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Delores Fisher

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San Diego, CA, US

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Trophy Lover

by

Delores Fisher


It alarmed me yesterday. . .
Awakening to thoughts of throwing out
Dirty kitty litter and you.

I am through talking to your mess.
My heart is spirited away, hidden, shielded by an exotic air of Chants, incantations,
Shamans and griots.

I am rhythmic energy,
Melodic balophone heterophony,
Soaring gourd song.

I am rooted healing herbs,
Hyacinth, lilacs, sage,
Wild honey.
Not quite acculturated, quirky, eccentric.
Your imperfect trophy fiancé . . .

Lament my impurity with vile invective,
Construct a redefinition of my identity,
Deny me.

I reify the dynamic corporeal configuration of two cultures.

If I insist on owning my primitive "associations"
You will not marry me?
Augur in the wisdom of mystic forebearers--
I will celebrate life cycles . . .

This morning, the act of throwing out vibrates, resonates.

From warm well-lit, deeply forged reservoirs
Replete with cool, pure, still logos waters,
My heart luxuriates in ancestral sanctuary sweet
A mandala/nomos of liberation, of chants, of incantations.
Augurs, Shamans, and Griots,

I am rhythmic energy, balophone heterophony, and soaring gourd song,
I am rooted healing herbs, hyacinth, sage, and sweet, sweet, wild honey.


Song: Tone Poem ii

by

Delores Fisher

Bright black-blue, red feathered,
Broad of wing,
Strong of beak,
Hump backed bird,
Still pretty, yet . . .absurd in measured façade flight Through thrashing thanatos marriage.

ESCAPE
Sing a hushing lullaby
Of beaten down bygone days
-and a woman’s song, crying into night-
And how nothing stops your music.

INVOKE:
Song-against bare-clenched fists
And stomping pointed-toed shoes;
Song-against stinging silence
And soul’s pummeled push off life’s love cliff;
Song-breathing caritas into tremble-broken spirit.

SING:
Of resurrection,
In gnashing teeth, ascending from sorrows deep.
Of revelation,
Rising in judgment terrible to behold.
Of liberation,
With anointed song’s melodious healing purity,
Power, flowing from beneath the seat of a most Holy throne.

SERENADE THE DISCONSOLATE:
"Pilgrimage to sanctuary sweet—soar in spheric harmony."

Bright black-blue, red feathered,
Broad of wing
Strong of beak
Hump-backed bird,
Proclaim the message,
Lift voice to sing of Gilead’s balm:
For battered women still cry,
All. . . through . . .the . . .night.

Want

by

Delores Fisher

She sits, smiles, and rocks all day,
Back and forth she rocks.
Rocking the blanching fires away,
Away, away, away, away.

She used to rock the night in play,
Dancing queen with lust driven thighs,
Ravenous throbbing brown-hot glitter eyes:
—Flamming light of vapor—

She rocked high on powder clouds
Of flowing static time
In thin crystalline lines,
Stair steppin’ to a paradisaical
Plush red-velvet sky;
She crashed on the rock of ages.

Clinging, grisly harpie;
Howling into dark soul’s night,
Dripping jagged, blood infused tears.
Singing a song no mortal could hear
Pleading in the shadow of redemption’s tree
Beyond veils of sorrow.

Now she sits and rocks all day,
Back and forth she rocks;
She just wants to steal away,
Steal away, Steal way.

Away, away, away, away,
Into rose of Sharon's glory-fade.
Away, away, stealing away,
As she sits and rocks.

William V.

by

Delores Fisher

I.
Has it been ten years?
Daddy been gone that long?
Funeral was yesterday afternoon_

An acquiescent sun in blue-haze Buffalo New York sky
Stares unblinkingly ambivalent
On silent pain, wet pain, angry pain, piercing-sad pain,
Melancholy-calm pain.
William V., thank-you for talkin’ at the service.
Who’d a guessed that you would be such a fine preacher man?
You with yo’ yellow silk skin, full cheeked nappy beard,
and tightly kinked bowl shaped afro.
Daddy knew, didn’t he? You done him proud, bro.

II.
As we pull into the cemetery, a twelve foot gray marble portal
Opens its eye into neatly piled four by four by seven - foot cells.
All of ‘em covered but one.

Daddy bought his three years ago,
Inviting the whole family to "join him"
In a final gesture of family unity.
We declined . . . even momma.
Now she lays within "arguing distance from yo’ daddy."
Just a little down to the right-in a sunny green hill-
With a cool breeze and a shade tree near by.

III.
Has it been ten years?
Things go shadowy lately,
Things go fuzzy, fade.
Things do you know. . .
Has it been ten years?

IV.
You were so kind William V.
They placed the stone seal over the mouth of the tomb,
Placed the roses, and daffodils and gardenias,
(Daddy always liked roses)
Placed all our memories of a strong, stubborn, loving old black man’s smile,
Strength, integrity, gentleness-it was almost too much-
You put your arms around as many as you could hold,
Walked us back to the silver limousine.

We drive down a rocky dirt road
Out onto the smooth concrete main street and into midday traffic.
I wonder if I can find daddy,
Find my way back, place new flowers,
Bright, fragrant, sweet red roses.

Things go shadowy,
Been TEN years?

V.
Talking, so much talking,
To somebody, to everybody . . .
Family voices, muffle,
Silence heading back.
We were back, and not.

VI.
Back at the two- story, wood frame houses
That line Buffalo New York lower middle class inner city streets,
Houses of aunts, and uncles, cousins, friends and church folks;
Such life houses of joyful connectedness
Somehow no longer soothe,
Voices echo, venomous, hurtful voices, and snickers-
"She shoulda’ been here."
"They sho’ nuff spoiled her . . . their little ‘arteest.’ "
(Snickering, lashing laughter)

Thank you William V., my six foot two palisade,
Surrounding, rebuking disorientating accusations,
Holding me safe from parochial storm.

VII.
Ten years. . .
Daddy’s funereal was a hazy fuzzy-fade yesterday afternoon.
Had to get away.
Moma smiled, cried, said: "Go."
Airplanes coming--going back.
California "hip" disrupting New York "straight up."
As cultural cloud banks thicken into Buffalo rainy-grey blue sky
--I remember your eyes—
"Go back, they said."

Such faith-well radiance eyes, William V.
Allowing us to drop buckets and drink from living waters’
Blessed assurance of infinite comfort.
Good-bye. . .

VIII.
Morning breaks,
Precious soul, unfold sweet spirit-song wings, ascend.
Rest in lush green pastures; sit beside still waters;
Say hello to daddy and momma.

IX.

So blandly tedious and tasteless the hours,
When dark clouds from my eyes will not depart.
Gazing vacuously across the hollow field of my waste-life,
Seeking Jesus with broken heart and grace undone
Yesterday, so many yesterdays;
Tell me, Oh please tell me:
How long the "Glory Train" been done come and gone?

Shadow-Whispers of Promise

by

Delores Fisher

Wind
Dry _bone sucking_..

Sing a Shiloh "Tenebrae."
Lost in wilderness where wild trees groan,
Where sand gloats, gluttonously inhaling April’s blooms in cruelest tyranny,
Enslaving cracked-lipped earth with discontented winter’s hollow promise.

Wind
Dry_bone sucking_

Lament a lacrymosa "Dies Irae."
Stand in chains on rock-blistered mountain peak,
Where inflicted gaze stares out at hot wild-wind howling on distant shores,
Kissing salt sea foam waves along the way in frenzied-wild abandon.

Wait for Shiloh’s Canticum: "Miserere, Miserere, Miserere."

Without Horeb’s rock on which to stand,
Do not leap;
‘Tis folly
To ride, glide, on wild-wind’s hot wide wings.

Hide in eagle feather shadow-folds,
Be still.
Eat succulent manna.
Wash in fragrant dew.
Wait.

Each season to itself.

Wind,
Moist_ bone incarnating_

Intone a weeping "Agnus Dei"

Fertile rain foretold on messenger’s lips,
Flowing firmament’s still waters from
Siloam’s pool will become rain.

Pacem. . .
-Leave wilderness and hollow mountain peak-
Where eagles soar and grace prevails,
Waste-life healing dwells.

Shadow-Whispers of Promise

by

Delores Fisher

Wind
Dry _bone sucking_..

Sing a Shiloh "Tenebrae."
Lost in wilderness where wild trees groan,
Where sand gloats, gluttonously inhaling April’s blooms in cruelest tyranny,
Enslaving cracked-lipped earth with discontented winter’s hollow promise.

Wind
Dry_bone sucking_

Lament a lacrymosa "Dies Irae."
Stand in chains on rock-blistered mountain peak,
Where inflicted gaze stares out at hot wild-wind howling on distant shores,
Kissing salt sea foam waves along the way in frenzied-wild abandon.

Wait for Shiloh’s Canticum: "Miserere, Miserere, Miserere."

