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Write Out Loud
30 June 2013
Why am I lucky?
I have so much to be thankful for. I once lived in a block of flats on the ground floor. Although I spent seven years living here with my daughter, the flat began to feel more like a prison. It often felt as if the walls were collapsing onto me. I began to have a feeling that I did not want to return to this place after a day out.
There was no light in the living area and outside overlooked a carpark. Mould had started sprouting in the most bizarre places, like the bathroom walls and bedrooms. I had to throw out my clothes and scrub my furniture with bleach.
My daughter became depressed and sad because the atmosphere in this flat seemed to affect us both. I took action because we could not live like this. I needed to change the way we lived.
After waiting two and a half years on the waiting list and viewing numerous properties I was offered a two bedroomed flat with a garden. We both felt really lucky to have a change. It has been difficult to make changes, to adjust to new neighbours, noise and parking issues and adapting to our new home but when I stand in my kitchen and see my fesh laundry dancing on the washing line I feel a sense of happiness and peace.
I imagine the clothes have freedom blowing in the wind, a sense of grasping hold of the small things and feeling lucky to appreciate the simple things in life which are there to soak in to my soul.
I do not rely on being lucky. I have a faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God. I believe that he paid the complete and only price for the sins of the human race. By his death, and resurrection we, the human race, are given a new life and as he rose from the dead. By this action we believe we shall reach a life after this mortal life is finished.
The mortal life that we now live and will at the end die. we will live an immortal and invisible life beyond our understanding or anything we now know to be a fact.
The Ballad of Lucky Cortez
Lucky Cortez came back to his Bushwick barrio from Puerto Rico, only 22 and already seen much more beyond his years. I will not say what led him to my English classroom; with him, my Day One is his Day One.
He was strong, he was proud, and he had a face that always wanted to replace his pain with happiness. Yet he was worried. Although born here, he spent eight years on the island, and was worried most of all about passing his English test to make his beginning in college.
To write what was in Lucky's heart would take much longer than it would to speak it out in a rap or a poem, his way of telling his story. Yet putting his pen to paper was its own story – his long, weary triumph.
I greeted him again not long ago, with a warm embrace of his victory. He stood proud, and success filled his tall frame that held his eyes bright with a child’s wonder. His heart could tell the story of surviving his English lessons, as he stood wearing his cap, gown – and hood, receiving his bachelor’s degree.
For Lucky Cortez, B.A., this story of his worry was four years ago, and today again I share his happiness.
With all apprehensions long gone, and mastery beyond what any paper can tell.
© Ángel L. Martínez 30 June 2013
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective
In 2008, me, my mum and my dad went on an African safari to Kruger national park, South Africa. We all had a keen interest in wildlife, and it was going to be a once in a lifetime holiday. As we arrived at the gates and drove into the park, our guide, Pete asked us what we would like to see. My parents turned to me, although were all interested in wildlife, I had always had a particular interest in African wildlife, the trip was mainly for my benefit to be honest.
I had done my research, and knew that there was one animal that we were very unlikely to see. The elusive leopard sleeps all day in trees, and only comes down to hunt after dark. I had read that even if you live in Africa you are considered lucky if you see a leopard. Just to test our guide, to see what he would say, I said i wanted to see a leopard.
Just as I expected, our guide told us what I already knew, he said he had been working as a tour guide for 20 years, and in that time, he had seen maybe 2 long distance leopards, and even then, they were high up in a tree, and he wasnt even 100 percent sure it was even a leopard. He said our chances of seeing a leopard were about 1 in a million.
Just around the corner, everybody in the car, including our guide gasped in amazement. There was our l in a million chance. As if to mock us, a huge male leopard had decided to grace us with his presence. He was standing on the ground in broad daylight, it was almost as if he was mocking us. Even Pete was initially stuck for words, he couldnt believe our luck. When he did eventually speak, he said that this was the best leopard sighting he had ever had. The leopard stood there looking at us before casually strolling off into the African bush. It was almost as if he had heard Pete, and thought I'll show him.
The lucky leopard bought us a lucky holiday with lots of amazing sightings of African wildlife including my favourite animal, elephants. They have always been my favourites, but this particular elephant holds a special place in my heart. I didnt want to leave this magical place.
We went on to visit different places in Africa, all the native African people we told about our lucky leopard sighting looked at us as if we were mad. A leopard? on the ground? in the middle of the day? unheard of. They were gobsmacked when I showed them the pictures. Some people I have told don't quite believe me, so I h
e decided to add this picture to prove it!
