The World Remembers Delaney Ann Brown


 DELANEY “LANEY” ANN BROWN

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We have all been following the courageous battle of Laney and her family this past month, and are deeply saddened to learn that this precious young child was called home to heaven this Christmas Day, 2013.

“December 25, 2013– on this chilled and grief-filled date, the gates of Heaven were flung wide open
as God embraced Delaney Ann Brown and welcomed her home again.”

The sun arose this winter day -
Across the world the children played.
Homes echoing with carefree glee,
As Christmas day was meant to be.
Each parent dreams of such a vision -
‘Til life injects its cruel revision.

Yet, like a child’s lost innocence,
Cherished and held in reverence -
In just one moment swept away
No sympathy for child’s play.
Into her life a darkness came;
Into our own, an infinite pain.

Our hearts now filled with an empty space -
of sweet Laney and her joy-filled face!
Malevolence came and stole her future,
A wound too big for mending sutures.
We heard the sounds of angels cry –
The day we watched this child die.

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We swallow hard; prayed harder still -
Our heartbeats faltered against our will.
The deafening blast of pure insanity
We’ve lost the best of our humanity!
A nation mourns with silent tongues
The senseless death of she so young.

The doctors did their very best -
Nurses offered up their loving breast
To shield from cancer’s savage blow -
To buy this young one time to grow.
But she slipped away, lest we forget…
Upon her memory, no sun will set.

Sweet Laney lost and taken away
Beneath the sun of Christmas day.
We are lost within an anguished grief,
As even celestial angels weep.

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Impeccant cherub laid to rest;
God took from us our very best.
The loss we feel is real and deep,
The pain forever ours to keep.
No answers to the question, “Why?”
Our babies were not meant to die.

So, brush away our tortured tears;
this truth is too demanding,
and whisper in our silent ears
some prayer of understanding.
Laney’s star now shines above,
Eternal bright and beaming love.

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


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A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky above
the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

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In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
A flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap
next to a crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed
with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

 

Poets and Prostitutes


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He was a lover of street prostitutes;
not the sable-wrapped uptown girls
bathed in Chanel No.5 and punishing Daddy
by selling their tight-toned wares retail,
but rather those wholesale working-class girls
perfumed by the sweat of their labors;
standing beneath broken streetlights at 2 a.m.,
in cheap, colorful makeup and Wal-Mart lingerie,
with asses bubbling back and semi-flaccid breasts;
those colorful painted whores of the night.

In his youth, he had been scorched by the beautiful
and he would never again have the fevered yearning
of lying with flesh more pliant and comely.

Street-walkers fed his pathos and filled his inner void.
They would let him kiss them on the mouth,
and wouldn’t complain when he couldn’t get hard
because of too much beer and whiskey.

They’d always wait patiently, filing their nails,
chewing open-mouthed wads of gum -
but most of all, they would never, ever
fill the silence with meaning-less chatter.

If he couldn’t function, they didn’t condemn him,
but would play with themselves upon request
so at least the failing of the hour felt sexy.

Most of all, they didn’t lie!

They wouldn’t tell him what a great lover he was
or offer up false platitudes on his endowment;
They used their real names and would share their coke
for an extra twenty-five, and he would pour them full shots.

Sometimes, he would write beautiful sonnets for them
and they would genuinely be moved to tears.

If the sex was lousy, they took it in stride and didn’t bitch.
They didn’t conspicuously spit into folded Kleenex
or stuff their mouths with wads of spearmint gum
after he had come, just to lose the taste of him.
Rather, they swallowed because they, too, didn’t care
if they got one more filthy, fucking disease.

They were like him; defeated and empty,
just grateful not to be judged and discarded
like yesterday’s rotten fruit.

