The Gaze

Gaze by oladimeji-odunsi-415606-unsplash (3)

The Gaze


Colored eyes seeing

Yet unseeing

Refuses to acknowledge me

What we’ve been

What I have been

Who I am

Just like that.


My questioning gaze

Sneaks under your skin

Our eyes meet

Mine questions

Yours fall

Yours give no answers

Refusing to answer


In refusing to answer

You deny me

You deny possibilities


In your response please say what you think is happening in the poem

Or Please describe an experience you had that was similar

From the author  of Splendor from Ashes



This is what love is

My Valentine

Do you remember the time my dear? To the love of my life on the occasion of Valentine’s Day.

He Says

I hear her typing.
I know she’s home
and all is well.
My heart sings in harmony with hers.
She is doing what she loves.
I feel her freeing
as she reaches for herself.
In her reaching she stretches me.
I descend the stairs
to the immediacy of her smile.
The adoration I see in her eyes
makes my manhood soar.
The self, reflected back to me in her eyes,
is a genius, a partner and friend.
It’s a commitment to the end.
For in her eyes I’m a man of stature;
Atlas in psychological musculature.

My evolving mission’s the emancipation,
after the detonation and the blast,
twinned to the life that was past.
Composite integrity blending,
we’re making each other whole.
Luxuriating in dreaming,
in forgiving,
And like art
forever enduring.
I hear her typing.
I know we’re home
and all is well.

This poem can be found in my book Splendor from Ashes


It’s My Dream Not Yours

black doll for dreams-1939357_1920Dreams 

I live your dreams,
And, oh, how I want to live mine.
Your dreams are not as sublime,
are not easy on the span of my mind.

Dreams, scientific, methodical,
incongruous weighty dreams—
your anchored and balanced dreams
sure don’t fit in with mine.

Dreams mirror the truer self.
My dreams are light and freeing,
infectious and idiosyncratic.
So unyoke my dreams;
my spirited bulls of Miura.

The truth is I would be fine
if you would allow me a slot
to define my own space in my own time,
to walk leisurely with the grace
to change my mind.

I need the privilege,
the easing out of tight ridges,
of ideas unprepared
and not quite decided.

I have the need to clear my desk,
without the burden of redress.
Get rid of the clutter,
and with each new dawn,
craft the path of the reborn,
with dreams unplagiarized,
not borrowed, boxed, or generic,
and courage to revel
or put the gears in reverse.
I’ve lived your dreams,
And, oh, how I want to live mine.

This poem can be found in my book Splendor from Ashes





The Penitent 2

eunice-lituanas-242757-unsplash (1) repent

pic by eunice lituans

The Penitent (2004)

My God, I relent.

What did I not do right?

Which t’s did I not cross? Which i’s left I undotted?

Was I too haughty, ambitious, proud?

Please tell me, Lord.

I might have erred in ignorance.

For my errors I want to atone,

so that the pain will cease.

I hate myself for being weak,

for being pain’s unrelenting prey.

Shine forth your light in the valley

of this approaching death

that masks true faith

in the circularity of its jagged labyrinth.

Is there no absolution,

no healing for the penitent?

Why are wounds still raw,

routinely reopened,

exposing pink flesh to fresh infections?


This poem can be found in my book Splendor from Ashes


Persephone and the Death Inflicting Figure



I  use the words of the famous poet William Blake to inspire hope in all such victims: “Little Lamb God bless thee”

She became pregnant in adolescence, a victim of a trusted adult.  Like Persephone another maiden was snatched from innocence by a death inflicting figure. Was she another victim doomed to become a prisoner of the underworld of life? Research shows that victims of childhood sexual abuse are set up to be long term victims. Some even become prone to sexual re-victimization (Fergusson, Howard and Lynky, 1997). High rates of depression thoughts of suicide, and dependence on drugs or alcohol become some of the scars of their world. It is my prayer that the gates that imprison of this little lamb are broken.

Generally, there seems to be no one to bless Blake’s “Little Lambs” for Justice seems to have abdicated this duty for which it was enthroned.  Justice has abdicated  even from the highest courts of our land when our teenage victims are not believed, and their tale deemed less credible than those of Hades even when “Hecate” and “Helios” support  Persephone/ the victim’s tale. Consistently, the report of the death inflicting figure is believed thus positioning the darker side of our society as inviolable. To  maintain a  facade that all is well society makes the choice to ignore its underbelly of rottenness. Humanity  must save face and so it chooses to err on the side of the loudest speaker and those with political influence.

The issue of child abuse is remote phenomena until it comes home to roost . When it happened to a childhood friend’s daughter the remoteness of the phenomena  evaporated,  and it hurt like crazy. My pain gave birth to the poem, “I Did not Know” .

“I Did not Know” and similar poems can be found in my book Splendor from Ashes


I Did Not Know

   Loss of innocence

The issue of child abuse is a remote phenomena until it comes home to roost . When it happened to a childhood friend’s daughter the remoteness of the phenomena  evaporated,  and it hurt like crazy. My pain gave birth to this poem, “I Did not Know”.