Without Horeb’s rock on which to stand,
Do not leap;
‘Tis folly
To ride, glide, on wild-wind’s hot wide wings.

Hide in eagle feather shadow-folds,
Be still.
Eat succulent manna.
Wash in fragrant dew.
Wait.

Each season to itself.

Wind,
Moist_ bone incarnating_

Intone a weeping "Agnus Dei"

Fertile rain foretold on messenger’s lips,
Flowing firmament’s still waters from
Siloam’s pool will become rain.

Pacem. . .
-Leave wilderness and hollow mountain peak-
Where eagles soar and grace prevails,
Waste-life healing dwells.

Planted by the Rivers of Waters

by

Delores Fisher

"Hey, it’s alright . . .Thanks anyway. (smile)
Have a good weekend; see ya’ll Monday."
"Oh, sure, I’m not upset; (smile again)
I know it’s not personal."
Homegirl, serenely content,
Closes culture war office door behind her.

See . . .
She gots an old friend who done come down from the tree,
In the baobab of her chi, he sits,
Translated triumphant from crucifixion on the axis mundi
Of inclusive conformity.

The wide holes in his hands and shattered feet,
No longer bloody,
Thorn crown infused with gold leafed olive branches
Graces his deep-furrowed, sweatless brow,
His side done become a fountain, gushing the living waters
Born from a depthless soul,
Oh, yes, she gots her a friend.

Every time she smiles,
Looks guileless into yo’ façade eyes,
And shakes yo’ sweaty palm;

Every time she hugs you and it seems almost close,
Do you sense that she is really pushing away?

Every time she congratulates you loudly,
Pats you on yo’ back:
Knowing ideas credited to you are hers.

Every time she smiles, answers cheerfully,
"Oh fine, doing just fine. And how are you?"

See, her friend monkey, then he be doin’ his thang,
Like, dropping signs and throwing down lines,
Smiling face on a wary soul,
Friend-haven in a bunkered heart,
Riddler/trickster/truth-seer.
Silent patience . . .

Monkey,
He be listening, watching,
Directing homegirl’s "human-speak" from his baobab tree;
She gots her a friend.

Master deciphering transliterator,
Monkey done completed the catabasis,
Paid the dowry for anabasis,
Ascended to claim absolution,
Transmigrated crossroads’ liminality.

She gots an old friend who done come down from the tree,
In the baobab of her chi, he sits.
While she smiles quietly,
He listens, watches, waits.

Poppa

by

Delores Fisher


Heat waves whorl, float images:
Flurries of squares and rectangles, red, blue, green
Trucks, cars, and minivans, on asphalt ocean.

New Mexico morning sky
Pink orange red melting into blue splash-wash
Above clay brown-red mountains.

We pull into semi-deserted sand littered truck stop,
Seeking relief.

Highway heat outside.

Back on the road,
Dust swirl rock pellets "tick-tick-tick" the windshield.
Inside, slow flow cold chill creeps, feathering our necks,
Raising hairs
Making air conditioning cool feel like warm breath.

Sis and I inhale—deep—adjust.
Chill air forms a heavy, touchable mist,
Settles on momma’s right side
In the back seat of the mini-van,
Momma’s tired parchment eyes turn youthful
Twinkling into misty chill condensation.

Sis and I glue gazes on rear view mirror reflections
Momma seems to be fading.
We don’t turn around.
Their conversation begins.

Momma, barely visible, hisses a sigh, smiles, whispers soft.
Says, "Yo’ daddy’s so healthy now.
Look at him.
Our eyes can see his shadow in the mirror.
"Sitting there full of his self. Looks so good."
Mist glimmers amethyst as she speaks.

"Yas, suh. He’s very happy too,
Us family all here together.
Too bad the boys can’t be here. Work and all."

She suddenly fades into coral blue mist.
Visible a moment later, announces:
"He’s coming back for me soon."
Looks at our eyes in the mirror, then back into cold mist.
"Un humm . . . soon. Not today, though, huh poppa?"
Thickening almost human, the mist sits beside her,
Momma leans over touches around,
Until the mist caresses her hands.
She smiles, whispers low, alive with conversion.
We feel time. We know.

Heat wrinkles horizonal asphalt ocean
Tufts of brown dusty pebbly sand prances along its surface
Chased by hot desert wind.
Sis and I keep breathing slow, relaxed now. We have adjusted.

It’s a long drive across New Mexico.
Never know when daddy has to leave.
Sadness seeds erupted through hearts’ surface hurt less,
We have missed him.
His company brings balm.
Momma’s tired face relaxes, becomes years young.
She and death shadow dance in foxtrot time.

Heat waves whorl, float images,
Mini-van merges into highway traffic,
New Mexico noonday cloudless sky-blue intones peace.
Sand swirl pebbles flurry "tick-tick-tick"
In hot westflow desert wind.

Childhood Memory: Town of Tonawanda, New York

by

Delores Fisher

Fire fly flight
In late summer air
Just after dusk-glow

Shimmers and sparkles
Bright little lights
On ugly little bugs
Pretty lights, though

Fire fly flight
From front porch chairs
Fills warm evening flourish
With sad delight
That dog day dreaming
Must come to end

Soon autumn breezes will march to center stage and bow.

For Berry White

by

Delores Fisher

If music is organized sound:
Then your voice took the noise of my adolescent fading heart
And re-arranged diminuendo dissonance
Into crescendo harmonies of hope and possibility-that love-
Would come my way and one day even I would be alright.

Shy, quiet, glasses wearing, orthopedic shoe tripping me.

From curving buds of my blossoming body
To flush of my dark brown skin at some pimply boy’s
Brut drenched mustiness fresh from gym class;
I knew love would come my way and even I would be alright,
You said so Berry,
And I believed.

Daddy and both my brothers could sing too.
Syrupy, high tenors-
The kind that makes gospel music so special:
Their voices jive-talked women’s hearts.
See, we were more natural then
And our men could make us feel like that.
But they were family and me and my sister was immune.
Besides, none of them were baritones . . .

Sis and I would turn on the radio,
Talk afros, dashikis, dance steps, lipsticks, boys,
That four bar orchestral intro heralded your arrival
And your voice sharing our bedroom air,
Stopped us quick.

Berry, our dulcet tone sorcerer
Conjure man in song-time
Weaving magnolia petal ballads of love,
A love circle so unbroken.

You declared our praises,
Honored us.
We were all "your woman,"
Together, we could breathe life-love into everything.
The first, last, and everything, of this chaotic world.
Real Black love,
Life-love between us and our men,
Like the kind my friend Sharon talks about.

Your preacher-like groan soul train sliding into a raw rift,
Teasing ears and "fantasy" eyes ‘til we closed them,
Leaned our heads back, and smiled as momma came in.
She would lean on the doorway
Listening with us in a "female thang"
Mid-song she’d whisper,
"Umh, umh, umh. He sho’ can sing cain’t he?"

We miss your voice Berry,
Baritone beacon in stormy pubescent confusion;
We miss you voice, your music, and your message.

Your message:

To pre-teens,
with imperfect bodies and bruised psyches;
To all people,
with broken hearts and distant loved ones;
To Black men and women,
whose labor in the culture wars seemed vacuous;
To all men and women,
maimed by shrapnel from raging gender warfare;
To peacemaking innocents,
wounded by friendly fire in pathogenic mazes of racial bitterness;
To little Black boys,
who wanted to love, be loved--raise a stable family;
To little Black girls,
caught between dreamtime and economic reality.

Your voice called out:
Real love is,
Real love is gon’ be,
Real love gon’ always be all right.

Priceless (Word to the Sisters)

by

Delores Fisher


Priceless-the cost of a life
Before you destroy,
Step back, think . . .
You want yours?
I want mine!
But that don’t mean we got to be cruel and unkind.

Priceless-the cost of each day
How you live-
No matter how you play;
You gotta do your time
It’s what gets drawn,
Whether you’re a player, a fool, or a pawn.

Priceless-that’s what gets paid
When you use lies
To deceive and hide,
What’s it gonna cost ‘cause you want to play?
Who’s gonna loose ‘cause YOU gotta have your way?

Priceless-cain’t see beyond today?
Have to seize the time
Live for display.
Check it-when you livin’ large life . . .
What you play someday will come back they say,
How you play someday will come back your way.

Priceless-to rise above
All the haters who cain’t be showing no love.
But rise, aware sisters
Rise you must,
Rise like a phoenix from ashes and dust.

Priceless-the cost of life,
Stop genocide, step back think . . .

‘Cause we ARE priceless.

For Tommie

by

Delores Fisher

Where have you gone to Tommie?

stopped by your corner yesterday,
early, for usual conversation,
you were still asleep across the street,
crumpled under a thick green dirty blanket
in the antique shop’s deep marble doorway.
didn’t wake you
remembered you don’t like that.