My lucky black cat
There are a lot of superstitions about black cats, and whether they bring good luck or bad luck. In some countries it is considered bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. In the UK, black cats are considered to bring good luck, thank god my gorgeous black cat was born in the uk otherwise this could be a very different story.
It all started with what should have been a very joyous occasion when my own cat Smokey (shes grey just for the record) gave birth. She had allready had one litter of beautiful kittens, so this should be a breeze. Unfortunately that turned out not to be the case. It was heart breaking watching my beloved pet push out still born after still born. Finally she pushed out one last kitten, and there was a glimmer of hope. This one was showing signs of life.
Giving encouraging squeaks of life, the kitten started to move blindly. As soon as Smokey heard the kitten calling, her maternal instincts took over, she gently washed the kitten, then moved it round so that it could take its first essential meal.
Over the next few days, I threw all my energy into looking after Smokey and the one remaining kitten, She got bigger and stronger as the days went by, and her fur started to grow. She was jet black, no other markings, just black, I am not sure about the father, Smokey just went off and chose a suitable father, but I think we can be sure that he was black ! As her eyes opened, they were a beautiful striking green colour contrasting with her black coat, she was stunning.
During her kitten years, her luck continued. Kittens would naturally be weaned and ready to go at 8 weeks, but Smokey was producing enough milk to feed her original 4 kittens. At 10 weeks, the kitten was still completely dependent on smokey for nutrition. We tried everything to tempt her, but she wasnt intererested. We werent in any hurry to wean her though, she had been lucky once again. How could we get rid of her now, after all those efforts to keep her alive. And besides, we allready had 2 cats, Smokey and her brother Bandit, what was one more? We called her Belle
As smokeys milk dried up, we tried her with
food. Because of this early experience of the luxury of people food, Sh
e now has a place at the dining table at dinner times, she is a real scrounger, with a particular taste
or cheese. Belle, just like our other two cats of course is spoilt rotten
. She has well an
d truly landed on her feet, she is a farm cat, with acres of land to roam. Inevitably, she has turned into a bit of a hunter too. She has got a lovely, thick, glossy coat of black fur, and I consider myself very lucky to have such a beautiful bl
I am feeling lucky today. I am going to bingo. We only can win 5 pounds full house and 2 pounds any line. It is great fun - gets me excited. Wouldn't it be great if I won! I would make a party.
I am really lucky to have my lovely children and my friends. I am so lucky to have all my family.
Lost and Found (Perchance)
As crumpled parchment falls upon the ground
“Bereft of muse” is poet’s sad refrain
Our ink runs dry before said thoughts profound
Doth spill across the page in hopeful gain
Then composition comes to life perchance
By scratching out before intent is known
Expression leads conclusions merry dance
Whilst penning words find meaning all their own
Within secluded room of one’s closed mind
Imagination baulks at no way out
Yet memory doth play a part you’ll find
Providing key, enabling to spout
Such verse released allowing us to cite
From darkest depths once more into the light
I hope today will be a bright and sunny day.
I hope it will last and stay.
What shall I do ?,My luck is with me.
I'll go shopping,and treat myself to a herbal tea.
Today everyone greeted me with a smile.
I feel so good ,I'm gonna go out in style.
Everything happened with the greatest of ease.
If I'd have done the lottery I would not be here buying these.
Watch out for Luck, it'll pass you by, if you don't look for it and get up.
Get up to do that thing,whatever it may be.
Even if it's a nice cup of tea.
WEE SMALL HOURS
It’s in the early hours, when you’re looking for sleep
That’s hiding behind thoughts you’d buried so deep.
Such irrational thoughts and so long ago fears
That you had overcome, now they re-appear
In those early hours, when looking for sleep
You get out of bed and downstairs you creep
Sit at a table and just let your mind roam
And pretty soon you’ll have written a poem.
There was a cat called lucky, who had just one life,
she spent it keeping her eyes open, just checking.
A wet dog
Wet dog walked
in the rain to the village
of Wet Dogs.
"My wealthy aunt lives there.
She owns her own house.
She might have
some leftovers to eat
she will share with me."
The aunt sleeps
on a be of straw.
She has her own blanket.
The blanket is full of fleas,
as the aunt.
It doesn't matter
she is on the chain.
She gets eat for barking.
"I know how to bark.
I hope it will stop rain soon.
I would like to get
to Wet Dogs dry.
She might find me a job,"
the dog was dreaming about.
Doggie, were are you going?
You are not pure bread dog,
you are just common mongrel
who crawled to the pub's
basement for the night.
"Just to get dry,
so I could keep walking
to my aunt in Wet Dogs."
During night a robber
got in to the basement.
The dog barked,
he was loud,
and hold the robbers' behind.
The pub owner came down
and turned on the light."
"You are some kind
of the dog,"
he praised a canine.
"You cannot stay
in the cellar.
I have dog house
after old Stella
you can stay."
So the dog didn't arrive
to his aunt in Wet Dogs,
he stayed in Good Deal town.
Guaguancó 3: The Founder of the Detroit Miracles
Ooh-ooh-ooh baby baby
The soft red lights that had us dancing that Saturday night
At the All Saints auditorium at 128th and Madison Avenue
And dry sweat as María and Carlos in their youth
Held themselves together
As all songs were made in love
The way you do to me.
© Carlos Raúl Dufflar 6/4/13
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective
Guaguancó 4: There Ain’t No Such Thing as Superman
When the bells of justice will ring in the gravesite of Trayvon Martin
In his holy name the killer celebrates his yearly retreat from justice
George Zimmerman XXX
© Carlos Raúl Dufflar 6/11/13
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective
Coined Gold Miner.
Swishing wishing Swishing
!He said! you bright me luck
We had a lucky find
Fourteen carat gold ring !he said !
Scouring Highbury Fields with metal detectors
Moving like a water diviner
Searching under sod
Out of sight treasure
Divinity and luck
Combination soil roll sound
Coined Gold Miners
Swishing Wishing Swishing
Swishing Swishing Wishing
Wishing Swishing Swishing
My dreams, of late, are vivid.
I wouldn’t call them nightmares,
But I don’t enjoy them
And wish I didn’t have them.
I swim under water
And when I touch the bottom
I push to surface; when I’m there
I wake up as I gasp for air.
Or I drive on a motorway,
Hurrying to reach my goal,
And always make it just in time.
Or sit exams and know I’ll fail,
Then find that I just scrape a pass,
And then I am awake at last.
I go to bed exhausted
When I sleep for an hour or two.
Then, suddenly, with early light
I slumber and my dreams ensue,
Reflective of the way I live,
A daily game of duck and dive,
Where luck makes things turn out alright
Despite the horrors of the night.
To his late father.
When serving in Malaya as a medic in 1955/57, I had a fantastic boss. Major Van Reenan RAMC, was the Consultant Bio Chemist, in the military hospital in KL. The hospital was BMH Kinrara, 55 Company RAMC, Malaya ( Now Malaysia)
He took me on as a trainee Lab. Technician and made me a Lance Corporal when trained. My job was ABO blood grouping, RH Anti D, and setting up Cross Matching. This was great job for a National Service soldier.
On one terrible day, I almost lost my job and my status as a NCO. We had an 'open day' and I was to set up blood grouping for all the visitors. Having spent half the day getting all the results ready, a Captain (who must remain nameless) told me to quit all the results and close the Lab. I'm sure he wanted to go to the Officers mess for a drink.
I was so madly frustrated that I kicked the officers door closed as I locked it. My foot went right through! I did not mean to damage Major Van Reenan's door, but kicked it closed before locking up. My temper was that of a teenager and most unreasonable. If I had completed the ABO blood grouping tests, the results would have given our Blood Bank at least 50 more potential donors. Blood transfusions can save a life.
The next day, as we reported for duty, we were told to stand at attention by our desk, till the guilty one owned up. I had no chance, as everyone knew I was the last one on duty.
Major Van Reenan was also the Courts Marshall judge and was formidable: I was surely finished. The only excuse I had was that Captain x had told me to close down before results.
When I said this to the major, he dismissed me and told every one to resume normal duty. He let out a loud yell for captain x so I was saved and kept my rank till demob.
Captain x was popular with the staff so they sent me into coventry for a month. Thanks lads...
This single act by Major Van Reenan completely changed my life. Thanks Major.
Played it safe all my life! She said!
Regret I did! She said!
You seem to take your chances and luck that comes down ur way
I wished I had taken my chances
Some great opportunities I let slip
Who knows where they would have taken me
I wish I had made my luck
I turned it away! She said!
John Joseph Sheehy
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