Zora, Zora, My Zora

#NationalPoetryMonth

(Zora Neale Hurston — 1937 classic “Their Eyes Were Watching God)

genius of literary pen splashed metaphors
strung through stories etched in stone legacy.

gripped fountain pen that scribbled
golden words in glorified gem of letters

tumbling through pistol-loaded women
swathed in steel shellacking macho-dominance
– a jubilee from midnight to dawn.

Heroines breathe in women’s selfhood,
like spiders scaling ceilings,
through a cluster of colorful characters,
an omission of “Negro Sorrow” & dizzy affairs.

Lyrical babies plaited in tight braids
looped in truth tuned by wind chimes & wood clarinets
she hums along: “There is no agony like bearing
an untold story inside of you.”

***

“The Genius of the South” kicks off un-comfy shoes
to recline her strong bones affixed to a wooden rocker

rocking in the afterlife while books catapult from coffin
to a landslide of reprints.

The folklorist, fiction maker, in a fedora
tiptoes through tulips while canaries warble
in gilded cages.

(c) Joyce Evans-Campbell

Higher Loyalty a Gutsy Palette

Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership By James Comey

From the day it appeared on Amazon’s pre-order list, I waited with impatience and anxiousness. Higher Loyalty is literary nonfiction: part memoir, part inescapably political, and part need-to-know from the nonpartisan, former FBI agent, now a man without a political home.


He’s been called a liar by Republicans, but I didn’t read anything to pinpoint falsehood. It’s a book about Comey, the truth-teller, who vollleys of lies morphing into believable falsehoods widening the chasm between truth and falsity that emboldens silent complicity. But this thorough, need-to-know about a nation under stress, Comey responds to a quest for knowledge that questions who we are and if we’re still the country we want to be.

Regardless of integrity and loyalty to the country, the public, and to the law, a palette of rot gut landed in the fired director’s Play Bill. Lordy, there weren’t presidential tapes, but the White House and Congress deem Comey’s handwritten notes a leak of classified materials though they are not.

Higher Loyalty is robust speak about the FBI’s purpose and value to our democracy, and about the bureau and Justice Department besieged by organized attacks of defamation and deprivation: career hemorrhaging.

The former head of the bureau extols value and truth about career, dedicated agents on the frontline to take down “the biggest, the baddest.”

Comey writes artfully, openly, and honestly about his travails of a downfallen FBI director, dismissing Trump Adminstration rhetoric that the agency had “lost confidence” in its director and claims of an organization in “disarray.”

Aside from criticism about salaciousness or pettiness in the book, I focused on the lumnious and insightful his-story America needs to know about a presidential firing “without cause,” and about Comey’s leadership in upholding the values and principles of the law. His scrutiny of the short-sightedness and poor leadership is a disturbing trend of untruths disputes that truth is the reality.

Higher Loyalty…” is a terrific tribute to public servants who have had America’s back decades before “…had my back” struck the proverbial sidewalk.

But Comey who dedicated his life to public service and the law isn’t without flaws. Who is? He’s the accused “culprit” of the unpresidency of Hillary Clinton. He espoused his rationale, but I’m certain he’ll never walk that back. Not successfully. He’s paid a helluvah price no matter what. Bad judgment? Who doesnt have it? Besides the rest of the story is untold inside the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Fourteen months post-election, Clinton voters and Democrats are still rankled about his decision to reopen the Hillary Clinton e-mails nine days before the Nov. 8, 2016 election. What I know for sure is that we were daily election watchers glued to our big-screen TV as his words sucked all the oxygen out of the room. My husband, Taft, and I could barely breathe. We were livid for a while but slowly believed in a positive outcome though the strains and scars had already sunk the ship. The Clinton polls led Trump’s, but the sudden drop before election day belied hopefulness.

Comey explained that if he had not acted… “if she’d won,” he would’ve given anti-Clinton folk a pallet of false reasoning to delegitimize her presidency. But he never explains why he announced the decision so close to the election without reading the presumed new e-mails. We don’t have to punish ourselves harnessing negative energy because he will berate himself — maybe — forever, but he shouldn’t because things are not always as they seem.

His explanation of pressure about putting Hillary in office is truth serum results. Trump’s repeated statement: “This is a rigged system, folks.” In addition, Trump repeatedly informed rally goers that “If Hillary wins she’d be under investigation so long she wouldn’t be able to run the country.”

Judging by his continued “crooked Hillary” identification and the overzealous efforts to investigate and jail her for uncommitted crimes, I believe he wouldn’t have quit if she’d won. And Trump Backers wouldn’t either. A political Facebook page indicates the strength of an unending political savagery via words and pictures.

No matter what Comey wrote or when his book rolled off the press, the critics would scream bloody epitaphs for one reason or a thousand others. Aren’t we glad there is freedom to express ideas, opinions, or even lies protected by a democracy?

