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Where The Problem Is

There use to be a time,
When people passed off anything...
And found it acceptable.

Today those same people,
Who found anything and everything done acceptable...
Are seeking explanations amongst themselves,
As to why those they have selected to represent them...
Seem less qualified to audition for characters portrayed,
In any nursery rhymes they have ever told to their children.

And...
The ones who are trying to snap them 'into' reality,
Can not say it loud enough...
That everything that has been sweetened to eat,
And given to them to nourish...
Has had damaging effects,
On the maintaining of their mental health.

Yet...
STILL they wish to keep the same story lines told,
But they wish to have the ones telling those nursery rhymes...
To depict the exact images in their minds,
That have never existed.
Although they seek 'anyone' besides those who are truthful,
To deliver the goods.
With a comfort for them that is understood.

There use to be a time,
When people passed off anything...
And found it acceptable.
But these times lived can no longer depend on myths.
People are challenged to be real with themselves.
And that's where the problem is.

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I Belong To A Dream Whose Time Has Passed

I BELONG TO A DREAM WHOSE TIME HAS PASSED

I belong to a Dream whose time has passed-
Even if I realize it in old age
It will not mean that much.

A hundred billion human beings or more
Have lived and died on this earth
I am just one of them.

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I Passed Away Today

The World I said passed away today,
But I had really died along the way.
Prejudice, hate, jealousy, pain
Was not something I could explain.
I wanted love, joy, peace,
And all the wars to cease. I loved my world, strange as it may seem,
For I was born there to dream.
Love, laughter, sunshine, snow
Intelligence, wisdom and knowledge of God,
Was all I wanted to know.
But after I am gone, the world will grow and grow.

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How Long

2+2,
Me and you,
Strollin' down the avenue,
I never knew that this was meant to be.....
And all those times we looked into each other's eyes,
I did it again, I did it again, I did it for you!
Holding on,
To a song,
I guess it's time we passed it on.....
Because one of us keeps changing everyday...
And all those times we told each other little lies....
I did it again, i did it again, I did it for you!
How long before we learn to live and fly away?
How long before we learn to live another day?
Woah-oah....
And all those times we broke our hearts despite ourselves......
I did it again, I did it again, I did it for you!
How long before we learn to live and fly away?
How long before we learn to live another day?
Woah-oah......

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I'm Not Certified With Those Qualifications

I've come to you to feed you love.
Not treat you with a desserting,
Of an agony you've been told to keep.
And you gaze upon me,
As if I am here to threaten.
As if I am here to take away...
Your enjoyment to taste defeat.

No!
I am not here to fulfill,
Those opportunities you seek.

I've come to you to feed you love.
Not treat you with a desserting,
Of an agony you've been told to keep.
As if I am here to take away...
Your enjoyment to taste defeat.

No!
I am not here to fulfill,
Those opportunities you seek.

I've come to you to feed you love.
But I am not one,
To do a force feeding done.
Or nourish you back to mental health.
I'm not certified with those qualifications.
Nor will you see my ego boosted,
To be declared on public walls.

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Taking Loads Off Their Backs

This may be your yesterday,
Delayed with promises again to make.
With habits stated you need to break.
Dragging behind you conflicts
And arriving much too late...
For sympathies you wish to bait.
This is not that time for that.
Today people are taking loads off their backs.
Carrying sacks of baggage and issues to share...
Wont give you the empathy,
From those awakening to their own reality.
This may be your yesterday.
With a staleness you wish now to breathe.
But that isn't acceptable now and/or tomorrow!
Since yesterdays like those you bear...
Should be dropped and from them you should leave.
These are not those times anymore!
New doors have been opened.
And seeking those to help you grieve...
Will not find a warm reception.
Not here!

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The Dialogue: Time tested knowledge -Globilization is the ladder

Time –Ladder

My words of inspiration
Will always begin by time
They say time is money
I am thinking of time sitting with my best friend
Then I came to recognize that time is friend who is caring
He is sharing me with his past experiences about life
Hear is the beginning:
My friend: Do you see that we are now failing to do the things in the way that our past forefathers were doing
Me: Yes but why
My friend: This is because we are failing to use the time in a more sunssict manner
Me: what do you mean?
My friend: Have you noticed how naughty the pupils are during the class.
Me: yes
My friend: That is because they tend to take all of things that are being said by the lectures fro granted.
Me: Why is that happening
My: That is not only because the students do not looked to attend the lectures, but that is because they think they will be able to catch up the notes either on the book or on the internet.
Me: Oh yes, But not all of us who are having the similar abilities to grasp exactly what the lectures are saying, doesn’t that cause others to fail.

My friend: That affect everybody.

Me: How

My friend: Do you know what? Time is very important. Most of students – tends to blame the lectures when they have failed. The University is another level of education. There is no one who will push as in the high schools. You need to go and search the information for them.
Me: Besides that my friend: Most of lectures have experience. They have devoted their times in doing their studies. Besides that, most of lectures are very old. For us as the students it is very difficult to develop knowledge about something we have never seen. Do you ever red Ferranti – the sociolology book part about Industrial Revolutions?

Me: Do you mean that Industries evolutes in Europe that any other world?

My friend: That is good but can you think of how the Industrial Revolution tests our time-knowledge?

Me: I think of the time when the animals were being domesticated. I red that book from Diamond Larry. Those animals were then used as transport for goods. Two or three Horse carriages followed on one another. But they may have seen how heavy the goods are. They developed the wheels so that the weight is reduced. That was fine. However the roads were built because of too much bumps on the lands. They have therefore conquered the knowledge of making the trains. Note that the trains mimic the movement of horse carriages. Thereafter, everything followed. That includes cars, aero planes and even telegrams. What we are talking about today is time-distance friction – which means that our world is totally shrinking. That is literally because it does not refer to the actual shrinking of world. It refers to the time that we are now using to travel from one place to another. So you can see that what ever that is happening is traced from the past experience.
My friend: Wow my friend you have killed it? (We shack the hands)

Me: So we cannot only talk about the lectures but we can make our new statement of change.

My friend: Yes my friend you are clever, because you see that this world is changing. It is also said that in our modern societies some societies are failing to change because they are still stick to the superstitions of the past. In terms of culture do you think how can we change culture in the way that will be time- tested?

Me: I like when you say time –tested knowledge. Do you know what? If we can just switch off the knowledge and hysterical notes of writings about anything, including math, science and even culture there is no point to disagree that we shall not have developed in the way that the modern world development is taking place. I don’t like your term change and I suggest that you will use transform in the future. As you have had of how the industrial development was developed and then transformed. We need to study the ways in which the things were being done in the past in other to be able to transfer our modern word in a very smoothest way.

My friend: those words are now clear. You make me remember something. During the case of the ANC president Jackop Zuma. Well you know the rape case and -

Me: Can guess what you want to say. You are talking about the groups of women’s protection, who claimed that the girl did not cry or screamed because she was extremely terrified.

My friend: Yes and the judge said “that is not acceptable. A lady might otherwise have raped dead. No matter how terrifying the thing is, when we see something that terrifies us we tend to scream or be in the state of death. The statement that the women’s protection is trying raise has therefore no interaction in the universe”

Me: The judges are professionally trained; they are the people who are saying things based on the laws that were invented by based on the past experience. It does happen that Law is changed.But again I do not like to use the word change I will prefer to use the word transform. The transformations of laws are usually caused by the transformations of the modern societies. We are highly globalized and we have no point to oppose that. So in other to make the smooth transformation of our laws we need to see what was it cause and aims and what makes it fail to fit with the modern societies.

My friend: Yes you are speaking like lawyer now.

Me: I am not a Lawyer but what I have said emphasized one thing that “If the world is to be transformed in the smooth way – the time-tested knowledge in which things were done in the past must be used to evaluate the things, because we can not build something out of nothing.”

My friend: This also means that we are going to be tested on what we have done. I mean how we use our time and how we utilize the time-tested knowledge.

Me: Yes time is an ultimate sure goalkeeper. If one cherishes a dream on his or her mind it should be achieved by means of using the time-tested knowledge and that means that you need to use your time relevantly too. Open up your mouth and brain before you do actions you will see how amazing you are.

My friend: So my time is like a ladder. It is the only way to develop positive attitudes Take for example Doctor Nelson Mandela, who became the first democratically elected president in South Africa. He was sentenced almost 27 years in prison. He had seen how painful and disgusting the so-called discrimination is. When he came back he abolished apartheid and we are now leaving in the truly democratic South Africa.

Me: Yes time is a ladder that we shall climb with to everywhere we want to go. As you see Mandela had an experience about apartheid, because he felt to see how bad it was.He abolished it. He did not do the so called an eye for an eye. So everybody needs that Ladder of a time. I need ladder that shall be used to climb out the mountains. The ladder might be fit and fixed. Sot hat we shall be able to come back safety when our goals and visions have been fulfilled. My friends you are talking like a philosopher are you?

My friend: I am not a philosopher: anyone has told me to take those courses. I don’t believe it takes to study philosophy as to be a truly philosopher. There are as many people all over the universe. They call themselves engineers. But I will never call myself as a sociologist. The fact that I am studying sociology does not define me. I will be defined by time and my knowledge. I need person like you to kick start me but I do not need a person to push me.

Me: what do you mean?

Do you know the difference between the ultimate gold and fake gold. The faked gold tends to loose it color when it is thrown in the hot water. But the ultimate gold tends to shine more that ever before when it is thrown in the hot water. And do you know what does that mean? There are extremely rich people and there are poor people. Those people usually do absolutely nothing to help their societies. There are true philosophers with enough knowledge who can not pass it to the public. They wish to do so, but they are silenced because they ere not educated. I am lucky enough to get the opportunity to be at the university. So I shall use this chance to help in opening the mouths of the silenced philosophers. I shall use my time ladder. I don’t manna be reach and stay with my family while others are hungry outside. That is going to kill me and not the hungry people. Because we are living in the single universe that needs to be developed equally in order to achieve the developed world. (Now crying) I don’t want to be like those biggest extinct animals. Those animals were stupid’s. They refuse to adapt to the newly emerging environmental conditions. They realized that the food is so scarce but they choose to eat a lot. Take for an example of a person who usually encourages the apartheid. That person eventually changes when he has realized the truth. Unfortunately the saying argues thatthe king is king buy it own people” So after the decades of the xenophobic plantation it is difficult to be removed. A king is transformed – he is no longer xenophobic –but it people are xenophobic. They kill people- foreigners. The king cries – not because he feels so pathetic over the killing –and I want to say no.
The king is very old and he does not know where shall it say to the God over his xenophobic inflicts or education. The king has no choice how to tell people that xenophobia is disgusting. He will loose his nation. No king is without stress in the universe.

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Fake People

All the time
I look in your eyes
But what I see
And what you say to me
Are two totally different things
You pretend you put on a façade
I only wish you knew that I'm not
The only one who sees it as odd
Fake people
The things they do are oh so evil
Because of their own insecurities
They try to pass on to you their idiosyncrasies
Thinking they are your friends you let them into your lives
But then they turn around and about you tell nothing but lies
Jealousy is such an ugly thing
Almost as ugly as hypocrisy
Fake people
The things they do are oh so evil
Fake people
Fake people
So now I must ask who are your friends
Are they really what they seem to be
Or are they just trying to hide from you their envy
Do your friends really have your back
Or is it that that's where by them you've been stabbed
I once had a friend
One I thought would be there for me till the end
Then one day my happiness ended and theirs began
And when I needed someone to lean on
Behind me did no one stand
Fake people
The things they do are oh so evil
Because of their own insecurities
They try to pass on to you their idiosyncrasies
Thinking they are your friends you let them into your lives
But then they turn around and about you tell nothing but lies
Jealousy is such an ugly thing
Almost as ugly as hypocrisy
Fake people
The things they do are oh so evil
Fake people
Fake people
Be careful who you let know your business
'Cause in the end
Rumors about you they could be spreadin'
Don't put your trust in people who don't trust you
There's no telling what they're liable to say or do
Grow smarter with each experience
And you'll see true friends
Are the friends who are their with and for you till the end
Fake people
The things they do are oh so evil
Because of their own insecurities
They try to pass on to you their idiosyncrasies
Thinking they are your friends you let them into your lives
But then they turn around and about you tell nothing but lies
Jealousy is such an ugly thing
Almost as ugly as hypocrisy
Fake people
The things they do are oh so evil
Fake people
Fake people

(1998)

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What I Saw Today

Saw a million people yesterday
but my pen stood still
no melody came to mind
no feelings punctured my heart.