My Slow Descent


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Pressed beneath the broken rhythms of solitude
Stumbling drunk within intoxicated wavy parallels
Of self-derision and unbridled rage against lost time
A shattered vessel of my mother’s dreams
Absent when the arch of forgiveness bends mercifully
Over purpose-broken and diminished men
My unwinding days a gentle push toward the grave
With nothing left to secure my grasp
Pulled asunder by the wrath of fallen angels
When the shadows of my sins, like a burial shroud
Wraps me tightly, a corpse descending
Into the darkened void of eternal sleep.
This, then is my slow descent; tossed upon a funeral pyre
Engulfed within damnation’s perpetual flame
Condemned for lack of conviction as the cold winds
Of judgment kick up and scatter my weightless ashes

 

The Speed of Life


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I’ve threaded the needle once or twice
And paid the price for my sacrifice
But now old age has tempered me
I’m not the man I used to be

When I was younger, or so it seemed
I still had strength and hopeful dreams
With youthful promise I fought for love
Reached for the heaven and stars above

Countless days lost in desire
Lived to set the world on fire
But now my time has much diminished
Where once I started, now I’m finished

Youthful dreams now mock my nights
I awaken drenched in winter lights
My life now unfolds in finite measure
Robbed of all the things I treasure

The circle of life has run its course
And to this point I reinforce
Don’t let waste each given day
For all too soon we fade away

 

I Am Ready


Old Man

The years have swept my face
carving time in deep crevices
thinning my skin with relentless cold
Like a child pushing milk teeth
my smile is likewise gapped
though my innocence lays broken
like this child’s backyard toys

These days, I pretend that I’m busy
that I’m working, that I’m writing
but I’m not doing anything
I just wanted not to look too artificial
in these my final fading days

I have known my moments of fame
where my words stroked the hearts of man
and my poems filled a woman’s soul
but all these things mean very little to me
I am so much into the finality of the now
the past is such a strange thing for me

Oh, loving her was an incredible journey
a wonderful everlasting treasure hunt
I found emeralds in her eyes
and sparkling diamonds in her smile
golden coins tinkling in her laughter
but like all treasure, she lies buried now
and I am castaway upon these lonely shores

My life is a dead space, a dead time
if you describe it in colors, a grayness
The seasons no longer cut by
snow and rain and sun and falling leaves
but rather, like clouds pushing darkly
against one another in a stormy sky
my days blend beneath a blotted sun

I know the number of my evenings are few
and my remaining mornings fewer by one
but I am tired, and I am alone,
and I am ready

We Are the Reason


reason

There is a reason birds don’t fly here anymore.
The skies are filled with fear and lamenting,
and their wings are covered in blood and ash
– bones falling from the sky.

The deer no longer nurses her fawn
in the de-forested wood, and the fish flounder
and die in dry riverbeds
.
The gardens are choked with a villainous vine,
while the petals of every flower fall
one by one to the rotting ground.

The mountains no longer echo with the songs of valley life,
and the oceans lie still, lifeless beneath the moon.
The dimming stars no longer ignite the imagination,
and the sunrise is muted behind a veil of smog and filth.

There is a reason our lifeless children
have abandoned hope in their futures
and restricted their “friends” to Facebook.

There is a reason our churches stand empty,
except to mourn our dead and send them on their way.

There is a reason we scream instead of sing; why
we sleep alone and lock ourselves behind bolted
doors; why we embrace our guns instead of our neighbor.

Our cities crumble beneath the weight of hatred and
indifference, while greed feeds upon the impoverished.

We have deigned to wear the robes of God and we have
failed. We turn from one another in vile contempt for we
cannot bear the reflection of ourselves in their wounded
eyes.

We have consumed it all, and in the process, we
have consumed ourselves.

We are the reason.

 

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


grief

A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky above
the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

grief 2

In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
A flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap
next to a crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed
with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

 

The Winter Bites My Bones


winter

 

The winter bites my bones

Standing all alone amongst the howling winds,
I count my sins and shiver, shiver, shiver
Icy cold reflections freeze me to the spot
No longer will I find warmth in my denials
Numb and quaking, I huddle amongst the fallen leaves
And like them, slowly decay and fade away.

