The Golden Hour

I carried my love easily,

it bore no burden to me.

It was my own;

cultivated and wholesome, righteous in devotion.

It was my own.

I lathered myself in it, syrupy and sweet

Swaddled myself in self love while I bided my time

Waited

for the day a love that matched my own came my way.

And there you are, the Golden Hour.

Majestic in hue and cloaked in humility that boasts of confidence

You are beautiful.

You are enough.

You give good love.

I should know, I’ve had far worse

I have entered chasms of despair and had frequently vacationed there, but this…

This love you give me is rare and precious like the gems

and the silk laden trunks that bear them.

You are beautiful.

Sun kissed and chocolate dipped

You are beautiful

You light my world and I yours

We are the light and we shine

We are a moment!

One you must experience to believe, so take a pic before the moment sours,

Love is here and thus it is the golden hour.

Don’t Patronize Me!

There’s nothing like

Standing idly by as an interloper buys the block,

only to disrespect it.

Who invited you?

Told you you can set up shop, sell us cancer sticks and candy,

while openly calling us food stamp cockroaches?

You must be so proud. And so ignorant

to berate us with disrespect and expect a payment for it.

To hear, “I don’t give a f*%k about the Black neighborhood!”

is to receive a slap in the face.

If you didn’t want me us to patronize you, you could have said it politely…

But you wanted the money, huh? Too bad!

A lot of us are waking up to the truth that the Black dollar is the final authority,

like “Dean, Big Brother Almighty!

And we won’t tolerate the injustices within the places of business that we frequent,

because we have the buying power, ya dig?

Or did you miss the memo?

In December of 2020, video footage of an East Atlanta Indian Gas station clerk expressing his blatant disregard for the Black community began to circulate the internet. I learned of this injustice through the 85 South Show podcast featuring Karlous Miller and his guest Scapegoat Jones who recounted the tale. He told Miller that after directly confronting the store clerk, he was told to, “Get out you food stamp cockroach”. It was shortly after this, that Jones started the Don’t Stop Don’t Shop (DSDS) organization, which headed the boycott against the racist Exxon establishment in East Atlanta. The boycott lasted for 60 days and caused the owner to decide to sell. This was a major win for the community and it is Jones’ hope to continue this winning streak by buying the gas station to generate wealth within the community as well as a means of inspiring other members of the Black community to take interest in owning property and businesses within the area. He is steadily raising funds to buy the gas station via gofundme, so whether you are located in the East Atlanta area or not, if you want to support this vision, please donate today and share the link with others. Help them buy back the block, one establishment at a time.

A Matter of Place

Blue-gray morning and sun-obscuring clouds is my place

Place of home and creation

A home where words are birthed and where my body lives

Location of being

I make my place here by walking barefoot on the backyard dirt

By feeling the crunch of autumn leaves I wait months to remove

from around my home so the animals and ground critters can bask in them

as they desire

Placemaking on this land is to keep the peace between the canine and feline

I live my life with

To spend quiet moments observing and whistling to the native birds that daily

occupy the old oak trees standing strong all around me

Photo by Georgina Marie, Oak Trees in Winter, Lakeport, CA

Much less a poem, more of an observation of my place of home in this time. After attending a writing workshop this past weekend, the following prompt was offered, “What does place and placemaking mean to you?”. This is a glimpse into what my place has become for me during a worldwide pandemic. – Georgina Marie

The Waiting

Winter morning 

icy groundcover and overcast sky

I walk the neighborhood

Stop and stand beneath a tree

whose species I do not know

breath seen on the exhale, releasing upward

as neck stretched back, eyes awe-struck 

taking in the lime green of bunches of leaves

tucked tightly in the tallest peaks of its arms

tracing the leafless branches, umber and gray toned

between the layered twigs, a body, dappled

spotted belly, gray, black, and rounded

underside of a tail orange and dark

            a flicker

I have seen you in books, in digital pages

your raven-sun tail feathers gifted to me

wrapped in thin baby-blue yarn

such beauty and tenderness of your design

I have waited for you

and here you sit silently, dazzling, observing

I set aside all expectations now

I know if I wait your flight will aim my way  

If I am only patient

as the street cat who peers into the cracked door

of a home, waiting to give in, to trust

to weasel her way into a warm, safe life

curled up in a corner bed, soundly asleep

until her human returns from walking into epiphanies

with western birds.