One person I see today
and my pen cannot stop
a sonnet flows through my veins
redemption is my state of mind.

Time comes and goes
its memory passes away
never to be pondered
years from its conception.

This time has passed
yet this memory lingers
like a bad taste
on a sensitive tongue.

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Try to Understand Me Too (Autism)

Today might not be my day,
You might understand what I want to say.
There are times that I want to wave my hand,
And you might think it is something that I am trying to demand.
Can you hear the soun
ds as I pound my feet,
Well maybe not, but all I am doing is trying to sound a beat.
Do you remember when I read the book with you?
It was about the ghost and you made me laugh when you said BOO.
I love to hear it when we whisper and shout Lullabies, songs and rhymes,
To me I wonder, if they can hear us while we do this during school time.
This is one reason why I always say things over and over again,
And when you try to stop me, I get mad every now and then.
I only wish I can understand everything that I'm being told,
But to me it feels like I am always being controlled.
Can you remember when you asked the class a question and I wanted to answer it when was not my turn,
All I am just trying to do is show you that I can remember things that I learn.
I try to understand why I get so mad and I cannot control myself and I hurt you,
When I think about it I get sad and cry because I wish someone could, Try to Understand Me Too.
I wish the other kids would let me play,
If they took the time to talk to me, they might understand things my way,
I also love it when you want to teach me how to pray,
And you ask the Lord to help thru this day,
I know that you understand me and even, if no one ever wants to even take a guess,
So, this is my ways of saying thank you and telling you that I will always try and do my best.

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Traitors of today

Traitors of today occupy imminent position
Well orchestrated songs in praise for composition
Establishment of personal rule over millions of people
Can not look forward for anything good and are unable

What have they to do for their own country?
Rob, steal, cut backs and commission in form of money?
Add vows to already worsened poverty?
Can any one tell us when this will end misery?

I have all praise and kudos for their divine talent
We have tears in eyes but nothing more to lament
What else do they deserve to invite us for comment?
We prefer to be mere spectator and be silent

In ancient time people were hanged to death
For crimes, murders and ill gotten wealth
Today it is considered as an adorable art
Academicians, politicians present themselves as smart

Where is the national interest and security?
How can one claim to be powerful and mighty?
When house is full of defaulters and selfish?
Searching for troubled water to catch the fishes

Why are we facing such national scene?
Such a low lever acts were never witnessed or seen?
How come national wealth is deposited in foreign banks?
How come National security weakened and remains with unsecured flank?

I am no crocodile to shed the tears
I am immune and have no fears
I have power and money to manage the show
I can reign supreme and in full readiness to grow

O, countrymen wake up and prepare for national funeral
Decorate with honor and shields upon their arrival
They are our heroes to barter and take away the freedom
Such things may never appear to witness seldom

I feel pity upon those who foolishly laid down their lives
Curse on those parents who push their children and believe
The motherland is precious than heaven” and come forward
Time has come now to think and look back ward

Where are those golden days when promises were kept?
Words were honored and nights were spent without being slept?
The national interest ruled supreme in the mind and at heart
Where from to pick thread now and with open mind to restart?

I do not blame the culture or present set up
We have degraded ourselves and deserve to be shut up
We can see the scoundrels flourish with position and wealth
Who bother’s about country men and its deteriorating health?

I wish to born in land again and again
Where Mafias, traitors, and squanders reign
The borders are left open to venture at will
Thousands of innocents to wait for terrorists to come and kill

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Nevada Mental Institute

Is this really a mental hospital?
It didn't look that way to me
a man in his wheel chair
kept saying this to himself
'O I wish I was never born!
O I wish I was never born! '
Some gaunt apparitions
here and there
minding their own businesses
howling at me
'Stay away! '
Seeing the blood stains
on the carpet floor
I shivered with fear and fright
that they might
devour me and my body
drinking my blood
dripping on the floor
which caused me to refuse
to take any medications
Was nice they didn't impose them on me
simply a shot or two
once in a while
Gosh!
Let me get some sleep
can you stop these women
screaming at nights
in room where I was assigned
to stay and sleep?
Madness drove me to all the way
to that place
though I tried to escape
the hands who put me there
after a long ride to San Francisco
to see the one I wanted to see
but failed to find the person's number
on phone book
for his wife's name was
on the registered
Couldn't keep these followers
from my back
in fear of being murdered
I decided to kill myself
but not with enough money to buy
the twenty-five dolor silver knife
from the shop I visited
during the break of the bus stop
I ran for help
to the law enforcement man
who took me to the hospital
for me to be checked
and eventually
hospitalized
here at the Nevada Mental Institute
'You might hurt yourself.'
It's safer here
no more of murder-fear
no more of followers' torments
but sleep and rest
It was only two weeks' time
but felt like centuries
Mother was wondering where her child
had disappeared to
since the last she contacted her
Never heared from her
was on look out for her
but in no vain
I was still asking the people in that
institute
if this was really mental institute
they say it was
but she didn't believe it
nor could confirm the fact
for they all looked like normal
town people who gathered for the day's town meeting
but they kept saying to me
that it was mental hospital
which I couldn't believe
The night came
and I had to go back to the room
where the apparitions were screaming all night
I decide to stay outside
which the caretaker minded so
'Go back to the room
Go back! '
I didn't listen to her directions
but stayed outside
for the whole night
When the dawn broke
she found me
never having slept for the whole night
thinking those people might
devour me and my body
drinking my blood drip
staining the floor
which was already stained
by someone else's blood
they might have drunk
together as an orgy
a ritual to celebrate the new birth
of being a complete transformation
that had to take place
Being dead and torn apart
and devoured by the members of the ancient sect
one is able to renew its being
like the Greek god Dionysos
Bachus his name was
I had to be devoured by these people
who gathered for the town meeting
to discuss the matter
for that day
I was ready for the ritual
to take place
and be dead and torn a part
so my renewal will follow
but that never happened
to my surprise
people were all at their places
minding their businesses
with a child with mother
with a handicapped man in wheel chair
who kept repeating himself
'O I wish I was never born!
O I wish I was never born! '
You have a dillusionary hallucination
The doctors told me
that was my diagnosis
but what is it?
No idea
anyway the diagnosis is over
and I refuse still to take medications
A girl who was sweet to me all through
showed me how to swallow pills
doctors prescribed her
and I do know how to swallow pills
but I wouldn't do that
for that will keep me to sleep
and they will eat my meat and drink
my blood staining the floor with my blood
shed and dripped
I fear these women gaunt
approaching me with their silence
Taught me how to wash hands clean
how to clean face clean
They themselves were also not that clean
either though
they showed me the step by step
processes to clean and wash my hands and face
It was late fall
with trees turning their leaves red and yellow
I missed my home
chilly fall seasons when the trees change
their colors leaves fall on streets
Mother still couldn't locate the girl lost
and she gave up on finding her
Looking out the window
to see all the tree leaves changed into red and yellow
I sighed
when I would go home?
Would that time will arrive
or would I be murdered here
and be eaten by these strange people
and disappear from this planet?
The caretaker Richard was playing the zig saw puzzle game
and he was very good at it
2: 48 pm
(November 22,2012)
I was watching him play the puzzle game
just as I was watching over these kids
play chess game during their learning class time
their minds were being practiced by
the game playing and thaw out the wrong
that have been done unto their system that made
the kids learning disabled
it was not about learning but
about the system that got them
crooked and wronged in their processing
of the information that was coming into their perceptions
Old people deny the truth
the young want to confront the truth
but not many are courageous enough to
admit that they were wrong and they were
not in the right path in dealings with these minds
so artistic were the learning disabled students
share the extreme sensibility that no minds
could have ever experienced
They wrote poems songs plays and
newspaper articles and did some
creative things but their system was
wronged by the wrong information process system
The victims of the system were all gathered in my
Special Education classes
wanting to learn their way
but the schools didn't know how to educate them
how to meet their needs
to challenge them in a way they can
truly learn the lessons in their lives
That's what these doctors were doing with me
in each session
probing and inquiring my modes and my motives
for doing the things I was doing with my life
and my thinking..
Why did you not apply for the citizenship?
Does this mean you don't want to accept the main stream
of the United States of America?
Do they want me to lose my nationality
and become totally devoted to their nation
The USA?
What did they say that for?
It was so funny I thought these people
who followed me got mad at me
for I didn't apply for the citizenship to conform
to the main stream America.
Was I to say sorry that I didn't?
Was I supposed to get the citizenship once I become
the permanent residence of the USA?
Am I that needed quality that they impose me
to become the USA citizen for I was not
and that might have offended them a lot
So I feel I have to explain why I am not
a citizen of the USA
to the people who seemed quite upset with me
so to appease them I told the doctors
I might apply for the citizenship
for I was half committed to the nation
who hosted me for the last 8 years
but I didn't want to lose my nationality
as a Korean and didn't want to be one of the
immigrants losing their faces and histories
and their names none of them attracted me
So I have said to the doctors
I might apply for the citizenship
to appease them and make them not so offended
what I am in the country of the dream land
where many new comers are actually
making their way up to the ladder
to reach the American dreams
and I have to defend my self
for not applying for the citizenship
if I didn't they would kill me and murder me
that was a horror
to see these people around me seeing me
as a foreigner not quite part of the
American scene
Anyway there came the time that
made me discharged from the hospital
after moving onto to the next ward
more peaceful and more friendly
Could get to talk to some people
around the table
could get some night sleeps
and the time that felt like centuries
actually two weeks was over
and I was headed for home
That caretaker Richard, bless his soul,
spared his $20.00 for me to use
on my way back to home
It was a sheer donation he gave
out of his own pocket
that I will never forget
and safely home voyage made
and them back to my home country
to the loving family and country of my own
I never wanted to abandon my nationality
as a Korean
and never really wanted to be a part of the
American scene
not quite my style though
so I began writing poems after poems
upon arrival in my country
and here I am now telling you
the story of my own
how I became to know the verses
and the skills I always had been
envying in others who did a good job on
doing it...
got a good job working at a college
teaching the young
finding the proper accommodation
and commuting back and forth from
Seoul to the small town
where the college was located
which was a big inspiration for me
to meet the young minds face to face
on daily basis learning their
learning style developing the right instruction
that might suit them learn better
This has been going on for 15 years
now as of today
The new language they spoke was so refreshning
in me that resonated the long gone memories
that I had forgotten
and new language with a new life began
with this job assignment
I got at this college
yet still being challenged by the
past experiences and memories
that don't go away out of my mind
that will keep ringing
in my ears and brain to teach the good lesson
they can teach
Education is the ability to enable a person
to listen and understand the others
without losing their temper
the calm and serene mode of thinking comes
only from the proper education
to listen and understand what others are
saying to them
This writing of poems is also an art
that requires that kind of attention
to draw the attention of the readers
who are tuned in
what the poet is telling them about
so the connection between the writer and the reader
has to be established
and foremost of all
the freedom to speak out what one has
in mind
the place where they can express themselves
in free mode of consciousness
all these come from the true
democratic society where the nation Korea
didn't have when I left the peninsula
some 13 years before the time
Thoughts were strictly controlled
and the expression of one's feelings and minds
are extremely limited and banned
almost
from I which I found an exile
in some other country for that period
of time
No body knew I was on exile
even myself
until one man asked me if I was on exile
then I realized that it was an exile
long way from home
to renew my new interiority
new paradigm of thinking and feeling
Thanks to the doctors at this
institute
I was finally able to gather
information on me and my processing information
channels
which helped me understand where I stood
in two different societies
By stating this facts
I am no longer compelled
to feel obligated to assimilate to any
nation nor pressure to have to explain what my doings
and sayings and writings
Finally the nation was allowing me to speak
what I want to say
before I was banned to write to the
college newspapers
for my thoughts were too radical
and my papers were mostly
not published for my thoughts
could have offended the school officials
Wow you are bright!
Wow you are bright!
Those empty praises usually followed
after my papers were denied
publications
They would rather go along with the
system that suppressed the freedom of speech
wanted to remain in the safe side
while I had to suffer the unnecessary
unworthiness and low self-esteem
their praises didn't help me to get over
the damages they had done on me
but I persisted and endured the crushing down
on free thoughts and expressions
only through some healing that took place
prior to that time
I was finally able to see the truth
directly on their faces
and face it more gracefully
without much emotional turmoils
nor unnecessary crushing down on self
It was my exile that I took
to get over the wounds the society had done
to me
with so many angelic hands helping me
assisting me
with their warm family members
How can I not remember the ones I met
on the road to heal and cure myself
and eventually return my gratitudes back to them
whenever the chances came to me
Life is in good hands now
and I no longer have to suffer
for the truth stays in me
from now on.