Where have you gone to?

Three weeks later:

drunk bob, sober, stiff legged,
walks toward me at the bus stop
mumbling: "Hey girl, how you doin’?
heard about Tommie?
say he died about week and a half ago;
police picked him up in that cold spell,
got him off the streets.
say he convulsed, fell from the top bunk,
hit his head and died.
Tommie’s dead, man."

we stand in silence,
looking at your empty doorway seat

then, bob tiptoes on down the street saying,
"sad, ya know. Tommie was a good man."

took long enough didn’t it my friend.

How many medics?
How many triage stations?
How many hospital beds?
How many small towns?
How many big cities?
How many holding cells?
How many doorways?
How many streets?
How many days?
How many nights?

rainy day kindness . . .

a pimply-faced pale, thin white goth teenager
dressed in black and silver spikes
gave you a baseball cap, your yelow-favorite color,
to warm your head in the morning.

an older black bus driver,
grumpy as a possum in a rabbit trap
but not put off by nasal southern twang,
rode you around all day
out of the cold hard rain
for free.

a latina missionary
salvation magazine in hand,
gave coins and dollars
to wash and dry smelly street stained blankets, sleeping bag
and clothes too big, but still worn.

ol’squint eyed fredda cut matted blonde hair
trimmed scraggily beard.

drunk bob washed dirt trailed face
bandaged blood dried sores.

i could only offer conversation,
but mornings at the bus stop
us in community,
will never be, never.

someone painted white cherub wings
wrote something latin
on the door behind your doorway seat:
"Ubi Caritas Deus Amor"

vietnam land mined your body Tommie,
but state-side . . .
red tape land mined your soul, broke you.

morning rituals helped.
"bus late?" i’d ask, "ye-ep" you’d smile and laugh
snort loudly, "they’se al-ways late on this route."

a pause later,
we talked daily news, street news,
and eased our way back to Vietnam
grew accustomed to your alabama nasal drawl,
grew to accept my western new york nasal sharpness
parachuting into enemy territory
sitting clay birds trapped in a sky of hostile incoming
we talked on
as drunk bob and ol’ squint eyed fredda listened.

it did help didn’t it?
talking?
your jokes helped,
all of us.
drunk bob would wander off to the bar,
i boarded my bus for work,
and fredda would . . .well, who knew where fredda went,
but we usually left the corner laughing, Tommie.
we looked forward to our mornings
same corner between 8:00 and 9:00 AM weekdays,
we’d straggle in one at a time

We would laugh tears.
you in dirt smeared camouflage grey multi-pocketed pants,
green and blue flannel shirt
yellow water repellant storm jacket, a red beret
(when you weren’t wearing your red ball cap)
sitting off side ridge of the corner bar—your doorway seat—
between the 24hr laundromat
and the sealed off, cracked wood old bar entrance,
two thick shredded brown wool blankets draped
over the front of your big heavy frame silver walker,
(you seemed to get cold a lot lately.)

bob in faded fatigues, grass stained sneakers,
and matching bandana
fredda in faded powder pink jogging suit, torn sneakers,
and white headscarf

me in black two piece business skirt suit,
grey turtle neck, black seamless stockings
and flat heels,
one hand with briefcase full of student papers,
other holding african carved oak cane.

—i hated now having to walk with a cane,
shared how my students felt, me being so weak,
you said the students were right,
it wasn’t a mark of frailty, illness,
the cane did make me look distinguished,
but you could appreciate my hurt—
"can’t get up and run like I used to could either!"
you joked.

Tommie, you told a story that morning. . .
got bob to talkin’
about being in the infantry, ambush, ground fire,
fredda talked too,
remembered how it was back then,
when her man first came back from combat,
his blank-eyed silence,
Tommie, that story had me thinking all day.
i told ya’ll about a man I dated.
couldn’t seriously think about marriage,
he had these "sweat dreams"
always woke up right before dawn,
screamin’, trembling, crying,

"with something like that," you said,"if you weren’t there,
ain’t no way you could possibly know . . ."

past reality checking present consciousness.

mornings at that bus stop rocked
and will never be, never.
you, drunk bob, Ol’squint eyed fredda, and me.
here’s to you Tommie:

"Dona Nobis Pacem, Bro."

Bridges

by

Delores Fisher

It’s about bridges.

Daddy’s voice soft as sunrise
Tiptoes through lush dream-time images.
Gloria closes dark brown, thick lash eyes
To gather in sunlight’s orange-yellow glow
On the back of closed eyelids.

Summer revelry
Sitting on the front porch listening to
Sleepy suburban Tonawanda New York evening’s bull frog serenade
Her straight haired, copper skinned daddy smiles at her,
Clears his throat.
Gloria sits up, eyes opening reluctantly.

"My granddaddy James
Taught his children before the first World War
What it’s s’posed to a been like
On my side of the family
Before 1900."

"And he told your daddy,
Poppa Wil about the mountain folks huh?"

"Yes, he did child." He smiles.
Gloria has such a good memory.
He knows she is picturing woodlands, hills,
Streams, plantations, cabins, dirt roads in her mind.

"Charlie, your momma’s daddy
Told his children about both sides of their family
‘Cause yo’ grandma died young; none of her kinfolks left.
Your momma Georgia
-named after her uncle George who went back up into the hills-
Was only four, the baby of three sisters and one boy,
So her daddy did the telling."

"Nannies he hired to help raise 'em added stories too,
They were ex-slaves and had lived a hard life
Before yo’ grandpa took 'em in to keep his family."

Gloria’s eyes widen.
"Nannies? Black ex-slave nannies?

He had forgotten to tell her that.
She used to ask why her momma seemed so different
From other Black women.
Guess she knows now, he chuckles softly to himself.

"Yes, before your grandpa put her and the other girl’s
in Catholic school."
The South back then was different than her history
books said.
She had learned to keep quiet in her suburban history
classes.

"Anyway, child,
You come from a family of
Farmers, hunters, gourd singers,
Teachers, tailors, seamstresses,
Piano players, singers, dancers, story tellers,
Moonshine runners, AND ministers."

"Ooooh, tell the story about Buffalo horns, the
warrior man."

She knows her family.
Blended with Georgia Cherokee mountain folk,
Her momma gave her old faded, crinkle-edged pictures,
Saved from the fire of 1922:

Her momma's great, great, grandfather
And his runaway slave wife;
Woodland-raised children
Playing near a dirt road by a brook;

Children in schoolhouse photos
(Forced to leave the mountain)
Stiff collar white shirts and cotton dresses;
Her La Grange Georgia grandmother,
Smiling, sitting next to Gloria's Geechee grandfather,
Sunday go to meetin' clothes
Horse driven buggy.

Gloria's dad begins to gives in.
"Your momma tells it better though.
I’ll leave out details."

"Please daddy?"

"Alright. But,
When your momma gets back from the market,
You ask her."

Her daddy’s tenor voice, soft as sunrise,
Tiptoes through Gloria's lush dream-time images.
She smiles, happy.
Gettin' to hear the story twice;
Her family, her people, life long ago. . .

It’s about bridges.

Healing

by

Delores Fisher

Crippled though I am
And of halting gait,
I am a natural woman.
Sweetness, the way I am with you,
Eases my mind into the slow-flow
Still waters of my middle-aged womanhood.

You, my gentle Black man with smiling brown eyes. . .

Holding me night after night
As I lay curled into a ball of arthritic pain,
Hiding my frailty from the world,
Rocking me softly, crying in affirmation:
"I love you, I love you baby, I love you."

My smiling brown-eyed, gentle, black man:
You bring me fragrant, thornless roses
Just because.
You infuse my waking drowsiness
With songful laughter.
You glow with an anointing
Of praise.

The way we are has never happened for me before . . .
And somehow, this time I know.
If I do not accept this healing,
If I do not hold your light
Here in my heart where it can shine,
If faint, I close my heart this very moment:
Love’s manifestation will inhabit my inner vault of
unspoken sorrows
And haunt my every hour.

So, hold me,
Kiss me again, and again;
For I do love you,
Crippled, though I am.

Joni of the Canyon: A Sistah's Song to Joni Mitchell

by

Delores Fisher

REFRAIN
At fifteen, Lady of the Canyon
came to early morning tea
holding innocence in starlight golden.

VERSE 1
Sip now
from porcelain cup, herb brewed tea
at dawn dear Lady
Red rose, honeysuckle, and nightshade spray-
ride Apate’s lithe breezes.

VERSE 2
Sit mnemosyne
on sunflower petal mountains and moonbeam seeds
Do you hear?
finch, broad chest lark, and nightingale, chime-
chase Innana echoes through thick maned canopies.

BRIDGE
Divert my lament;
Artemis' palace has too many rooms
In which wild laughing nymphs circle dance.

