The Pen Bleeds

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

~Albert Camus

Photo Credit:-Photo Credit: www.newsone.com

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on Sunday, June 17, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas to David and Keziah Brooks, the descendants of field slaves. Both of her parents were native to the sunflower state, but eventually migrated to Chicago’s South  Side, where they raised Gwendolyn and her younger brother Raymond.

Her love for poetry stemmed from both parents, who began encouraging their daughter’s creative and intellectual side by having her read and recite poems, at a young age. David Brooks advised his children to use education as a tool to overcome racism, hardships, and other challenges confronted by blacks growing up in the great depression era. No doubt, her parent’s tutelage was influential, priming Gwendolyn for the literary scene, which became a significant part of her life.

At the age of 16, Brooks reached a milestone where her talents became noticed by established Harlem Renaissance writers such as James Johnson and Langston Hughes. Johnson encouraged her to read modern poets to hone her skills and Hughes praised her talents and pushed her to continue writing.  Acting on Johnson’s advice, she began studying authors such as T.S. Elliot, E.E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, and Ezra Pound who all had some type of influence on her creative process.

Receiving the outside endorsement of two prolific writers, and a few teachers, she felt others were beginning to take her work seriously. Brooks began publishing her poetry in the Chicago Defender, a black newspaper, and by the time she turned 19, the paper had published precisely seventy-five of her poems.

Brook’s went on to develop an effectual emotional style of writing, painting a real and jarring picture of the condition of blacks in America.  This was during a time when the “black experience” was foreign to a majority of her audience, which happened to be middle class whites. Writing under the auspices of writers such as T.S. Elliot, in a questioning tone of modernism, placed Gwendolyn ahead of her time and at unique advantage over other poets in her genre. Her work was black in content but traditionally white in style, addressing the lives of everyday African-Americans, the struggles with racism, poverty, black pride, and the exploitation of women.

In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Annie Allen, a masterpiece, which chronicles the journey of an African-American girl growing into adulthood. Throughout her career, Brooks was bestowed with several accolades, over seventy honorary degrees, and awards due to the subject matter acknowledged in her writing. She was able to capture the multifarious linguistic dance of rhyme and meter, with a devotion to consciously create original verse that portrayed challenges and triumphs of blacks through many periods. Her poems breathe life into a race of people at a time where being a minority was perceived as unwelcoming and bleak. On December 3, 2000, at the age of 83, Brooks lost her battle with cancer. As time goes on, I’m sure she will be revered as both activist and writer who had the ability to proactively change the world through her magnificent and expressive work.

Below are a compilation of poems that capture Brook’s spirit through many life experiences and ever-changing perspectives on race issues, pride, class, and gender.  Some poems are gritty and straight forward, while others are simplistic in nature, but nevertheless complex and compelling in thought. I also contribute an original piece inspired by Brooks writing. Thank you for reading The Pen Bleeds.

Do Not Be Afraid of No

Do not be afraid of no,
Who has so very far to go”:

New caution to occur
To one whose inner scream set her to cede, for softer lapping and smooth fur!

Whose esoteric need
Was merely to avoid the nettle, to not bleed.

Stupid, like a street
That beats into a dead end and dies there, with nothing left to reprimand or meet.

And like a candle fixed
Against dismay and countershine of mixed

Wild moon and sun. And like
A flying furniture, or bird with lattice wing; or gaunt thing, a-stammer down a nightmare
neon peopled with condor, hawk and shrike.

To say yes is to die
A lot or a little. The dead wear capably their wry

Enameled emblems. They smell.
But that and that they do not altogether yell is all that we know well.

It is brave to be involved,
To be not fearful to be unresolved.

Her new wish was to smile
When answers took no airships, walked a while.

Gwendolyn Brooks

 Ella

Beauty has a coldness
That keeps you very warm.
“If I run out to see the clouds,
That will be no harm!”

So Ella left her oatmeal
And fleecy coat behind
And ran into the winter
Where there were clouds to find.

Mother-dear went following,
But reprimand was mild.
She knew that clouds taste better than
Oats to a little child.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

John, Who Is Poor

Oh, little children, be good to John!
Who lives so lone and alone.
Whose Mama must hurry to toil all day.
Whose Papa is dead and done.

Give him a berry, boys, when you may.
And, girls, some mint when you can.
And do not ask when his hunger will end,
Nor yet when it began.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

Infirm

Everbody here
Is infirm.
Everybody here is infirm.
Oh. Mend me. Mend me. Lord.

Today I
Say to them
Say to them
Say to them, Lord:
Look! I am beautiful, beautiful with
My wing that is wounded
My eye that is bonded
Or my ear not funded
Or my walk all a-wobble.
I’m enough to be beautiful.

You are
beautiful too.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

To Those Of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals 

Sisters!
I love you.
Because you love you.
Because you are erect.
Because you are also bent.
In season, stern, kind.
Crisp, soft -in season.
And you withhold.
And you extend.
And you Step out.
And you go back.
And you extend again.
Your eyes, loud-soft, with crying and
with smiles,
are older than a million years.
And they are young.
You reach, in season.
You subside, in season.
And ALL
below the rich rough right time of your hair.

You
You have not bought Blondine.
You have not hailed the hot-comb recently.
You never worshiped Marilyn Monroe.
You say: Farrah’s hair is hers.
You have not wanted to be white.
Nor have you testified to adoration of that
State with advertisement of imitation.
(never successful because the hot-comb is laughing too.)
But oh, the rough dark Other, Music!
the Real,
the Right.
The natural Respect of Self and Seal!
Sisters!
Your hair is Celebration in the world!

-Gwendolyn Brooks

to the Diaspora

you did not know you were Afrika

When you set out for Afrika
you did not know you were going.
Because
you did not know you were Afrika.
You did not know the Black continent
that had to be reached
was you.

I could not have told you then that some sun
would come,
somewhere over the road,
would come evoking the diamonds
of you, the Black continent–
somewhere over the road.
You would not have believed my mouth.

When I told you, meeting you somewhere close
to the heat and youth of the road,
liking my loyalty, liking belief,
you smiled and you thanked me but very little believed me.

Here is some sun. Some.
Now off into the places rough to reach.
Though dry, though drowsy, all unwillingly a-wobble,
into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo.
Your work, that was done, to be done to be done to be done.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

The Homeless Condition

To be homeless
Is to roam the streets at night.
In your loneliness, you are beside yourself.
You see things
Through urban eyes.
A taxi is yellow.
A rat is grey.
A working girl is turning tricks.
Unexpectedly the city knows what you know too.
In every dank alley she is there
And there you stand
Braving a bitter reality together.
Freezing winters, hungry nights
She blankets you in corrugated scraps.
A sadness too much to endure.
She hesitates to look you in the eye
Because your pain is too familiar.
When she pretends
You’re not there
Then turns her back
And walks away,
Your crutch breaks,
Under pressure,
An infinite melancholy.
You are the indigent half
Of a contemptible metropolis.
You reminisce on days gone by
Of simple pleasures
Taken for granted.
To eat plenty,
To bathe well,
To sleep comfortably,
And have a home;
Luxuries to the have not’s.
But she still walks
With blinders on.
An intentional dilemma
Of the human condition.
To watch you lie there
On cracked sidewalks
A fixed structure
Wasting away.

K.S. Pratt

© Seven Magazine

June 2013 Issue

Welcome to another exciting, electrifying, eye-popping, mesmerizing edition of Seven Magazine. It is a pleasure to have you stop by. In order to make this a more gratifying experience for you, we have decided to add a table of contents, if you will, to help you navigate through our issue. The theme for this month is Aliens. From real aliens to the aliens that haunt our daily lives, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

The Wanderer, a short story written by Coty Poynter, is guaranteed to take you to places you’ve never been or … ummm … maybe places you never really want to go. Stay tuned for a surprise ending that will definitely knock the air out of your lungs.

