Monday, 18 October 2021

Five Poems by Prince A. McNally

 



Funeral Musings 

 

The Pastor stands      proudly perched

behind the podium,        preaching a sad sermon.

Soliloquy of holy hymns      sung by a choir –

over organ-ground              gospel music.

    Tears,  flowers,       glory      halleluiahs,

                                &

           long-winded       eulogies.

                                 A

                              corpse

                           in a coffin

                           on display like

                                 a

                           mannequin.

 

 

Something Greater 

 

Have you ever found yourself

Lost; questioning not just your life’s purpose,

But the very notion of  God; when faced with

immense struggle & pain?

I, for one, view life’s challenges

merely as

              t              

               e

               p

               p

               i

               n

               g

                s

                  t

                  o

                    n

                      e

                         s

                               to our greatness—

         

To spiritually

                               

                                               rise 

                                                        to something truly extraordinary

                                   

                something beyond            the limited perception

  

                                               of

                                             ourselves.

 

Something wondrously                enamoured

 

                                                     with               immaculate wings                                                                              enabling us to fly

                                   

                               Soaring far beyond our dreams.      

        

                             

 Transforming              our lives                   into something

 

                      Greater  than ever we were before


                

Mushroom Clouds In The Sky

 

 

In the wake of the morning’s sunrise,

at 8:16 am, August 6th, 1945— death arrived

from the bright morning sky of Hiroshima; the Grim Reaper

came a calling, rapidly descending  from the clouds bearing

a sharp, whistling sound like the cry of a thousand American bald eagles,

soaring from the skies of the rising sun.

 

The world’s first-ever atomic bomb

delivered courtesy of a B-29 American bomber

dubbed the ‘The Enola Gay’; infamously

named after the pilot’s mother.

 

This whistling author of imminent demise—

tumbled  from an angry sky; leaving in its wake

an irreparable stain upon the fabric of humanity; for the proverbial

‘genie had been irreversibly released from its bottle, and thus, the world

would forever be changed.

 

The thunderous impact of the whistling bomb

upon the rich Japanese soil – swiftly culminated in the shape

of a giant mushroom cloud in the sky, relinquishing a dizzying numbness,

as stunned survivors- coloured in the unsightly ambiance of war—

stumbled blindly in search of their lost equilibrium, wading frantically

through echoes of shock-waves & the dense black rain of inhumanity

that had suddenly fallen upon them.

 

 

Intoxicated by the raw stench of burning flesh and toxic gasses,

brave and compassionate souls searched tirelessly for any signs of life—

amidst the smouldering ruins and burned corpses; blindly brushing past

the ash-like matter of the countless victims instantly incinerated upon

the impact of the bomb.

 

The souls of the dead—  stood in silent vigil,

wading in the shadows of their human statues,

instantly be-stilled in their final moment of breath.

 

Scattered remains lie floating— in the Pacific;

so horrifically charred, they resembled burnt tree limbs.

 

Amongst the smog of rising chaos— you could hear the scattered

cries of women & children—  some reacting out of fear &shock,

while others lied injured;  eardrums nearly shattered by the incredibly

sharp ringing in their blood-clogged ears—

their stinging pupils solicited the birth of black, burning tears.

 

Many of the survivors succumbed to their injuries; whether

from their mortal wounds, radiation poisoning, or a host

of other diseases caused by the bombing like lung cancer,

kidney failure etc. etc.— In addition, the offspring

of many, a survivor would arrive still-born

from their mother’s womb— while countless others

were plagued by the horror of their children being born

with debilitating congenital disabilities, a direct result of radiation poisoning-

genetically passed down through the parents—

 

The residual after-effects of that horrendous bomb

would manifest its destiny from generation to generation

for decades to come.

 

It is imperative to remember that those were not just soldiers

the Americans bombed that fateful day, the overwhelming

majority of its victims were innocent civilians, consisting

mostly of women, children, & the elderly; many of which were:

poor field workers, store merchants, farmers,& school children

who had no cause in the war, they were merely pawns upon a chessboard,

the collateral damage of political indifference; not even an after-thought in

the crazy, diabolical mind of a bigoted, racist, American President

whose heart was clearly devoid of human kindness, compassion & decency; for

the war was practically over, the American & Japanese governments

were in the midst of negotiating Japan’s terms of surrender; their primary concern

being: the Japanese didn’t wish to see their beloved emperor tried for war crimes,

shamed or dishonoured in the eyes of the Japanese people and the world at large; they

merely wanted to uphold their beloved emperor’s utmost honour and dignity upon Japan’s imminent surrender. However, despite the ongoing negotiations, it would appear that President Truman had a hidden agenda; for what better opportunity to demonstrate

to the world, the superior military might of the United States of America,

than by showcasing the greatest military weapon ever known to humankind.

Truman’s masterplan was to end the war quickly & decisively by unleashing

the atom bomb upon the Japanese people; rather than end it peacefully through

negotiations, he decided instead to use innocent civilians as political pawns,

human guinea-pigs to test the merit of his prized weapon in an actual live war situation,

a desperate attempt to rapidly swing the balance of world power in favor of the United States of America.

 

For this was America’s opportunity to leverage her position as the

premier world power. Through this treacherously heinous and cowardly act,

the U.S. was sending a message, placing the world on notice to either fall

in-line or suffer the same consequences; not only was this an inhumane act,

this was a war crime, a lab experiment, the shameless culmination

of an “Arms race’’ between Russia, Germany, & the United States.

This was ethnic cleansing, a genocide of epic proportions.

This was a blatant attempt to wipe an entire people off the face of the earth, almost as if casually wiping crumbs from a table, taking out the trash, or stomping them dead like roaches.

 

I once saw an old World War II propaganda film that showed an American officer

being interviewed by a reporter after a fierce and bloody battle with Japanese soldiers to

over-take a hill; to paraphrase, he said: “You’ve got to admire those Japs, no matter what we throw at them, they just keep coming at you like roaches.”

 

He casually referred to a group of human beings as roaches,

something filthy, something non-human, something so despicable,

you could drop an atomic bomb on it without ever having to feel

a single ounce of remorse or compassion besides they’re only roaches,

and everyone hates roaches, right?

 

This was ‘White Supremacy’ at work, covered beneath the guise of war,

to protect democracy and freedom; so, congratulations Mr. Truman; by George,

you’ve done it!

 

What a glorious and timeless memento to the horrors of hate and war.

What a magnificent legacy of pain and terror you’ve managed to bestow

upon the United States of America’s already infamous reputation for

barbarianism and human cruelty. After committing such an atrocity,

how can you look yourself in the mirror, America!

 

How do you sleep at night without reliving the horrible nightmare

of your war-mongering deeds? How do you not feel the need to regurgitate

the guilt deriving from such a despicably senseless act of inhumanity?

You have entirely obliterated nearly a quarter of a million innocent civilians

who were just going about their lives, performing their daily routines with no idea of

the horror that would soon come raining down upon them.

 

Again, it is essential to remember: this vicious nuclear attack—

wasn’t aimed solely towards the military; for the overwhelming

majority of its victims were innocent civilians, mostly women, children,

and the elderly, notwithstanding, the devastating, long-term effects

unleashing a nuclear bomb would have on countless generations,

and generations to come?

 

I wonder how a country can be so beautiful, so hope-inspiring,

so utterly charming on the one hand, and yet, so cold & ruthlessly

calculating on the other. That is certainly not my vision of— America the beautiful.

For this, America, controlled by the evil, ‘wealthy elite,’ is a greedy, lying, arrogant bully who fits the profile of a narcissistic, psychopathic killer; the evil charmer

 who diabolically preys upon the vulnerability of poor people of color.