REFRAIN
At fifteen Lady of the Canyon
came to early morning tea
holding innocence in starlight golden.

CODA
Innocence a sun-shattered raisin,
Life a lustless hollow albatross,
Canyon Lady
Come early to tea,
sip mid-age morn's strong brewed herbal. . .

Sing into my sad, sad, heart
Starlight golden nectar.

Bag Lady Down

by

Delores Fisher

"We have a bag lady down,
Crossroad--Twelfth Gate,
Possible Code Blue. Read?"

"We're on it, over."

Rain. Sloppy, slanting to the right,
Light flaking rain drops
Baptize her body in foggy day spray
Cleansing, cleansing.

Bag Lady Down.

Yellow slickered paramedics triage her body.
Two rookies, young sorrow-eyed Black women,
One veteran, middle aged graying, weary-eyed Latino.
Tearing through thick lice-laden rag layers
With thin purple latex gloved fingers.
Rotting flesh odor slaps their noses
As fingers probe scab oozing skin.
No Pulse.
Eye-whites rolled up:
Blood shot--like the tattered sheets over broken windows
In the deserted piss-stained, blood splattered,
Bullet shelled projects,
Sneering behind them.

Bag Lady down.

One's fist clenches, SLAM! against flaccid ribs
Lips cyanotic
One opens closed lips- the other listens:
Silence
Fist!
Silence
Fist!
Silence.

"Breathe" they sweat, "Breathe."

Ambulance doors fly open
-Portable EMT-
-Paddles su-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-ur-g-e-
Burning cold-electric.

"Clear!"
Body twiches upward, arches.
"Clear!"
Body twitches sideways, spasms.
"Clear!"
Body--motionless.

No pulse.
Silence wails in distant halls of the almost forgotten
"Let me go," Murmurings around their heads."
"Let me go, Begging crosses their souls."
"Let me go."

Bag lady came to America restlessly seeking new life.
Roadkill replay of decadent inner city vacuity,
She is tired, wants to sleep.

Beneath yellow slickered raincoats,
Hearts race, sweat seeps, eyes meet.
"Enough."
Rasps from where souls hide when chaos desiccates reason.
"Enough."
Unison, heads drop.
"E-e-e-nough."

Silence.

In trinity, yellow slickered paramedics
Close rolled-back eyewhites.
Adjust lice-laden blouse, sweater, jacket,
Cover the weather beaten body;
"Thank you." She rests.

Rain.

The trinity intones a plainsong downpour,
Heavy, child-like, pebble-thick tears blending with sweat.
Grieving,
Cleansing,
Mourning,
Rejoicing,
It is finished . . .

Cross Within the Manger

by

Delores Fisher

Silence, breath, chaos:
Word-------Order.

Flow foundations emerging.

Yahweh decrees:
Angel, prophet, prophetess, priest,
Wiseman, scribe, shepherd, child.

Announce His birth,
Why He came to die;
-Plain in speech
For all must know-

My son:
Gift, savior, man-child born,
Beacon radiance in soul's dark night.

Soul in shame, sin-sickness, sorrow.
Soul in gluttonous, acid-eating desire.
Soul in rebellious, blind-anger, dying.
Soul in stillness-waiting, sighing.

Son, gift, savior, living water, healing restorer.

Dark the night His first breath takes
In rough-hewn manger-a king.
Dark the day His last breath makes
His charge complete on coarse-hewn cross, nailed-a king.

At silent gentle dawnbreak-"BREATH"
He awakes.
Son-glory glimpse of heaven's peace light.
My child, my heart.
Translated from mortal clay, new birth, eternal.

Sacrificed for humanity.
Cost? Beyond human imaginings!
Given, "painlove" flowing,
My endless living water,
My son who pleases me well.

Waymaker:
Holy Spirit placemaker
To comfort and in-dwell.
As world's unrepentant shadows gather to herald THE end.

Angel, prophet, prophetess, priest,
Wiseman, scribe, shepherd, child.
Announce His birth,
Why He dies,
-Plain in speech
For all must know-

He will come again,
No more a baby or man-child to slay,
This time . . .
Emmanuel, Judge and King.

Four Littles Girls From Birmingham

by

Delores Fisher

Early morning explosions rip our souls . . .

Hearts of oppressed people around the world,
Shake in their dungeons . . .

The headlines should have read:
"Four blistered and broken little Black girl's
bodies disinterred from heinously incendiary grave."

Us musicians got no sounds for this sorrow,
Still, a week later, we hold a memorial-
We celebrate purity and faithful innocence,
Stolen from Sunday dawn's morning glory
"A great gitten' up mornin'
Fare-thee-well unexpected . . ."

We gather together
The boys in the band and I,
Praise dancers and drummers,
Choir, church, congregation,
Saints and sinners.

We be tryin' to make us a song,
You know --
Kinda song when life just ain't right,
Kinda song you moan and groan way past midnight
When ya hold yo' self and rock.
The kinda song that is a whole lotta blue
-Prayerful, jagged with chasms of silence-

The words don't rhyme.
Harmonies don't ease yo'mind,
Melody refuses to fade you into a soothing dreamless sleep;
And the rhythm, inconsolably driving rhythm,
Syncopation signifyin' cacophonous chi-pulse life,
Forcing restraint across drumheads,
Shuddering borders of taboo,taboo, taboo:
Four LITTLE girls. Lawd!

Poor sister Mahalia and brother Martin,
Mighty war horses trembling!
Head in hands, over in the amen corner,
Humming, "Precious Lord" and "We SHALL Overcome"

Old, big hearted blond haired backwoods preacher Bubba,
Kneeling in the side corner by the usher's bench,
Crying through river deep tears:
"This thang just wasn't right, Lord. Just wasn't right!!"

Our band stands by the altar.
Congregation starts to shoutin',
"SANG ya song chilluns, sa-aa-aa-aa-ng!"

Boys in the band and I,
Up front, by the altar,
open our mouths
No sound-
Weeping hearts,
Weeping with praise dancers, drummers,
Choir, church, congregation,
Saints and Sinners . . .

On wings of love's breezes,
Old Leola Mae Slim presses through the crowd.

Guitar slung way low aross her back,
She stops at the altar.
Looks at us and the pastor,
"Ain't been dis way in a long time.
Please 'llow me ta speak?" she whispers humbly . . .
Pastor nods,a preacher with no words.
Leola Mae takes guitar in hand,
Her opening riff fires our kindling grief.

On the night wind,she wails raw blues-pain-spirituals,
Knowin' without a song . . .
"Oh, Lawdy, Lawd, Laa-wd!"

We sing, moan, hum, shake heads,
Clap hands, groan, pat feet,
Communing well past midnight;
Leola Mae stops, sighs.
A blessed quietness is filling the sanctuary.
With soft "Thank ye." she disappears,
Back up to the woods.

In renewed affirmation, until daybreak,
We celebrate our young, our future.

Blessed sparks,
Four little meek,hope-light girls from Birmingham;
Faithful in early Sunday morning joy,
Innocence in an odious world of preconception,
Young lives stolen from God's gentle daybreak;
Four little Black girls from Birmingham,
On an unintended great gitten' up morning.
"Fare-thee-well, children, farewell."

Inner City Lachrymosa

by

Delores Fisher


i stagger-squinted, blinded in your rage.
Now, purgatorio-glare surveys
Your daily feral "mad-laughing" frenzy,
Broad brush stroking gangsta graffiti-collages
In kicked over desks, ricocheting malice
Onto the ground of our learning space.

Strained, heard, reached toward remorseful changeling's cry As your fists dropped beats
On lamb heads.
Now, deafened ears clang, toll dies irae:
"Kyrie Eleison"
Against the few legion-cursed spawn
Who join to foul our temporal haven.

Defended your verbal switchblade mouth
Slash-dining on tender waifs
Whose weeping pain intones from miasmic ghetto class room.
Too many bruised, gashed, insult-battered,
Shadow children hemorrhage . . .

i used to be a teacher.
i am become stigmata.

Bleeding life into waning souls
In urban middle school Golgotha;
A shepherd carrying angst-shattered crosses,
As i stumble beneath the tears of my own.

Billie Holiday

by

Delores Fisher

I.
A child enraptured by sonic unfoldings,
I sit stereo center with "big ears."
Her voice stings outer edges of my heart,
Enters in swift piercing,
Into innermost chambers, rests.

Billie:
Silent soul, beaten down, raggedy;
Crippled, humble, homeless chi-
Begging simple embrace,
Wanting endless caress
Of hands that refuse to pull away
From rough, oozing scars.

Now adult,
embedded in my wrinkly fifties' shades of grey,
I sit ingesting television images
like an almost raisin ingests sun.
Billie's voice stings edges of my abyss:
It is autumn for this New Yorker.

Her tearless plea cries inside song phrase
An empty-regenerative shroud bed voice,
Furnished-empty house,
Freezing, torrid, night.

