Jo Anne Robinson – Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

The Heroines Among Us

Michael H. Brownstein recognizes a heroine that is not quite so well known, Jo Anne Robinson! An inspiring reminder that all great things achieved through history are not from one person and one person alone, but built in a collective action, and each person deserves recognition for their part.


Jo Anne Robinson

Once when I was teaching school,
the request was made of me to create
a lesson plan for Women’s History Month,
and I got right on it beginning
with famous women of color, but–
too many took their fifteen minutes
and made them into Jesse Jackson time.
Rosa Parks was not the first to get arrested
for not giving up her seat, just the luckiest:
Jo Ann Robinson, literate and intelligent,
made her into the icon she became
and we forgot the others, some who died,
for refusing to move. and then there were the
Harriet Tubmans’, smart and original,
his story denied them their true place
and found them another. She became
the head of the underground railroad,
a woman with headaches who could not read,
but really one of our greatest spies
who could memorized Confederate orders
and pass them on word for word to Sherman.
Other women of color freed thousands of slaves,
but his story could not let Tubman be
and she became somebody else.
His story is his story, personality
of the ones he wants us to know.
Let it go: Without Jo Ann Robinson
there would never have been a Rosa Parks,
a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a truth about choices..


Poet:

Michael H. Brownstein

Adorably Horror – Call For Submissions!

Call for Submissions!

Art in any format welcome!

Free submission. Deadline September 30th, 2020.

Calling for art of cute, classy, or elegant Halloween/Horror theme! 2020 may change the way we enjoy this fall season, but we will still find things to have fun with! So, bring on the Macabre, the lovable ghouls, the charming monsters! Any art type welcome- poems, paintings, drawings, photography, dance, music, etc. Send me your favorite spooky piece you’ve created and be a part of this October series on Ponder Savant!

Selected submissions will be displayed on www.pondersavant.com.

Submit To:

Email Mia Savant at pondersavant@gmail.com using the subject line “Adorably Horror.”

Submissions Guidelines:

1. Send your artwork of any kind (poetry, pictures, paintings, music, dancing, sculptures, videos, etc.) on the topic of cute, classy, or elegant halloween/horror.

-If sending video, please send it as a link to either youtube or vimeo.

Disclaimer: Submissions that include hate, discrimination, or inappropriate content will not be accepted.

2. Include a picture of yourself or any photo that you feel represents yourself as an artist.

3. Include any bios, links to your work, or social media sites that you would like to be shared.

4. Follow the blog site www.pondersavant.com. If you have Facebook or Instagram follow there as well @pondersavant.

5. Spread the word! Let other artists know about Adorably Horror by your social media sites or word of mouth!

Deadline for submission is September 30th, 2020

Ode to Meta Ann & Other Poems by Will Reger

The Heroines Among Us

Will Reger’s poems find the heroines in his life, his favorite author, his friend, and grandmother. His last poem reflects the opposite of a man who is crushed by the woman he hoped to make his heroine (and wife). Read these terrific poems below!


Ode to Meta Ann


You frog-marched me out of Eden.
Raw wildness swallowed me.
All things of fire kindle or go out
but you raised in me conflagration –
It burns still.

On the morning your old tom cat left
his bloody prints across your chest,
my true self was born.

With you in the hot darkness,
when you cleaned yourself, unsure
if you were truly clean or had simply denied
the bloody sign of the Passover,

I became your devotee
with eyes open to see life
for what it is, where it is.
Your teaching has been to watch,
to catch any new thing and possess it.

Walk, wait, watch—your mantra chanted
to me that summer on Tinker Creek—

like you, “I go to water.”
I go with songbirds on my mind,
with the blue heron in my eye.

You taught me life is the stage
for the theater of death, the universe
hums along while we creep blindly behind.

You taught me how beauty and grace
are acted out all around me.
We must learn to see it, you said.
Watch and see the true things of the world.


Pantoum

With a voice as smooth and level as a prairie,
while skies rumble like bowling alleys,
she invited love to stay
and love has made her life a kingdom.

While the skies rumble like bowling alleys,
she claims the fealty of the birds,
for love has made her life a kingdom,
so the world breaks against her walls.

She claims the loyalty of the birds
and writes their oaths up in a poem.
Though the world breaks against her walls
she nails that poem to her garage door.

She writes a poem from the oaths of birds
and reads it out for the foxes and bears.
Though the world breaks against her walls,
she bears no regrets at all.

