Beyond the Wall

scars untouched
like stars unseen
in the neglected wastelands
exist
where no cultured eye sees
pain persists
beyond the wall

see no evil
hear no evil
speak no evil
touch no unclean thing
hide
behind the wall
of
ignorance
bigotry
greed
and
pride

there thrive
fattened
off the fattened meats
hoarded

while the wall is boarded

hunger exists
pure
real
aching
a chorus in the wilderness
of empty-belly pleas
that reverberate off a civilized wall
unheard

scars untouched
radiate pain
through the midnight wasteland
the loveliest stars
by industrial giants’
smog-clouded,
wall-protected
eyes
unseen

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry,  free verse, & human rights.

100% Human

The body of the earth does not belong to me; my body belongs to it. The debate about Elizabeth Warren and her “native heritage” is a painful one, and it reminds me that the ethnic composition of a person’s DNA means little. What we do with our lives matters. I am 100% human. So what? If I spend my days lusting in the halls of materialism gone mad, than my “humanity” will amount to little but a drop in the cesspool of avarice that covers this earth I love like a mosquito-infested swamp and my 100% will choke off the fertile ground and pollute the clean waters that nurture all living things.

I thought about having my DNA tested. While I know that a large percentage of my ancestors came from Europe, most of them following the French-Indian fur trade down the Mississippi River from Canada, large gaps and lots of questions remain about my heritage. So what? Finding out that I had a percentage of Native American DNA or that I had an African Great Great Greatsomeone who was brought to this land in chains would not make me a res kid or child raised in the Chicago projects. It would not give me the right to claim a place at a table built on cultural identity and suffering where I have never eaten. I already care about my Native and African brothers and sisters with all 100% of my humanity. I want to see respect and reparation generously given to those on whose land and on whose backs this country has thrived, and I will continue to work toward that. We have a long, long way to go.

I want to see the land respected and repaired. I grew up wandering the woods around my home, a child of the wind who whispered his secrets in my ears, the trees who taught me to tap deeply into the ground and patiently stand tall, and the great rivers who taught me respect and awe. I didn’t grow up with material wealth, but I had the richest of playgrounds and a lavish education. Nature never asked about my DNA. She captured my attention and inspired my imagination without questioning what percentage of me was hers. I am 100% human. The body of the earth was not born of me; I was born of it.

https://tanyacliff.com/2016/08/15/meskonsing-cutting-the-skin-of-the-drum/

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in short stories.

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Imagine

imagine ~

if the obese worm
of bigotry
could be contained
in a chrysalis
there
forced to change
or starving die
might emerge
life’s
liberated
butterfly

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse

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Cracked

cracked shell

                clam dies

cracked chrysalis

                insect flies

cracked skull

                head bleeds

cracked bell

                liberty

cracked hull

                ship sinks

cracked egg

                sulfur stinks

cracked bat

                fly ball

cracked shale

                earth weeps

cracked earth

                land quakes

cracked book

                ideas make

cracked sac

                baby born

cracked bud

                flowers bloom

cracked window

                enter breeze

cracked wall

                humans freed

cracked smile

                contagious joy

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

2018 – My Hope

2017
birthed
a colicky infant
who, although spoiled and overfed,
produced a continuous line
of
mostly incoherent
squawks
from his high nest

by spring
he had grown into the playground bully
amassing toys,
hoarding even,
to make his sandbox castle great
AGAIN

by summer,
or buy,
his overgrown form
preached from a pulpit like a profit-god
A MASS
that sounded
oddly
like his former spoiled, soiled
colicky
chirps

by autumn…
I don’t know what he said.
I bought earplugs
to relieve my throbbing
MAGAraine
suffering
head

2018
I HOPE
has birthed infants everywhere
who will cry from the collective pools
of
starvation
poverty
and
neglect
AND
that the children of spring
will remove the genetically-modified cotton
stuffed in our privileged ears,

so that we who have will

listen

&

share

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

Cherita #10

“butterfly” banned

winged insect breaks through chrysalis
and drips dry

its first flight, a girl points, delighted,
and says,
“Look, a flutterby”

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry cherita.

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The Barbarian’s Fiddle

I sat in a room
with a noisy crowd
who hated all things “Asian”
haunted, they were
by world war ghosts
and
communist libations
they speared the Barbarian-Yellow Goldfish
in their community pond
and
siphoned the living waters
leaving sandy bottoms –
the dried grains of bigotry
kicked and whipped
into a blinding storm

Their Dust Bowl creation
ever threatens to choke the next generations

I made two strings sing
in
melancholic
tragic
vibrato
that mimicked the human voice
Persecuted

The room fell momentarily silent

I played on

Suffering
is
an
endless
tune

until, interrupted by an old man
coughing up affected phlegm
that he spat into the Dust Bowl
slightly settled through his falling tears

I paused

He inquired as to what beautiful instrument
had seduced his soul to
blissful
despair
An erhu, I sighed
It is Asian –
otherwise called the “Barbarian’s Fiddle”
Its two, long strings carry the vibrations
of generations of tears splashed down onto the collective pool
by those you persecute by referring to them as
“slanted-eyed Chinks”

He snorted and laughed
He kicked some dirt in my face

I played on

Suffering

an endless tune carried in the vibrato of two Asian strings

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.