II.
Six days. . .
Midnight anguish feet pace
Aural fists bear down pain, clutch-
Squeeze the dough of my caged heart
For six days until a
"H O O O O O OO W W W W W W L L L L L "
Rages, against her still, quiet, invocations.

Singing softly outside consciousness' backdrop
As if my mind has an aural snapshot loop,
Billie intones:
"Autumn . . . New York . . ."

On the seventh day, I write;
Write about Billie Holiday
Corporealization of creative children
Hunted by life pains,
Write about wax-winged offsprings soaring-stratospheric
Through firmament of God ethereal.

Mediative channels, whirling angst
Ministering at portals of alternate realities,
Unfolding, shaping,
Transducing mystic ether through terrestrial birth canals
In outer rims of this ever refracting collapsible cosmos.

III.
Billie’s chi-voice rides wild winds,
Moves
Unchained,
Singing, pleading tearless grief,
Unrestrained ecstasy scatting through time.

Drawn by her voice last year
I purchased a digital compilation of
"Classic Hits."
These remains, unopened on my CD player.
'Till today.

Today I caress the cover and sigh.
Un-posed publicity photos create a desire to catch
a full-blaze moon-blaze in my hands,
Gaze big-eyed at its glow in brightest daylight.

Her voice will not go away,
Its windmill cry erodes me softly.
Autumn in New York . . .

IV.
I am and always will be an upstate Western New Yorker.
Hot apple cider on cool autumn day,
Home made soup simmering softly in late afternoon,
Birds circle-swoop flight flock formations
Through grey-mist evenings.

Thick worn old oak tree trunks smiling indulgence at
Yellow-orange, red-brown leaf dances.
Cloudy, hush-still early fall mornings,
Just before first snow's hallowed reverence
When nature's sun ghost dawn and gypsy memory silence
Hug you like a happy child.

V.
Television: images: rare documentary footage;
Billie stands center stage alone,
Off to side,
black baby grand piano and its conjure man
Crafting chordal tapestry in comp-time synchronicity,
Billie dirges broken phrase love songs.

Her innocence,
a constant desiccation
in grey mist stillborn nascence
on artists’ axis mundi.
crucified consumtion
flayed on faded caprice’s opaque meat platter

Billie- imperfect love portal,
Scarred labial birth canal,
Salivates melodic inflections of ash- bitter resolve,
Smears lotions of lyrical vocality,
Then plants a worm within the balm,
Anasi alluding: Life is pastime for most.

VI.
Billie’s children . . .
For them, life is death weight,
Death is life permutation.
Life is sign:
A heavy, thick, sharp, eyelash
fallen on a thin-skinned hollow cheek,
A slashing rush of wind "ppwhoosh"
through baby soft forearm hair,
Rain "nunghhh" wetting raw nostril flare in
sunlight stinging heat,
Life’s pregnant art essence
Is over ripe rotting orchard's perfume.

VII.
God bless these children, these "Billies;"
Too light to float,
Too heavy to sink,
Too deep to submerge,
Too infinite to complete in circle union,
Too ephemeral to release,
Groaning ruach in pure generative form,
Creativity, sorrow's prey-
A most terrible legacy.

Billie,
Piercing voice woman,
Rasp, whisper love's dissonant timbral echo
From shadow land of grey-black mirror day.
Colonize wild wind's Dionysian hues,
Shine little darkness light
Oh languishing cyanotic soul:
Gestate, birth, sing life.

Discourse in Prologue

by

Delores Fisher

About the lie,
About us being the world’s mule-
Sojourner "truthed" and so must we,
We is woman. We be, I be;
We AIN"T NO MULE.

A mule is a sterile hybrid.
Though we might be an amalgam,
And though we have been called
many things,
Very rarely has a true sistah worn the label
"sterile."

We reproduce in micro-secundal
Harmonic oogenesis,
Kuumba made manifest,
We weave life-web
With the wrinkled edges of a smile
And breathe agape essence
Into our children’s unfolding cosmos.

Rekindling hope while heterophonically
Straddling monophonic grand narrative’s noise:
--Perpetuated to marginalize our chi--
We is woman. We be, I be;
Transmuting cacophonous perverse-inverse,
Into polycentric consonance.

29th and University Avenue: San Diego, California

by

Delores Fisher

Tolerance
Few are here
Where she is
On this corner of 29th and University Avenue.

3:00 AM
Starless Sabbath
Unseasonably hot, dry, dark
Glassy-eyed on a lake of winter discontent
She fishes....."Where is God?"

Pace
In long stab-thrust anger strides
Arms beat heaven's gate
Torso thrashes
She bleeds her head on building's edge.

Legs lance
Wood panels shatter
Kick, harder, harder, harder, harder, harder
Jerking-living-laceration-frenzy
She fishes . . ."Where, huh? Where?"

Howling rabid festering hurt
She screams
She SCREAMS obscenities,
She has cracks in the bones of her heart.

Circles
Seven hundred collapsing rings
In two feet interlace
She paces
She growls
And continues to fish, "GOD..WHERE..ARE..YOU?"

Angels watch

Her snarling soul
Crouches
Whimpers
Blister-pus lips bubble foam
. . . . . . . .. ."God? Go-od? GO-OOOOOOO-OD?"

A soundless trumpet calls
To meek hearted deacon Willie
Standing firm on promise scarred knees
To sleepless sister Georgia
Weeping deep at mourner's bench altar
Battle born stealth warriors intercede
A charge to keep.

Mercy's fragrant oil flows from beyond valleys' shadow
Baptizing 29th and University

Quiet...
A storm is passing over
Waiting and fishing are not the same.

Tolerance
Few ever are here
Where she is
Most who are--stay.

Rebellious acolyte
In supplication
Weeps, wails
No longer fishing
Large is her wall of atonement.

Quilting

by

Delores Fisher

My poems are memory, memory, memory:
Memory of black women whose reflected lives
Have been, are, and will be
Consumed by Gorgon gaze seething through two-way mirrors
Behind abstract institutions’ concrete cultural walls.

Women mule myth crushed,
Sobbing leechingly silent into blind embrace
Of noxiously saturated,
Dead weight, complicitous life.

Women whose shredded chi
Laugh. . .
Ice-red slashes, restless sky glide,
Midday visor heat.
Women whose lullaby shards
Dance . . .
Sapphire blue tears, still water slide,
Moonlight mask cool.

My poems are memory:
Baptized in "Continuum Eternal"

You who whisper waking dreams,
You who bridge in now,
You who shadow step just out of sight,
My poems are memories.

Song: Tone Poem ii

by

Delores Fisher

Bright black-blue, red feathered,
Broad of wing, strong of beak,
Hump backed bird,
Still pretty. . . yet, absurd in measured façade flight
Through thrashing thanatos marriage.

ESCAPE
Sing a hushing lullaby
Of beaten down bygone days and woman song
. . . crying into night.
And how God hears your music.

INVOKE
Song-against bare-clenched fists
And stomping pointed-toed shoes,
Song-against stinging silence
And soul’s pummeled push off life’s love cliff.
Song-breathing caritas into tremble-broken spirit.

SING:
Of resurrection,
In gnashing teeth, ascending from sorrows deep.
Of revelation,
Rising in judgment terrible to behold.
Of liberation,
With anointed song’s melodious healing purity,
Power, flowing from beneath the seat of a most Holy throne.

SERENADE THE DISCONSOLATE:
"Pilgrimage to sanctuary sweet—soar in spheric harmony."

Bright black-blue, red feathered,
Broad of wing, strong of beak,
Hump-backed bird.
Proclaim the message,
Lift voice to sing of Gilead’s balm:
For battered women still cry,
All. . . through . . .the . . .night . . .

Who We Be?

by

Delores Fisher

Bama-lama-bam!!Phloom!!
"What’s up cuz?" "Awwww watch out man!"

A gentle voice like honey, slow dripping
onto Saturday morning biscuits asks:
"Whose that running ‘cross my backyard?"

They throw hand signals,
Yell at the frail, old, wise face peaking through the screen door.
"Shut up you ol’ stanktified ol’ lady.
We’s the Sic Slicks,"

Her voice casts rhythm melodies of long gone time.
"Son, who are you? What ya’ll doin in my back yard?"
One boy stops, head lowering in shame.
A nervous twitch of a teen spits: "Who we be?
We’se Sic Slicks! Cain’t ya hear, ol lady?
Man dis is wac, why we be talkin’ to her?"