While reading her poem to foxes and bears,
two princesses weave their paths away.
She bears no regrets at all.
Their absence sparks anticipation.

Two princesses weave paths away,
but she knows paths someday converge.
Their absence sparks anticipation,
when stars decline to come closer.

She knows that paths someday converge.
And she does have poetry and birds,
though the stars refuse to come any closer,
princesses oft times return.


Portrait of a Grandmother

Heavy and slow, her heart 
carries so much she must
vouch a little into each
of the flowers she tends,
just to take another step.

Her long grey-brown hair
is done up into a bun,
held in place with combs.
She used to have a cow
in her shed, but now
it is piled with blue glass jars.

Every morning before coffee
she shoots insulin into the fat
of her ribs, then pours
from a cup of hot Sanka
into the saucer to cool, then sips.

I follow behind her when she tills
her big garden beyond the oaks,
with a hoe breaking up the clots.
The sun is hot and the shade is cool
under the trees. She keeps on.
I love forking out the potatoes
best of all–like opening a surprise.

She calls them taters and mashes
them thick to her hold her gravy.
At her big rough-hewn table,
we sat and ate like kings — eggs,
mashed taters, slices of canned meat,
fried chicken, blackberry dumplings,
squirrel or rabbit if she shot one,
and the perfect flour biscuits
that still make me salivate to this day.

Where are those hands of hers
that did so much? Lost now
among the stones of a country
cemetery overrun with trees
that I will never find again,
though I’ve been there. I still see it.


A Valentine Breakup

Starlight that night made its own rules,
and the girl, well-guarded by scent of asphodels,
understood there is no love in heartbeats,
for Badger’s fulvous heart soliloquies
uncoiled from a nest of fear and cantillation,
a great deception, a trick of indecision.

The gentleman, sore of heart, saw it all
in her eyes out in the corridor.
It nearly put him in the hospital
to see his twilight fall at twenty-four,
to see marrying, fathering, house-holding
all walk off together, the scene folding–

Strike the set! Kill the rain! Release
the dogs to clear the lot of any heroines.
Old Badger’s closing it down — “It’s time, please.”
And so he has come to this, ready to zero in,
Move back in with his folks, maybe, and get a cat,
or leave the country, however it plays out.


Poet:

 Will Reger is the Poet Laureate for the City of Urbana, IL.  He has published consistently since 2010, including his first full-length book, Petroglyphs (2019).  Many of his published works have been linked at www.twitter.com/wmreger.  When not scribbling, he relaxes with the nan xiao and enjoys studying small local waterways (sloughs, creeks, rivers, canals, and ditches) looking for wildlife.
I have attached these poems because the email distorts the line breaks.

Diva Daughter – Acrylic Painting by Rifa Tasfia

The Heroines Among Us

Rifa Tasfia expresses strength in the overcome struggles of women in her painting, Diva Daughter! Read her description to understand the depth of the beautiful image she created!


Artwork description: “Diva Daughter” represents inspiration itself. For me personally inspiration those heroines who we look at differently. The Fat girl who is fat shamed mostly all her life is a heroine. The rape survivors in my country who shamed are the heroines. The girl who almost killed herself and now is on a greater path is a heroine herself. The mothers who sacrifice thier dreams and career and what not are the heroins. The feminist who is always shamed for being one teaches her sons to be respectful towards girls are the heroins. The girl with darker skin toned abused all her life for the way she looks is a heroine. The artists who are accused for ruining thier life choosing art as passion are also the heroines. Heroines comes from all forms of human, and we should respect all for thier differences.


Artist:

Rifa Tasfia

Follow:

Instagram – @tazflea

Leaves of Fire and A Dance of Swords – Poems by Meg Smith

The Heroines Among Us

Some heroines are gone too soon and leave behind trails of love behind them. Come with Meg Smith as she honors the memories of the heroines in her life with these special poems written from her heart.


Leaves of Fire

In memory of Jeannine Schiavoni

It’s always going to rain like this —
a song like snow, scattering
from our fingers.
I have given you all
my secret storms.
I am still forging them, brushing them
like copper-dust; anything you
declared good, whole, holy.
When I open this October,
flames will follow.
I will spread them like a skirt,
and cast them back, to you
— fragments
of a second sun, flashes of
a moon, scarlet,
mourning, but in fire’s flight.