7: 09 am
(November 23,2012)
Korea-Japan time

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Ch 03 On The Excellence Of Contentment Story 28

It is related that an athlete had been reduced to the greatest distress by adverse fortune. His throat being capacious and his hands unable to fill it, he complained to his father and asked him for permission to travel as he hoped to be hoped to be able to gain a livelihood by the strength of his arm.

Excellence and skill are lost unless exhibited.
Lignum aloes is placed on fire and musk rubbed.

The father replied: ‘My son, get rid of this vain idea and place the feet of contentment under the skirt of safety because great men have said that happiness does not consist in exertion and that the remedy against want is in the moderation of desires.

No one can grasp the skirt of luck by force.
It is useless to put vasmah on a bald man’s brow.
If thou hast two hundred accomplishments for each hair of thy head
They will be of no use if fortune is unpropitious.
What can an athlete do with adverse luck?
The arm of luck is better than the arm of strength.

The son rejoined: ‘Father, the advantages of travel are many, such as recreation of the mind entailing profit, seeing of wonderful and hearing of strange things, recreation in cities, associating with friends, acquisition of dignity, rank, property, the power of discriminating among acquaintances and gaining experience of the world, as the travellers in the Tariqat have said:

As long as thou walkest about the shop or the house
Thou wilt never become a man, 0 raw fellow.
Go and travel in the world
Before that day when thou goest from the world.’

The father replied: ‘My son, the advantages of travel such as thou hast enumerated them are countless but they regard especially five classes of men: firstly, a merchant who possesses in consequence of his wealth and power graceful male and female slaves and quick-handed assistants, alights every day in another town and every night in another place, has recreation every moment and sometimes enjoys the delights of the world.’

A rich man is not a stranger in mountain, desert or solitude.
Wherever he goes he pitches a tent and makes a sleeping place;
Whilst he who is destitute of the goods of this world
Must be in his own country a stranger and unknown.

Secondly, a scholar, who is for the pleasantness of his speech, the power of his eloquence and the fund of his instruction, waited upon and honoured wherever he goes.

The presence of a learned man is like pure gold
Whose power and price is known wherever he goes.
An ignorant fellow of noble descent resembles Shahrua,
Which nobody accepts in a foreign country.

Thirdly, handsome fellows with whom the souls of pious men are inclined to commingle because it has been said that a little beauty is better than much wealth. An attractive face is also said to be a slave to despondent hearts and the key to locked doors, wherefore the society of such a person is everywhere known to be very acceptable:

A beautiful person meets with honour and respect everywhere
Although perhaps driven away in anger by father and mother.
I have seen a peacock feather in the leaves of the Quran.
I said: ‘I see thy position is higher than thy deserts.’
It said: ‘Hush, whoever is endowed with beauty,
Wherever he places his foot, hands are held out to receive it.’
When a boy is symmetrical and heart-robbing
It matters not if his father disowns him.
He is a jewel which must not remain in a shell.
A precious pearl everyone desires to buy.

Fourthly, one with a sweet voice, who retains, with a David-like throat, water from flowing and birds from soaring. By means of this talent he holds the hearts of people captive and religious men are delighted to associate with him.

My audition is intent on the beautiful melody.
Who is that performing on the double chord?
How pleasant is the gentle and melancholy lay
To the ear of the boon companions who quaff the morning draught!
Better than a handsome face is a pleasant voice.
The former is joy to the senses, the latter food for the soul.

Fifthly, the artisan, who gains a sufficient livelihood by the strength of his arm, so that his reputation is not lost in struggling for bread; as wise men have said:

If he goes abroad from his own town
The patcher of clothes meets with no bardship or trouble
But if the government falls into ruin
The king of Nimruz will go to bed hungry.

The qualities which I have explained, 0 my son, are in a journey the occasion of satisfaction to the mind, stimulants to a happy life but he, who possesses none of them, goes with idle fancies into the world and no one will ever hear anything about his name and fame.

He whom the turning world is to afflict
Will be guided by the times against his aim.
A pigeon destined not to see its nest again
Will be carried by fate towards the grain and net.

The son asked: ‘O father, how can I act contrary to the injunctions of the wise, who have said, that although food is distributed by predestination the acquisition of it depends upon exertion and that, although a calamity may be decreed by fate, it is incumbent on men to show the gates by which it may enter?

Although daily food may come unawares
It is reasonable to seek it out of doors
And though no one dies without the decree of fate
Thou must not rush into the jaws of a dragon.

As I am at present able to cope with a mad elephant and to wrestle with a furious lion, it is proper, O father, that I should travel abroad because I have no longer the endurance to suffer misery.

When a man has fallen from his place and station
Why should he eat more grief? All the horizons are his place.
At night every rich man goes to an inn.
The dervish has his inn where the night overtakes him.’

After saying this, he asked for the good wishes of his father, took leave of him, departed and said to himself:

A skilful man, when his luck does not favour him,
Goes to a place where people know not his name.’

He reached the banks of a water, the force of which was such that it knocked stones against each other and its roaring was heard to a farsang’s distance.

A dreadful water, in which even aquatic birds were not safe,
The smallest wave would whirl off a millstone from its bank.

He beheld a crowd of people, every person sitting with a coin of money at the crossing-place, intent on a passage. The youth’s hands of payment being tied, he opened the tongue of laudation and although he supplicated the people greatly, they paid no attention and said:

No violence can be done to anyone without money
But if thou hast money thou hast no need of force.’
An unkind boatman laughed at him and said:
‘If thou hast no money thou canst not cross the river by force.
What boots the strength of ten men? Bring the money for one.’

The young man’s heart was irritated by the insult of the boatman and longed to take vengeance upon him. The boat had, however, started; accordingly he shouted: ‘If thou wilt be satisfied with the robe I am wearing, I shall not grudge giving it to thee.’ The boatman was greedy and turned the vessel back.

Desire sews up the vision of a shrewd man.
Greediness brings fowl and fish into the snare.

As soon as the young man’s hand could reach the beard and collar of the boatman, he immediately knocked him down and a comrade of the boatman, who came from the vessel to rescue him, experienced the same rough treatment and turned back. The rest of the people then thought proper to pacify the young man and to condone his passage money.

When thou seest a quarrel be forbearing
Because gentlemen will shut the door of strife.
Use kindness when thou seest contention.
A sharp sword cannot cut soft silk.
By a sweet tongue, grace, and kindliness,
Thou wilt be able to lead an elephant by a hair.

Then the people fell at his feet, craving pardon for what had passed. They impressed some hypocritical kisses upon his head and his eyes, received him into the boat and started, progressing till they reached a pillar of Yunani workmanship, standing in the water. The boatman said: ‘The vessel is in danger. Let one of you, who is the strongest, go to the pillar and take the cable of the boat that we may save the vessel.’ The young man, in the pride of bravery which he had in his head, did not think of the offended foe and did not mind the maxim of wise men who have said: ‘If thou hast given offence to one man and afterwards done him a hundred kindnesses, do not be confident that he will not avenge himself for that one offence, because although the head of a spear may come out, the memory of an offence will remain in the heart.’

‘How well,’ said Yaktash to Khiltash,
‘Hast thou scratched a foe? Do not think thou art safe.’
Be not unconcerned for thou wilt be afflicted
If by thy hand a heart has been afflicted.
Throw not a stone at the rampart of a fort
Because possibly a stone may come from the fort.

As soon as he had taken the rope of the boat on his arm, he climbed to the top of the pillar, whereon the boatman snatched it from his grasp and pushed the boat off. The helpless man was amazed and spent two days in misery and distress. On the third, sleep took hold of his collar and threw him into the water. After one night and day he was cast on the bank, with some life still remaining in him. He began to eat leaves of trees and to pull out roots of grass so that when he had gained a little strength, he turned towards the desert and walked till thirst began to torment him. He at last reached a well and saw people drinking water for a pashizi but possessing none he asked for a coin and showed his destitute condition. The people had, however, no mercy with him, whereon he began to insult them but likewise ineffectually. Then he knocked down several men but was at last overpowered, struck and wounded:

A swarm of gnats will overpower an elephant
Despite of all his virility and bravery.
When the little ants combine together
They tear the skin of a furious lion.

As a matter of necessity he lagged in the rear of the caravan, which reached in the evening a locality very dangerous on account of thieves. The people of the caravan trembled in all their limbs but he said: ‘Fear nothing because I alone am able to cope with fifty men and the other youths of the caravan will aid me.’ These boastful words comforted the heart of the caravan-people, who became glad of his company and considered it incumbent upon themselves to supply him with food and water. The fire of the young man’s stomach having blazed into flames and deprived his hands of the bridle of endurance, hunger made him partake of some morsels of food and take a few draughts of water, till the dev of his interior was set at rest and he fell asleep. An experienced old fellow, who was in the caravan, said: ‘O ye people, I am more afraid of this guard of yours than of the thieves because there is a story that a stranger had accumulated some dirhems but could not sleep in the house for fear of the Luris. Accordingly he invited one of his friends to dispel the terrors of solitude by his company. He spent several nights with him, till he became aware that he had money and took it, going on a journey after spending it. When the people saw the stranger naked and weeping the next morning, a man asked: “What is the matter? Perhaps a thief has stolen those dirhems of mine?” He replied: “No, by Allah. The guard has stolen them.”’

I never sat secure from a serpent
Till I learnt what his custom was.
The wound from a foe’s tooth is severe
Who appears to be a friend in the eyes of men.

‘How do you know whether this man is not one of the band of thieves and has followed us as a spy to inform his comrades on the proper occasion? According to my opinion we ought to depart and let him sleep.’ The youths approved of the old man’s advice and became suspicious of the athlete, took up their baggage and departed, leaving him asleep. He knew this when the sun shone upon his shoulders and perceived that the caravan had started. He roamed about a great deal without finding the way and thirsty as well as dismayed as he was, he sat down on the ground, with his heart ready to perish, saying:

Who will speak to me after the yellow camels have departed?
A stranger has no companion except a stranger.
He uses harshness towards strangers
Who has not himself been exiled enough.

The poor man was speaking thus whilst the son of a king who happened to be in a hunting party, strayed far from the troops, was standing over his head, listening. He looked at the figure of the athlete, saw that his outward appearance was respectable but his condition miserable. He then asked him whence he had come and how he had fallen into this place. The athlete briefly informed him of what had taken place, whereon the royal prince, moved by pity, presented him with a robe of honour and a large sum of money and sent a confidential man to accompany him till he again reached his native town. His father was glad to see him and expressed gratitude at his safety. In the evening he narrated to his father what had befallen him with the boat, mentioned the violence of the boatman, the harshness of the rustics near the well and the treachery of the caravan people on the road. The father replied: ‘My son, have not I told thee at thy departure that the brave hands of empty-handed persons are like the broken paw of a lion?’

