, too hot to touch, leemealone. The

tile is cool and the AC struggles to hum, but for how long?

 

One August I fell in love with Leonard. That was me,

hair feathered and free, body stuffed in a flat tank top

and daisy dukes. I only watered the grass every day at

2 o’clock; the time he came home from hoopin’ at the park.

He was enamored with my 12 year-old frame I’m certain.

 

Four grandmas fell in thirty days due to century heat

beating their ages. Budget cuts closed one city pool but

dilapidated, who’d walk barefoot to its watering hole anyway?

 

June ’91 sparked the summer of free beginnings.

Boyz N the Hood made Crenshaw a tourist spot and

we were okay with it; we were 20, dreams aplenty, and

days of the week spawned one long water filled weekend.

Newly on the verge of making count, we believed we

were invincible. In a year we’d elect a sax-playing President.

 

104° in Dallas and kids remain house hostages ransacking our nerves.

Senators ransom both college funds and Grandmas’ prescriptions.

My how we’ve changed over this 21st Century Summer.

 

©Asani Charles 8/1/2011

April’s Roundy

1 Apr

March to November moves clockwise to the

prairie songs of eight cowboy-hatted men.

Dancers circle about in a kaleidoscope of hues,

bells and sparkly rhinestones.  Among this

concert of colors, one girl, wearing her grandma’s

simple jingle dress, closes her eyes on honor beats,

dancing church as the tin cones make medicine.

She thinks no one sees her.

 

Every Saturday he dons his father’s roach and single bustle,

moving counter clockwise because that is tradition.

He dances for grandpa who cannot. He never takes a

number because the drum is not a lottery.

His vest doesn’t glisten so he rarely catches the judges’ eye.

Still a handful of young hopefuls watch his

every step, coup and stop.

He thinks no one sees him.

 

When the round dance sings it way between

contest and cake walk, they make their way,

slide stepping with the head lady, slide stepping

with the head man. Then like kismet, at the eclipse

of the men and women’s lines, she notices his old-style

bead work with the fat, chubby beads in muted colors.

He marvels at her lone braid and scarlet scarf

en lieu of a fan. He wonders what her family name is.

 

© Asani Charles 4/2/13

On hearts and trinkets

14 Feb

One heart that beats for me

each day is far more

sweet, chocolate, velvet

courting, loving, knowing

and deserving of mine

than any other fashioned

out of paper and red dye.

 

I will meet this heart

in places warm and soft

cozy, comfortable, familiar

and giggle, maybe even chortle

at kindergarten jokes

and welcome what should be

awkward, but in love is real.

 

I will have ears to listen as I

also find audience in this heart.

I will give words that edify

and seek forgiveness when they sear.

I will remember tender small things

When aught sneaks in,

to begin again, rekindle, I pray.

 

And when fire is rekindled something

new always burns while the old

crumbles into ashes. So let bitterness wither,

remaining only old lovers with

new love, retrofit for new days,

two hearts, ever beating always

for each other —daily.

 

 

© Asani Charles 2/11/09

Song for John TRUdell

10 Dec

I’m quite tired of cancer.

It should wither away into dust like rotary phones,

manual car windows and other passé, née primitive things.

I have no idea why cancer likes poets so much either.

Is it because we carry truth in our mouths

like water gourds in the desert?

Is it because we see humanity in small, discarded places?

I’ve decided that cancer not only sucks, but

should surely attack itself until it has eaten

all the evil it can bear and then die

in a lonely dank corner with no one

to surround it with love or care.

 

We will not be moved, but will march on

with swords in our pockets and drones in our keypads.

Truth is eternal and so are the poets who bear its testimony.

For Giselle Robinson, Lucille Clifton, Ai, and the human called

John TRUdell

 

 

© Asani Charles

Lluvia & Lamentation

28 Aug

Lluvia & Lamentation

#RememberingKatrina because ten years ago the waters came bringing salt and tears. #LluviaAndLamentation #Katrina10

Native American Student Wears Eagle Feather At Graduation After Court Fight

7 Jun

Lululululu for him, for all of us!

RED POWER MEDIA

Christian Titman walks into Lamonica Stadium for Clovis High's graduation ceremony Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Clovis, Calif. The Native American student is wearing an eagle feather to his high school graduation after resolving a court fight with a California school district over the sacred object. (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee via AP) Christian Titman walks into Lamonica Stadium for Clovis High’s graduation ceremony Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Clovis, Calif. The Native American student is wearing an eagle feather to his high school graduation after resolving a court fight with a California school district over the sacred object. (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee via AP)

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – A Native American student wore an eagle feather that he considers sacred to his high school graduation ceremony after resolving a court fight with a California school district.

Christian Titman, clad in blue with his fellow graduates of Clovis High School, marched into the stadium at sunset Thursday, his long braid with the eagle feather attached came out one side of his cap while the traditional graduate’s tassel hung over the other side.

His presence – and the feather’s – at the ceremony came after a last-minute deal with the Clovis Unified…

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