A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

August 2017


On That Train

I want to tell you of a journey
Where freedom is at the end
A message to send along the way

Find the roots on the Underground Railroad
And you will go all the way to the place
Where slavery must never be
(Yeah, we’re still fighting it!)

Now imagine on this journey
Is a Trane: T-R-A-N-E
The righteous spirit of a John Col–trane!
Where freedom is in a saxophone on stage
And in whispers of a station house along the way

We have to get there together
On board, now! On board to destiny!

© Ángel L. Martínez
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective
6 Sept 17

Celebrating In a Moment with Dick Gregory:
Just Get on Board the Train

When we look back to past history, language is born to crack a hip joke and jump up in a loud laughter. At home and in the corner, on stage, beyond the community of St. Louis, and the Starlight besides the Chicago River. Like a telephone booth joke into the limelights, when we become conscious of the ability and the quality of being a human being that exists.
Dick Gregory was like a circle in harmony that stood with the people of Mississippi on Freedom Summer. As the slaveholder was denying food for the people for the right to vote, like a small piece of history, Dick rented a planeload of food for the people of Mississippi who were denied their human rights.
He marched on the Summer of 1963 with Martin Luther King, like sailing in an ocean poisoned by contamination. Speaking and marching for social justice and just love. And moving in all directions into a circle as a sage, as a teacher, as a healer, and as an activist, and as an advocate of how to eat to live (H.E.M.).
Life was filled with a family affair. Dick knew that life was beautiful by birth in the name of humanity. In this endless drawn, as the Earth was torn open on April the fourth of 1968, Dr. King was assassinated 49 years ago. While the souls of the voiceless lifted their fists against the mass of the narrow slavemasters’ madness with another name. Alongside the way, Abbey Lincoln sang Freedom Suite and Nina Simone blew that beautiful note that the shining king was dead. Sage leaves were purifying the air on Earth as the people were marching in the Poor People’s March, for jobs, justice, food, education, as they set up Resurrection City with love.
He spoke on Solidarity Day of June 19 of ’68, as he stood in unity with all poor people, and it should come to pass tears, sorrow, and sit with a peace pipe. And in all directions of east, west, north, and south, we gathered at the Peace and Freedom Party convention in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on August the 17 and 18, and we the people and each one of us, with a common reason, Dick Gregory was nominated for President on the Peace and Freedom Party of 1968. As the delegates and friends celebrated, partying the night away, with the music of Archie Bell and the Drells “Tighten Up.” And when we first met, he taught us to laugh in the struggle and to heal and after so many years, we met with Brother Bey at the Washington, DC, Convention Center like an old moment. And at the Schomburg Library in Harlem, on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, it was like a family reunion with Angel and me.
Dick Gregory and Brother Bey of WPFW, I will always remember you forever. Just get on board for peace, justice, and laughter. Está presente. Presente.

© Carlos Raúl Dufflar 8/19/17
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective


Yellow line,
feet inching closer,
as the 7.15 pulls out from the sidings
metal wheels grind against the tracks,
it’s lights cut through the Winter morning darkness
heart beating faster, palms sweating, feeling sick
this is it then,
thoughts twirling, swirling, tangled in my head.
I feel my ears pulsing,
blood rushing,
I’m alive.

Yellow line,
left foot inching onto this vein,
thickly painted, stretching along the platform’s edge
I feel it’s varicose lumps beneath the sole
I close my eyes, imagine a better place
just see blackness, emptiness, nothing
as the rain touches my face
I sway in the wind
fragile, ready to break across the finish line
as the carriages are nearing.

Yellow line,
a useless barrier
I lean forward, a bent nail drawn to the magnet
I stare at the driver eye to eye
his weary gaze glances over my form
frosted air gooses my skin, I shiver
and the hairs on my arms rise up like dead soldiers from the earth
my breath comes in short spurts
I’m alive

Yellow line
I feel the air sucking me in as the train moves closer
passengers push nearer to the edge
noise, fear, desire
hands at my sides I start to fall
this is it then,
out of control
hands on my shoulders yanking me back to cold reality
make some excuse of losing my balance
shaking my head. I’m ok. What’s ok
I’m not ok
I’m alive with the pain still
So no, I’m not ok
just surviving

Mary-Jane Ng
Poetry as Healing


Trains would come in hour on hour
Discharging passengers by the shore.
From Yorkshire and from Nottingham
Hundreds of trippers would come.

Over hills and through the Dales.
Magic moments, like in fairy tales.
Once a year that big train ride,
Off to Cleethorpes’ golden seaside.

