The Newark Riots ~ 50 Years Later

This week marks the 50th anniversary of a very sad time – the Newark riots. I remember them well. There was a curfew, and when I looked out our apartment window – National Guardsmen rode by in a jeep with rifles leaning against their chests. I was nowhere near the terror-stricken interior but inhaled the tension. This was my home city, and I was 14 years old. I wrote these tanka poems in hindsight and they were published by Modern English Tanka Press in 2009, 40 years after the fact. Newark still suffers:
 ~
forty years
after the riots
three students slain
“no apparent cause”
again, this blistering heat
~
born to love
born to hunt
we do what we do…
all the songs all the poems
nothing changes this
~
coming in on
a soft summer breeze
tickling my necking
and dropping down low —
this sadness for what
 ~
warm nights
I undress by an open
window   wondering
what is freely given
               freely taken
 ~
© Andrea Grillo

Call and Response

John Burroughs said it best: “Harvest with a quiet eye.”

Every morning and every evening, I am serenaded by a very resolute songbird. He/she is perched on a low hanging wire directly outside a window over my kitchen sink. Since I wash all my dishes by hand, from dawn to dusk, I am treated to this small bird’s boisterous concerto for what seems like forever, and long after all the other songbirds have quieted and moved on to their daily chores. Its song is a repetitive two-note high pitch that contrasts with the deep lushness of early summer green behind it. I believe the bird is a Red-Eyed Vireo whose voice fills its whole being from beak to tail tip. And from a far-off somewhere else, is the return song… another Vireo answering the call.

I am lucky to be surrounded by woods and fields and awakened at the high point of songbirds in our area as early as 4:45 AM. No need to set an alarm when the windows are open and light breezes blowing. I consider this a blessing, as it lasts only a few short weeks after the solstice, when the daylight begins to dwindle ever so imperceptibly, and birds that migrate leave nests behind taking their songs with them.

This little guy/gal and I are linked in a daily routine when washing dishes is no longer a chore but a sweet beginning and ending to summer love.

call and response from the woods yet another harvest

Glorious June

Happy Summer Solstice. Thank you Sun for your light and fire and year-long blessings.

Awoodlandrose's Blog

June is one of my two favorite months. It oozes heat and passion in the right mix especially at twilight:

twilight ripens
the rose red
ripens twilight

dusk between my toes the long day*

fireflies
in the old meadow
the sky too
lingers
in this garden**

please
scatter my ashes
in a summer garden
as daylight ebbs
and colors ripen

warm moon on the rise pulsing fireflies

*first published Haiku Canada Review
** 1st published Blithe Spirit

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Haikuey For A Friend

“How would you say this more simply and more haikuey”  –

“Spring Sunset Gold-Yellow Song Upon The Sky Trumpeting Daffodils?”

How would I? (turn this observation and string into a haiku), is the question asked of me about eight years ago when it was queried, and almost five years since she passed and crossed over the rainbow bridge. I may have tried once, however I was none-too successful. She was my favorite poet, even though she hardly wrote any tailored or even casual poetry. Her words just flowed into “raspberry and tangerine images.” Ours was a forty-year correspondence with a shared love of nature and the arts.

I rediscovered the question on a sticky note in her very distinct handwriting this morning and decided to sit down and finish the conversation. I hope that I can do her proud and know that she is smiling anyway.

For Robin, forever friend – I miss you and your words:

daffodils trumpet
sunset’s golden song  ~
a listening sky

ag ~ June 2017

I hope the stars appreciate your special beauty.

 

June and the Strawberry Moon (revisited)

Once again…

Awoodlandrose's Blog

Lightning bugs are out and about! This is a reblog in honor of the  solstice, full moon and lightning bugs/fireflies that keep the sun’s light pulsing throughout the short but dark nights.

June

thunder drums
the earth
returns the call
red roses issue
bullfrogs echo
rivers storm
however brief
that passion
ignites
eddies back
a plea from
the full strawberry moon
and her wild
goddess energy
pay attention
please
to these gifts
now

ag ~ 2014

IMG_0637

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New York New York

The New Fancy 

after an article by Joyce Cohen in The New York Times: March 26, 2017
The Hunt — Self-Employed Artists Find A Home Without Wheels

 

She a drummer
he plays guitar and acts.
They both sing
“misfit pop” tracks.

The couple rolled into NYC
in an ’82 Volkswagon camper
landing in Bedford-Stuy, Brooklyn,
rough around the edge but not cramper.

As self-employed artists they filmed
“Consumer Comments On Vegan Mayonnaise”
(cannot make this stuff up)
neither a critical success or a campy craze.

Always looking on the bright side,
they searched for an affordable rental:
750 sq. ft. in central Harlem — its windows covered
with paper, certainly to these two, nothing detrimental.

On a clear day
it’s off with the paper for plenty of light,
while the bathroom faucet growls on and off
frightening away critters throughout the night.

The water pressure is so low —
one neighboring wifi network is aptly named,
“NoWaterPressureHere,” thus insuring
urban wit and creativity, above all, take aim.

“It’s better than the wheels,” so they say
and certainly not permanent.
As artists seeking gritty New York,
now all they have to do — is pay the rent.

ag ~ 2017

 

 

Of Twilight

It’s definitely not the rum!

Awoodlandrose's Blog

Waxing Twilight

I feel the sap
rise in my body –
after all it’s Spring.
Or is it the rum
making me feel warmer
than the bedding sun
that I imagine slips away 
under the sheets
into the embrace 
of a waiting lover.

I like to think that
the moon and stars
are made of flesh 
and blood 
lust and longing.
Or is it that 
we are made
of sap and starlight
forgetting our own 
dawn and radiance.

What difference 
does it really make 
when I fall in love
so easily
anyway.

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