How well has that empty-handed fighter said:
A grain of gold is better than fifty mann of strength.’

The son replied: ‘O father, thou wilt certainly not obtain a treasure except by trouble, wilt not overcome thy foe unless thou hazardest thy life and wilt not gather a harvest unless thou scatterest seed. Perceivest thou not how much comfort I gained at the cost of the small amount of trouble I underwent and what a quantity of honey I have brought in return for the sting I have suffered.

Although not more can be acquired than fate has decreed
Negligence in striving to acquire is not commendable.
If a diver fears the crocodile’s throat
He will never catch the pearl of great price.
The nether millstone is immovable, and therefore must bear a heavy load.
What will a fierce lion devour at the bottom of his den?
What food does a fallen hawk obtain?
If thou desirest to catch game at home
Thou must have hands and feet like a spider.

The father said to his son: ‘On this occasion heaven has been propitious to thee and good luck helpful so that a royal person has met thee, has been bountiful to thee and has thereby healed thy broken condition. Such coincidences occur seldom and rare events cannot be reckoned upon.’

The hunter does not catch every time a jackal.
It may happen that some day a tiger devours him.

Thus it happened that one of the kings of Pares, who possessed a ring with a costly beazle, once went out by way of diversion with some intimate courtiers to the Masalla of Shiraz and ordered his ring to be placed on the dome of Asad, promising to bestow the seal-ring upon any person who could make an arrow pass through it. It happened that every one of the four hundred archers in his service missed the ring, except a little boy who was shooting arrows in sport at random and in every direction from the flat roof of a monastery. The morning breeze caused his arrow to pass through the ring, whereon he obtained not only the ring but also a robe of honour and a present of money. It is related that the boy burnt his bow and arrows and on being asked for the cause replied: ‘That the first splendour may be permanent.’

It sometimes happens that an enlightened sage
Is not successful in his plans.
Sometimes it happens that an ignorant child
By mistake hits the target with his arrow.

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VIRGINIA'S STORY...by Talile Ali

Elizabeth Gates-Wooten is my Grand mom.

She was born in Canada with her father and brothers.
They owned a Barber Shoppe.
I don't remember exactly where in Canada.
I believe it was right over the border like Windsor or Toronto.
I never knew exactly where it was.

When she was old enough she got married.

First, she married a man by the name of Frank Gates.
He was from Madagascar.
He fathered my mom and her brother and sister.
The boy's name was Frank Gates, Jr.
Two girls name were Anna and Agnes.

Agnes was my mother.

Frank Gates went crazy after the war
He drank a lot and died
Then grandma Elizabeth married a man by the name of Mr. Wooten.
He had a German name, but I don't think he was German.
She took his last name after they got married.

Then they moved to West Virginia in the United States.

Their son, Frank Gates Jr. Became a delegate in the democratic party.
He use to get into a lot of trouble because he liked to fight.
He was a delegate from the 1940's to 1970's.
He died of gout in the 1970's.

Anna was a maid and cook.

She baked cakes and stuff for people as a side line.
She had a hump on her back (scoliosis) .
She had to walk with a cane.
She could cook good though.
She did this kind of work all of her life, just like her mom, Elizabeth

They were both good cooks

They had a lot of money because they had these skills
Especially when people had parties.
Because they would make all of this food and then they would have left-overs.
We got to eat a lot of stuff we normally wouldn't get because of that.
When they cooked, they didn't use no measuring stuff, they would just use there hand.

My moms name was Agnes Barrie Gates.

She married James Wright and moved to Cleveland.
My grand mom followed them there a couple of years later.
They had six children.
They had two boys named James and Felton.
They were the oldest.

They also had four girls named Elizabeth, Virginia, Viola, and Harriet.

My dad, James had to go fight in Spain.
He got drafted.
It was in the Spanish American War.
They had to dope him up to make him fight.
When he came back home he was not right.
He would have bad dreams and scream out at night.

He started drinking a lot

He drank himself to death when I was young.
He died when I was three in 1933 when he was thirty something.
It was the Great Depression!

When my daddy died, my grand mom and my mom already lived in Detroit.

My mom had a factory job.
My grand mom got a job working for some Jewish people across Woodward.
Black people couldn't go across Woodward back then.
Only Jewish people and white people could go over there.

That was the good neighborhood.

The Jewish people my grand mom worked for lived on that side of Woodward.
Those Jews had lots of money
The Jews also had children who had big heads.
They called them mongoloid head kids.


The good thing is that we got to go to the Fox theater with them, because my grand mom worked for Jewish people.

Black people could go over there if they were working for white people
We got to see Ponochio, White Christmas, Cinderella, and a lot of things there.
We got to eat good, too.
Cabbage and Corned Beef, Lamb and fish.
All types of stuff like that.

What ever was left over, Grandma Wooten got to take home.

People would laugh at her for working with those big headed mongoloid kids.
But she didn't care.
She had a good job and got to have a lot of good stuff because of it.
Those big head kids were smart, too.

They just had big heads.

While my grand mom was working for the Jewish family, my mom was working for the factory, making nuts.
It was an airplane factory.
The men made the wings.
The women made the nuts.

When I was 8 years old, my mom use to go out with this man who would pay her to have relations with her.

We use to listen at the door and look thru the key hole at them to see what the were doing.
He didn't have a real thing.
He had this thing he had to turn on and it would get hard and he would try to have relations with my mom.
We would laugh and giggle cause he could never get it to do what he wanted.
He would never have relations with her with that thing.
He would always take her out on the town and stuff and pay her even though his thing didn't work.

When I was 8, we went to church one time and the preacher asked 'Does anybody have any questions? '

So I asked 'Why do all of those hurricanes come out of Africa and hit all of the people in the United States? '
My Grandma turned around and slapped me
Later on she told me that I was not suppose to asked that kind of question.
I just wanted to know how Africa could be so rich
They had all of that gold, and diamonds, and oil

And the white folks just come over there and take it

Leaving them all poor
How did that happen?
What was god thinking of when he let that happen?
But I never got that question answered

My grandmother made me stay in my room overnight, too.

The only thing is I never did asked any more questions
I asked them to myself
I didn't ask anyone else tho
I was just quiet
When I had kids i wanted them to ask questions

I never hit any of them for asking any questions

They could swear or anything
I just wanted them to feel free to ask things and find out about them
Not like how I felt
I just wanted to know things
But, I probably never will know they answer to all of my questions

I probably will be dead before I get any of those answers.

Later on, during WWII, my mom got a job at the USO dancing for tickets with the service men.
She was one of those flapper girls.
A dime -a- dance girl!
Thats what they called them in the movies.
She had this real nice black hat with wings on it.
She got a lot of tickets for all of that dancing!

She had lots of money.

After the war, my mom worked in a restaurant.
It was a Jewish restaurant.
Thats all there ever was.
They (the Jews) were the only ones who had money and businesses.
They knew how to save their money.

She worked and got tips.

When I was a kid, I don't remember the first school I went to.
All I know is I went across the street and two blocks down to go there.
I lived on Russell, before you get to Caniff.
I didn't get to go anywhere much then.
None of us did.
My mom didn't want us around the factory workers down the street.

My grand mom use to walk us across the bridge to Canada to this big market to get produce and shop.
It was really big and we bought a lot of stuff.
We use to have a big red wagon that we would bring all of this stuff home in.
She use to have us walk so that we would have strong legs.
I was about seven.

I had special shoes made because I had something wrong with my legs and my flat arches.

I still got flat arches.
So that's why grand mom use to have me made square toe shoes.
I wore those kind of shoes till I was thirty years old.
People made fun of me, but I didn't mind.

My friend, name Virginia Green, live down the alley.

Her mother had fourteen kids!
She lived down the street.
All of the kids use to run down the alley.
We had to play in the yard.
She was afraid of the factory on the alley down from us.
All of the smoke coming out of it and the workers coming in and out.
She thought something bad would happen.

Virginia Greens family were Jehovah Witnesses

They all had to pray every morning
The girls had to get the Kids ready in the morning.
The Mom had home schooled them.
My friend didn't go to school until she went to Northern
I use to see her on the bus once in a while after that.

I stopped seeing her on the bus when we moved on East Grand Boulevard.

There was a riot back then.
That's when my grandma got stabbed on her way from work.
She was getting off of the bus when it happened.
They stabbed her in the stomach and grabbed her purse, too.
She was getting of the bus going to Hudson's.

And the bus driver couldn't do a thing.

We didn't know anything about it
The white person who did it got away.
A lot of white people were stabbing black people back then.
It was a race riot!

They took her to emergency to get stitches.

We didn't find out till the next day
It kept her out of work for six week.
She was hurt really bad.
The rioters didn't burn any buildings or nothing.
They just robbed people, broke in the windows and took their stuff.

It was a race riot.

People were out of work and crazy.
My mom got something out of that Fur store on Broadway.
A lot of people took furs out of that fur store on Broadway.
We didn't get to go outside without an adult until I was ten!
My mom would take us outside when she got home from work and grand mom went to work
The lady that lived upstairs from us didn't like the noise from kids anyway
She kept complaining 'Stop all of that noise down there? '

We lived there til I got married.

I didn't get to go out on my own until I began High School.
Not until I got to go to Norther high school.
The kids didn't make fun of me then, because other kids were wearing them, too.
Then I got a pair of them other kind of shoes, buster brown like shoes.
Oxfords!
They had two colors on them!

I have a picture of me wearing those shoes in the year book.

I was in the Library Club.
I would sit at the desk and help people check out the books
Got paid twelve dollars a week for doing it.
In Modern Dance we danced and stretched and all of that stuff.
Then we would have to go on the stage at the end of the semester.

We would get some awards.

Chemistry I didn't like to well.
Had to cut up things and stuff like that.
Frogs...Eeeeeh! !
In Swimming I just would swim.
We got medals and stuff.
I don't know how I passed German!

'Sprechan Zie Deutche? '

I don't know what it means.
Same goes for French.
The French teacher would collect all of the books so that we couldn't look in them.
Then we would get the test.
She would give each of us a special question that she wrote out in her own hand.

Nobody had the same question, so they could not cheat.

In 1948, there were a lot of German teachers in Northern high school.
Everybody couldn't understand why all of the teachers were German after we had just fought the war with them.
That didn't make no sense at all.
But all of the teachers were German.

When I was 14, I went skiing with the German class
We went to some mountain up north, I don't remember it's name
And they served hot chocolate
Hot chocolate keeps you real warm when it's cold outside

It's the only thing that keeps you real warm like that
The German teacher was a real good skier
I was scared
I was afraid that I would fall on my face
I didn't, but I was always afraid
All of those German speaking people
I couldn't understand a word they were saying.

That hot chocolate was the only thing I liked about skiing.

Grand ma Wooten spoke a lot of German
She use to teach German when she lived in Canada
She learned the German because she was part German and part English
But I couldn't remember all of that German then
It was long ago and I didn't have anyone to speak it to
Not until High School

There use to be a Cunninghams drug store across the street.

We use to eat over there with the German teachers.
They made good coffee over at Cunninghams.
Good banana splits, too.
They charged 10 cents for a big mug of coffee.
Go good with a piece a pie for a quarter.
Big piece of pie, too.

Hot chocolate was a nickel.

Milk came in a little glass bottle.
There was cream on the top of the milk.
You could shake it up and drink it all mixed together.
Or you could drink the cream of first and then drink the milk.
Taste good either way.

I met your dad (Mohammed) in 1947.

We lived down the street from him.
He got over here by working in the engine room on boats
When he got here in the US, he jump ship in New York and came to Detroit
He lived in a big apartment building with all of his Indian friends
It was the first time I saw a steam iron.
One of the Indian Ladies had a Steam Ironing board!

Just like they use in the dry cleaners.