The winter bites my bones

Chewing my frozen flesh with teeth of sharp icicles
Darkness descends and I am numbingly consumed.
The frozen ground will not receive me
Shallow breathes hang before me, vaporized and still
Muscles aching from too much holding on

As the winter bites my bones.

 

Pirate, the Island Dog


Byron

Pirate is everyone’s, yet he is no one’s. Vacationers arrive, discover him, and dote on him for two weeks, then disappear. He is their holiday project – a story they’ll tell over dinner at home. On those soft, warm-winded Caribbean nights, some allow him in, to sleep at the foot of their beds, to guard their front door. In passing, some even toy with the idea of a rescue. Could we? Should we? Shots? Papers? Questions asked with the exuberance of the relaxed and the happy, but as the time to leave draws near, reality encroaches, the idea stalls.

There is an eternal sadness in Pirate’s eyes that comes from continual loss. People come and offer love, then go away, leaving him vainly searching for those he has loved so loyally in return. Yet his heart is enormous, and mixed in with his grief is boundless hope that the next one will be the one. He sits beneath the warm sun when the ships come in, panting in anticipation of the people off-boarding into his life. He lives in the moment, and the moment is glorious when the kids swarm to him, petting, cooing, and hugging. In that moment, he finally belongs…if only for a moment.

Every couple of weeks, Pirate sadly watches his loved ones depart, on the same ship that delivered them into his heart in the first place. A new band always takes their place, and he is robbed of his grieving as he prepares for the newcomers. This island dog waits, knowing it will take only one; one, to give him a name that won’t change, one, to call it out in the dark should he wander too far. One to call to him and him alone: Come home!

The Skirt


 

You laid your plaited skirt
on the foot of my bed,
neatly folded as though
in doing so you could somehow
retain your virtue.  In the midst
of our fleshy thrashings, I kicked
it to the floor, and you began
to cry, deep sobs that rattled
the mattress springs.  I moved,
too reluctantly, to retrieve it
but you said, “Why bother?”
Making love doesn’t always
mean making sense, and so
I threw my feet to the floor,
pulled on my jeans, and looked
back, although I would never be
able to see.
“So that’s it?” you sobbed.
In affirmation, I buttoned my
shirt and turned toward the door,
…as an afterthought, picked up
your once plaited skirt, tossed it
carelessly over my shoulder,
and left.

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky
above the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
a flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap,
next to crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

The Dance



In Spring she danced with her true love
Each step in softness, lights descending
From the silver rays of moon above
Terpsichore’s guidance never-ending.

Summer found her slightly winded
Though to her lover’s hand she held
And while this dance more quickly ended,
Within his arms all fears were quelled.

Upon a chilled wind Fall did follow
Fatigued, she cried, “No more to dance!”
He prayed to her beloved, Apollo,
“What price secures another chance?”

In Winter’s snow she found her rest
His tears upon her funeral pyre;
Now holding close within his chest
One final dance, his heart’s desire.

The Sacrificial Child



Let not secrets fall outside these walls;
Ignore this child’s anguished call -
Don’t trouble me none, with your tellin’ tongue,
May a silenced voice save us all.

Oh, sweet child of mine, now is not the time
to be breakin’ down in tears.
Your father’s touch didn’ hurt you much,
and he’s gettin’ on in years.

I’m your mother son, and it troubles me some,
this fear you’ve seem to got.
I may turn away when ya’ll come to say,
“oh, Momma, make him stop”

Yes it grieves me some, that you’ve come undone,
jus’ keep it in your chest!
I know how you feel, just give it time to heal
And we’ll put it all to rest.

Got a call, my boy, from your school, my joy,
sayin’ you broke down in tears.
Don’t you know, my love, that come push to shove,
I’ll deny your tender fears.

You took your life my sweet, now the secret sleeps,
Let death now set you free.
Find your peace, my love, in the stars above,
and say a prayer for me.

I’ve five more to raise, and a thousand ways,
to keep it’ all within.
Please don’t blame me, sweetness, for my incompleteness,
And my part in this sin.