Photo by Georgina Marie, Flicker Feathers and Elements

Fire Follower

In the chaparral of daylight he

In the black of the night he

In between the fire poppies he

Speaks and I listen

In the distance between ancient lake to godly coast he

In a twilight of gray sky and white smoke he

In a way the snapdragons sing he

Sighs and I still listen

Whispering bells come to stillness

Lupines saturate in blue violet hues

After the fire he sparks

What else will bloom?

Photo by Georgina Marie, Summer Flowers in Fire Season, Lakeport, CA

Pandemic Verse in Senryu

Cold days are here now

How the body craves warm skin

Unsafe to be close

Manzanita path

I walk with humans I love

No smiles are seen

A thousand mornings

Only dog and I in bed

Isolation still 

Autumn apples rot

Many on the cold hard ground

Food for the loud birds

Virus to learn from

It is not just about you

Compassion is life

Harmful to gather

But nature is always there

Be grateful for this

Photo by Georgina Marie, Fall Morning, Lakeport, CA

To Be Still Is to Be Animal

How the sun glimmers and glistens through Valley Oaks on a rustic hillside. How the warmth permeates amber honey skin and a tense body loosens. How the ground cover of fallen autumn leaves aches of a soothing vibrancy. How I breathe between these happenings. How yearning for more makes the muscles weak, turns the heart to a tiny blue egg, an oval shape, a crack on all sides as if someone took it and threw it into the night sky. How the brittle shell was adorned with cornflower and flaxen. How I came home to myself after the breaking, half-human, half-bird. How winter frost is arriving again. How a hunger remains. How the Burrowing Owl and the American Robin observe, witnessing all of this. How they don’t swallow time in the same way or long for difference. What if all of this was enough?

Photo by Georgina Marie, Autumn Leaves, Lakeport, CA

Eyes and the Unsaid

as if the light blue marbles I’d toss around as a child 

were used to make the eyes of the man sitting beside me

the hues of the sea staring back at him, a mirror

a cold, wet wanting nears and retracts in the ebb and flow 

waves creep slowly onto moist sand

new sensation, same old desire

want. yes. all of it.

I soften my tongue to let the words loose, to

deliver an ancient scroll made of persimmon 

and saltwater berries

a practiced reveal shudders around in the heart valves

words crafted in silver

sweet, sweet but I still don’t speak 

a chew of raw attempt 

the outlining of letters in the mouth 

how a woman once a girl manifested a high seas man out of marble

and lost her words to the sea

Photo by Georgina Marie – Mendocino, California

“U’i (Beautiful)

My brother

on top of Koko Head peak today

any other day

he may be lost

or just on other mountaintops

Diamond Head

Lanikai Pillbox 

Some days he is small 

in his head

bible in hands

pain, remembrance of

days lost as a kid

We all had to grow up

a little too fast

we all had to survive

a little too much

to make it through days

as skeletons floating

like piñatas 

above winery land

We were hot air balloons 

in Calistoga

on days our childhood house

was always in mode

of lights out and violence

Now you walk outside to see 

colorful fabrics high in the air

flames giving way to

speed and light to

fly away from this life

to be bigger than this life

Brother

you and I

they and us

we aren’t kids anymore

it’s like we took those shades off and

see this new panorama

see this scenery

see these murals with messages

broadcasting how we don’t belong

to our skeletons of sad children

We can be anywhere

like you are now

in the Honolulu hills

Oahu beaches

pineapple mountains 

and palm trees

There is nothing bigger than your grace

bigger than you

e kūlia i ka nu’u

Photo by Georgina Marie, Tropical Flowers in Rural Country, Ukiah, California

e kūlia i ka nu’u” is a Hawaiian proverb meaning “strive to reach the highest”.

-Georgina Marie, Poet in Residence

The Spaces in Our Togetherness

risk everything.

And nothing.

I found you whole, a perfect imperfection.

Saucy and hot!

Stay close, hug up on me, bump me–again, worry, smile, cry, mansplain, masseur, get provisions, pay the bills, pick up G, wake up too early, laugh, grade papers, water the garden, teach, teach right after, teach some more, learn two or three things from your wife, get takeout, walk up the hill, put out the bins, close up the house, deliver my bud, check your email, call your siblings–

all kind as love!

And, just this morning.

Edissa mentors artists and writers of all ages in alignment with her conviction for working in radical solidarity to achieve social justice.

Featured photo by Jason Reyes for Living Artist Project.