She did the ironing for all of the Indian men there
She showed me how to iron with it
You press down and steam would come out.
They also had this grill thing.
You make sandwiches on it.

Like that George Foreman thing, except for families

They also had big pots.
It was a big coffee maker.
Another Indian woman had a black and white TV in their restaurant.
That was the restaurant Mohammed took over after Jathia got sick and he lost his job.

I started dating Mohammed right before I graduated.

We got to go out alone.
Then we started going to the movies at the show.
The Holbrooke on Holbrook and the Fox downtown.
They didn't let black folks in the Fox.
But since I was with Mohammed, they let me in.
That was in 1949.

Mohammed was working at Hudson Motors before we got married.

Me and Mohammed went everywhere together in 48
We were really going together in 50
We got married in 51
When Eron was born, It was cold
It was June, but it was raining

The wind was blowing

I was on Hasting
I was on Russell
Then I went to Hastings when I got out of the hospital
It was daytime, morning
It was about 6 something
He weighed only 6 pounds too

I had a mid wife help

By the time the ambulance got there I had had the baby
The doctor gave me a slip to go to the hospital the next week
You know to go to the hospital for your six month check up
Six week check up!
He lost his job at Hudson Motors when he was hospitalized for ulcers
When he got better, he took over the restaurant
But he lost it when one of the kids got sick

It was either Big Eron or Jathia who got sick

Mohammed also took me to the Pakistani club for meetings.
They had a lot of card games at the club.
They use to make a lot of money down there.
Drinking coffee, playing cards, praying and making money.
One day we didn't have any money, and the next day we did.

When I got married, grandma moved to Hamtramck.

Mom and Harriet moved in with her friend.
Viola moved in with her boyfriend.
My brothers were still in the war.
James was in Korea and Felton was in the Paratroopers.
When there was and emergency, Felton would have to paratroop the things they needed to them.
Like at the hospitals and in battle and stuff like that.

Mohammed was working at Hudson Motor company when we got married.

We had three kids during that time.
We rented a restaurant from a friend of Mohammed's later.
I went to work at Cunninghams in Imperial City.
Then Mohammed went to work at Ford.
Then Jathia got sick real bad.

Ford didn't like that Mohammed had to pray seven times a day.
He also had to work in the restaurant when he was done there
So he got sick.
They let him go after he had to leave when Jathia got sick.
She got hooping cough real bad.

We were only renting the restaurant, so we lost it so that we could take care of Jathia.

When Jathia was born
I just went to the hospital and had her
I was in the house on Holbrook
When I had got out of the hospital
We had already moved to 18th street

But the boy down stairs had hooping cough

She was in Herman Kieffer for three month
I had to look at her thru the glass
Thats why you have to be careful with babies
Make sure they wash their hands and stuff

They can get germs on the baby and make them sick

Since he couldn't find any work, we had to go to welfare to get some help.
Jathia was sick for eight months with hooping cough.
She was a baby.
The next year I had Audrey, we lived on eighteenth street then.

When Audrey was born, we lived on Clinton

It was a nice day
I had to go the hospital
That was her due day
But I thought I was going to have her on Jathia's birth day
But I ended up having her two days before

I took her home right after she was born

She didn't get sick or nothing
The next year I had Talile.
It was cold
We were getting ready for thanksgiving then
We were decorating for Christmas
And putting turkeys up in the window

We put up black and orange lights

We didn't turn them on till thanksgiving
I started feeling pains on the fourteenth
You don't know when you were born?
I was having pain, pain, pain!
Talile was born in the morning
I think it was 8 or 9
The was weighing him and testing him

They had me walking up and down the hall way
They were telling us about when we get out what times we have to go to the hospital
They did that for three days
Then we went home

Kennedy was president when we moved to Clinton.

Mohammed couldn't find any work in Detroit for a while.
So Mohammed went to New York to work at CBS as a maintainance and letter delivery worker.
When Abdul was born.
It was cold
I was on Clinton
I was on the other part

After I had him I had a cyst on the breast

They had me put hot water bottles on them
So they could take the puss out
But it burst out
I was paining
They gave me some medicine
Some antibiotics

I couldn't nurse Dewey

I had to give him a bottle
After a month, i could nurse him better
It was the same one I had cancer in
When I got home
I kept having pains in my stomach

Thats when they took me back to the hospital

Thats when they found the Gaul Stones
After they took them out
Thats when I felt better
Thats when my momma and my grand mama were coming over to watch all of you
Thats because Mohammed was going to work

Cause I was in the hospital for two weeks

Thats where I got that big cut on my stomach
Then they sewed it up
Those Gaul Stones.


I went to work at Cunninghams for four months.

Mohammed didn't want us to be on welfare.
So Mohammed would send his check home so I could pay the rent and utilities.
Mohammed was at CBS when the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan
Mohammed came home a little while afterwards
Then Kennedy got Killed
Then Johnson became president
Mrs. Adele was watching the kids while we were working.
We had to pay rent to the government.

The government owned all of those houses in that neighborhood.
Thats why they never fixed them up.
Some are still standing today because the government owns them.
That's why they could order everybody to move when they were building La Fayette Park, because they owned most of all the homes.

I quit my job when Mohammed came back from New York.

Mohammed came back because someone got him a job at Receiving Hospital downtown.
Mohammed sold incense to make money to pay the medical bills.
He had to because there wasn't any blue cross or nothing to pay the medical bills.
When he went to General Motors he had insurance to pay the medical bills.
He still kept selling incense, because he had clients who liked him buying them from him.

There was this crazy man.

Pedophile man.
He was this nutty man
I think he was catholic too
He would get these little girl about five or six years old
He would kill them on the way to mass

Then he would clean them up
Dress them up like little dolls
People had to start taking their children to church
They didn't know who was doing it
He would dress them up like little dolls
Probably because his mom liked little dolls

By having the police out there undercover

I don't know how they caught him
BUT THEY CAUGHT HIM!
He would get the girls, kill them, clean them up, then wrap them up in blankets.
They found him after he had killed six girls.
They found him working at a church.
St. Something.

It was three or four blocks away from us in a good neighborhood on the other side of Chene.

We lived upstairs from Mrs. Adele.
She had two daughters, one who's name is Sarah, and a son named Sonny, who was in the service.
We lived across the street from Duffield Elementary School.
All of the Kids went to that school.

Talile and Eron went around the corner to the store

This weirdo was telling people that we were his kids
But the store man knew us
So he called Daddy and the police
He got them outside and tried to cut Talile ear off
But the police and their Daddy showed up
And he was arrested.

It was mothers day
I had cooked a dinner and all, turkey and stuff
And then I had to go to the hospital and have Umor
Cause your daddy was home by then
I didn't think he was coming that day
But he changed his mind
So I had to go to the hospital
And thats how I had Umor.

When I had Muktsar

We went shopping and stuff for Christmas
We had got all of our stuff
I thought he would be coming after Christmas
But he came a week early
It was a lot of snow that day
Because the ambulance was having a hard time getting there

They goy me to the hospital

They had to go slow because there was so much snow
But I didn't have him until I got to the hospital
I didn't have him until late at night
They thought I would have him sooner
But I was having a lot of pain
It took seven hours
It was about 10 or 11 o'clock

I know I was tired of the pain

I didn't want to be knocked out
I wanted to see the baby when it comes
Cause it was around that time people were stealing babies out of the hospital
I wanted to see how my baby looked
So they couldn't do something like that

Umor and Muktsar were born on Clinton, too.

Sarah Adele gave Muktsar his middle name.
She liked Marvin Gaye and I like Marvin Gaye.
So Muktsar's middle name is Marvin
Eron was sent to stay with Aunt Tony and Grandma Wright for a long time
He would stay with them because they had kids

And Daddy didn't want him running up and down the street in our neighborhood

They liked to play card and that penny game
Eron stayed with Aunt Tony and Ramona the longest.
He stayed with Grandma Wooten because he help her do things
She liked to go to the market early in the morning
They had fresh fruit and Day old bread for a dollar
Eron was allergic

But he knew enough to stay away from that kind of stuff

Jathia wanted to stay with her dolls and stuff with her friends
Their were a lot of girls on that street
Down the block
Jathia didn't get into trouble until she got into high school
She would like to go over her friends house
Her daddy didn't like her going over there
There were crazy people out there
She wasn't scared of those people though

We would talk to her

I had to spank her
She would run away from me
I would have to grab my extention cord and swing it under the bed to get her
Her daddy didn't spank her though
He didn't spank anybody

I couldn't reach yaw with the switch

Yaw would hide under the bed and laugh at me
So I would take the extention cord an get yaw
Sometimes I would get one of yaw
Your daddy didn't like it
He talked to me about it
But yaw would laugh at me

I didn't like that

He would always talk to yaw about it afterwards
But yaw would still run away like that again
Yaw would laugh at me
It hurt my feelings
It wasn't funny to me
But it was funny to yaw
Sometimes it was funny to me

I would sit down in my chair and laugh

Audrey was sick a lot
She would have to stay home
She was allergic to a lot of stuff
I had to spank Audrey when she was little


Talile got to stay with Ramona and Viola

He would just play and chase the animals around
They had cats
We had cats, too
He did his homework from school
Listen to records

Abdul got to go with Talile where he went

They did a lot of things together
Sometimes Daddy would take the boys to the ball game
The club would have their people come with their boys
I guess they would all play together
I know they didn't come home till evening

Umor got to stay with Ramona and Tony
They would got to the park and go on the merry-go-round. Roller coaster
It was in Ildlewild, it was in another county
They would fish and camp there

Muktsar would go, too

The boys would all get to go together
No girls were allowed
Back in those days, Boys did what boys did
And the girls stayed with their mama.

After Muktsar was born we moved to East Grand Boulevard because it was a bigger place.

Mohammed still worked at Receiving Hospital and he still kept selling incense.
We lived above the East Pakistani Club, that was downstairs.
The only thing I remember about East Grand Blvd was taking you kids on the bus everyday to get your shots.
Every morning.
Some of you were allergic to school dust, chalk dust, everything!
Eron, Audrey, and Muktsar were allergic to everything.

Jathia was allergic to mold and bugs.

Talile was allergic to wheat (that would explain everything) .
Dewey was allergic to going out into the air and some sweets.
Umor use to get hay fever when he was younger.
But he got over it.
Johnson was president then
And then there were the riots.

Then Robert Kennedy got killed.

They burned buildings in this one.
Breaking the windows and taking everything they could find.
Store people had to get guns to keep people out.
At the end the store people just started giving them away, because they were burning everything up.
And the Fur place over on Broadway?

The people stole the furs and burnt the place down!

They were throwing stuff at the police men and everything.
The people were crazy.
It was a Race Riot.
The people mad because they were out of work.
The white people were trying to kill the black ones.

Black people trying to kill the white ones.

Mexicans were trying to kill both the white and the black folks.
Italians were stealing everything and shooting everybody.
You know, with all of this happening, your dad still went to work.
Lots of people told me that if it wasn't for your dad their children would have been in jail.
He talked to them about doing the right thing and not hanging out with the wrong crowd.
A lot of people told me at the funeral that they would have gone to jail if not for your father.

After the riot we moved from East Grand Boulevard to Fort Wayne. We lived there for about four years.
When we lived at Fort Wayne, everybody was getting sick with something.
Talile kept talking about how everybody was getting sick except him.
Then he got real sick and had to go to the hospital.
Everybody said he was faking it, just to get attention.

The doctors kept him for a week, and found out that he had ulcers.

Just like his daddy, he had to eat special foods.
His daddy didn't, but I baked him vegetables and chicken all of the time.
When Talile finally got well, he got sick going outside.
He kept getting this real bad rash.
The doctors couldn't figure out what was causing it at first.
Then when they did know they told us.
The sulfur in the air was making him sick.

We had to move to Gray

So we moved from 6413 Meige in Fort Wayne to the east side on 4810 Gray.
When we first moved here there was water down in the basement like there is now.
The Landlord said that maybe one of the kids was running the water and that caused it.
Then it started snowing it stopped.
But when spring came and it started raining, your dad would go downstairs after he came home from work and sweep it down the drains.

