Shutta Crum
Joseph McNair
Laszlo Slomovits
Joanie Freeman
Chris Lord
Elisavietta Ritchie
Gerald Clark
Karyn M. Wolven
Duane Locke
Mervyn M. Solomon
Paul B. Roth
Sue Budin
Running Cub
Silvia Scheibli
Geoffrey Philp
Marilyn Churchill
Jerry Blanton
Steve Beaulieu
Don Hewlett

Fred Wolven



for Rosa Parks & Coretta Scott King

Mama Rosa,
what ephemeral hands & fingers stitched;
fancy sewed together pieces of the life
your designer Self prepared;
a life turned lens & symbol
              A people's spirit,
              A people's hope & humanity
converged as after refraction
or reflection into a clear, sharp image
of selfhood.

that spirit, hope & humanity
washed in the blood of an
innocent emmett murdered 100 days before
was quickened; was felt to move in
the womb of your rebellion.

your charmingly odd & artful rebellion--
when weariness of soul & body
bade you keep your seat &
defy hurtful, heritable racism;
put your delicate hips in jail--
was sewn with a single thread;

your exquisite insurgency--
a running stitch turned
decorative embellishment--
engendered a bus boycott, the meteoric
rise of one who rendered our aspirations
in clear outline & sharp detail in
a dream whose designs & pictures
were wrought from colored threads
of pathos & poignancy;
injury & injustice
permanently stitched into the layered
fabric of our lives.

well done, Mother
you have given the best of your service &
come to the end of your journey
shake off life's weariness now & rest.
your part in this struggle is done!

Mama Coretta
when you left Heiberger's fields
never to pick the flat, twisted,
ribbon-like bolls of Alabama cotton
again; when you trained as a teacher
in segregated Ohio or studied music
in chilly Boston, did you see your self
in some distant time walking shoulder
to shoulder with an icon?
leading large protesting crowds?
being transfigured;
changing the world?

when you steadfastly practiced
to make the most out of your voice;
to sing an even tone from the top
of your range to the bottom
even while you cleaned the stairwells to
make rent in the house you lived in--
did you see yourself, then, as the
eternal life-giving emblem of
human rights?

when your lips sprang apart
to shape the sounds of vowels,
to let them flow & be projected,
keeping the flow of your breath
constant throughout, did you see
yourself breathing life into a flagging
movement, crippled by your husband's
untimely demise?

when you vocalized Italian vowels
prefixed by lip consonants, when you
ma-na-ra-la tad; when you prayed for
divine guidance to help you decide
whether to spurn the advances of
that wife-seeking dreamer--did you
know then that to marry the dreamer
was to marry the dream?

when you sang daily into your mirror
mouthing vowels and consonants,
singing scales, noticing your breath,
the position of your tongue,
the feeling it created in your breast,
did you ever think you'd survive
your beloved dreamer?
that you'd be left to nurture &
preserve the dream?

You, too, have done well, Mama,
trying & never failing in your trying;
bearing bravely the cross of heinous
heartache & deep emotional wounds
to keep the dream and an all-too-human
dreamer alive.

Millions have been touched, lifted up
& transformed; have become much more
than they were, you have carried
the message & the burden
you have spread the word
preaching, beseeching the multitudes
dining & dialoguing with the greatest
among us & in your humility
remained no more, no less than any.

Rest now, Mama Coretta,
Rest now, Mater Matris
Surely your have earned
your ease.

Joseph McNair, Miami



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