A Dance of Swords

In memory of Joanie Laurer

No one can melt your true metal —
crimson and gold, in the spark of tears.
I know that sleep you told —
in a dark room,
laughter from a strange hall.
We staggered through halls, in blood,
but found our blades.
There are steps and turns no one can take
until they have run hands along the wall,
streaks of roses, cut.
I saw that dance in you, and gave you my mirror.
We can turn within this veil and face ourselves.
I will catch you, in your open arms,
your fingers like remembered stars.


Artist Statement:

Leaves of Fire is in memory of my friend, Jeannine Schiavoni, who was a singer, musician and community organizer. 
Dance of Swords is in memory of my friend, Joanie Laurer, who was best known as the actress and wrestler, Chyna, and who I met when we were both studying Middle Eastern dance. 


Poet:

Meg Smith is a writer, journalist, Oriental dancer, and events producer, living in Lowell, Mass., U.S.A. Her publication credits include The Cafe Review, The Horror Zine, The Starlite Virtual Poetorium, and Atlantic Currents: Connecting Cork and Lowell.

Follow:

Her most recent poetry books, Pretty Green Thorns, Night’s Island, This Scarlet Dancing and Dear Deepest Ghost are available on Amazon. 


She welcomes visits to: megsmithwriter.com

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/megsmithwriter/

Twitter — https://twitter.com/MegSmith_Writer

Blue Flame – Poem by Michael Biegner

The Heroines Among Us

Don’t miss today’s poem by Mchael Biegner! A bittersweet tribute to those lost who held such great meaning.


Blue Flame
(For Frances)

There goes the muscular flame,
the one that carries heat & light.
There goes a claim to this life.

There goes gravity that once
fixed objects to this earth, but
nothing seems permanent.

There goes blood & DNA
& the bruised secrets of loneli
ness, of Coumadin-induced ghosts

standing in white hospital rooms,
speaking of cousins long deceased,
talking in spectral whispers. There

too go the dusky eyes, the easy smile,
what remains of my father’s voice.
There then goes what we imagine about his

hands. There goes the blue flame that
releases the warmth of hands rolling
meatballs & patting pasta,

as each noodle, sticks to the side of the
colander one by one, until nothing remains,
everything falling into the dish that fed me.


Poet:

Michael Biegner has had poems published in Blooms, Poetry Storehouse, Silver Birch Press, Silkworm, WordPeace, and the Poets To Come Anthology, in honor of Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday .  His prose poem (“When Walt Whitman Was A Little Girl”) was made into a video short by North Carolina  filmmaker Jim Haverkamp, where it has competed at various film festivals around the world and is available for viewing on Vimeo. Michael was a finalist in the 2017 Northampton Arts Council Biennial Call To Artists.

Follow:

https://biegner.blogspot.com/

Precolumbian Goddness – Sculpture by Analia Adorni

The Heroines Among Us

Take a look at the beauty of Analia Adorni’s alabaster stone sculpture! Like all goddesses, it holds wonderment, a hint of sadness, and yet filled with hidden strength.


Precolumbian Goddness

Artist:

Analia Adorni was born in Argentina and studied at the National University of Arts of Buenos Aires. She winced the fellowship for artisans of Tuscany Region and moved to Italy where she continues the studies at Visual Center of Pietrasanta (Tuscany)and Il Bisonte (Center for Printmaking in Florence). She participates in collective exhibitions in Argentina, Italy and others countries of Europe and America and she maded solo exhibitions in Island (Lhistus Art Gallery), Italy (Casa di Dante, Florence) Spain(Cal Gras Residency of Arts) and Argentina (University of Social Sciences) . She developed residencies of arts in France and my artworks are in Museums in Italy, Argentina and Ukraina.

Follow:

http://www.facebook.com/analiaadorniarts

http://www.instagram.com/analiaadorniarts

Otelia Cromwell & Other Poetry by Mark Andrew Heathcote

The Heroines Among Us

Mark Andrew Heathcote takes us through women throughout history whose work has left lasting impact on the world. Heathcote’s writing is a joyous tribute to these powerful ladies!


Otelia Cromwell
Became a distinguished scholar and Professor of English
she was the first African-American graduate.
At Smiths, college, receiving a B.A. in Classics
adamant nothing could prevent her she showed great courage.

There are outstanding heroic people like Otelia Cromwell,
Who has changed the world opening doors for others?
Her bravery propelled-society forward, we marvel her
achievements weren’t they outstanding for different cultures.

Different diversities, leaving an inspirational legacy,
Otelia was a glowing example of what-could-be achieved.
How others could overcome ignorance and realize equality,
if you just work-hard, push-hard and believe-believe-believe.


