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Taboo Brown and Blue

Genetics dictate we are a 50/50 split of our parents, and researchers have identified various cycles that continue from one generation to the next. But how similar are we really to our parents and how do we become our own person–and what loop will we become in the chain of familial tradition?

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Killeen Sky

by Margery Hannah There is an ocean largeabove Texas where copper flickers ivory fish ribs scale the expanse like veins in overgrown leaves and a skeleton man smiles downat me Where clouds paddle near eternity And I inhale and swim intermittently Where from one small lightgenerations are born And stars salute as soldiers to respectable…

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Median

Monday meter from #theliterarypurveyor: An avenue named for the state and its best city is the median for two juxtaposed neighboring communities—Crown Heights and Brownsville—and the setting for today’s #poetry

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Crystal White

I’ve lived at twelve o’ four Clymouth street for over fifty years. I’ve seen people move in and out and trees grow from saplings into fat telephone poles with umbrellas that shade the streets like canopies. Don’t ask me what kind of trees—I don’t pay much attention if they don’t yield fruit. Lord knows I can’t eat leaves. I’ve seen neighbors become grandmas and grandpas and children become parents. I’ve seen the children I once taught piano become performers, doctors, teachers, and drug addicts. Yes, I’ve seen it all and I’m gonna tell you about one family. Yes, just a one because that’s all you have time for. Life moves so fast these days; I don’t want to take up too much of it. Before you know it, you’ve blinked your eyes and you’ve become grey and toothless like me.

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Storms

I look forward to them the way
I once wet-tongued over
cotton candy as a child.

Neon afro-sugar melting
in my mouth, what is
sweeter than that?

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Shard in the Eye

Recently, I reflected on my birth order and whether I fit the associated stereotypes. I am the baby of the bunch: my dad, a young widower nearly ten years my mother’s junior, had two beautiful girls (eight and nine years my senior) when he met and married my mom. My mother had given birth to…

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Orange Can of Kerosene

I stood out back, with an orange can of kerosene in my right hand, looking at the overgrown grass, hanging tree limbs, and corroding nails through the roof shingle lying at my feet. All times when walking in the yard I was careful; the fallen shake multiplied daily and soon the roof underlayment would be viewable from the street. Snow covered the descended pieces in winter and in autumn they were concealed by leaves. Those were cozier times; I could light a fire. The chimney smoke distracted from the balding roof, deciduous trees and autumn leaves peppering the ground; the celebration of fall transformed my signifying dilapidation into beauty. On summer days the yard was dry enough to discreetly pick the bits up after a day’s work, though it was the type of neighborhood open drapes display the booty of wealth-commitment; earlier in the day someone may have already had a peak.

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A Long Way Home

Humility breeds optimism, so we had assurance in loads. Still, it pained me to go. The heartland, like the heart, is sick and deceitful; it cannot be trusted. The heart is what kept us in Wichita for two long years and had I continued to follow it, the girls and I would still be some fifteen hundred miles behind, away from the world’s best city.

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Before I paved still air

to my place of bread
I was unpleasant

unpleasantly duressed by lack
of water
I could wash neither body

nor favorite dress

nor feed my yielding inedible
plant, nor swallow it

240 minutes waterless

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On Pride, Not Prejudice

I’m a cocky son of a bitch. Instead of heeding to the eternal wisdom of God, humbling myself under His mighty hand so at the proper time He might exalt me (1 Peter 5:6), I’ve been busy luxuriating on a delusional high horse. I’ve got the heart of integrity and the blood of the enslaved…

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Harlem Shuffle

And the time came to let go of my white people on a residential rooftop view and waterfront backyard with a baseball field on the side. With all its man-buns, diverse restaurants, bars, Polish culture and consignment shops, Greenpoint couldn’t compete with uptown Manhattan, where a renaissance of black excellence ascends history at more counts than Basie. Long held my heart has Harlem Word.

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Prosperity

Prosperity

By Margery Hannah

Sand falls to the platter
of dry branches resting
in a baby cardboard box

I bless you and lower my gaze

wipe greased palms
on linen white

Drop it in the box
Chant, “Prosperity, prosperity, prosperity”

Match the platter with burning light
Now, spit upon the flames
You are now a footstool
for dreams abundant

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Still Life

Still Life
By Margery Hannah
A snow globe
is where I am
A world where white
snow falls without
freezing. The house always stands
untouched and happy in warm
hands of what is
living and real.

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Fig Trees

Fig Trees

By Margery Hannah

I want to be the red dot beaming
on canvas bleached
The Son I am to ears
bright of faces without teeth
The Tupac of despair, the Pryor
of fears laughing
at tears dried by Martin’s dream

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Go For Yours

In A Revolutionary Life, John Lee Anderson wrote Che Guevara had a sense of security only trust fund beneficiaries understand. Recently, I came across decade-old letters and emails I’d sent the administrator of my now dissolved family trust that made me both cringe at my audacity and smile at my courage. Funding requests for an automobile, back mortgage payments, gifts for my brothers, relocation, graduate school summer tuition, a kitchen remodel for mom’s home with a surprise truck on the side, and an appeal for funding to pay my housing for three years while earning an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature (a notably unprofitable degree I would complete a year early) littered my outbox and clear plastic file box. I imagined myself an attorney presenting my case for financial support on the latter matter, and with the beneficiaries—my two elder brothers, mother and I—evenly at odds on whether the trust should support my next academic endeavor in New York, I argued in the most upstanding manner I knew how, with a series of questions meant to illicit facts.

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Revisiting The Canterbury Tales: Arveragus’ Defense

What non-Biblical book competes with Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales? I discovered Chaucer’s masterpiece back in Honors English 102 at WSU, courtesy of Dr. William Woods, and the lessons of honor, integrity, knighthood, and class have since with me remained. From its poetic prowess to its cultural notations, The Canterbury Tales is a medieval kindle still lit by the wisdom in Chaucer’s descriptions of competing storytellers and the twenty-four competing tales told by those characters, both representations of the various social classes. Never has an unfinished book been so complete.

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Home Beyond Lodabar: From NYC to Wichita, Kansas and Back

How are the imaginations of New York City children fostered without the ability to look up and see stars? Perhaps the New York City skyline sufficiently espouses the greatness of man, placing a seed in the mind of its youth that all things are possible; maybe it is the sheer beauty of the lights sustaining…

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Milo Baughman and Such Relics

By the time I began visualizing what kind of sofa to manifest for my Moving On Up home during my divorced-in-my-mid-twenties years, mom announced she’d found it. “I saw your sectional at King’s,” she said during a standard unannounced drop-in, beckoning me into her Ford pick-up truck, bought with a secret appeal of on her…

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Storms Are But A Memory

This memory (or is it a feeling or act?) of fear as instructed by the Almighty God telling me I MUST do what is right–right, a simple thing convoluted by either fleshly desire or the other thing, that much lesser thing roaming the earth to and fro looking for whom to devour, goes back as…

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On the MFA – Creative Writer, I See

In short, an MFA in Creative Writing & Literature is not recommended. It’s nice networking— many of your instructors will have taught some of the greats and will in fact be some of the greats, but like all creative spaces there is a fantastic degree of subjectiveness to which the weak hinge their self-worth. A…

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For the Writers – Little Matters

And so it’s stated in the first page of Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing, the most important arguments are within. Great; in this I’m well versed.  It’s been the substance of procrastination for many a day and it’s the general recipe of chaos versus control. Aren’t poets known for requiring long walks in the park to watch squirrels?

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The best of Harlem, day and night

“Home sweet home” is more than a phrase mumbled by the oft traveler, or announced by the long laborer, or sang by the prodigal upon passing though the threshold of–irreverent of humble or grand–abode; it is a return to the crawl in need of one’s soul, a womb-like sanctuary sheltering us–in happy homes–from the world.

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