Over sleepers the wheels would rattle
Up those hills they’d bravely battle.
Smoke would billow from their funnels
In countryside and through the tunnels

Greens and reds these mighty engines
Devouring coal like hungry dragons!
Pulling behind their precious wares
On holiday trips at special fares

They’d walk the prom, stop and stare,
Some would wander round the Pier.
Or play on the beach with cricket bats.
Buy candy floss and Kiss me Quick hats

Donkey rides along the sand
Sometimes to hear a seaside band.
Such simple pleasures of the day
Progress has taken a lot away.

Now few trains come to Cleethorpes station
But motor cars bring in a new generation.
Who also walk and play on the beach
As our memories, like the tide, drift out of reach.

Jim White

Train Standing

Highbury and Islington tracks
Roof Shields no fox yet people pase
Train leaving now Colchester West
Well's springs sprung beach sand
Running doors Closing squeeze in sorry
Heavy people traffic off on to platform 2
Dalston Junction will be next stop moving
Glimpse quick houses someone in the window
Look at this above C4RD tickets please
Yellow door lock black password
Freight gone past containers yes
No window steady pace speed rattle
Not stopping loudspeaker speaks
All change here this train is now diverted

John Joseph Sheehy

Artwork by John Joseph Sheehy



Taxi 5.30 am, to the Gare Routière. Street cleaners
out and about, own the roads. No drunks or derelicts,

Aix is much too civilised for that sort of behaviour.
Shuttle bus to the TGV, a last look at the greenery,

5.54 am, a coin-in-the-slot moon over Provence,
paying my way home, still money in my wallet.

A perfectly uneventful ride to Paris Gare du Lyon.
Somewhere there or on the way to Gare du Nord

my umbrella decides to stay behind. Fell out
or borrowed? Someone needed it more than me.

Waiting for the Eurostar back to post-Brexit Britain,
someone says ‘Welcome to the modern world.’

Do I look as if I got here by accident, or I never
travel? He doesn’t deserve a reply, and anyway

I’ll bet my memories of this last week are better
than his. I am not a tourist but a voyageur,

I am your wayfaring stranger, but look again
and I’m gone, in the next bar I will tell your story

as if it were my own, which it now is, don’t worry
I’m not a novelist, maybe next year, I’ll meet you

wearing a different hat & dance a different song.
Now it’s lunchtime, I’m ready for my All-Day Breakfast.


Missing; Home and Abroad

In the last letter mummy had from France, daddy said he loved us and would be home soon.

Daddy lied; he didn’t come home and he must have lied about loving us, cos’ if he really loved us, he would have come home, wouldn’t he - if he could.

Mummy said he was just missing - well I’m missing too. I wonder if mummy has pain in her heart because I’m missing; like the pain, that squeezes my chest so tight my tears are trapped, because my daddy lied; and lies are bad and not good.

I’m on the bridge where I said goodbye to my daddy. I thought he might still be here and hadn’t gone anywhere at all; but there is no-one here and it’s lonely and quiet - not even any trains screaming and screeching their brakes.

So I shall be quiet and not even cry. You don’t cry when you're missing.

He’s not coming is he?

That’s why there is no screaming trains; because he’s dead and when you are dead everything is quiet and your not missing anymore

Inspired & written in a FED Festival a few years ago

Jan Hedger


Train yourself to know
that the timetables belong to coaches,
pre-loved and fresh-faced, who can teach
you the one about travelling hopefully;
thank God, the windows are clean,
and you but see where you are headed.

Bruce Barnes
Friend of TheFED


As the train chugged along. The dreams begun, up in the sky, red delight, A sigh.
The sun through the window sped along. The stream winding through the grass as horses galloped.
The little 8 year old amongst her school friends on their annual school trip-the dreams in her head, livened into reality.
As the train pulled into the station "Come on" the teacher said, "Time to get off" - A scuffle of feet, the sound of shoes as some of them met -
Another child tripped, a few tears, after the last child jumped onto the station platform.
The day was full of joy, the animals played, the juice cold through the straws. A few lay on the grass as the hour of lunch time came to a close.
The afternoon smiled as the sky became blue. The few clouds emerged out of sight. It was time for the journey home. The children hand in hand,
so none would lose their way.
Happiness - A happy day.
As the teacher moved the children along - a song in her heart, dreaming of her wedding day, began to slam the train door - and then - she screamed,
the child screamed tears uncontrollably flowing like a river down her cheeks.
The poor child's thumb caught within the door frame of the train, quickly opened before the train moved.
No blood, except a dent as the pain eased.
A flashback of her childhood days as she clipped her nails. So many memories. It really happened. But now it is 61 years later.
But those days were well lived.
Times of childhood.
Times of adulthood worth living. For it is joys like this, that can be left - and thought of as Grandchildren read words left in journals when
they are found when the writer has been laid to rest in 'Peace' in many days long gone past.
The kiss of life will always bring joy -
A Happy Smile...

(C) Josie Lawson
All Rights Reserved


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