Poem for Malala Yousafzai

Who is Malala?

Who is this child with the voice of a storm,
sent to face death and turn it into a hurricane,
changing the fist of the desert into an open palm?

Who is this child placing books like shields
in the hands of women, eclipsing the silence
of black gun barrels like mouths stuffed with fire?

She smiles. She makes herself a target.
She shows the oppressed that knowledge
is the atom bomb in a war of water pistols.

She speaks and the warlords shutter their windows,
cower in the halls with their hands over their ears,
these terrorists afraid of shadows and thunder.

Who is this woman so brave, she stands alone
in the path of a Jihad, a holy battle waged
against human rights like an assault on daylight.

Who is this woman, turning herself into a sun?
This woman, her words like comets,
shooting stars for the abandoned to wish upon,

she is the song in the throat of the wingless.
She is the prayer on the lips of the faithless.
She is mother to the orphaned.

Malala is bravery waving hello,
a raised hand faced palm out
to show that even a desert has a lifeline.

Kindle and acceptance

Father Figures is now available in a Kindle edition. The print edition of the book has also just went down to a lower price. For those interested in a copy, you can get the print edition now for just $9.00 and the Kindle edition for $2.99.

I have two poems up on the latest issue of Thirteen Myna Birds featured from the chapbook, thanks to editor Juliet Cook. You can see the whole issue here.

This week I have received word that my poem “make believe sonnet, facebook poem #16” was accepted to Driftwood Press. It will be in their next issue. Thanks to the editors.

Featured Author at ExFic

I am the featured author this month at ExFic. Four of my new poems have been published there, from my upcoming experimental manuscript that is still seeking a publisher. The entire work is derived from things observed on my social media feed. Special thanks to editor Sophie Boyce for giving me this opportunity. If you wish to purchase a chapbook, click here.

New Poem – inspired by Rattle’s Poets Respond

Alternate Headlines

A stay of execution
felt like reclaiming
dandelion seeds from the wind,
brilliant and blinding starbursts of light
once the mask was removed,
once the ties were cut from bloody wrists,
once shaking hands were cupped
to capture the shimmering stream
of water spilled from a basin,
to cleanse the face of tears and grime,
to welcome the kisses
from his worried mother.

The National Guard planted roses
in the yard of every house
haunted by Michael’s innocent smile,
the city a beacon of blooming life,
a chain of joined hands
holding back the senseless shadows
cast from the violent fires of grief,
with one voice, one song, one wish,
that no one die in vain,
that tragedy never forces
the humanity out of humanity.

They continued to pay it forward,
to buy each other coffee
because it is more than caffein in a cup,
it’s a hope that kindness can spread
like cancer’s antithesis,
that the roots of one small joy
can fan out into a network of surprises
that take hold and grow
into a tree of limitless branches
no storm could ever break,
every person touched
remembering the simple pleasures
of a tire swing in the summer.

Elegy for Robin Williams

Something profound is gone
for Robin Williams

There’s nothing profound to say when something is gone,
the words begin and then end before they are born,
the laughing children pause and tilt their heads,
listening for that breath the universe chose to hold.

There’s nothing profound to say when something is gone,
they light candles, invoke prayers, become smoke and wax,
they sob into pillows and watch old films and sigh,
they stand on tables and reach into the sky, trying to pull it back.

There’s no madness so profound as something that is gone,
an ache that begins like a lump in the throat and travels down,
a sadness with hurt so deep it escapes through an open mouth,
a barbaric yawp grown hoarse from sounding on rooftops alone.

There’s no madness so profound as something that is gone,
every room is haunted, especially the self, the room without walls,
every passing moment a gravity condensing cells into moons,
a body overburdened with weight, but unwilling to fall.

There’s nothing profound to say when something is gone,
the words begin and then end before they are born,
the songs unwritten will remain unsung,
there’s just madness, that little spark of madness we keep.

New Poem Acceptance!

My poem “An(ti)-mal(l)” was accepted today for the Writer’s Digest PAD anthology. This is a huge honor, and I am very lucky and grateful to have been selected. I owe many thanks to the Poetic Asides community and especially to Robert Lee Brewer. This thing this year really became a very competitive contest, with thousands of poets vying for thirty spots. Each day was judged by a different nationally recognized poet. My selected poem’s day was judged by Daniel Nester. The anthology, called Poem Your Heart Out, is available now for pre-order from Words Dance, a press owned and operated by the esteemed Amanda Oaks. There’s still a few days left to be decided, and I have a few more chances to get another piece into the anthology. Keep your fingers crossed!