Democrats have left Comey on the operating table for GOP slaughter despite all the Russian meddling and a myriad of full-blown effects to assure her loss. It seems to me that the GOP’s intent to punish Comey for a Trump presidency aligns ingrates with a plausible excuse: Comey did it, knowing it’s “not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

No is not Enough: Resisting

#WOMENHISTORY
1. US women vying to crack cement block (presidential candidates)
2. Women leaders on the global front
3. Why women fight harder for political positions
4. Hillary Clinton (part one)
5. What if Hillary had won (part two)
6. Women Issues Trump threw off the train
7. Domestic Violence — personal story
8. Women and political and career inequality
9. #MeToo and plot to the polls
10. Misogyny, sexual assault, child rape and molestation, sexual harassment, oppression
11. Pocketbook Pain is the Root of All Evil
12. Gwendolyn Brooks
13. Sonya Soutermeirsp?Gloria Steinamsp?
14. Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Loud War Over Soft Words

#NationalPoetryMonth

War Speaks

Words never peace
Unending nukes
Boom — fire burn
Scent of bodies;
Toxins bleed near & far
Red white & blue
drapes coffin clothes of patriotism to graves
Rat-a-tat rat-a-tat rat-a-tat
Thunder roars, bombs blast from break of dawn till stalk of midnight
Red-hot moon torches human hearts, flesh, & limbs
Peace out war in war in the blood
Anti-war politics kismet
Mass chemical weapons, abyss soldiers & unknowing people
praying for survival in liberated countries
No freedom for hungry babies
What could a war buy?
Bombs, books, & bread?
House without hope: hate without love —
Blame political spite & hate mongers,
angel clothes spitting volcano’s molten meltdown —
Teach countries not to bomb countries
who bomb countries
but it’s deafness & darkness of wretched death
Freedom ferry no destination to non-violent world
where parents turn from helpless to dread.

(c) Joyce Evans-Campbell

DEMocracy Dies in Slow Burn

Joyce Evans-Campbell, a journalist, poet, blogger and She Writes member.

#RiseUpforDemocracy
Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D- Md.), said, “I’ll fight for it until I die.” It’s our right to protect what’s ours to keep.” He’s warning Americans about the urgency to defy danger to our democracy. In January, he breathed easier with the dissolution of the President’s Election Integrity Commission, which Cummings said it shouldn’t have been set up.
“Its dissolution was long overdue for it wasted taxpayer dollars to justify deception of widespread voter fraud and to impose abusive new voter suppression laws.”
.@realDonaldTrump demanded that the commission check every crevice, corner, and closet for fraudulent voting after he denied that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a historical 2.9 million votes more than him. Cummings contends that such widespread complaint about voter fraud is detrimental and an alarming slam against the right to vote — fundamental for freedom.
A defiant and dedicated Cummings said, “We must remain vigilant. We need to focus on protecting our elections, ensuring the security of our infrastructure, fighting voter suppression, and expanding access to the ballot box. Americans have died for the right to vote, and I will continue to do everything in my power to safeguard this sacred right.”
Cummings isn’t going to lie down in complicity because he knows how far the nation has come and that the path to freedom is long, and “we have not overcome.” The negative direction is a dastardly affront to freedom, justice and equality. Undisputedly: Democracy disintegrates slowly, according to deafening voices from authors with a literary bullhorn. (Part 2 lists these authors’ writing desperation and responses for change)
#MeToo, #NeverAgain, #BlackLivesMatter have risen as proxies to protect the nation’s democratic tenets — freedom, justice and equality, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech, and other Constitutional rights and protective powers. But the knowledge is intercepted by detachment, despair, denial and desensitization.

(1) Inattentiveness: The rationale for ignoring an eminent danger to the nation: Hard-working citizens who’re struggling with pocketbook and time-related issues skip TV news or newspapers — the “watchdog” media — a vigilant source uncovering political villains and those who violate laws and Constitutional rights.
(2) Denial: Nothing’s wrong, and the clarion call for fracture is unnecessary. The misnomer of “fake news” demeans and discredits the truth by responsible journalists whose stories are the public’s right to know.                                                                                   (3) Misguided Focus: Sex, Lies, Chaos, Attacks on Rivals and Critics, and Tweet Storms as “distasteful character flaws” but smear campaigns distract from the egregiousness toward undermining rights and freedoms in the United States of America. Polarization isn’t a part of the “one nation” creed.
(4) Escapism & De-stressing: Some citizens say, “If you’re depressed, turn off the news and don’t read the paper. They say, “I just stop looking because news is so depressing. There’s nothing but bad stuff in there.”
The more you know, the more awareness, and the more believability. Why worry about the world’s most powerful democracy? Congress has oversight responsibility: Republicans control both houses, but, intentionally or unintentionally, lack moral and legal courage to act.

The founders intended to protect the circumventing of democracy, but the current turmoil and threats weren’t a foregone conclusion. Congress is complict in their silence, but the people have the power to rise, act and speak up if they respect their rights. President Abraham Lincoln’s premise to preserve a perfect union is government by the people, for the people and of the people. One major newspaer joins the course of heightened awareness and warning.
The Washington Post’s designated, meaningful, and dire message: Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

 

 

Back in the Day

Riding along in my deuce & a quarter
Yes, it’s a black Electra 225 Buick
with 455 Big Block engine.

Off the showroom floor with chrome
with “see-your-face” mag wheels

Put a speck of dirt on her body or white walls:
Revenge is loud.

Deuce is a quiet, queenly Highway Baby.
Hail to highs of the 20th Century.
Riding & styling in bell bottoms & platforms,
my lady & me cruise with Aretha
in the eight-track player

& the party jumps into high gear
finger poppin,’ head boppin,’ body rockin’
& Ella scatting. My baby laughs,
chiming in off-key rhythm.

The night goes like that
till we stop at Jimmy’s for catfish to go
We’re chomping & bumping
as Deuce burns up the blacktop.

At midnight we slow the pace down
& throw in Smokey who croons “Quiet Storm.”
“Soft and warm,
quiet as when flowers stalk at break of dawn,
at break of dawn…quiet storm…blowing…”
his voice whipped-cream smooth

We cool like that. So cool, so cool our
air-conditioner shuts off in midtown.
It’s ninety but we don’t notice.

(c)Joyce Evans-Campbell