His amen corner shouts:
"Yea, man why we wait’in’ time wi’t her?"
She ain’t nothin’ but a useless ol’ lady."
The nervous teen throws a sign and snarls "Shiiiiiiiiii__"

Defiant eyes flush kindergarden confusion, the leader says,
"She ain’t _ tsch_man; You know who dat is?"
Several teens begin to back away from her fruit trees.
The others laugh. "Naw,"
She half smiles, leans her head right.
Some still remember. Her soft voice soothes, "Son_.."
Shame rides the leader;
He walks off, commands angrily, "We outa here."
Mean-spirit twitching teen sneers, "Yeah ol’ lady.
Dis yo’ lucky day."
Hard-time punches knock at life’s hate door,
"We’se out . . fo’ now." They swag through the back gate.

Easing down her hallway, tension’s toothache throbbing,
Retired Mrs. Chapelle remembers,
Several had been her students at PS. 41.
As her back door shuts, she yanks in the deadbolt.
"A, um, we sorry, ma’am." A raspy pubescent voice pleads.

Arthritis-slow-moving into dim lit study,
White kinky hair flowing,
Muttering to mute four walls, she cries:
"Sic Slicks," hmph_..
They cain’t be Woolungo, Twi, Ebo, Awai, Zulu, or Mandingo,

"Ain’t we still teaching them ‘bout Shaka, or Sundiata?
‘Bout Mali, Benin, Ashanti warriors, or "Great Dahomey?
Kora and balophone lullabies, or even drum talk?
What about Mandela, X, Martin,
Ain’t we still telling them ?????????"

Old elementary school teacher,
Battle fatigued warrior, Mrs. Chapelle shrugs weary-sad.
Smiles, thinks of Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hurston, Langston, Locke, Dubois, Baraka, Gates, hooks, West, Angelou, Dyson and so many others.
Labored breaths shake frail frame. She exhales.
A deeply pregnant silence . . .
Eyes become flame, lips stiffen with adamantine resolve.

"Sic Slicks’ Chillun’?
A media manic consumer driven name
With more than a hint of moral degradation!"

Fiercely young again,
She sits.
Erect in her office chair,
Thin hands fly adeptly over the keyboard,
Prophesies onto the computer screen,
Forging weekly Internet Blog and Twitter chat in cultural Jeremiad’s hearth.

"Sirens sound through heaven’s dark night,
Community/family fabric is falling apart,
Fragmenting our future.
Elders, hold blood stained banner high!
Teachers stand strong in truth!

Village conscious rappers, shout it loud:
"People, our people, hear us before darkness burns,
Gaze long on what we are letting our children become--
In whose shape . . . in whose image_in whose image?"
In whose shape . . .in whose Image_IN WHOSE IMAGE????

A SATURDAY EVENING IN SUBURBAN UPSTATE NEW YORK:

by

Delores Fisher

Crickets, frogs, and fireflies
A quiet Saturday evening in July,
Doing what they know to do-
Chirping, croaking, and lighting up the sky
In multi-sensory peace tableau,
Upstate suburban Western New York.

Many sunsets we sat
On eight by twelve awning clad concrete front porch
Listening to momma and daddy talk
Up into late night
About hot Georgia country evenings-
Air so fresh you didn’t want to stop breathin’ in.

Georgia nights so dark and still
You could almost hear angel songs
Cherry blossoms, so pregnantly sweet, your eyes smiled
-Listening to cricket serenade, on we talked-

Talked about family and friends
Buffalo New York and changing times
Talked about people and our world:
James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Margaret Walker, Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, H. Rap, and Eldridge, Malcolm, Martin, and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Julian Bond, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Arthur Mitchell, Alvin Ailey, Pigmeat, Moms, Red Fox, Sammy, Mahalia, James Cleveland, Rick James, Nina, Miles, Little Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, Mariam Makeba, and Aretha,

Momma and Daddy told stories;
Their families had sat -small town rural Georgia folk-
On twelve by twenty by four foot
Worn smooth, oak plank porches
Speakin’ way on up towards midnight
‘Bout lynchings, cross burnings
Raising up a new church near the baptizing creek
Finding a new school teacher
For the state school down the road
‘Bout folks catching freight trains north
. . . "Land of OPPORTUNITY" . . .

Daddy’d sometimes play a game with us
Call names from his southern world
Test our knowledge:
Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, A. Philip Randolph, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Mary Macleod Bethune, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson,W.E.B. Du Bois and the Black Baptist church’s B.T.U., Marcus Garvey, Ethel Waters, Ma Rainey, the Fabulous Step Brorhers, W.C. Handy, Eubie Blake, Willie the Lion Smith, Marian Anderson, Thomas A. Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, Sweet Daddy Grace.

Seems, my folks’ daddy’s would sit
In the middle of their porches
Rocking gently in big ol’ spruce wood rockers
Shotgun close at hand, hidden from view
All the children gathered close around.

One of momma’s aunties "dated a klansman"
A covertly complicitous early warning system
Before brutish night raids.

One of daddy’s uncles was praised as a hardworking
Sensible, honest, colored man:
Trusted friend of a sympathetic town official
A right "smart nigrah," knew when to listen
And when to seem like he wasn’t.

. . . Kin folk with survival love . . .

While flames ate into inner city hearts in the sixties
Our family sat like their families before us
Seemingly peaceful, talking
Seemingly enjoying loud sensory tableau:
Crickets, frogs and fireflies.

Used to think I knew a lot as a child in the sixties
-Realize how much less I did know now-
About calming peace so dearly won.

At school
My older brothers openly tormented
With old guard’s venomous hatred.
At home
First generation immigrants’ neighborly visits
Accepting, reaching out, protecting us
Against those who tried to drive their families away
Years earlier.

Like them, and like his daddy before him in Georgia
Our daddy kept protection-a registered shotgun and rifle-
On our Saturday nights
Shotgun and rifle safety off, within reach
Just inside vestibule door, just in case.

Circles unending . . .

In this twenty-first century kinder nation
My family sits in
Back yard suburbia landscaped patios
Behind decorator six foot high reinforced steel fences
Sensor lights all around, pepper spray and mace at hand
Registered gun locked in family room safe
Behind portrait covered reinforced door
Cell phones on emergency speed dial.

We barbecue, swim, watch evening stars
Children within view
Gathered close around
Distracted by IPods, text messages, and 3-D videogames.

We paint Tonawanda sunsets
Crickets, frogs, and fireflies
Humid upstate Western New York Saturday evenings in July.

Remembering momma and daddy risking hatred’s hostility.
Moving us
Out of hot fragile racially torn 1960s Buffalo New York
Into calm, cool, yet angry, suburbia-
Before rabid screaming urban inferno
Roared in silent burn across our nation.

Inheritance

by

Delores Fisher

Above angry twenty-first century green-fanged politically correct silent moon,
Is a longing for morning’s "New Day" rising on long forgotten promise.

Prayer echoes float soft on drying opaque sheets
beating wind rock,
Shock wave temporality looped,
societal insanity reruns.

Momma, daddy, stand in me.

Listen . . .
Mile’s trumpet call decades blue modulating sub-Sahara sand portraits
Sycopatin’ stop time step, stormy roads trod, rods’ bitter chastening
Resonatin’ travel modes,harmony plains . . . walk together chillun’
Draggin' pus ripened feet poring Georgia’s sweat river tears.

Momma, daddy, stand in me.

Sorrow song;
alter call mourner’s bench bended knees fade-kiss delusion,
Mocking bird ballads;
soul piercing arrows spit-polish fall apart hearts
Deferred dream’s raisin sun, known too many rivers . . .

1950s once upon a time, so very long ago

Soul-sleek satin-silk cotton swaddling
country folk, little light shiners,
Pulse-life sun-flare drum song through
trickster's tree green chimerical canapé
Our ground needs light.

Momma, daddy, I stand in you . . . stand in me.

Inheritance

by

Delores Fisher

Above angry twenty-first century green-fanged politically correct silent moon,
Is a longing for morning’s "New Day" rising on long forgotten promise.

Prayer echoes float soft on drying opaque sheets
beating wind rock,
Shock wave temporality looped,
societal insanity reruns.

Momma, daddy, stand in me.

Listen . . .
Mile’s trumpet call decades blue modulating sub-Sahara sand portraits
Sycopatin’ stop time step, stormy roads trod, rods’ bitter chastening
Resonatin’ travel modes,harmony plains . . . walk together chillun’
Draggin' pus ripened feet poring Georgia’s sweat river tears.

Momma, daddy, stand in me.

Sorrow song;
alter call mourner’s bench bended knees fade-kiss delusion,
Mocking bird ballads;
soul piercing arrows spit-polish fall apart hearts
Deferred dream’s raisin sun, known too many rivers . . .

1950s once upon a time, so very long ago

Soul-sleek satin-silk cotton swaddling
country folk, little light shiners,
Pulse-life sun-flare drum song through
trickster's tree green chimerical canapé
Our ground needs light.

Momma, daddy, I stand in you . . . stand in me.

Primal

by

Delores Fisher


Railroad track in fields behind our home:
Sweat grunts
Shadow pond reed spear raised in 1960s defiance
Imagined loincloth silhouette against railroad tiers beneath imaginary bare feet
Screaming Olympian strides into blind faced
Town of Tonawanda New York summer sun.