The kids were going to school.

Umor and Muktsar went to Hosmer
Abdul and Talile went to Jackson
It was real nice over here when we moved here.
Then Talile started to say he was having bad dreams.
He was getting ready for his performance, and I heard a bump, bump.
I went upstairs and saw him bouncing around.

We took him to the hospital.

When we took him to the doctor, they couldn't find anything.
I called the school and told them he was in the hospital.
He went to a lot of doctors before we found one doctor who knew what was wrong.
This doctors name was Dr. Slaughter.
He said Talile had epilepsy.

I went to see Talile perform at Jackson, Cass, and Finney.

Talile was in the concert band at Jackson.
Audrey and Jathia went to Cass.
Audrey was a Chemistry Major and Jathia as just taking English and Drama
They went to WSU after Cass.
Eron was in finney then the service.

He was in the service for three years from 1970 to 1973

Later, Talile went to Cass.
Then Talile went to Finney.
Abdul, Umor and Muktsar were not getting the grades they were suppose to get.
So we had them go to an alternative school named The Detroit Free School
We talked Talile into going, so that they would go to this new school.
Talile graduated from that school.
Abdul, Umor, and Muktsar didn't want to go to that school no more.

Talile moved out.

Then Jathia moved out.
Then Audrey moved out with the church.
Talile went to stay at the church with Audrey for a while
Then Talile moved in with Aunt Tony
Then Talile moved in with some friends of his
Then Talile left town

Mohammed still worked at the factory and he still sold stuff to his customers cause he needed money for some things.

Then he got his ulcers back.
Then he got that lump behind his knee.
It was cancer and they removed it.
The doctor told him not to go to work so early.
But he did anyway.

Then he had to go to the cancer place to have radiation.

It was freezing there.
He would still go to work.
When Talile got back, Talile would fuss at Mohammed and tell him that he would die if he didn't take care of himself.
But he didn't listen and he went back to work.

Then Mohammed went into the hospital.
Then he died.

After Mohammed died, I went back home.
Aunt Tony took care of the funeral arrangements.
Talile packed up his stuff and left town again.
I had to pick up all of Mohammed's stuff.
Then I had to get a lot of doctor papers.

Then I had to go to social security.

Then the doctors had to tell them what I had
Then they let me get on social security.
They didn't believe that I could go to school with only one bad eye.
So I had to get my birth certificate saying I was Forty Six.
I had to go to see the doctor to tell me what I am going to have to pay.
I was going back and forth from Social Security to get my eyes, lungs, and everything checked
Answering questions for social security

I was going backing back and forth

Then everybody moved out
Jathia went with Donald
Audrey went with the Church
Dewey went with the police station
Umor was going to electrician school, trying to get out
Talile was going all over with his friends.
Eron moved to Highland Park.
Everybody was gone except me, Umor and Muktsar

It was a cold winter then.
Talile returned and went to Nursing School
Muktsar had a baby with Tracy
The baby's name was Jinnah
They were having trouble with her Grandma

Then they finally got permission to move there

Then they had Syeed
Muktsar was working at Kohls
I guess they were going to get married
The grand father and the grandmother didn't want them to get married tho'
So pretty soon Muktsar started going with Veda
Tracy said so long as he was taking care of the boys its alright!

Then Muktsar moved in with Veda

Then Tracy's grandfather died
The boys moved back in here with Muktsar
Tracy went back to school
She graduated and she went to work.

Muktsar and Veda got married.

They moved back over here.
Then they moved to Hamtramck with her mom
Then they moved to Piccadilly with her mom

Then I went back to school.

I got a liberal arts degree from WC3.
Then Talile went back to school
Then Talile graduated
Then Talile got a job and started teaching at Friends School

Then Muktsar got a job working on shows
Jinnah graduated and had a baby named Jinniah
Eron went to MSU with Ariel
Syeed went to MSU, then quit
Briana quit MSU, too

Ariel Graduated and now has a job as a Social Worker

Jinnah and Syeed work together way out in Farmington Hills
Tracy is working in Ann Arbor
Raquiem is going to WC3
Big Eron had a stroke and is retired
Talile got in a fight with Claire and is kicked out again
Dewey is married to Sharon and has a beautiful family

Marlin is about to graduate

Shay is at Cass
Khalil is getting bigger
Little Eron is a daddy and has a baby boy named Ein with his girl friend Lily
Briana is still not in school
Azaria is about to graduate and is on the honor roll at DSA

I got real sick

I fell down and hurt myself
I went to the hospital and started bleeding
I had to stay in the hospital for months
When I got out I got a bump in my boobie

They said it was cancer

They had to cut off my boobies!
I got no bobbies!
I look like a pear bear made of jello!
I hurt all over!
My arms hurt.
My legs hurt.
My feet hurt.

My surgery hurts.

Everything hurts.
And I am old.
I am so old.
I'm wearing diapers.
My foots crooked, from the stroke.

I can barely see.

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The Great Hunger

I
Clay is the word and clay is the flesh
Where the potato-gatherers like mechanised scarecrows move
Along the side-fall of the hill - Maguire and his men.
If we watch them an hour is there anything we can prove
Of life as it is broken-backed over the Book
Of Death? Here crows gabble over worms and frogs
And the gulls like old newspapers are blown clear of the hedges, luckily.
Is there some light of imagination in these wet clods?
Or why do we stand here shivering?
Which of these men
Loved the light and the queen
Too long virgin? Yesterday was summer. Who was it promised marriage to himself
Before apples were hung from the ceilings for Hallowe'en?
We will wait and watch the tragedy to the last curtain,
Till the last soul passively like a bag of wet clay
Rolls down the side of the hill, diverted by the angles
Where the plough missed or a spade stands, straitening the way.
A dog lying on a torn jacket under a heeled-up cart,
A horse nosing along the posied headland, trailing
A rusty plough. Three heads hanging between wide-apart legs.
October playing a symphony on a slack wire paling.
Maguire watches the drills flattened out
And the flints that lit a candle for him on a June altar
Flameless. The drills slipped by and the days slipped by
And he trembled his head away and ran free from the world's halter,
And thought himself wiser than any man in the townland
When he laughed over pints of porter
Of how he came free from every net spread
In the gaps of experience. He shook a knowing head
And pretended to his soul
That children are tedious in hurrying fields of April
Where men are spanning across wide furrows.
Lost in the passion that never needs a wife
The pricks that pricked were the pointed pins of harrows.
Children scream so loud that the crows could bring
The seed of an acre away with crow-rude jeers.
Patrick Maguire, he called his dog and he flung a stone in the air
And hallooed the birds away that were the birds of the years.
Turn over the weedy clods and tease out the tangled skeins.
What is he looking for there?
He thinks it is a potato, but we know better
Than his mud-gloved fingers probe in this insensitive hair.
'Move forward the basket and balance it steady
In this hollow. Pull down the shafts of that cart, Joe,
And straddle the horse,' Maguire calls.
'The wind's over Brannagan's, now that means rain.
Graip up some withered stalks and see that no potato falls
Over the tail-board going down the ruckety pass -
And that's a job we'll have to do in December,
Gravel it and build a kerb on the bog-side. Is that Cassidy's ass
Out in my clover? Curse o' God
Where is that dog?.
Never where he's wanted' Maguire grunts and spits
Through a clay-wattled moustache and stares about him from the height.
His dream changes like the cloud-swung wind
And he is not so sure now if his mother was right
When she praised the man who made a field his bride.
Watch him, watch him, that man on a hill whose spirit
Is a wet sack flapping about the knees of time.
He lives that his little fields may stay fertile when his own body
Is spread in the bottom of a ditch under two coulters crossed in Christ's Name.
He was suspicious in his youth as a rat near strange bread,
When girls laughed; when they screamed he knew that meant
The cry of fillies in season. He could not walk
The easy road to destiny. He dreamt
The innocence of young brambles to hooked treachery.
O the grip, O the grip of irregular fields! No man escapes.
It could not be that back of the hills love was free
And ditches straight.
No monster hand lifted up children and put down apes
As here.
'O God if I had been wiser!'
That was his sigh like the brown breeze in the thistles.
He looks, towards his house and haggard. 'O God if I had been wiser!'
But now a crumpled leaf from the whitethorn bushes
Darts like a frightened robin, and the fence
Shows the green of after-grass through a little window,
And he knows that his own heart is calling his mother a liar
God's truth is life - even the grotesque shapes of his foulest fire.
The horse lifts its head and cranes
Through the whins and stones
To lip late passion in the crawling clover.
In the gap there's a bush weighted with boulders like morality,
The fools of life bleed if they climb over.
The wind leans from Brady's, and the coltsfoot leaves are holed with rust,
Rain fills the cart-tracks and the sole-plate grooves;
A yellow sun reflects in Donaghmoyne
The poignant light in puddles shaped by hooves.
Come with me, Imagination, into this iron house
And we will watch from the doorway the years run back,
And we will know what a peasant's left hand wrote on the page.
Be easy, October. No cackle hen, horse neigh, tree sough, duck quack.

II
Maguiire was faithful to death:
He stayed with his mother till she died
At the age of ninety-one.
She stayed too long,
Wife and mother in one.
When she died
The knuckle-bones were cutting the skin of her son's backside
And he was sixty-five.
O he loved his mother
Above all others.
O he loved his ploughs
And he loved his cows
And his happiest dream
Was to clean his arse
With perennial grass
On the bank of some summer stream;
To smoke his pipe
In a sheltered gripe
In the middle of July.
His face in a mist
And two stones in his fist
And an impotent worm on his thigh.
But his passion became a plague
For he grew feeble bringing the vague
Women of his mind to lust nearness,
Once a week at least flesh must make an appearance.
So Maguire got tired
Of the no-target gun fired
And returned to his headland of carrots and cabbage
To the fields once again
Where eunuchs can be men
And life is more lousy than savage.

III .
Poor Paddy Maguire, a fourteen-hour day
He worked for years. It was he that lit the fire
And boiled the kettle and gave the cows their hay.
His mother tall hard as a Protestant spire
Came down the stairs barefoot at the kettle-call
And talked to her son sharply: 'Did you let
The hens out, you?' She had a venomous drawl
And a wizened face like moth-eaten leatherette.
Two black cats peeped between the banisters
And gloated over the bacon-fizzling pan.
Outside the window showed tin canisters.
The snipe of Dawn fell like a whirring stone
And Patrick on a headland stood alone.
The pull is on the traces, it is March
And a cold black wind is blowing from Dundalk.
The twisting sod rolls over on her back
The virgin screams before the irresistible sock.
No worry on Maguire's mind this day
Except that he forgot to bring his matches.
'Hop back there Polly, hoy back, woa, wae,
From every second hill a neighbour watches
With all the sharpened interest of rivalry.
Yet sometimes when the sun comes through a gap
These men know God the Father in a tree:
The Holy Spirit is the rising sap,
And Christ will be the green leaves that will come
At Easter from the sealed and guarded tomb.
Primroses and the unearthly start of ferns
Among the blackthorn shadows in the ditch,
A dead sparrow and an old waistcoat. Maguire learns
As the horses turn slowly round the which is which
Of love and fear and things half born to mind
He stands between the plough-handles and he sees
At the end of a long furrow his name signed
Among the poets, prostitutes. With all miseries
He is one. Here with the unfortunate
Who for half-moments of paradise
Pay out good days and wait and wait
For sunlight-woven cloaks. O to be wise
As Respectability that knows the price of all things
And marks God's truth in pounds and pence and farthings.

