Thursday, March 23, 2006

So Muslims are Terrorizing Americans (Dera Nevius, Ryan King, Lauren Wollschlager) (A Group Project)

(This poem was created by students participating in an in-class writing excercise. Their assignment: to respond to Jimmy Santiago Baca's "So Mexicans are Taking Jobs from Americans" by writing their own poem. They had about 25 minutes to plan, edit, revise, and write the poem, just as it appears below.)

September 11, 2001
A plane went down,
and you're on the run.
When the plane crashed,
our guns went up.

To your land we went,
to run amok.
Your sand is now our grass.
Your back our bullets grasp;
we bury the last of the last.

Nuclear weapons won't help you now,
No mushrooms will be seen in the clouds.
Chemical gear to be worn by troops,
From plastic helmets to plastic boots.
Communism stops in all the lands.

Freedom of speech,
and religion for all.
Death to the ones,
Who try to stand tall.
Oppose the U.S. and you will fall.

No armies left
To stand against us.
We just so happen to be the power
In NATO's crutch.
So Muslims are terrorizing Americans.


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2006
Posted with writers' permission

For My Husband, Leaving His Lover (Michelle Miller)

(This writer responded to Anne Sexton's "For My Lover, Returning to His Wife," by writing a poem from the wife's perspective. I titled the poem.)

I sat waiting...
supper on the table
Dirty pots flung about the room;
it's me, I'm not stable.

The phone rings, and it's you.
I sit awaiting your excuse,
Your children cry.
To you I am the one to misuse.

I clean up the table,
knowing deep in my heart
work has not kept you late
you're with her looking at art.

I hear from friends,
about your damn parades
all over town.
Not even taking cover under shades.

I am your wife;
I've given you three children
We're supposed to be your life
And will once again

For I know her kind,
just for the moment.
She'll be gone soon, and to me,
to me, you'll come for consolement.


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2006
Posted with writer's permission

Whiten the Earth (Ashton Paul)

(This writer responded to Stanley Kunitz's "Touch Me," by writing a poem from a different perspective.)

Winter never comes, I fear
The chill in the air never occurs
Just last year
When I could play in the snow
and bundle up until I could barely move
then come in late at night to sip hot cocoa
of the steaming drink of heaven
to warm my heart when my body was cold
it was my favorite thing about York, PA
the seasons brought so many new feelings
The hazy sky told tales of white flakes
soon to fall upon the land
I gazed outside from the warm fire
heating my cozy living room
and for the first time I really appreciated life
The roads were closed
I was off school for the day
I long for the wonderful season
I will no longer experience in Florida
Remembering, remembering, remembering
That part of my life that's now gone
One season each year
but now, never again.
So let the white pieces of heaven
fall from the sky in York
and bring happiness to the children who
may truly appreciate the beauty of winter
Fall upon me, don't you remember how
we used to play?
Whiten the earth! Remind me of my youth.
LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2006
Posted with permission of writer

Gun Crazy (Casey Rose)

(This writer responded to Dorothy Allison's "Gun Crazy” (non-fiction) by Dorothy Allison by writing a poem with the same title.)

My uncle, Bo, was the shootin’ kind
He’d sit and clean his guns, with nothin’ else on his mind
“You gotta sit still, perfectly still,” he’d say of the great outdoors,
Still sittin’ cleanin’, tippin’ back a Coors

Come to find out, Bo ain’t never shot nothin’ in his whole life
We heard it all from Nessa, his dear wife
“Let me help you,” I begged Bo to help me help one night
He laughed in my face, and maybe he was right

I just wanted to learn to shoot a gun
I don’t know why, maybe just for fun
Maybe I should ask Uncle Jack, maybe he’ll teach me
Just you wait, Uncle Bo, just you wait and see

High school came along, Anne was my best friends
Best friends, I say, friends ‘till the end
One Sunday we were bored and she invited me to go plinking
“Plinking?” I said, what’s plinking, I was thinking