Inside the house:
"Do you really think it’s okay for her
To run like that through the woods?"

"What could it hurt?"

"I found another used book when I was cleaning her room
—James Baldwin—under her mattresses."

"So, she likes to read."

"But, she saw those boys at the Olympics
With their arms up and . . ."

"And their closed fists?"

"Umm hmmm."

"Well you know what Brown says,
‘Say it Loud . . .’ and they sho’ did!"

"It ain’t a joke."

"She’s just going through a phase.
And at least she’s outside
Playin’ instead of readin’,
Needs to be with youngsters her own age.
Only one regret moving out here.
My dream, to get ya’ll out of the city.
Old neighborhood full of disrespectful young folks
Doin’ whatever they felt.
And grown men drunk, pissing against the side of My house.
Our kids should enjoy wild flowers and roses,
Smell of fresh mowed Kentucky blue grass,
Rain in the air . . ."

"And chemical plants’ stink breezes."

"You tryin’ to be funny?"

"People out here blamin’ the Buffalo riots on us!
What is going on?
Angry people across our land
All emotional—actin’ without thinkin’."

Silence . . . . . Pause . . . .

"Poppa, listen, her vice principal called.
Somebody yelled n_.. at the baby yesterday.
She’s been withdrawn ever since.
They found her crying in the bathroom;
Didn’t answer staff questions
And refused to talk in class."

"That’s new. She loves to talk. How’d they find out?"

"Several students talking and laughing real hard--
Her fourth period class.
One of her new friends did it on a dare
‘Cause the others thought it was funny."

"I see."

On the railroad tracks:
Sweat grunts
Beat air fist
Shadow pond reed spear raised in 1960s defiance!
Imagined loincloth silhouette against railroad tiers beneath imaginary bare feet
Screaming Olympian strides into blind faced
Town of Tonawanda New York summer sun.

Dreams

by

Delores Fisher

Dreams of you sometimes . . .

Nearness like light house beacon
In zero visibility hurricane;
You wrap warm weathered brown arms
Around my angst, shield against relentless storms
Real and imagined.

My anger rages
Withdrawn into purple room with fluffy clouds
And orange yellow sun painted
In upper right hand corner
Spilling down to floor boards;
Daddy hates this room.
It is my haven.

An angry child for no reason,
I am wells of shadow storm in a family of light and love,
Inflicting venom on any who dare knock at heart’s door—except you.
Dreams of you sometimes.

In troubled crevices of perplex pools,
Your face momma, philosopher stone radiance
On whirlpools of my mercurial adolescence
"Baby, you all right? Momma’s just worried about you chil’."
Turbulence ebbs, still waters rise to heart’s surface
As a well of milk and honey flows
From the center of your chi
In maternal healing,
Straight from God's hands.

I am ya’lls last born child, born a month late,
In life’s autumn.

Dreams of you like Lazurus momma,
Only you don’t rise:
You lay serenity smiling, hands folded,
We dressed you in your favorite grey flannel suit.

As casket lowers, I want to cry.
Some of the family get up and run
Trading tears for strides,
They run to the waiting limousines.
I want to run, I want to momma,
I want to cry, I want to, I need to. But I don’t.

Jesus wept over Lazurus,
Jesus wept . . .
Jesus wept momma.
I ain’t comparin’ myself to no Jesus
But if the Son of God could weep,
Why can’t I?

Holding your lilac fragrance within mists
I brew around the citadel of my soul,
Shaping a netherworld light house of soothing amethyst,
Your gift: brought by pearl pure protective tears
Forged in maternal hollow of sleepless, troubled, Prayerful, nights, pleading God's comfort.

It’s so stormy without you
When life hurricanes rip and uproot,
Momma, I go to the mists and dream of you.

Spirit of Justice

by

Delores Fisher

Too late!
The ancient warrior is waking.
Battle bloodied, weak from wielding Zion's Song.

Slept
Resting
Cradled in green pasture fragrance beside still waters
Scar-torn thorn crown face
Callus thick palms still healing
Slash-gashed arms
Pierced water flow-side
Purple-bruise-legs on blood-tear ooze feet

Spirit seems sleep, deep,
Warrior waiting almighty's battle cry.

Begged, pleaded, mercy mingled grace
Flowing down into lightless grief's abyss
We who Pray,
We who fast,
We who labor love's single minded unity,
In gardens of Gethsemane
Humility-humanity
Who speaks for us?

Shall these bones live again?
Ruach . . .

Warrior stirring
Weapons in sacred hearths forging
Before time yawns its newborn eyes

Flaming sapphire-chiseled armor
Blinding emerald-sharpened sword
Roaring adamantine-diamond kilned purity
Planted by rivers of sorrow's strong afflictions
Anchored by angel alleluias
And saints' song-soaked tears

Sons of men,
Savior-Warrior stands-
Heaven-logos listening:
You have provoked the ancient one . . .

Visions: New Millennium Marketing

by

Delores Fisher

The lively devotion service eases into mourner’s bench moan
On this unseasonably cold April Georgia night:

UMMMMMM, UM-HUUM UUHM HUMMMMMMMMMM

Yas Lord, Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

Old folks grow silent,
Close eyes, bow heads
Young ones shudder,
Search for groaning chill winds not there.

The old, blind teacher woman
Born ‘bout 1918 stands,
Lifts parchment yellow eyes to heaven.

She whispers:
The Hollow ones be dancing again
‘mongst Red , Brown, Yellow, Black, and White.
Slashes of incandescent Internet computer blues
Inscribes ancient runes on flailing arms and kicking legs
Rituals orgiastic wash—internecine flashes, bonfire lights.

She groans:
I sees pyres, crackling ash logs yield
Fuel to unsheathed flames
That tongue moonless, starless sky mouth.
On they prance, dance and howl
Wolfen blood-claws slash air
Dancing, dancing, they be dancin’...
Again stabbing the fabric of our lives.

AAAaaaaaWOOoooooooooooooooooooooooough!!!!
Rips night’s full moon tissue
Slobbers on soft sacrifice,
Pierces fleshy bloated body electric
In Fetishistic bonfire glow-screams,
Gnashing, gnashing teeth brings blood,
Sealing ravenous pact’s vacuity,
Caressing rue-less cruel heart urbanity

They dance and howl . . . . . . . .
Ekwensu is singing.
Sweet voice trickster’s lullaby-wolfen sanguine rune
Engulfs their souls as each swoons
Hollow-dance-killing-life with a tune.

She moans:
Look, LOOK!
I sees . . . . .
Ruptured souls in predatory glee:
All of King’s horses and keepers of others
Cain’t birth brother Martin’s dream
Into daybreak of a bloodless rising sun,
No new day begun
No one dreaming dreams no more . . . . . .

Deferring dreams on crystal cloud-inhaling stairs
Leeching out lives in rhythmic ostinato gasps
Of chimerical, quick silver green sand smoke.

She wails:
The Hollow ones is in groove, on Internet move
Adding critical mass in arithmetic proportion
As we, zombies, glut on axis mundi spoils,
Consume ourselves to sleep.

The old blind teacher woman shivers,
Lowers yellow parchment bloodshot eyes
Onto Georgia country congregation, old and young.

She whispers:
Like my mammy, my gran’mammy, and the OLD folks sayed-----
Watching strange fruit of once virile futures
Hanging from ever present deep rooted, leaf-sick ash tree,
Its hallowed leaves mourning skyward-----
I cain’t keep my peace.

She stare-screams at the young people in the congregation:
They’es dancing again, chillun’
This time amongst you--Brown, Yellow, Black, Red, White
. . . I just cain’t keep my peace.

She swallows centuries, softly weeping
Help Jesus! Jus’. . . cain’t. . . keep. . . my. . . peace!

The Harps of God

by

Delores Fisher

What sonic tapestry is woven by the harps of God
We cannot hear when melody chords whisper-calm our fear?
When senses hum with movement of spaces
Nearness of dimensional harmony
Weaving creative raw completeness.

Saint and angel luminescence,
Ode de love incense fragrance
On altar-pure radiant sight
Of mercy’s beam-glow as we pray,
Foot guide life-way:
Peregrinus, walk in awe
Terrestrial pulse-path peace.

Harps of God---hush---
Listen . . .

Sunghost Memories: Lani

by

Delores Fisher

Butterfly.
Amber wings sunlit unfold quiet
Final flight pause on open fingers
Palm flat on airlessness.

Sad eyes.
Brother, youngest son
Of tenor sweet song-man, of phantom soprano melody weaver.
Congregational voices
On Sunday afternoon Founder’s Day Programs
At Trinity Baptist Church.

Your smile flows-free like momma’s,
Your voice soothe-songs like daddy’s.

