I Remember Wanda

 

Trigger warning: language, racial slur


I Remember Wanda
by Carl Josehart

I remember Wanda
she’s the one who thought she was a turtle
and demanded we call her,
“Turtle”

I met Wanda when I worked at a school for
cast off children with
garbage dump lives
refuse of society

clutching her purse,
one day,
she screamed at me across
miles of misunderstanding
and missed opportunities

“Suck my cock!”
and then called me a,
“white chocolate nigger”

we used to collect
words
hurtled at us like
harpoons
the only way the
children had to
teach us about their
pain

we’d save them and
play with them
pretending we didn’t
feel the sting of these
well targeted missiles

I guess if I lived in her world
I’d be a turtle too
a hard strong shell to
protect me when
words fall like rain
and soak the soul
in silent suffering and pain

Wanda…I remember


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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving
by Carl Josehart

For these things I give thanks
Food in abundance
A safe place to stay
Family and friends who surround me with love
And a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above

For these things I pray
Food in abundance – for those who are hungry
A safe and warm place to stay – for those who are out in the cold
Family and friends – for those who are without love
And a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above

For all these things were given to the people of the earth
Along with laughter and gaiety, and mirth
With all that was given – the knowledge of good and evil was taken
But, it seems, the responsibility that accompanies that power has been forsaken
We have forsaken family and friends, and those who need us to surround them with love
Along with a sense of order and caring, and a belief in God, in the heavens above


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The Tattooed Tigress

The Tattooed Tigress
by Carl Josehart

The tattooed tigress
slowly stalks her prey
inviting mouth studded with razor sharp teeth

Swishing silky tail
playful as a cub
powerful as a lioness
tempting as ripe fruit swollen on the vine

The tattooed tigress
now wounded in battle
cries out in pain
threatens all who come near
even those with salves and dressings for her wounds

Too frightened to let anyone approach
she is danger of dying from her wounds
injuries that need not be mortal
threaten to sap her life
lest she can suffer to be cured

The Quorum

The Quorum
by Carl Josehart

A quorum of angry men
gather for their unholy deed

They bow their heads in solemnity
and begin the ancient dance
Exposing the bareness of their necks
fearing terror, like talons, will
tear at the waiting flesh

Maudlin remembrances
spurn their advancing years
Savage hearts
ravaged
by a lifetime of untold fears

But the solemnity of the circle
become a talisman for their time
Chasing away ancient demons
and binding them in heart and mind

The dance now done
the dancers rise as if to leave
Solitary struggles discarded lay in pieces on the ground
as bonds, once broken, now have begun to cleave

Warriors Are We

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”

– Carl Jung


Warriors Are We

by Carl Josehart

Warriors are we though we may not know it
Swaddled as we are in rituals of society
Comforted in a belief that justice is reality
Undaunted, we witness hatred, violence and insanity

Warriors are we though we may deny it
We sustain peace through threat of war
Many have already died and in the name of freedom we will risk millions more
Believing we are the masters of what the future has in store

Warriors are we though we may be frightened by it
Realizing centuries of civilizations have not changed basic human nature
Only distorted our image as in caricature
Letting us forget what lies under our facade of urbane composure

Warriors are we until we embrace it
Harnessing hatred’s force to target prejudice, avarice and despair
Sublimating the fire of greed to generate enough to share
Pride powering our dreams to create a society that is fare


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The Gift of Presence

“When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”
– Martin Buber

“Please remember, it is what you are that heals, not what you know.”
– Carl Jung


A Baby Cries

by Carl Josehart

“A busy night in the Emergency Room?”
Asks the janitor as he sweeps the floor with his broom
On each bed, separated by a flimsy curtain
Lies a life in the edge, so uncertain
Suspended, it seems, between life and death
Waiting for a verdict while holding their breath
Hoping for mercy while time flies
And in the background, a baby cries

A man dies
A wife cries
A daughter rushes by me in tears
A family sits and struggles with its fears
With each passing moment you feel the tension rise
And in the background, a baby cries

Nurses and doctors work in tandem
Tragedy seems to strike its victims at random
Sometimes the news is good and there is relief
Sometimes the news is bad and there is grief
Each person, like an actor, plays a role
And we all collude in the illusion that we have control
Through the mask, you see the weariness in their eyes
And in the background, a baby cries

And when the shift comes to an end
The play is over, no more need to pretend
It’s off to lovers, families, and friends
In the time away the soul breathes and the heart mends
Hope seems to spring anew each time I watch the sun rise
And in the background, a baby cries


Listen to Me

Listen to me
Hear me
   Hear me
      Hear what I say

Listen to me
Hear me
   Hear me!
      Hear what I say!

Listen to me
Hear me I pray
It matters not what you say when I speak…
Just that you hear what I say

- Josehart, 1984

 

Open Hearts & Open Minds

“I want to love you without clutching,
appreciate you without judging,
join you without invading,
invite you without demanding,
leave you without guilt,
criticize you without blaming,
and help you without insulting.

If I can have the same from you,
then we can truly meet and enrich each other.”

– Virginia Satir


I Understand

by Carl Josehart

“I understand,” she says with a reassuring nod
To a disheveled man who is acting quite odd
In fact, she does not understand at all
His inner world in which voices echo their unending call

“I understand,” she says with a self-confident style
Speaking with a calming voice and a pleasant smile
She sees his world in terms of illusions, delusions, and identity diffusion
He sees her world as uncaring, unresponsive and as a frightening intrusion

“I understand,” she says her decision already made
The wheels now are in motion, the course is now laid
She is confident what she has done is for the best
He’ll get the help he needs and plenty of rest

“I understand,” he manages to mumble
As he feels his world break apart and begin to crumble
She smiles having received his informed consent
He wonders why he is being punished, and how he can repent