“You know, shootin’ bottles and cans,” Anne said
And over to the woods behind the mental hospital we went, Anne led
“You got a gun,” I asked Anne wonderin’ where she got a gun
“Mama got me a rifle for my birthday,” and then it was done

Anne’s mama was somethin’ special, I believe
A nurse with a dead husband, and when mentioned would leave
She’d drink cocktails everynight sittin’ in her Lazy-Boy
She was a lot of things, and one of them was certaintly not coy

So Anne shot at a couple bottles, and I watched her carefully
I was so envious, so excited, so simply filled with glee
I wanted to be taught, and Anne wanted to teach me
So I shot and shot again, “Goddamn!”, I shot a gun, ME!


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2006
Posted with writer's permission

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I Want a Wife (Stacey Pusey)

(Note: This poignant poem is a literary journal response to Judy Brady's feminist essay "I Want a Wife.")

I am a wife
I want a wife

I am a feeder
I want someone to cook for me

I am a worker
I want someone to work hard to help support the family

I am a lover
I want someone to care for me always and take care of my needs

I am a maid
I want someone to clean after me

I am a gardener
I want someone to help make my home appealing

I am a shopper
I want someone to drive out for last moment items

I am a mom
I want someone to take care of my kids

I am a doctor
I want someone to care for my family, as well as me, when we are sick

I am a shuttle
I want someone to rush around to make sure everything gets done

I am a motivator
I want someone to push harder to ensure success of my loved ones

I am a receptionist
I want someone to be organized and make sure all tasks get completed

I am a dictator
I want someone else to take the blame for punishments

I am an emergency call
I want someone to be there for me when I need help

I am a wife
I am alone
I want a wife


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2006
Printed with poet's permission

Friday, March 17, 2006

Beautiful Martyr Mother (Danielle Fugate)

(Note: the author wrote this poem as a response to Amiri Baraka’s “Beautiful Black Women.” Baraka’s poem brings to mind her personal remembrances.)

Beautiful martyr mother, fight, never break. Love them, win.

They’re of your blood, bring them back. Love them, win.

Innocence, dry tears, fight back. Fight for them for family is

the basis of love, basic need. Win. Love them. Unfair

prosecution. Find the meaning of family values, win, don’t lose sight of

love, family is the bonding of blood, bring them back

to their rightfully deserved home. Beautiful martyr mother, roll with

the punches and keep on movin’. They need you. They cry for

family, they cry for their true home, they need you. Win.

They need you, fighting, unfair prosecution. These horrible judgments of

innocent, family values reign, the jury, win, they cry, and their tears

soon shall dry in justified justice. The tensions are high hanging in limbo, their

innocence and purity, the unfair prosecution, the fight for values, the loss of meaning

and absence of family. Family. Mothers. They need you. Closer to values

closer to justice, never give up fighting for your constitutionally justified values.


Keep on fighting. Bring them back to where they should belong. Win them. Mothers.

stop fighting, never, win them, dry tears, build values, keep fighting and

them, keep pressing for family values, their tears will be gone soon, justification is

nearly worth the wait, siblings, family values, never break


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2006
Printed with permission of author

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Empty Space On The Paper (Lauri Kubuitsile)

I remember how I sat huddled, my arm around my brother, on the corner of the sofa. The man who brought the news wore a black coat that held the cold from outside. His hat hung in his hands in front of him and dripped rain water onto the wooden floor. As the water collected in a little pool at his feet, he told my father that it was over. My father listened in silence because he had been told that was how grown up men accepted such news. He nodded his head until the man stopped speaking and turned to go.

“Thank you for coming in person, that was very thoughtful of you,” my father said at the door.

The man stopped. “I nearly forgot.” Then he came back into the house and stood next to me and my brother. He reached into the pocket of his cold coat and pulled out a folded paper and he said, “She told me to give you two this.”

We looked at each other, Thomas reached out his small hand and took the paper from the man. Then the man in black left.