IV
April, and no one able to calculate
How far it is to harvest. They put down
The seeds blindly with sensuous groping fingers
And sensual dreams sleep dreams subtly underground.
Tomorrow is Wednesday - who cares?
'Remember Eileen Farrelly? I was thinking
A man might do a damned sight worse …' That voice is blown
Through a hole in a garden wall -
And who was Eileen now cannot be known.
The cattle are out on grass
The corn is coming up evenly.
The farm folk are hurrying to catch Mass:
Christ will meet them at the end of the world, the slow and the speedier.
But the fields say: only Time can bless.
Maguire knelt beside a pillar where he could spit
Without being seen. He turned an old prayer round:
'Jesus, Mary, Joseph pray for us
Now and at the Hour.' Heaven dazzled death.
'Wonder should I cross-plough that turnip-ground.'
The tension broke. The congregation lifted it head
As one man and coughed in unison.
Five hundred hearts were hungry for life-
Who lives in Christ shall never die the death.
And the candle-lit Altar and the flowers
And the pregnant Tabernacle lifted a moment to Prophecy
Out of the clayey hours
Maguire sprinkled his face with holy water
As the congregation stood up for the Last Gospel.
He rubbed the dust off his knees with his palm, and then
Coughed the prayer phlegm up from his throat and sighed: Amen.
Once one day in June when he was walking
Among his cattle in the Yellow Meadow
He met a girl carrying a basket
And he was then a young and heated fellow.
Too earnest, too earnest! He rushed beyond the thing
To the unreal. And he saw Sin
Written in letters larger than John Bunyan dreamt of.
For the strangled impulse there is no redemption.
And that girl was gone and he was counting
The dangers in the fields where love ranted
He was helpless. He saw his cattle
And stroked their flanks in lieu of wife to handle.
He would have changed the circle if he could,
The circle that was the grass track where he ran.
Twenty times a day he ran round the field
And still there was no winning-post where the runner is cheered home.
Desperately he broke the tune,
But however he tried always the same melody lept up from the background,
The dragging step of a ploughman going home through the guttery
Headlands under an April-watery moon.
Religion, the fields and the fear of the Lord
And Ignorance giving him the coward's blow,
He dared not rise to pluck the fantasies
From the fruited Tree of Life. He bowed his head
And saw a wet weed twined about his toe.

V
Evening at the cross-roads -
Heavy heads nodding out words as wise
As the ruminations of cows after milking.
From the ragged road surface a boy picks up
A piece of gravel and stares at it-and then
Tosses it across the elm tree on to the railway.
He means nothing.
Not a damn thing
Somebody is coming over the metal railway bridge
And his hobnailed boots on the arches sound like a gong
Calling men awake. But the bridge is too narrow -
The men lift their heads a moment. That was only John,
So they dream on.
Night in the elms, night in the grass.
O we are too tired to go home yet. Two cyclists pass
Talking loudly of Kitty and Molly?
Horses or women? wisdom or folly?
A door closes on an evicted dog
Where prayers begin in Barney Meegan's kitchen :
Rosie curses the cat between her devotions;
The daughter prays that she may have three wishes -
Health and wealth and love -
From the fairy who is faith or hope or compounds of.
At the cross-roads the crowd had thinned out:
Last words were uttered. There is no to-morrow;
No future but only time stretched for the mowing of the hay
Or putting an axle in the turf-barrow.
Patrick Maguire went home and made cocoa
And broke a chunk off the loaf of wheaten bread;
His mother called down to him to look again
And make sure that the hen-house was locked. His sister grunted in bed
The sound of a sow taking up a new position.
Pat opened his trousers wide over the ashes
And dreamt himself to lewd sleepiness.
The clock ticked on. Time passes.

VI
Health and wealth and love he too dreamed of in May
As he sat on the railway slope and watched the children of the place
Picking up a primrose here and a daisy there -
They were picking up life's truth singly.
But he dreamt of the Absolute envased bouquet -
AIl or nothing. And it was nothing. For God is not all
In one place, complete
Till Hope comes in and takes it on his shoulder -
O Christ, that is what you have done for us:
In a crumb of bread the whole mystery is.
He read the symbol too sharply and turned
From the five simple doors of sense
To the door whose combination lock has puzzled
Philosopher and priest and common dunce.
Men build their heavens as they build their circles
Of friends. God is in the bits and pieces of Everyday -
A kiss here and a laugh again, and sometimes tears,
A pearl necklace round the neck of poverty.
He sat on the railway slope and watched the evening,
Too beautifully perfect to use,
And his three wishes were three stones too sharp to sit on,
Too hard to carve. Three frozen idols of a speechless muse.

VII
'Now go to Mass and pray and confess your sins
And you'll have all the luck,' his mother said.
He listened to the lie that is a woman's screen
Around a conscience when soft thighs are spread.
And all the while she was setting up the lie
She trusted in Nature that never deceives.
But her son took it as literal truth.
Religion's walls expand to the push of nature. Morality yields
To sense - but not in little tillage fields.
Life went on like that. One summer morning
Again through a hay-field on her way to the shop -
The grass was wet and over-leaned the path -
And Agnes held her skirts sensationally up,
And not because the grass was wet either.
A man was watching her, Patrick Maguire.
She was in love with passion and its weakness
And the wet grass could never cool the fire
That radiated from her unwanted womb in that metaphysical land
Where flesh was thought more spiritual than music
Among the stars - out of reach of the peasant's hand.
Ah, but the priest was one of the people too -
A farmers son - and surely he knew
The needs of a brother and sister.
Religion could not be a counter-irritant like a blister,
But the certain standard, measured and known
By which man might re-make his soul though all walls were down
And all earth's pedestalled gods thrown.

VIII
Sitting on a wooden gate,
Sitting on a wooden gate,
Sitting on a wooden gate
He didn't care a damn.
Said whatever came into his head,
Said whatever came into his head,
Said whatever came into his head
And inconsequently sang.
While his world withered away,
He had a cigarette to smoke and a pound to spend
On drink the next Saturday.
His cattle were fat
And his horses all that
Midsummer grass could make them.
The young women ran wild
And dreamed of a child
Joy dreams though the fathers might forsake them
But no one would take them;
No man could ever see
That their skirts had loosed buttons,
O the men were as blind as could be.
And Patrick Maguire
From his. purgatory fire
Called the gods of the Christian to prove
That this twisted skein
Was the necessary pain
And not the rope that was strangling true love.
But sitting on a wooden gate
Sometime in July
When he was thirty-four or five
He gloried in the lie:
He made it read the way it should,
He made life read the evil good
While he cursed the ascetic brotherhood
Without knowing why.
Sitting on a wooden gate
All, all alone
He sang and laughed
Like a man quite daft,
Or like a man on a channel raft
He fantasied forth his groan.
Sitting on a wooden gate,
Sitting on a wooden gate,
Sitting on a wooden gate
He rode in day-dream cars.
He locked his body with his knees
When the gate swung too much in the breeze.
But while he caught high ecstasies
Life slipped between the bars.

IX
He gave himself another year,
Something was bound to happen before then -
The circle would break down
And he would carve the new one to his own will.
A new rhythm is a new life
And in it marriage is hung and money.
He would be a new man walking through unbroken meadows
Of dawn in the year of One.
The poor peasant talking to himself in a stable door
An ignorant peasant deep in dung.
What can the passers-by think otherwise?
Where is his silver bowl of knowledge hung?
Why should men be asked to believe in a soul
That is only the mark of a hoof in guttery gaps?
A man is what is written on the label.
And the passing world stares but no one stops
To look closer. So back to the growing crops
And the ridges he never loved.
Nobody will ever know how much tortured poetry the pulled weeds on the ridge wrote
Before they withered in the July sun,
Nobody will ever read the wild, sprawling, scrawling mad woman's signature,
The hysteria and the boredom of the enclosed nun of his thought.
Like the afterbirth of a cow stretched on a branch in the wind
Life dried in the veins of these women and men:
'The grey and grief and unloved,
The bones in the backs of their hands,
And the chapel pressing its low ceiling over them.
Sometimes they did laugh and see the sunlight,
A narrow slice of divine instruction.
Going along the river at the bend of Sunday
The trout played in the pools encouragement
To jump in love though death bait the hook.
And there would be girls sitting on the grass banks of lanes.
Stretch-legged and lingering staring -
A man might take one of them if he had the courage.
But 'No' was in every sentence of their story
Except when the public-house came in and shouted its piece.
The yellow buttercups and the bluebells among the whin bushes
On rocks in the middle of ploughing
Was a bright spoke in the wheel
Of the peasant's mill.
The goldfinches on the railway paling were worth looking at -
A man might imagine then
Himself in Brazil and these birds the birds of paradise
And the Amazon and the romance traced on the school map lived again.
Talk in evening corners and under trees
Was like an old book found in a king's tomb.
The children gathered round like students and listened
And some of the saga defied the draught in the open tomb
And was not blown.

X
Their intellectual life consisted in reading
Reynolds News or the Sunday Dispatch,
With sometimes an old almanac brought down from the ceiling
Or a school reader brown with the droppings of thatch.
The sporting results or the headlines of war
Was a humbug profound as the highbrow's Arcana.
Pat tried to be wise to the abstraction of all that
But its secret dribbled down his waistcoat like a drink from a strainer.
He wagered a bob each way on the Derby,
He got a straight tip from a man in a shop -
A double from the Guineas it was and thought himself
A master mathematician when one of them came up
And he could explain how much he'd have drawn
On the double if the second leg had followed the first.
He was betting on form and breeding, he claimed,
And the man that did that could never be burst.
After that they went on to the war, and the generals
On both sides were shown to be stupid as hell.
If he'd taken that road, they remarked of a Marshal,
He'd have … O they know their geography well
This was their university. Maguire was an undergraduate
Who dreamed from his lowly position of rising
To a professorship like Larry McKenna or Duffy
Or the pig-gelder Nallon whose knowledge was amazing.
'A treble, full multiple odds … That's flat porter …
Another one … No, you're wrong about that thing I was telling you. .
Did you part with your filly, Jack? I heard that you sold her.…'
The students were all savants by the time of pub-close.