I Did Not Know (2013)

I confess I did not know

of the breach of long ago,

and when I heard, it pained me so

that tears refused to flow.


Stillborn tears are worst, you know.

They wrack your being in vain.

You cannot sleep, you cannot rest,

for deeds you can’t redress.


Nightmarish thoughts overrun my breast,

conjuring, tormenting, protocol despising,

adjudicating for logic, sense, and meaning,

with the philosophies of the best.


Hades’s life entombed and threatening

in a young girl’s womb.

Breach, interruption, society’s decimation,

deflowered Persephone in need of a redefinition.


I can’t turn back the clock, my dear,

or murder the inspirer of fear,

but I relentlessly mourn all Persephones,

as though they were my own.


“I Did not Know” and similar poems can be found in my book Splendor from Ashes


The Abuser as Colonizer


As obtained under the system of colonialism, an abuser aims to violently take control of another person. Both systems act to break and exploit a person in order to bolster some distorted sense of glory. An abuser, whether in full awareness or not, operates a system that is aimed at destroying   another’s courage to hope, as well as to foster deficiencies in one’s pride and self-esteem. Like colonialism, systematic abuse places a stronghold on the person subjected to its ministrations whether or not the perpetrator intends to do so.

A tankOften – times the abuser justifies the status quo treatment of the subject. An apathetic society then becomes complicit in this justification of such subjugation by being mum on the subject or by not openly addressing it. The persistence of such a system tells of certain structures deeply embedded in our socialization system that allows for the perpetuation of this evil generation after generation. We need to identify and annihilate those pertinatious structures from among us.

striong woman

As alluded to the poem “I don’t Break, I Bend  a postcolonial renaming is called for as identity rediscovery and reclamation must be realized for recovery and transcendence. To allow for this, colonialist implants of the abuser in the psyche that reconditions a person into thinking he/she is not enough, must be rejected. Simultaneously there must also be a rejection of the attendant subjugation that overtime causes the subject person to become settled into the unacceptable positions. To escape the stranglehold- the accustomed prison- and neuter the impact of the abuser, the wounded must rename herself. In the process with God’s help that person would achieve ascendance to transform her/his point of breaking into her/his point of making

I Don’t Break, I Bend

I dont breakI Don’t Break; I Bend

Just where you broke her,

that’s where she did grow,

herself for to know.


Just where you finished her,

there she famously died,

but her eyes opened wide.


First cowering and stumbling,

she learned to stymie fear.

Then rising from her tomb of clay,

her truth she came to bear.


Watery tears nourished.

Her life’s garden flourished;

towering flowers in reds and blues,

choirs blossoming in every hue.


She’d outwitted the battering,

the identity confusing and a future so uncertain,

to roar upon high mountains.

By rejecting the guile,

brokenness she did foil,

and astutely stronger grew,

offering comfort to the broken new.


The recovering fatalist now

chronicles a phoenix’s dusty rise

out of dreary brokenness upon unbroken wings.


Celebrates the shattering,

the fueled postcolonial renaming

and shrewd neutering

of the colonizer’s deadly renderings

This and similar poems can be found in my book Splendor from Ashes

Brenda fixed my book cover





The Returning Soldier


The Returning Soldier

Many a time we face the battle of life like untried soldiers. And, like untried soldiers we are never fully prepared for the sometimes-dramatic consequences of warfare. Then when we confront life’s amoral demands for conformism we become stunned like deer caught in the headlights.soldiers-

But having taken institutional vows we feel we are under moral obligation to act the part to keep up appearances. Oftentimes this may come at a cost. It may come at the cost of a slow and painful death of core values, of dreams and of self.

Yes, we kill off our dreams and other aspects of self for appearances because we are mindful of the oath taken.

wounded soldier 2

At times as returning and rebounding soldiers we are so broken that it is quite challenging – near impossible to make the psychosocial adjustments required. Yet we soldiers return to wherever home is, to face ridicule after having sacrificed a part of ourselves for that which was judged as valuable, or for some other – perceived greater good. So, did I.

This short exposition is hopefully a guide to the understanding of the poem “The Returning Soldier” which follows:                     

The Returning Soldier

Soldier, did you kill a man?   

 How did it feel?                                                                                                                 

Woman, did you leave your man?                                                                                        

How did it feel?

This woman did kill a man—

Soldier, did you kill a man?

How did it feel?

Woman, did you leave your man?

How did it feel?

This woman did kill a man—

not that man, this inner man, in partial suicides,

in sneaky, slow dyings

with the technology of sharp-shooting inner snipers

configured by the Cain of conservatism.

She was a terrorist against herself,

blowing body parts to bits,

soul and blood raining down upon a tortured landscape

to join those of Abel in post-Edenic torpor.

Be a self-preserving surgeon like this woman.

Amputate the amalgam of selves that anesthetizes

and forces you to choose another’s interest over your own.

But don’t you dare sit in your sterile towers

and politicize and sensationalize her cracks at survival.


The Returning Soldier is taken from my book Splendor from Ashes

Brenda fixed my book cover