I was twelve and Thomas was eight. We were old enough to know what was going on. We’d been waiting for the day for some time, everyone was. It wasn’t everyday that they hung your mother, especially in our small town.

A handful of reporters had been milling around our street for days. Most had gone up to Austin where the execution was taking place but a few, maybe the second string, the ones who might finally get their byline on page eighteen if only they could get a few good quotes from the family, milled around our neighborhood. When they first arrived, my father warned, “Don’t say a single word to any of them.” So with them outside and us holed up inside, we had waited.

When the man in black left, Daddy sat down on one of the straight back chairs at the oak dining room table. He sat silently with his hands hanging at his sides, staring straight ahead at the blank wall. I took Thomas’s hand and we went upstairs to my bedroom.

We sat on the edge of the bed and Thomas started crying quietly. “If Daddy hears you crying he’ll be angry, “ I said dry eyed. Daddy’s strict rules about girls and boys didn’t allow for crying from Thomas. I looked at the note still clutched in his hand. I was scared of it. What did she want to say to us? We were only children. I wondered if she had remembered that.

With shaking hands I reached out for the paper. I tried to think of Mama. It had been a long time since we’d seen her. Once her appeals were finished, she begged Daddy to stop taking us to the prison on visiting day. He’d go alone and we’d stay out at Aunt Carmen’s. He’d come home the next day, his face pale, his clothes smelling of beer. Aunt Carmen, Daddy’s older sister, always said the same thing.

“The trip go okay?”

“Sure did,” Daddy’d say. Then we’d come back home and it would be two or three days before Daddy’s skin would go back to its right color and he’d talk normal, not as if somebody had handed him the lines.

Sitting on my bed, with Thomas crying next to me, I tried to conjure up Mama’s face. I wanted a picture of her face in my mind before I read the letter, but it wouldn’t come. The only thing I saw picture clear were her hands. No matter how much I tried, only her hands were there. The short fingers with thick wrinkly knuckles. She always said they were the ugliest part of her. I never thought they were ugly, though, to me they looked friendly and used. Later, after the execution, I used to wish Thomas or I had gotten her hands so that I could see them once in awhile, but we had my father’s hands with long fingers and small, tidy knuckles.

It’s funny how little, irrelevant details remain. Things like the color of the paper. It was off white, almost yellow, with blue lines drawn on it, like a sheet torn from an old exercise book. The writing was slanted to the left and all of the letters were tall and thin, as if space were a problem, even though it wasn’t because most of the page was empty, only the one line across the top. I often hoped she meant to write more. Maybe someone stopped her, or she couldn’t find the right words and then it was too late to fill the page as she had intended. I think that when I’m being charitable.

I was thinking of Mama’s friendly hands when I opened the yellowed paper torn from the exercise book. I saw her picking up the pen and writing in the funny way she had. I read the words out loud so Thomas could hear them through his tears.

“Forget me and all of the sadness I brought to you.”

That was it. No “to my wonderful children” at the beginning or “I love you” at the end. I turned the paper over to check the other side. Nothing. I sat for a minute. I thought maybe it had not been intended for us. Maybe the man in black got it wrong. Maybe this note was for someone else and our note was somewhere out in the rain in the pocket of his cold coat.

As Thomas’s crying grew louder, I accepted that the man in black wouldn’t have gotten such an important thing wrong. I took the yellowed paper in both of my hands and I tore it in two. Then I tore it again and tore and tore and tore until it was nothing more than pieces. No more words. Just yellowed pieces with a few drops of ink, a spot here, a spot there; incoherent and harmless. Then I held the pieces above my head and let them rain onto the floor where they fell like confetti at a party.

The End


Lauri Kubuitsile is an award winning freelance writer and author living in Botswana. Her articles can be found on four continents if you search hard enough and her most recently published book is the novella The Fatal Payout (Macmillan 2005).

This story was an entry in Writer's Weekly Winter 2006 24-hour contest.

She can be reached at: