Grace

it was like
moonlight on water

by itself, form
without content

with time
and tradition
it became more

like pure beauty
of the ideal

a dancer who is
the dance itself

the musician
who breathes life
into his music

or the painter
as he
becomes one
with his canvas

it became
the grace
and beauty
of the natural world

that raised
everyday life
above the struggle
to merely exist

Wild Thing ©September 15, 2020

A Final Tribute

This video is a final tribute to Cletis Stump on Twitter. It was an honor to feature his work here on my blog occasionally.

I can say no more than what it says . . . for those who knew him, may you enjoy this walk down memory lane. For those who didn’t, may you get to know him.

Love is a verb . . .

Wild Thing

Remembering Cletis

“Love is a verb.” Not only did Cletis say that, he also lived it. We have all been touched by his unique way of communicating with us. He had an unerring way of knowing a person and responding to them.

You had only to read his tweets over the nine years he was on Twitter to know him. The son of a coal miner. He grew up in a town that owned by the coal mining company. He loved his parents and family as evidenced in his poetry about them. If you’ve missed them, you can read them in his book “Late Night Footfalls / The Beauty of Silence” https://www.amazon.com/dp/1522702075/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_yubkFb7V7RGQX .

His childhood helped form his political views. How can we forget his dedicated leadership in the hashtag fight?

His political tweets could be scathing that had the sting of a killer bee. They could also be hilariously funny as evidenced by his conversations with “Bubba.”

His political tweeting drew a fair number of trolls. He enjoyed sparring with them until he tired of them and then he would dramatically block them in his own unique way (we won’t question his language at these times, hahaha). Laughing all the while he did it.

Although he was retired, he remained a teacher at heart. How many of his tweets were just information that he was sharing about a far-off place with exotic trees, or the background story of someone he admired in literature? Many of his tweets were about teachers and the work they do. How he supported the importance of art and literature in education.

He even led a story group on Twitter for a time, where a story was read and discussed among a few people every few weeks. It was done in the public timeline so all could see the exchange and at the end, anyone could join in the open discussion if they wanted to. I am proud that I was one of the group.

I think it would be safe to say that Cletis, was a true Renaissance Man. He was never happier than when he was creating something. Whether it was writing his beautiful poetry, short stories, or creating his unique art and putting it out for the public to see; in an online gallery or in a book. I like others here, have had the pleasure of collaborating on several books with him, pairing my photos with his poetry, so I know firsthand the joy he received from doing this.

His writing took so many directions, political, poetry, etc. For a time, he had a blog for each interest. The most well-known blog of course is the https://latenightfootfalls.tumblr.com/blog This is one of the most beautiful blogs on the internet to lose yourself.

He sought peace and joy through music as well. Who didn’t love it when he’d tweet “Cletis’ Jukebox?” His taste was eclectic and went from the beautiful sounds of his hill folk to current day. Again, his natural curiosity and the teacher in him, made him go further than just listening. He would add information about the artist, song, songwriter, or lyrics so that we were educated while listening and dancing.

It was only natural that the next thing he would do is write lyrics for music. He was so thrilled when Steve Grieves put his words to music. Just listen to this wonderful collaboration https://youtu.be/6v-Im-y_dBA

He would want us to love each other, be kind to each other. To live for the future and celebrate his life, not his leaving. To love our fur babies as he loved his.

It’s hard to summarize a person you’ve known for a long time. Especially when it’s someone like Cletis. Here’s what I know personally. He was tenacious, a fighter. He always had faith, hope in the face of hopelessness, he was kind, patient, stern, funny, witty, loving, and tender. He had a ribald sense of humor at times. At other times, he was as irascible as a honey badger. He was a man of conviction. He had his faults and failings like we all do as humans. But each day he strove to be better.

A warrior, a bard, a muse … a good man.

With love,

Wild Thing, ©August 3, 2020

She is With You

*Special Note: I wrote this a little over a year ago, when my best friend’s mother passed away … I had forgotten to give it to her and just came across it. This is for you LK with love … *

She Is With You

photo/digital art by Wild Thing

you will find
she has not
left you

a whisper
soft … gentle
carried
in the breeze

when you need
her most
she will be
by your side

in sunlight
on grass
at night
the moon

every time
you tell
the story
of her life
she will be there

it’s her
when
shared laughter
uplifts hearts

it’s how
she lets you
know
the bond
is never broken

Wild Thing ©April, 2019

Psychophants on Parade

psychophants

impotent and weak
he poses for
the photo op

no head bowed
in reverent prayer

no words
of solace for
those who grieve

holds a Bible
he never read

the psychophants
line up
fools on parade

Wild Thing ©June 1, 2020

Dead Roses

Dead Roses

angry
tear filled eyes
wounded hearts
listen in

no words of
comfort … sympathy
no “I hear you”

only words
of weakness
scorched earth

even the roses
have died
for lack of grace

Wild Thing ©June 1, 2020

I Can’t Breathe Sir

I cant breathe

Dedicated to All the Black Men & Women Who Have Lost Their Lives to Police Brutality

as a child
he walks
out the door
mind your manners
yes mama

I can’t breathe sir

peaceful protests
nighttime fires
mothers cry
glass breaks

I can’t breathe sir

strong voices
sing out don’t
destroy … vote
take anger make it
positive

I can’t breathe sir

a weak man
hides underground
yells for more
police power
yells … to divide

I can’t breathe sir

Wild Thing ©May27, 2020
To the Floyd family …
my heart is broken …
may the goddess bring you peace
in this time of great unrest …
may she shower you with grace …
blessings to you all

Arah . . .*

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Black Moon Night – photo by Wild Thing

Today we grieve . . .
Wear black
Beat our chests . . .

Keen “ARAH!”
Let the pain out . . .

Til we rise . . .
Like the sun
Stronger . . . wiser

Knowing . . .
There is always
Light in the darkness

Wild Thing ©Nov. 9, 2016

*I wrote this poem the day after Trump was elected. In view of the over 95,000K deaths due to the corona virus, it seems more needed today than ever.

Pandemic

Pandemic

I don’t know who originally designed this rendition of Trump, but I enhanced it for the purpose of this poem. I thank whomever did the original artwork.

90,000 and counting
reapers wait
to retrieve
thousands more

the faithful gather
to spew macabre
words of hate
from their lips
emboldened by their
false prophet

small cowards
scream “hoax”
pretend soldiers
wave their
weapons of war

while the lunatic
sits on his
faux golden throne
a smirk on his
hate twisted face
and finds it good

Wild Thing ©May 17, 2020

The Loss

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he walked
as if shackled

his large hands
held a wooden
box of ashes

eyes blurred
he gently set
the box
on the table
fell onto his knees

he turned
wrapped his arms
around her legs
face buried
in her lap

her soft touch
upon his head

in this moment
he cried like
the boy
he once was

Wild Thing ©April 10,2020

Too High

121

once
a witch flew
too close
to the sun

her ashes
drifted down
on the wind
down to earth

slowly
she nurtured
them to be
reborn

she looked
like herself
some scars
still visible

she left them
to remind her
never fly
so high again

Wild Thing ©April 2, 2020

The Bag Collector

BagCollector

she locked the door
a grim laugh

who was she keeping out?
there were few people
left in Pedesina

she lowered herself
onto the top step
and rested
light mist in the air
felt good

she bent over
put her bare feet
in the plastic
garbage bag
then pulled it up

she wanted to take
a deep breath
but feared the
coughing

she leaned back
against the door
that’s better

she pulled the bag
up over her arms
strength gone

nothing to do
but wait
for the bag collector

Wild Thing ©March 27, 2020

Ancestral Messages

Ancestral Warriors

strong women
from ancient years
speak to me at night

be brave our
darling daughter
they whisper
you are strong

square your
slender shoulders
for the weight
tis always been
ours us to bear

the pain, misery
of the people
that we feel
we take and create

the universe listens
when we weave our spell

Wild Thing ©March 20, 2020

Sharing the Wait

007

Two women sat at the table
Quietly sipping coffee
Their voices low

Just one light overhead
The clock ticked to ten
Outside a black blanket

The older woman slid
A pack of cigarettes to
The younger woman

“Take one, it makes
The waiting easier.”

“I quit smoking.”
Said the younger.

The older woman looked
At her saying nothing
Letting her eyes say it all

Hand shaking, the younger
Took a cigarette
Lit it and inhaled and asked

“You have any bourbon
To go with this coffee?”

Wild Thing ©March 19, 2020

Need Not Apply

Need Not Apply

there are depths
of my love
to be plunged

whole worlds
of my soul
waiting
to be explored

my mind
labyrinths of
mystery and wonder

faint of heart
weak or easily
distracted
need not apply

Wild Thing ©November 30, 2019

Heartsong

Heartsong

barefoot
out the door
skirt hitched up
in answer
to morning light

roaming through
field, valley,
on hillside
wild and free

sunkissed cheeks
bedewed toes
flowers in her hair
earth’s child

on the wind
soft, melodic
her heartsong
guides her home

Wild Thing ©November 30, 2019

My Girl

Dreams

Dreams – photo by Wild Thing

everything that
radiates light
or warmth
is dependent
upon something else

no woman is an island

do not fear
the challenges
ahead of you

fire is liberation
sending out
crackling bits
that fly from home

stay to what is
balanced and true
to gain
inner freedom

seek what
shines in you
in others
and life itself

never forsake
your belief in
what is right

remember the
good that has been
and is yet to be

hold to these
ideas and you
will hold
the power
of the light and love
within you

Wild Thing ©March 10, 2019

Invisible

Daisies

Dark Daisies – photo by Wild Thing

She sipped coffee
All rushed around
As they left
She said goodbye
No one responded

Breakfast cleaned up
She showered
Brushed her teeth
And hair
Applied makeup

She posted to
Social media
Her plans
“City Photos, Later!”
No one answered

Sitting on a bench
At a busy corner
She snapped away

A man sat down
“Morning.” She said
He took his phone out
Stared intently at it
Deaf to all

In the afternoon
Dusty country road
Wildflowers, animals
Silent but
Familiar friends

Dinner for one
By television glow
Comments to Rachel
Laughs at herself
Rachel won’t answer

Snuggled into bed
Light overhead
Mind drifts
Dreams of a life
Where people answer

Wild Thing ©March 9, 2019

Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday

Spider Martin’s most well-known photograph, Two Minute Warning, shows marchers facing a line of state troopers in Selma moments before police beat the protestors on March 7, 1965. The day became known as Bloody Sunday.

It was just 54 miles
Honoring Jimmie Lee
Died protecting
His Mama

Led by John Lewis
And 3 others
Joined by 600 more
Marched from Selma

Heading Southeast
On US Hwy 80
Men and women
For Voting Rights

Over Edmund Pettus Bridge
Named for a KKK member
One who fought
To keep them down

Line of white men
In blue uniforms
Stood waiting
At the county line

Said to stop
They refused
They had a right
To go to the Capitol

Billy clubs
And guns
were drawn
Waiting for the signal

Knowing their fate
They stood firm
Their time was now
Voting rights for all

The White men
Rushed them
Billy clubs, tear gas
Stinging eyes

Ms. Boynton
Lay unconscious
It didn’t matter
If they beat a woman

Hands over his head
John was clubbed
Was sure he would die
Scars visible still

Cries, shouts, chaos
Filled the air
As they fled back
Into Selma

Seventeen hospitalized
50 plus treated
Minor injuries
Skin, bodies broken
Not their spirit
They would march again

We remember
As we march
Across that bridge
Bloody Sunday

Wild Thing ©March 5, 2019

Summer 2018

Summer 2018

Summer 2018 – photo by Wild Thing

children torn
. . .  from loving arms

Singapore slough
global insults
Helsinki betrayal

corruption run amok
no one responsible
blame others

red meat rallies
people of color
called stupid … less than

threats and lies
obfuscation
conspiracy
obstruction

press named
. . .  enemy #1

fire pirouettes
. . .  over California

Wild Thing ©August, 2018

She Is . . .

Irish Fire

Irish Fire – photo by Wild Thing

Irish wildfire

Untamed and yet

Strong as the mountains

Gentle as a breeze

Passionate as the colors of autumn

Fierce as the winter freeze

Endless as the spring skies

Hot as the burning sun

Mysterious as the moon

Forged in flames

Hammered, tempered and shaped

Both Goddess and Woman

Vision, dream, healer, muse

A love for the ages

Wild Thing ©2017