Chadra Garsson

Devorah Major
Claire Ortalda
Shailja Patel
Mary Rudge
Mary Mackey
Adelle Foley
Debra Grace Khattab
Wendy P. Williams
anonymous poet
T. LeYung Ryan

Mary Rudge



May everyplace you look
stones become bread
may mangos and papayas
and pineapples
fall into your hands
may you feed the hungry
and give them flowers
May swallows fly in the winds
of your passing
may monkeys dance
in the path before you
may children of all people
be your children
and all people be your family
may singing of small birds
in air surround you
may poems always be in your mailbox
coming in to praise you
going out to right wrongs
Remember you have the blessing
of all women before you
combing their hair by the lake
naming all beautiful things after
remember the women
who learned to walk on fire
lit your way
the women who breathed fire
have blazed your path
the women whose fire burned
pentcostal from forehead and brain
transformed your vision
remember your ancestress
the temple dancer
remember your ancestress
the Queen of the Euphrates
remember your ancestresses
Esther and Ruth
the mother who bore you
the woman you might have been
in another life
remember the women in chains and
with barbed wire wounds.
You are the one
whose sisters were buried alive
you are the one
whose sister drowned when
the river rose
whose sister died of famine
and drought
you are the one
who worked in the fields
of California
and slept by the roadsides
harassed in the marketplace
in a far country sen to Siberia
for speaking out,
locked up as insane
against your will
you are the woman imprisoned
in burnoose
with clitoris cut in ritual
whose husband was chosen for you
you are the woman burned
for your dowry
you are he woman whose feet
were broken and bound
who could not walk
You are the woman who
leaped over walls
who leaped into hearts
whose heart leaped forward
May others embrace and join you
May everywhere
you walk
stones become bread.

Poem by Mary Rudge
(published in Beat, She Can't Be Beat)

Where Was Your Pen In The War?

Where was your pen in the war?
Poking politicians, thrusting poems
for their eyes that showed they had always
been blind -- shoving blade-straight to heart pain,
puncture blood out blood in, probe
where screams matter?

In every situation requiring justice-unafraid
you would pierce slash slice
ink runs out like a river unsheathed thought
current flow crevices of brain vein to
finger-grasp channel of sheer nerve
carved deep with a sharp tool – make us
think again, act, move, someone move on
who'd ever think they could act that way,
pristine visible do it make possible?

On the horizon where you live I expected
ink eruption covering the sky,
explosion of words flurrying up and out,
for thousands of directions, multiplied
by the millions who copy making points
hitting marks. The air page-blank, I went
to find where you were, your pen
stronger than sword, sharper than dagger,
sure cutting as scythe — poke fun, rapier wit.

Sweetheart, where when 9/11 Babel twin
towers all tragic came down, was your pen?
Where was your pen in the war, baby" Poet
I love. With that pen magnified giant club,
each letter hard rock stroke at Goliath bone
head knock sense into the right, the left, too,
cutting past dross, through ignorance
clear a way. A desperation brings me –
the ability of cells to become a rose,
caterpillar transform to butterfly, –
society transcend to peace
surpasses other purposes. The poets
silence, absence, the real aid to evil,
mark of a traitor to life, to the world.

How angry I am, arrived
at your door, to see the note "gone fishing" –
I expected to carry off a box of passion,
reams of paper ammunition, we needed you,
right writing hand, what right have you,
you bastard while the world burns
to just be down by the river
watching the light on its beautiful forever flow.

poem by Mary Rudge
from anthology Flaunt Peace In The Face Of War