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Breaking Free

July 2016


North Star Free

I stare up into the desert sky
The promise is shining
The constellation is pointing the way
towards the North Star of freedom

The sunset disappears to reveal
liberation – the old story
of struggle and justice
brightly shining a message
from age to age

© Ángel L. Martínez
10 July – 1 August 2016
The Bread Is Rising Poetry Collective




It was the radio that flipped
her switch, Rev. Coughlin
damning the enemy within,
then Eleanor Roosevelt’s
“We all must make do” making
her gasp "Come out here dearie,
I’ll take everything you’ve got
& then some; your husband
promised us the earth, and
look at it now: dust to dust."

Five kids, husband buried out back,
her throat too choked to sing
‘California Here I Come’,
folks saying “You can’t . . . you shouldn’t . . .”
but she wouldn’t stay, wouldn’t
marry another rednecked farmer,
wouldn’t go back to her kinfolk.
Time to ease this old Model Y Ford
down this dirt road, off the farm,
make some headway before dark,

cross the county line before word
got out how she’d bartered to get
this jalopy fixed. The A&P Store
gossip said - 3 day trip, overnight
in Auto Courts on Route 66, how
you knew you had hit California
when the orange blossom smell hit
you like incense, how the San Joaquin
Valley was the promised land.
She would settle for nothing less.


a snippet recalled

(longer verse 40 years ago)


Nothing to say
that won't wait
for a day
when you

listen to me



Rumba Libre

Como un canto de Sun Ra Arkestra
In between Mr. Mystery
Tumbas llenan de huesos
sin sonido
corazón pasado en un túnel
Para el son silencioso de los muertos
como lágrimas en la lluvia
cada día de la vida
una mezcla de gentrificación
xenofobia y miles de ratones en la zona paranoia
en el aire
¿Qué es el sentimiento de la justicia ahora?
a una nueva verdad en esta mañana en la fiesta de paz
en la Avenida de Coney Island
arroz con garbanzos
un día precioso
en el bugalú de ayer
con Joe Bataan en el parque de Santa Ana chévere
y yo saludo a los 48 años de los viejos tiempos de la 111
ojo de mi alma
los pioneros de ayer
Chano Pozo Machito Graciela Mongo Santamaría La Lupe
Joe Cuba Tito Ramos Joe Piano
y Tato y Tatico
Mi querido Barrio en la Guerra contra la gentrificación
contra los obreros
y hoy yo saludo 68 años en la familia de Johnson Projects
por mi amor
y yo conozco la tierra
y estoy triste
en unidad rompa el coco
con un amor libre ahora
mi querido mundo

As a song of Sun Ra Arkestra
In between Mr. Mystery
Tombs are filled with bones
without sound
past a heart in a tunnel
They are silent for the dead
like tears in the rain
every day of life
a mixture of gentrification
xenophobia and thousands of rats in the zone of paranoia
in the air
What is the feeling of justice now?
a new truth in this morning on the festival of peace
in Coney Island Avenue
rice with garbanzos
a beautiful day
Yesterday the boogaloo
with Joe Bataan in Saint Ann’s Park chévere
and I salute the 48 years of the old days of 111th Street
the eye of my soul
the pioneers of yesterday
Chano Pozo Machito Graciela Mongo Santamaría La Lupe
Joe Cuba Tito Ramos Joe Piano
and Tato and Tatico
My dear Barrio in the War against gentrification
against the workers
and today I salute 68 years in Johnson Family Projects
for my love
and I know the earth
and I'm sad
in unity we break the coconut
with a free love now
my dear world

© Carlos Raúl Dufflar 7/7/16
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective



No, I don’t have a home, I screwed all that up
And yes I’m a drunk; down on his luck
It’s my own fault; I should have done better
But don’t look at me as though I don’t matter
I’m not after sympathy but take hand outs you give
I just need a chance to find somewhere to live.
Somewhere to sleep I don’t share with vermin,
I go to each night after hot soup and a sermon
You just see an Alco who deserves his fate
But it doesn’t take much to become me mate!
The pressure of work and a boss unforgiving
The need to maintain a high standard of living
Losing your job and go through a bad divorce
So that in your mind it’s your fault of course
Then you take a drink to help ease the pain

of being a failure; you drink again and again
Then nothing matters except that next drink
Until you don’t really care how far down you sink.
Now it’s too late because booze is your master
You’re on the skids and your life’s a disaster.
Then suddenly you see you’re digging your grave
and wonder if there’s any of the old you left to save.
And I know I’m worth more than a passing glance
I need; and I’ll beg for it. That smallest chance!
This time I’ll make it and crawl out of my hole
No longer that drunk and a smelly lost soul.

