March 27, 2014

On Frank’s birthday I drove to Northern Maryland
to meet with a client about a marketing project.
I left late enough to miss the really bad traffic
on the interstate, and I was headed out of the city
anyway.  After about an hour and a half, part beltway,
part county road, I reached the highest hill
of the small town and entered the nested campus.
It was quite a dream.  The client had implemented
some of the improvements we discussed previously.
But there was a new delay on approval of the survey
instrument. So in the interim we talked about
other options, anecdotal evidence, observer effects,
community engagement.  “Social media works because
the students need validation.” But marketing it was not.


March 24, 2014

It was just a line to a poem,
but it was a closing line,
after the end,
a final line that didn’t quite fit
and didn’t have an antecedent.
Sprung up out of know where,
you know what I mean?
Just rose up from the page,
put her hands on her hips,
waved her right hand,
cocked her head to one side,
and said in one breath,
“I’m staying here,
I ain’t going no where.
And I don’t give a good goddamn
about your silly poetic conventions.
And furthermore, f— the form!”
The word became flesh,
and dwelt among us.

new poem

Today was the running of the Rock N Roll Marathon.
I had no idea, for me it was just another Saturday morning walk.
The first three runners zoomed past as I turned up Rock Creek Park.
Dark, Kenyans, no doubt.  A fourth zoomed, a definite Ethiopian.
And then the masses, throngs of runners, minutes and miles
of runners, marathoners of all shapes and colors passed me by.
I had a momentary flashback to the USA/Pan Africa Track Meet
I attended in Durham in ’71.  A recent middle distance devotee,
I was in awe of the American runners I saw, Frank Shorter,
Steve Prefontaine.  But I was in triple awe of the African runners
who dominated the field that weekend:  Kip Keino, Mirus Iftar,
Ben Jipcho, Robert Ouko.  Kenyans, Ethiopians, black like me.
African. And I so wanted to be African like them at the time.
Key Bridge was full of runners, crossing over to Virginia
and returning to Chocolate City.  I stayed on the DC side
and did repetitions up and down the Lincoln Memorial steps.
All 41 of them.  My legs wearied and my knees ached as I recalled
the speech at Gettysburg and thought about a new birth of freedom.

A Splendid Wake, Friday, March 21, 2014, 6:30pm.

A splendid Wake, Friday, March 21, 2014, 6:30pm.

National Poetry Month Challenges Plus

Writing On The Sun

Sharpen those pencils. Purchase your favorite thesaurus and rhyming dictionary.

National Poetry Monthba1969

If you’re a crazy poet, a quiet poet, or a mind-boggling poet, you’re interested in knowing about ALL the Poetry Challenges during the month of April so you can pick and choose which ones you’ll participate in.


I can’t give ‘em all to you, but I can fill you in on a few.

1.  NaPoWriMo: Stop and Smell the Roses

Like most of these challenges, you will write 30 Poems in 30 Days. All you do is write a poem. There are no fees or nothing! You can add your blog or website to their online roster of participants in order to share your poem but you’ll have to pre-submit your site. Oh, and you can grab a nice badge for your website/blog, too.

2.  WordXWord or WXW 30/30 Poetry Challenge

30/30 Poetry Challenge 2014

In 2013, over…

View original post 386 more words


An audio of a poem I wrote a year ago this week.

On International Women’s Day

Many of my friends are posting for International Women’s Day, so I thought I’d join the fray.  What comes immediately to mind is something people used to say in Guinea-Bissau.  In Crioulo they would say, “No Djunta Mon,” three simple words that translate “Let’s join hands.”  Three simple words.  Three powerful words.  Men and women need to join hands.  Men and men need to join hands.  Women and women need to join hands.  And, if we are going to get Whitmanian about it, let’s join hands across national boundaries, across nationalities, let’s join hands across space and time, let’s even join hands with folks we know are evil, folks we know are corrupt, folks who, we judge, lack morals or ethics or any trace of goodness, because, frankly, they need love too.  Everybody needs a hand.  “Everybody shake a hand, make a friend….on the friendship train…”

My second thought is this poem I posted to the Black Poetry Cafe this morning that perhaps deserves a wider distribution.  It started on the subway as a sonnet, but became what it became.

“O woman of my people”

O woman of my people, smile that smile

of sadness, of toil, of oft betrayal,

that smile of joy, of gladness, of a kiss,

a gentle kiss that slowly dares to grace

my undeserving lips – a priceless thought

that sings and shouts inside my wounded soul

a song of sweet, forgotten, sacred love.

(c) 2014.  RDMaxwell