This morning is pain.
Lithe trolley runs smooth track tears
Easing on down the road of reminiscence,
Swaying across lawns tended by ashes to ashes
Tombstones on winds across Dana Bay.
Grey-blue blanket sky disco globe’s anvil mauve clouds-
California soul dancing on such a weep-dream-chill day.

Butterflies, little children, broken people, feral dogs-
Sighing sat hurting sleep-still slow on you,
Near you,
Would lean long on your loungingly gracious welcome,
Draw deep from your faith, content.

Mozart’s Requiem wail-hush intones daybreak . . .
You once wrote: "We don’t have time to die."
Years before your silent dawn sunghost
Caught a ride on the swing-low gypsie chariot memory
Whispering tranquil "Goodbye my dear."

Angst

by

Delores Fisher

Centuries,
Clouds grind exceeding small
Spit drops,
Fragrant soaking rain wisps
People tick-tock

Mind chains caged,
Travel places erased
Sign crop
Gilded door dungeon keeps
Same bird, old song

Subduction,
Rainbows chimerical
Edom rocks
Shine desire diamonds
Refract broken

Cave fog marionettes
Mirror-less shadows . . .again

VISION WALKER

by

Delores Fisher

The Vision walker is long dead,
Brother Martin . . .
Slain by the insane who scream
Vile obscenities cloaked in shape shifter
Media molded palliative atrocities.

The Vision walker ---pierced with cloven fire
And saved from the valley of dry bones,
Long before bullets tore his flesh
Understood that to rise in victory,
He had to bow on humble knee before an all mighty God
Whose justice streams on all of earth’s wealthy and wretched.

We have not reached the mountain top yet.

Walk together children for stony the road we trod,
Weary, torn, and anxious . . .
We circle dance a precipitous ledge,
Of twenty first century four corners.

Yet the Vision walker’s voice beams of mercy as we pace
"Freedom . . . Freedom . . . ."
The Lord's glory he did see.

Our dungeon’s must shake,
Our chains must fall off!!!!
Standing at this crossroad weep: Even me, Lord_Even me?
And bow our souls.

The Old Poet Lady

by

Delores Fisher

Humming, looking out at tangling heath, heather-meadow
She sings,"Mornin'!" as nursing home staff smiles.

White hair braided neatly in eight coarse cornrows
Parading around shoulders like draping curtain folds
Greeting dawn’s soft warm glow:
She slowly sits up
Pulls laptop computer from bedside table
Opening onto a new world before breakfast rituals.

The old poet lady types, gives voice--spontaneous song:

"Ere does dawn walk in grace
Upon the woe of Heather’s dew-ed face
To set ablaze each diamond tear,
Playing doe to fawn.

It is sister autumn’s show
That causes Dawn to tease Heather so,
Cooing melodies in meadow’s ear,
Imitating teasing bluebird’s song.

Cousin Autumn paints with heavy hand
Splashing brown, red-yellows from palette grand,
Planting hu-ed thoughts for Heather’s fear
Sporting with her pawn.

Brother midday sun laps dew-ed drops
Drooping and dragging he dare not stop,
As Father, evening cloaks star-scape near
Heather’s fear...a memory... now gone.

Old man Moonlight’s shades dance with mother earth
Slinking spindle smoke wraiths of mirth
Old miss Nightingale sings syncopated lullabies
Shimmering castle songs on which they glide
As cranky Mr. Night soft shoe creeps along.

Daybreak, Dawn breathes a big sister sigh
Prancing joy for baby Heather’s eye
Cousin Autumn tosses smirks and sneers . . .

"Time for breakfast ma'am,
Followed by your bath.
After that we have granny Zumba!
Oh yes!!!!!
And then, of course your soaps. . .
Well, naturally, followed by lunch.
We have soft pureed turkey and yummy thick gravy
With a splash of blenderized green beans today!
Followed by . . . "
The voice drones happily on
Blends into the background

The old poet lady, silver corn rows flowing,
Tilts head to right side
Adds poem's last line:

Such silly carrying on!

And Yet: A Song for Silent Sisters

by

Delores Fisher

Verse 1
One Moment of my life
And everything is changed,
I feel as if my soul
Is suddenly gone cold.

Verse 2
A gendered act of rage
My innocence undone,
Clawed fingers of a shroud
Traps me inside its pain.

Chorus:
And yet I must rise, from ashes of stained hopes
The rupture of scarred tears
I must rise, from madness in my life
The crying of my fears
I must rise, from the phantom of my soul.

Lord heal my sorrow, heal my pain
Give me joy to live again.

Verse 3
A shattering of trust
Can not be ignored,
I must reclaim THE Song
God's Son within each dawn.

Chorus
And yes I will rise, from ashes of lost dreams
From rupture of my years
I will rise, from this raging, crippling hurt
From silent screaming fear
I will rise, from phantoms in my soul.

Lord heal my sorrow, heal my pain
Give me joy to live again
Please heal sorrow, and heal pain
Through grace give joy to love again. . .

DARRYL

by

Delores Fisher

NIGHT SLIPS INTO MORNING BATHROBE.

LIKE A STRANGE FRUIT,
YOUR FETID BODY, ENTANGLED,
HANGS
NECK IN ROPE, SUSPENDED--
FREEZE FRAME:
FROM RARELY OPENED GARAGE RAFTER .

MISSING SINCE LAST MONDAY,
THEY FIND YOU A WEEK LATER.

DARRYL,
IF SOUL’S LULLABY COULD WALK YOU
RELEASE YOU FROM VALLEY OF TEARS,
MY SONG WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN:
"HUSH SUNLIGHT DARRYL, DON’T SAY A WORD,
I’M GONNA BUY YOU . . .."
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN:
"PRECIOUS LORD, TAKE DARRYL’S HAND,
LEAD HIM ON. . .
SUCH A GENTLE MAN.

HOW, HOW TO ACCEPT YOUR CHOICE?

IT ISN’T OUR EARLY YEARS,
-- RIOTOUSLY FUNNY, QUIRKY,
AND UNREPENTANTLY SILLY CHILDHOOD.

IT ISN’T MEMORIES OF DARK NIGHT TALKS
ON DEACON’S ALLIANCE FARM OLD OAK PORCH
WITH NIGHTGLOW-LIGHTSHOW FIREFLIES,
FRESH CUT BLUE GRASS FRAGRANCE,
DREAM SWAPPING HOPES, FEARS, DOUBTS.

IT ISN’T CULTURE-PAIN SCARS
HEARTS WAILING
MOURNING AN ENTIRE DECADE
FOR THOSE WHO DIED
IN FLAMES OF REVOLUTION
AS SIXTIES’ ASHES FELL ON BUFFALO NEW YORK’S
DESPAIR EATEN.

IT IS OTHER TIMES . . .

AFTER GRADUATION --MARRIAGE.
I STILL SINGLE--TRADED COASTS
CHOSE SUN OVER FRIENDS, FAMILY, FELLOWSHIP.

NEGLECTING TO WRITE,
TO CALL.
NEVER ONCE CELEBRATING LIVES APART.
YET COMPLAINING AND WHINING
ABOUT COLLAPSING SILENCE
LEAVING BUFFALO
DENYING ONE MORE PEIRCING BY
ADULT SORROWS OF ABSENCE.

DARRYL,
SOMEHOW, WITHOUT WORDS
ABYSS WHIRLWINDS SUCKED YOU DRY
AND FILLED VACANT SORES WITH JOYLESS DESSICATED AIR.

MISSING SINCE LAST MONDAY,
THEY FIND A WEEK LATER
YOUR BODY DECAYING,
QUIETLY, WAITING.

YOUR WILL LONG SLAIN
BY FALL FROM SHATTERED BOUGH
THAT BROKE BENEATH DEAD-WEIGHT LIFE CRADLE.

"KYRIE ELEISON . . CHRISTE ELEISON . . . ."
PRECIOUS LORD, TAKE HIS HAND . . .

An Artist's Resolution: One Night At Claire de Lune Cafe

by

Delores Fisher

We gather here in unity
Linked humanity rising, remembering,
In memoriam, September 11, 2001.

We gather with one resolve:

In communal concord,
We offer concerns and thoughts

Sharing loss, grief, sorrow, pain
Offering confusion, anger, denial, fear
Seeking insight, restraint and guidance in acknowledgment of vulnerability.

An artistic locus in which to manifest
Regenerative, meditative engagement with this volatile tempest that continues spawning weeping in seemingly unending global swells.

Overflowing the shorelines of our lives...

An artist’s assemblage in angst
Linking the harmony of our fragile corporeality
As we generate a non-temporal refuge
To embrace grieving: liminal, passive, and active.

Offering gifts-visual art, word, song, and movement,
Breathing clarity into chaos through human creativity,
This, our Sanctuary: a spirit space.

A ground to cultivate healing . . . .

We gather here in unity
In memoriam.