Jim White 

Apochryphal promises of broken bells

Your god has forsaken this country,
And each of you in turn,
Your god has forsaken this country,
Long may she burn

The altars that you kneel at
Under fallen, steepled spires,
Show the effigies you pray to,
Have set the world afire,

Now burning brazen torchlight,
Strips away what could never last,
And the things that were back then
Are now a long time in the past

The reflections on the pavement,
Are not starlight or the leaves,
But ashes in the moonlight,
Stirred by wanton breeze

I walk the city streets
Listening to the lies my conscience sells,
That this ripped out city’s heart still beats
To the apocryphal promises, of broken bells

Your god has forsaken this country,
And each of you in turn,
Your god has forsaken this country,
Long may she burn



(After Michael Rothenstein, 1974)

I am headed west, followed by the sun.
I have no rider, I need no rider.
That hill on my right should bear my likeness,
to be seen & adored by all who pass by.

I know which chalk figures are genuine,
which are 18th century, or later, follies.
I could outrun your railway if I chose,
could show your cars a clean pair of heels.

But today, I go at my own free pace,
no Julia, jockey or huntsman will know
the thrill of being a heartbeat short of success
or being thrown if I tire of their presence.

‘Lippizaner’, you say, Uffington, you think,
as if I am your creature, sport or toy,
that without you to watch. or control what I do,
I scarcely exist till you step up with tack in hand.

One day, I might teach you what nightmare is,
carry your children away, or show you what
losing your shirt really means, live on TV,
or ride into the sunset when the oil runs out.

Oh, you think that day will never come,
when the world you know vanishes into the sand,
that you can have that old life back, and horses
will be your docile servants again? Dream on.



Artwork by John Joseph Sheehy




I wish

I wish I could lead a revolution,
Put together and find the words that would stir and motivate the people.

  To stop what they are doing and march.
March for Peace,
March for Equality,

 March for our World,
 March for Love.
To bring down those powers that keep us all repressed,
Leave us lonely, tired and achingly distressed.
I wish I could evoke a feeling of passion that moved them so deep,

 That everyone stopped bleating and following like sheep.
e, I did something that opened my eyes and through my own revelations
I now just can’t take all the lies.
The earth is crying and choking to death, we must care to stop her struggle for breath.
The greed and the hate is bearing down on us all but we must push back;
We must stand tall.
Every colour and religion we are all one.
Made of the same stuff;
Divided we are none.
My passion erupts like a fountain of truth, now I just want to shout it from every fucking roof.
I awakened my soul and she told me to try and now I want everyone to fly.
I wish I could make everyone care.
I wish I could answer all of the questions,
Or that people weren’t swayed by corrupt media suggestions.
I wish they knew that the power is in us,
It is in our connected energy and in the natural balance we should trust.
I wish that everyone could see and I really hope it isn’t only me.
A collective soloution that must be lead by Love,

Kissing goodbye to fear and all that other useless stuff.
There is more than this current reality,
Of that I am sure more than anything else.
But I want this for us all, not just for myself.

Hollie Robertson
Poetry/Spoken Word


Two Geese Go A Visiting

Do you fancy a day out?’ Said Mr Goose to his missus
‘A day away from the clucking chickens and mooing cows,
tractors and bale making and this little pond’.

‘Yes’ said she ‘we can go to Cole Mere; it’s lovely in the spring.’
‘Let’s pretend we are wild and have an adventure’ he said.
‘Be buccaneering pirates, boarding the yachts.
Stalk the Killer Shrimps; like we’re in the Marines; and take em out!’

‘Or, said she ‘we could just hang out by the meadow,
where the water lilies float, and be serenaded in song.
Quite romantic, don’t you think?’

Now he being of the genial kind, said ‘whatever you want my dear’
and taking her wing they flew off at nine.
On reaching the mere they were struck with awe.
‘Oh isn’t it beautiful’ said she. ‘Stunning’ he said‘ and the sun
has come with us. Rather polite of him to be so high’.

‘Yes, he’s a good fellow at heart, said she ‘like you, my dear’.
Blushing, he dropped his head towards a secluded spot.
A roof of leaves and whispering reeds and a loveseat branch,
just the right size for two visiting geese.

Oh, what a day they had! Feeding on sweet meadow grass,
laden with morsels of flowers. Sleeping and resting, kissing,
and dappling in shadows. Stretching their necks in the sun, as
Cole Mere weaved its magic charm and echoed their love;
till the hour grew late beckoning the twilight chorus
to play the scene out. ‘Time for home my dear’ he said.

‘Oh, it’s been a wonderful day’ said she ‘with so much
to tell the children, when they all come tomorrow and
our City Farm opens its gates’ and touching wings, they
set their course home, on a gentle following wind.

Written in the Meres and Mosses final workshop from four wonderful days out

Jan Hedger

FOR EVER breaking free

The tear runs free down the cheek stops rests awhile
It's done a journey through from in behind-the-scenes
The lid has flicked in setting the little tear free
The numbers of the lottery who's holding them away from me
Set those numbers free in the spinning wheels of fun
Walking out into freedom doors slams behind on someone else
The Hammer coming  down nailing to the wall sentenced
Carnations and wishes in the waves of loch Lomand
Not realizing that I had smoked my last cigarette smoke
The end of smoking addiction gone in smokes puffed
Freedom breaking delivering independence stand
Standing on own feet responsible for all deeds actions words

Breaking the cycle letting it come from them resisting
Trusting in the unknowable taking my chances
Whether it's up or down I will shoulder the results free

John Joseph Sheehy



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