 

The politicians & the media compel us to buy into this patriotic

‘Ponzi scheme’ of greed, tyranny & savagery—

by subliminally waving the American flag in our faces.

Thus, unleashing the power of blind patriotism, perfectly seasoned

with the theme of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner;’ playing in the background,

while ole glory stands tall, ever waving her colours of red, white, & blue-

democracy & freedom!

 

How could we ever hope to deny such brilliantly shrewd propaganda—

when the puppet-masters media continually bombards us with sugar-coated

notions of uncle Sam’s: “Great American Dream,” served with vanilla ice cream,

and sweet “American-Apple pie”; coupled with the promise of beautiful

white houses & “White- Picket Fences.” 

 

 

They Held Picket Signs That Read… 

 

The first day attending my new school,  I begrudgingly

board the pale yellow bus; silently agonizing over the thought

of leaving behind all my friends at P.S.27 –As a result of

the desegregation initiative in the New York State Public School system,

where children of colour— residing in underprivileged neighbourhoods,

were selected to become the government’s new social experiment:

Black children plucked like lilies & replanted in all-white schools across the city;

abruptly uprooted from the neighbourhood school in which we flourished.

At nine years old,  I was being bussed along with several other children

from my neighbourhood; we were all being transferred from P.S. 27 to P.S.51,

an all-white school in Benson Hurst,  Brooklyn.

Upon our arrival, the bus was greeted by a group of angry protestors

made up of white parents who clearly weren’t too happy we were there;

they shouted profanities while holding picket signs that read:

“Niggers Go Home!   Go Back To Africa— Where You Came from!”

 

Police barricades     served as the border      between twenty  frightened

black children      & the hostile soliloquy       of an angry mob        of white folks;

mostly made up of parents who didn’t wish to see their child’s school integrated

with poor black kids.

 

Some tossed objects      while others     spat racial epithets    

as we timidly exited the school bus; huddled closely together;  moving in tiny- little—

increments of fear, yet, still, we moved; taking slow, subtle steps towards

what was, alleged to be, a better education,      a better future,     a better life!

And though it only lasted a few minutes,  this traumatic encounter felt like an eternity—

as we slowly inched     our way     towards the school’s intimidating entrance,

a place we were obviously not wanted or welcomed.

 

Each day, an encore of the day before, and though

the angry crowds & protests eventually subsided,

I still remember that moment.     I still wear the scars!

I will never forget their flushed- crimson- faces,

I  will never forget their hateful signs— splattered with

their loathing sentiments of hate.

 

It was a time I wanted to vanish; for at that moment, I wished—

I were a magician so that I could disappear;  so I could be invisible

in a place that didn’t want to see or hear me; a place where even the teachers

seemed to lack      the vital tenets      of compassion, care, or empathy

for a displaced child      who was clearly struggling     with his new world,

so I became invisible; by way of  being silent; seeking     safe refuge

in a sanctuary      deep within myself;      an inner escape

from the harsh      reality of not belonging,        of feeling ostracized,

of feeling demoralized.

So many lessons were learned during my short stay at P.S. 51.:

Like: How powerfully pervasive is the ignorance of prejudice & hate?

Like: What are the long-term effects of racial trauma upon an innocent

child’s psyche?   Like: What is social engineering?     Like: What is culture shock?

When the late great, Jackie Robinson      broke Major League Baseball’s

colour barrier,      he faced similar challenges;      challenges he was well prepared

to meet as a black man living in  America at that time.

But no child should ever have to endure      such a degree of torment; abruptly

uprooted from the comfort      of their surroundings      & placed in a racially

hostile environment in which one is expected to thrive & flourish.

Things—  such as this should never be inflicted upon any child; especially

here in the United States of America; black, brown, or otherwise.



The Song Of Their Addiction 

 

Have you ever seen the miracle of springtime lilies,

dancing in the meadow to the winds of a storm that eventually

passes, leaving them practically unscathed?