Mother Teresa the mission of charity

She joined the Sisters of Loreto age 18yrs
Had a 40yr faith crisis, yet has been canonised.
Taking her vows as a nun in 1931 her life blurs
“Peace of heart”, she never developed one
She’d a calling to enter the slums she-agonised
Distressed by what she saw and thereupon,

She gave up all gave up searching for peace
To this end, she gave her heart to Jesus
Her call, that wasn’t seen the lease bit caprice?
She aided the dying the poor in Calcutta.
She helped the sick to battle diseases
She doesn’t feign to like the slums or those gutters.

But she wanted to help eradicate poverty,
Eliminate hunger and help heal the sick.
While all the time she struggled and conversely
Prayed for guidance to strengthen her faith,
Holding hands with the insane the lunatic
She made a difference in her humble ways,

She jarred a door wide, showed a needless path
If there were more like her willing to help?
And dedicate help to healing the psychopath,
Help sucker the emaciated heart of humanity
War, could be eradicated, hunger expelled
And peace, faith could reign enigmatically.

On even her Mother Teresa’s wrinkled face
But she felt deeply, alone quite abandoned
This void of emptiness at times took its place
She lived in a state of spiritual pain,
But her resolve to help never dampened
From 12yrs of age—knew her path, been preordain.

She opened; open a hospice for the poor
A home for, orphans and homeless youths
Herself,15yrs-living in a hovel furthermore
Opened another for the sufferers of leprosy
Yes, I guess she was saintly, you want proofs?
Leave your riches; homes spread her kind of equity.


Orlando

This portrait picture of Orlando
Is still somehow strikingly fresh,
Her lineaments dress no scarecrow.
Whether it’s male or female
A heavy-suit is a father’s crèche
A caring parent makes us wear
I, myself wore genderless clothes
When able to pay for my own, wares.
It’s as striking as eyes set on a raven
Still to see a woman like Vita,
Wearing her, Sunday best:
Her manly appearance aroused both sexes
Her face quite oval her jawline pronounced
She was a poet of changing seasons
A poet of fluctuating genders
Sissinghurst Castle Garden,
Was her one and only, blank white, canvas?


Harriet Tubman
He-carried those scars in-her fractured skull
Praying God to make him, change his ways,
She’d pray simultaneously for the improbable,
Pray for freedom that of her family’s always.

Her hair which had never been-combed
Stood out like a bushel basket and it had saved her
When she was-hired out: hit by a metal weight
She thanked the Lord and blessed her faith.

Her unrelenting, master wanted her quick sale
‘People came to look at me; he was trying to sell me.’
But, as such and such, no sale did prevail;
‘Injury had caused her a temporal-lobe-epilepsy.’

‘She changed her prayer, ‘she said. ‘First of March
I began to pray, ‘Oh Lord,
If you aren’t ever going to change that man’s heart,
Kill him, Lord, and take him out of the way.’

She even prayed all night for her master’s death
For her own ‘Liberty or death,
‘If I could not have one, I would have the other.’
‘Harriet Tubman confessed to a negro brother.’

The Lord answered Brodess died a week later.
She ascribed to visions revelations from God.
‘I was a stranger in a strange land, ‘she said later.
When she escaped into her freedoms esplanade;

Tubman travelled by night, guided by the North Star,
When winter the nights are long and dark.
Avoiding slave catchers, she said, in coded song.
Farewell. ‘I’ll meet you in the morning, ‘Mary

Fellow slaves ‘I’m bound for the promised land.’

She carried a revolver and was not afraid to use it.
She made many journeys forth and back
To free other, folk she always came in the winter,
When-nights were long and impenetrably dark.

When morale sank guided by the North Star,
And when one man insisted on going back to the plantation,
She pointed a gun at his head then said.
‘You go on or die. I never ran my train off-
The track and I never lost a passenger.

‘I’m bound only for the promised land.’


Poet:

Mark Andrew Heathcote is adult learning difficulties support worker, his poetry has been published in many journals, magazines and anthologies, he resides in the UK,  from Manchester, he is the author of “In Perpetuity” and “Back on Earth” two books of poems published by a CTU publishing group ~ Creative Talents Unleashed 

I Don’t Expect You to Believe Me – Flash Fiction by Cheryl Caesar

The Heroines Among Us

Cheryl Caesar builds an intriguing mash-up of fiction and non-fiction in this flash fantasy fiction piece! Read below to see her creative interview about the heroine she admires: Greta Thunberg.