XI
A year passed and another hurried after it
And Patrick Maguire was still six months behind life -
His mother six months ahead of it;
His sister straddle-legged across it: -
One leg in hell and the other in heaven
And between the purgatory of middle-aged virginity -
She prayed for release to heaven or hell.
His mother's voice grew thinner like a rust-worn knife
But it cut venomously as it thinned,
It cut him up the middle till he became more woman than man,
And it cut through to his mind before the end.
Another field whitened in the April air
And the harrows rattled over the seed.
He gathered the loose stones off the ridges carefully
And grumbled to his men to hurry. He looked like a man who could give advice
To foolish young fellows. He was forty-seven,
And there was depth in his jaw and his voice was the voice of a great cattle-dealer,
A man with whom the fair-green gods break even.
'I think I ploughed that lea the proper depth,
She ought to give a crop if any land gives …
Drive slower with the foal-mare, Joe.'
Joe, a young man of imagined wives,
Smiles to himself and answered like a slave:
'You needn't fear or fret.
I'm taking her as easy, as easy as
Easy there Fanny, easy, pet.'
They loaded the day-scoured implements on the cart
As the shadows of poplars crookened the furrows.
It was the evening, evening. Patrick was forgetting to be lonely
As he used to be in Aprils long ago.
It was the menopause, the misery-pause.
The schoolgirls passed his house laughing every morning
And sometimes they spoke to him familiarly -
He had an idea. Schoolgirls of thirteen
Would see no political intrigue in an old man's friendship.
Love
The heifer waiting to be nosed by the old bull.
That notion passed too - there was the danger of talk
And jails are narrower than the five-sod ridge
And colder than the black hills facing Armagh in February.
He sinned over the warm ashes again and his crime
The law's long arm could not serve with time.
His face set like an old judge's pose:
Respectability and righteousness,
Stand for no nonsense.
The priest from the altar called Patrick Maguire's name
To hold the collecting-box in the chapel door
During all the Sundays of May.
His neighbours envied him his holy rise,
But he walked down from the church with affected indifference
And took the measure of heaven angle-wise.
He still could laugh and sing,
But not the wild laugh or the abandoned harmony now
That called the world to new silliness from the top of a wooden gate
When thirty-five could take the sparrow's bow.
Let us be kind, let us be kind and sympathetic:
Maybe life is not for joking or for finding happiness in -
This tiny light in Oriental Darkness
Looking out chance windows of poetry or prayer.
And the grief and defeat of men like these peasants
Is God's way - maybe - and we must not want too much
To see.
The twisted thread is stronger than the wind-swept fleece.
And in the end who shall rest in truth's high peace?
Or whose is the world now, even now?
O let us kneel where the blind ploughman kneels
And learn to live without despairing
In a mud-walled space -
Illiterate unknown and unknowing.
Let us kneel where he kneels
And feel what he feels.
One day he saw a daisy and he thought it
Reminded him of his childhood -
He stopped his cart to look at it.
Was there a fairy hiding behind it?
He helped a poor woman whose cow
Had died on her;
He dragged home a drunken man on a winter's night
And one rare moment he heard the young people playing on the railway stile
And he wished them happiness and whatever they most desired from life.
He saw the sunlight and begrudged no man
His share of what the miserly soil and soul
Gives in a season to a ploughman.
And he cried for his own loss one late night on the pillow
And yet thanked the God who had arranged these things.
Was he then a saint?
A Matt Talbot of Monaghan?
His sister Mary Anne spat poison at the children
Who sometimes came to the door selling raffle tickets
For holy funds.
'Get out, you little tramps!' she would scream
As she shook to the hens an armful of crumbs,
But Patrick often put his hand deep down
In his trouser-pocket and fingered out a penny
Or maybe a tobacco-stained caramel.
'You're soft,' said the sister; 'with other people's money
It's not a bit funny.'
The cards are shuffled and the deck
Laid flat for cutting - Tom Malone
Cut for trump. I think we'll make
This game, the last, a tanner one.
Hearts. Right. I see you're breaking
Your two-year-old. Play quick, Maguire,
The clock there says it's half-past ten -
Kate, throw another sod on that fire.
One of the card-players laughs and spits
Into the flame across a shoulder.
Outside, a noise like a rat
Among the hen-roosts.
The cock crows over
The frosted townland of the night.
Eleven o'clock and still the game
Goes on and the players seem to be
Drunk in an Orient opium den.
Midnight, one o'clock, two.
Somebody's leg has fallen asleep.
What about home? Maguire, are you
Using your double-tree this week?
Why? do you want it? Play the ace.
There's it, and that's the last card for me.
A wonderful night, we had. Duffy's place
Is very convenient. Is that a ghost or a tree?
And so they go home with dragging feet
And their voices rumble like laden carts.
And they are happy as the dead or sleeping …
I should have led that ace of hearts.

XII
The fields were bleached white,
The wooden tubs full of water
Were white in the winds
That blew through Brannagan's Gap on their way from Siberia;
The cows on the grassless heights .
Followed the hay that had wings -
The February fodder that hung itself on the black branches
Of the hill-top hedge.
A man stood beside a potato-pit
And clapped his arms
And pranced on the crisp roots
And shouted to warm himself.
Then he buck-leaped about the potatoes
And scooped them into a basket.
He looked like a bucking suck-calf
Whose spine was being tickled.
Sometimes he stared across the bogs
And sometimes he straightened his back and vaguely whistled
A tune that weakened his spirit
And saddened his terrier dog's.
A neighbour passed with a spade on his shoulder
And Patrick Maguire bent like a bridge
Whistled-good morning under his oxter
And the man the other side of the hedge
Champed his spade on the road at his toes
And talked an old sentimentality
While the wind blew under his clothes.
The mother sickened and stayed in bed all day,
Her head hardly dented the pillow, so light and thin it had worn,
But she still enquired after the household affairs.
She held the strings of her children's Punch and Judy, and when a mouth opened
It was her truth that the dolls would have spoken
If they hadn't been made of wood and tin -
'Did you open the barn door, Pat, to let the young calves in?'
The priest called to see her every Saturday
And she told him her troubles and fears:
'If Mary Anne was settled I'd die in peace -
I'm getting on in years.'
'You were a good woman,' said the priest,
'And your children will miss you when you're gone.
The likes of you this parish never knew,
I'm sure they'll not forget the work you've done.'
She reached five bony crooks under the tick -
'Five pounds for Masses - won't you say them quick.'
She died one morning in the beginning of May
And a shower of sparrow-notes was the litany for her dying.
The holy water was sprinkled on the bed-clothes
And her children stood around the bed and cried because it was too late for crying.
A mother dead! The tired sentiment:
'Mother, Mother' was a shallow pool
Where sorrow hardly could wash its feet …
Mary Anne came away from the deathbed and boiled the calves their gruel.
'O what was I doing when the procession passed?
Where was I looking? Young women and men
And I might have joined them.
Who bent the coin of my destiny
That it stuck in the slot?
I remember a night we walked
Through the moon of Donaghmoyne,
Four of us seeking adventure,
It was midsummer forty years ago.
Now I know
The moment that gave the turn to my life.
O Christ! I am locked in a stable with pigs and cows for ever.

XIII
The world looks on
And talks of the peasant:
The peasant has no worries;
In his little lyrical fields He ploughs and sows;
He eats fresh food,
He loves fresh women, He is his own master
As it was in the Beginning
The simpleness of peasant life.
The birds that sing for him are eternal choirs ,
Everywhere he walks there are flowers.
His heart is pure, His mind is clear,
He can talk to God as Moses and Isaiah talked
The peasant who is only one remove from the beasts he drives. '
'The travellers stop their cars to gape over the green bank into his fields: -
There is the source from which all cultures rise,
And all religions,
There is the pool in which the poet dips
And the musician.
Without the peasant base civilisation must die,
Unless the clay is in the mouth the singer's singing is useless.
The travellers touch the roots of the grass and feel renewed
When they grasp the steering wheels again.
The peasant is the unspoiled child of Prophecy,
The peasant is all virtues - let us salute him without irony
The peasant ploughman who is half a vegetable -
Who can react to sun and rain and sometimes even
Regret that the Maker of Light had not touched him more intensely.
Brought him up from the sub-soil to an existence
Of conscious joy. He was not born blind.
He is not always blind: sometimes the cataract yields
To sudden stone-falling or the desire to breed.
The girls pass along the roads
And he can remember what man is,
But there is nothing he can do.
Is there nothing he can do?
Is there no escape?
No escape, no escape.
The cows and horses breed,
And the potato-seed
Gives a bud and a root and rots
In the good mother's way with her sons;
The fledged bird is thrown
From the nest - on its own.
But the peasant in his little acres is tied
To a mother's womb by the wind-toughened navel-cord
Like a goat tethered to the stump of a tree -
He circles around and around wondering why it should be.
No crash, No drama.
That was how his life happened.
No mad hooves galloping in the sky,
But the weak, washy way of true tragedy -
A sick horse nosing around the meadow for a clean place to die.

XIV
We may come out in the October reality, Imagination,
The sleety wind no longer slants to the black hill where Maguire
And his men are now collecting the scattered harness and baskets.
The dog sitting on a wisp of dry stalks
Watches them through the shadows.
'Back in, back in.' One talks to the horse as to a brother.
Maguire himself is patting a potato-pit against the weather -
An old man fondling a new-piled grave:
'Joe, I hope you didn't forget to hide the spade .
For there's rogues in the townland.
Hide it flat in a furrow.
I think we ought to be finished by to-morrow.
Their voices through the darkness sound like voices from a cave,
A dull thudding far away, futile, feeble, far away,
First cousins to the ghosts of the townland.
A light stands in a window. Mary Anne
Has the table set and the tea-pot waiting in the ashes.
She goes to the door and listens and then she calls
From the top of the haggard-wall :
'What's keeping you
And the cows to be milked and all the other work there's to do?'
'All right, all right
We'll not stay here all night '
Applause, applause,
The curtain falls.
Applause, applause
From the homing carts and the trees
And the bawling cows at the gates.
From the screeching water-hens
And the mill-race heavy with the Lammas floods curving over the weir
A train at the station blowing off steam
And the hysterical laughter of the defeated everywhere.
Night, and the futile cards are shuffled again.
Maguire spreads his legs over the impotent cinders that wake no manhood now
And he hardly looks to see which card is trump.
His sister tightens her legs and her lips and frizzles up
Like the wick of an oil-less lamp.
The curtain falls -
Applause, applause.
Maguire is not afraid of death, the Church will light him a candle
To see his way through the vaults and he'll understand the
Quality of the clay that dribbles over his coffin.
He'll know the names of the roots that climb down to tickle his feet.
And he will feel no different than when he walked through Donaghmoyne.
If he stretches out a hand - a wet clod,
If he opens his nostrils - a dungy smell;
If he opens his eyes once in a million years -
Through a crack in the crust of the earth he may see a face nodding in
Or a woman's legs.
Shut them again for that sight is sin.
He will hardly remember that life happened to him -
Something was brighter a moment. Somebody sang in the distance
A procession passed down a mesmerized street.
He remembers names like Easter and Christmas
By colour his fields were.
Maybe he will be born again, a bird of an angel's conceit
To sing the gospel of life
To a music as flighty tangent
As a tune on an oboe.
And the serious look of his fields will have changed to the leer of a hobo.
Swaggering celestially home to his three wishes granted.
Will that be? will that be?
Or is the earth right that laughs haw-haw
And does not believe
In an unearthly law.
The earth that says:
Patrick Maguire, the old peasant, can neither be damned nor glorified:
The graveyard in which he will lie will be just a deep-drilled potato-field
Where the seed gets no chance to come through
To the fun of the sun.
The tongue in his mouth is the root of a yew.
Silence, silence. The story is done.
He stands in the doorway of his house
A ragged sculpture of the wind,
October creaks the rotted mattress,
The bedposts fall. No hope. No lust.
The hungry fiend
Screams the apocalypse of clay
In every corner of this land.

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People Come, People Go

People come,
People go
Memories remain
Some sweet
Some sour
Forgotten with time
People
Continue to live
Some with love
Some with hate
Without bothering
How they will be
Remembered?
After they leave

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Old Lonely People

You would think

That by the time

People are past their prime

They would have learned

The value of having many a friend.


Are old people lonely

Because they have moved?

Or are from work far removed?

No longer in the messiness

Of the business

Of making this society work?

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Seeking To Uncover Hidden Meanings

If more people read words actually written,
Less time would be spent by them...
Seeking to uncover hidden meanings,
Or trying to find a way to define the mind...
Of the writer.

Or...
Make attempts to read between the lines,
When there is a lack of comprehension...
Of the lines already there that appear.

But like most folks,
Who obtain their knowledge from gossip...
A title to them given speaks,
More than their reading of words.

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The middle-class people

In the pages of magazines & story-lines of TV channels,
I have always heard about the middle class people

What we are and where we belong (?)
disco & pop are replacing folk song
we talk about globalization at the cost of identity
while chasing endless dreams, meet harsh reality

In efforts to achieve esteem ambitions
people are forgetting culture & traditions
rich people do not have value for it,
& poor do not have time
it's the middle-class that carry weight of expectations

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Seeking Less Government In Their Lives

The majority of the people
Rush to have their liberties quoted
As stated within the framework
Of the constitution

At yet
These liberties representing the same people
Are said to interfere too much
In the lives they wish to live

People are seeking less government in their lives
But it is the government they run to
To protest their entitlements
Are not being represented as documented

And those they elect
Are eventually despised
For not implementing those policies
Created to describe standards and precious values

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Infinitive of Rire

After conjugating verbs in French class
seeking the infinitive of rire, nous riions,
but we did not laugh because we watched
a French film noire

A romantic series of pictures ending with a
lover telling his girlfriend never come back,
ne reviens pas - that is why I love you so
much, you are always loving

I feel safe with you, my youth was without
certainty and you arrived like a ship in a
storm, today I trust more people than ever
before and you taught me this

Thank you for the discipline you brought into
my bohemian existence so that I always feel
safe in an ever-changing world

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