Ángel de la independencia
Ángel de la independencia,
una diosa alada, una rompedora de cadenas
descendiendo de los cielos
para honrar a los liberados de los opresores,
para bendecir a los que continúan
con inspiración y esperanza,
para recordarnos la fragilidad de la libertad,
vigilando una fundación
de secretos sagrados, almas y huesos,
una fundación de un pueblo recién nacido
Victoriosa y triunfante,
una amada dadora de coronas
de laureles para los descendientes
de El Grito y toda la gente gritando
por la soberanía, la justicia y la paz
en todos los lugares, en todos los tiempos
Ella es la vencedora invencible,
Ella que siempre triunfará,
Ella que siempre acompañará
a los héroes de la independencia
Exported from Medium 30th July, 2020.
A bird sits alone on a branch
in the garden as we talk about
nature and lost souls. If there
is such a thing. The bird sings
to no one. Does it have a soul?
We could push everything aside
to reveal light breaking through
the trees. We could reveal secrets
if we knew what we believed.
Could we strip naked and reveal
our betrayals? There is a stream
that flows through this valley
in spring. The water gives shape
to our formless selves. It carries
us as we make our way across
the hills and through the skies.
It sustains us and the land as we
fashion myths from nothingness,
as we nurture carefully crafted
prophecies. We are surrounded
by small broadleaf trees bearing
fruit, not all of it edible. Manzanita
berries bloom in spring. The alluring
red fruit and flowers are edible.
They will sustain us if we fall.
*Originally appeared in Hitchlit Review
he referred to himself in third person
If only he had listened
If only he had tried a bit harder,
if only he had turned this way
instead of that way
he might have made something
of himself, of his life
He’s going to light a cigarette now
Doc said it’s not worth killing yourself
but it steadies his nerves
He remembers a joke about a father
who left home to buy a pack of cigarettes
and never returned
*Originally appeared in 3Moon Magazine
The first time I saw my daddy cry
was the day the tracks got pulled up.
The world had changed they said,
time had bypassed us they said.
The brickworks was forced to close,
it could no longer operate at a loss.
Loss is what tore apart my daddy
the day he cried. He could feel it
in his tired, brittle bones as he sat
staring out the window of our home
at the factory that was now nothing
more than an abstract pile of scrap iron.
A whirlwind of old torn newspapers
blew across the road, over the raised
gravel beds where the tracks once lay,
pushed against a sagging, rusted
chain-link fence. Yes sir, I can do that,
my daddy said under his breath,
yes sir, I can work weekends
and holidays, he was nodding his head,
yes sir, I can come in early, stay late.
The long mornings became the most
difficult part of the day. He and my
momma sat at our round wooden table,
doing their best to sip dark coffee and
eat buttered toast with homemade jam.
They were silent most mornings
before daddy went to the window to
monitor any changes. We used to play
outside that window, in the yard.
When he squinted, he could see us
laughing, running around through the
water whirling out of the sprinkler he
bought at now-closed A-1 Mercantile.
I remember my daddy’s smile that day.
*Originally appeared in The Diaspora Anthology pub by UC Berkeley
THE BRISTLECONE PINE
A steadfast mother in ancient Mesopotamia
was teaching her daughter to weave wool
to provide warmth in the coming winter
of the river lands of the Fertile Crescent,
the life-sustaining Tigris and Euphrates, as
father directed water to desperate crops.
Somewhere just below the tree line in the
White Mountains of eastern California,
a seedling begins new life, its tentacle like
roots gripping into the rocky dolomite soil
as winds of fine sand cut through the dry
rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Today, the antediluvian sentinel Methuselah
stands, the proud protector of the Great Basin
Bristlecone Pine progeny, its gnarled hardwood
arms reaching out like burghers cast in bronze,
nature’s historic monument, a reminder to
remain open to mystery and wonder.
*Originally appeared in humana obscura
blocking in scrubbing out
bring the sun in
for a closer look
dots of light
on the surface
floating on breaths
bits stuck in the tooth
some in deep canyons
others barely visible
some crevices deepened
some skimmed over
shadows are formed
opaque objects block
weaving in and out
of visible degrees
on an invisible scale
*Originally appeared in Subterranean Blue Poetry
Kodokushi refers to a Japanese phenomenon of people dying alone and remaining undiscovered for a long period of time.
It hit me like a ton of something on a day I no longer remember. I think I read a ton of feathers weighs the same as a ton of bricks. An Italian guy dropped cannon balls from a tower. I don’t remember why, something about gravity. I heard that from a tour guide, seems like a past life. It was the only time I ever left the country. There’s still an old paper map on a table, with faded newspapers, photographs, and origami cranes. The din of cicadas is omnipresent as night now falls in pieces like rocks filling up this space, this overstuffed chair. Sometimes, when the weight is overwhelming, I see myself imploding, spilling out onto the floor, only to be mopped up by a stranger.
*Originally appeared in Spillway Journal
Justified margins have been altered to fit this page
KENNETH JOHNSON 2022 No part of skyecreativearts.com may be reproduced without permission from copyright owner