I Don’t Expect You to Believe Me

Greta: Thanks for doing the interview, anyway, on such short notice. 

I don’t want to do Zoom or Google Hangout. Staring at faces on the screen creeps me out. And I want to have time to think. What happened is really strange, and I want to express it as clearly and logically as possible. You can text me your questions. 

The last one I gave was a podcast, with New Scientist, at the end of March. I wanted to remind people that we have to keep saving the planet while we save ourselves from COVID-19. All the headlines focused on my dad and me probably having had the virus, and the “herd immunity” thing here in Sweden. That’s not what I wanted to talk about. I hope this time you’ll concentrate on what’s important.

OK. Last night two strange girls came to see me in my room. I mean, I had never met them and they didn’t seem like anyone from Sweden or England or the U.S. or anywhere I’ve been.

One was wearing a white robe that was draped and tied. And one had a tunic kind of thing, and leggings and short boots. She had something on her head like a kerchief. I don’t know much about fashion.

We used Siri Translate. It’s not very precise. It said the first one was called Sandy and the other was Jeannie. Some of the words I used didn’t seem to have equivalents for them. When I said “science,” Sandy heard it as “sophia” and Jeannie as “knowledge.” It made it hard to understand each other. 

I have never had visions or hallucinations. I have Asperger’s, which is not a disease. And when I was younger I was not depressed. I was sad, which is a logical reaction to the destruction of the planet. That’s why I stopped talking.

The same thing happened to them, too. That’s what they wanted to tell me. The Trojans said Sandy was crazy when she warned them about the wooden horse. She grabbed an axe and a torch and ran to show them, but they tackled her and threw them away. They called Jeannie insane too, and they’re still doing it. I looked it up on the internet this morning, and people are saying she was schizophrenic, or having seizures, when she heard St. Michael and St. Catherine and St. Margaret. I don’t know – this is hard for me too. I believe in science, not saints. But I could see that she wasn’t schizophrenic. And she definitely wasn’t having a seizure.

They called her “unmaidenly” too – why is it always about sex, and why do old men always know what girls should be like?  Sebastien Gorka called me “thunder thighs” – have you looked at him lately? That’s what they said about Jeannie, for wearing a man’s military uniform. She told them she had to keep it on at night so as not to be raped. Her father just wanted to marry her off. And Sandy said when Troy fell, she hid in the temple and Ajax raped her, and she was given as a pallake, a concubine, to King Agamemnon. We’re sexless and we’re too sexy. We can’t win if we play by their rules.

They said they were glad to leave this planet, at the end. They were both murdered, and Jeannie was burned to death. But they come back every now and then. The way they described it, it’s like a long plane journey. You’re so tired of waiting and carrying your luggage around that you’re glad to get on the plane. But then after a few hours in the air, you’re bored and cramped and you want off again. That’s how I remember it, anyway. I don’t take planes anymore, and I don’t let my parents take them either. Anyway, they don’t want to see this planet destroyed. They said it’s not time yet. And they’re not ready to spend eternity in the air.

Sandy said that after hundreds of years, she sometimes imagined the Trojans trapped in the horse, smothering in the heat. She and Jeannie imagined the 7 billion on the planet today, all stifled and burned alive, and had pity for them.

No, they were not very encouraging. They said I would probably have to die too, before people would start listening to me. But I should do it anyway, because only the young have the courage for it. “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”: that’s a saying my parents remember – isn’t that funny?

What kind of evidence do you want? I gave each of them a pair of my track pants – they thought they were really comfortable and protective. Well, you can ask my mom. She’ll tell you that the pants are gone. They didn’t want me to take a photo. They said I had to have faith – faith in my own experience. Well, isn’t that positivism and science? If I can believe it, why can’t you?

The day after this interview was completed, the journalist called me and said she was receiving death threats if she went ahead and published it. So I’m posting my answers here on my Facebook page, without her name or her questions. Though I don’t really expect you to believe me. Greta


Author:

Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. She gives poetry readings locally and serves on the board of the Lansing Poetry Club. Last year she published over a hundred poems in the U.S., Germany, India, Bangladesh, Yemen and Zimbabwe, and won third prize in the Singapore Poetry Contest for her poem on global warming.  Her chapbook Flatman: Poems of Protest in the Trump Era is now available from Amazon.

Follow:

Facebook page: Cheryl Caesar Author
Website: http://caesarc.msu.domains/