Do you remember how the sun would rise triumphantly after a storm,

splattering the colours of the rainbow across the quiet skies;

as if to say: this is a new day, a new age, a renaissance of change,

beauty, and innocence.

 

Oh, how I wish this were a poem about the miracle of springtime lilies,

dancing in the winds of a storm that eventually passes, leaving them

practically unscathed.

 

I wish this were a poem about the sun rising triumphantly after a storm,

splattering the colours of the rainbow across the quiet skies, slowly unveiling

a new day, a new age, a renaissance of change, beauty, & innocence, but

this is not a poem about dancing lilies surviving a storm, nor is it a poem about

the beautiful sunrise splattering the colours of the rainbow across the quiet skies,

or the coming of a new day, a new age, a renaissance of change, beauty,& innocence.

This is a poem about pain & struggle, torture, & betrayal.

This is a poem about the ugliness of life, as seen through the eyes of an addict.

This is a poem about our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, & our brothers.

This is a poem about a thirteen-year-old girl who routinely sells her body

(a quip pro quo) for methamphetamines.

This is a poem about a pre-mature infant, barely hanging on to life support because his seventeen-year-

old mother had a two hundred dollar-a-day heroin habit.

This is a poem about the call of addiction, the pain of its infliction, the power of its grip,

And the pull of its gravity upon the human psyche.

This is a poem about how quickly addiction dims the light of one's essence and crushes the soul; how it

dashes your

hopes and dreams, killing all your aspirations & desire

to live for anything else other than serving that constant yearning that never serves you.

This unyielding desire to dance with the devil— circumvents anything & everything of true value,

of true meaning, often severing the bond between friends &  family, notwithstanding your

responsibilities. So utterly powerful & crippling; its grip weakens one's will to exercise their freedom of

thought. They are merely but slaves

surrendering to a life of unquenchable thirst, a foolish quest, unworthy of pursuit; for addiction

whispers / to the soul of its victims, its breath, ever redolent with the inevitable

stench of death.

Like the song of the siren— addiction calls & compels its victims to do its bidding, to do its dance!

And

when they dance, it reminds me of those lilies, dancing in the meadow to the winds of a storm that

eventually passes; for no matter how hard or how long those winds may blow, they still hold on to the

song of their addiction.

 

 



Prince A. McNally is a Brooklyn-born poet/ philosopher, editor & filmmaker whose poems have been widely published in the U.S. and abroad, in such publications as TUCK Magazine, Dissident Voice, Blue Mountain Review & Jerry Jazz Musician & Americans & Others, just to name a few. He is a Poets & Writers Grant recipient & has received several Best of The Net nominations. His debut collection of poems entitled ‘SHE will be published by Poets Wear Prada in the Spring of 2022. He is also editing an African American Anthology entitled “The BLACK PROJECT,” scheduled for release in the Fall of 2022, also published through Poets Wear Prada.                

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Kasturika for taking the time to read my work
      as well as for your feedback; that means a lot to me.

      Peace & Love,
      pRince

      Delete
  2. Hi there, Prince!

    I am si glad to read your clever poetic writings!

    Thanks for sharing such a diversified themes...this is really enriching!!!

    Yours poetically,

    Rita.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dear, Rita, thank you for those kind and endearing comments.
      And I especially thank you for taking the time to read my poems. I truly appreciate you.

      OneLove
      pRince

      Delete
  3. Congrats!! What a great Collection of ur work Prince A McNally!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear, Eliana! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed them. :)

      Delete
  4. wow potent poetic diversity.thank you for sharing
    lightlove blessings cathy my heart hears yours

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I'm so thrilled these poems resonated with you :)

    ReplyDelete

Twelve Haiku Poems by Julie Ann Thomason

  Haiku The day   Dawn New day genesis Luminescent mist shrouds horizon hints light   Sunrise Weak winter sun Painted pall...