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Contributors




Eli
photo

Stacey Tolbert




Poem Excerpts from:

Strangers, Neighbors and Places: The People Poems Collection

05/08/08


 

Rita



wiggles like a loose tooth

talks to plants

whispers yes

rises with the sun

wears nothing                                  underneath

listens to explanations once

puts on calm                                     never

                                                           takes

                                                           it

                                                           off

rarely intrudes upon her reflection

doesn't need to see her/self

everyday new           (born)

everyday old             (soul)

 

sweeps stars

&

recycles bull shit     

to plant          

affirmations

 

 


Eli



pushes down iraqnaphobia

buried beneath sand dementia

           

timelapses

headaches

backflashes

 

blood on nameless girl centered between vocal chords & 7year old skin

 

suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome    gre/een bla/ck gre/een bla/ck bro/wn

commendations & news write up's          bushes & combat     see n n

Gi Bill & Honorable Discharge

 

& numbness             can't seem to defrost beating heart

 

wants her to do CPR

bring him back to life

call him soldier while they fuck

 

tries    to         be       romantic        (pours massage oil from his flask)

blood on nameless girl centered between vocal chords & 7-year old skin

 

& numbness             can't seem to defrost beating heart

 

 

P Eli's

   Bedroom

 

White Flannel Sheets/No comforter

Rita's organic panties

7 Bibles

Picture of Eli's mother inside a birthday card

2 Knives, under each pillow

1 Oily green flask

Cans of sardines

 


Terrance



Shoots the     ball

                        dribble

                        Run

                        Shake

the players

dream big

                        cars

                        money

                        house

                        clothes

                        women

number one player

number one player

number one player

repeating the 9th grade

                        smart and

                        funny

failing

falling

fibbing

first born

fearful

fatherless

                        won't

get through school

with perfect

                        alleoop

                                 

 

P Terrance's

   Crumpled letter from his counselor

 

Terrance is a wonderful basketball player. He has a great

personality and all the kids like him. I wish that his

basketball skills coupled with his social skills would

balance his academic performance. If we don't see

a substantial improvement of Terrance's grades

by the end of the quarter, unfortunately, he will not be

promoted to the 10th grade. We understand that he is

having major adjustment issues, but we cannot

continually make allowances or exceptions for him.

Please call me on Monday and lets make a plan. I want

to help as much as I can, but in the end, Terrance has

to do this.

 

 

 


Ms. Paulette Williams


 

Is corporate somebody

elevator ride

                        far

from street plankton

bad news

& blaring radios

 

wears assorted names

close to her skin

loves the sound of plastic as it

spanks the counter

 

stilt walks

9-5

 

inside

away from the field  . . .       grows

 

weaker

at every happy hour

 

hears them screaming

covers ears

tries to tell somebody/somewhere/something/anybody/anything/anywhere

 

                                                listen

 

i'll fuck you up if you even try to tell me what to do

muthafucka i aint scared of you because i know what

you did &       ima tell          ima tell           ima tell

 

asks bar tender for more rita

in her marga

tells happy hour go-ers

they've got rat's in

their glasses

 

mouth's the ten commandments


 

 

Bessie


 

On the porch

sipping sun tea

straw hat cocked

            aimed

            ready

for sun rays and creaky porch debris

doesn't have to search for backsliders

            eyes in the back of her head

keeps time scatting African hymns

takes up grand parenting every day at 4:18pm

lets the little ones quickly hug her wide frame with narrow hands

makes cookies

presses sheets

cooks gumbo

lights white candles

consults God and Ancestors

            squints eyes at intuition dust

waits for high school bus to deliver

granny's baby from evil.

 

 

P Bessie's

  Big Pocket Book

 

white silk handkerchief (scented)

white satin gloves

thin peacock fan

tattered 1940's love letter from Bill senior

baby wipes

church keys

rouge

lipstick

recipe for jalapeľo cornbread

miniature bible

brown braided snappin' belt

kleenex

grandbabies school pictures: Lita, Carter, Laylah, Sue

 

 

 


Leroy



Drug induced

            hang over

                        upside down

they 69

in 84

            after Orwell

            with Reagan

 

before marital amnesia

            cheap gas

            Marvin Gaye

            Carter

                                    they

                       

chelled peanuts

                        wine'd and cheese'd         

                        carnivore'd and vegetarian'd

                        free loved and one partnered

                        bus stopped, afro'd, bell bottomed, disco'd, big nose Michael Jackson'd

 

they

revolutioned

took communion

worked late

                        went   separate ways.

 



PLeroy's

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