Scribe Is An Adjective takes a twist when Coty Poynter types the words. In Uncommon Ground, Coty illustrates that stepping out of the norm is a good thing. What do you think? We welcome feedback in all of our sections, why not start here?

American Jabberjay’s explores a drone policy that doesn’t seem well thought out. A recent speech by President Obama seems torn from a young adult dystopian novel. Do you agree with Ymelda Ramirez‘s take on the explanations from the White House ? What implementations of this new alien  device and policy are you comfortable with?

K.S. Pratt delves into the mind of alien expert Albert Rosales and the world of visual poetry in the new edition of The Pen Bleeds. Check out a variety of poetry pieces that will ignite a firestorm of creativity. Is it art? Is it poetry? What’s your take on visual poetry?

Tiffany creates a wonderful ad campaign to invite foreigners to the United States. When I say foreigners, I mean aliens. Why? Why not? Find out more by checking out Please. . . Come In Peace!

Sit back and enjoy Una Colada Porfavor with Ymelda Ramirez as she invites you to Miami and to explore new languages, with a Sip of Espresso…errr I mean una colada.

David Estes? Yup, we got him! Check out An Alien to Publishing With David Estes and find out what Tiffany learned from this amazing Author. Print out the article and use it as a check list. Definitely some good stuff there. =)

And there you have it folks….the June Issue of Seven Magazine. Is there anything you would like to see that we haven’t covered? Suggestions and submissions are always welcome. Find out more by visiting us here. Thanks for stopping by…. see you in July. =)

© 2013 Seven Magazine

The Pen Bleeds

Welcome to The Pen Bleeds where poetry is more than rhyme, more than reason, more than words flowing with rhythm; it’s a combination of jagged thoughts, feelings, actions, and a unique language opening minds to see the world from a different perspective.

This Months Featured Poet: Dr. Zoë A. Lewis LewisZoeAnn

This month’s feature is an amazing woman! It is a great honor featuring Dr. Zoë A. Lewis a writer who’s passionate words have the ability to melt the core of the coldest hearts. Her inspiration for penning Poetic Penumbra were African, Asian, and Indo-European muses and goddesses known to incite creativity in poets. In addition to that, Dr. Lewis has racked up several degrees and accomplishments, proving, through resilience and perseverance women can accomplish anything. But don’t be intimidated shes quite humble. We posed seven questions to better familiarize our readers about her influential role models and passion for uplifting women.

Q&A with Dr. Zoë A. Lewis

Seven: What is your definition of a strong woman?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: ‘Beautiful woman fights’. My graffiti girl in a favela of Rio De Janeiro says it all.   A strong woman was a young girl that learned how to fight for herself and her beliefs.  All women need to fight prejudice, free their minds and then keep themselves free from being enslaved by what others around her believe a woman should be, in any society.  A young woman creates her unique sense of ‘self worth’. Her self-confidence and inner beauty grace the world because she is strong enough to be gentle; she can give her love freely without fear.   

Seven: Who are your heroines and how have they impacted your life?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: How about my ‘favorite’ heroines because there are too many!

Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, legends of the modern dance movement. I studied dance for years and dreamed once to be a professional dancer. These women were emblematic of freedom and breaking traditions in art, and dance like all things, becomes conventional once its established.  They were leaders in their day because they found a way to capture our emotions with dance movements that were liberated from tradition. Lead, don’t follow was what I captured.

Rosa Parks, Human rights activist.  I grew up during a time of protests and civil unrest – the Vietnam War was on TV every night, and race riots were happening too. Those older than me were protesting in the streets, often with violence. This gentle woman’s nonviolent defiance showed me everyone could challenge the system when it was wrong. I was 13 when I  rode on one of those first desegregated school buses and went to an integrated high school outside of Philadelphia.  Parks’ efforts were relevant to my worldview, teaching me stand up and be heard.

Emilie du Châtelet, French mathematician and physicist  from 1700’s. I didn’t have one female professor in a hard science or mathematics in my undergraduate courses or in medical school in Italy.  I wanted a mentor that was also hot!  This lady was not only brilliant, (she corrected a theory of Newton on kinetic energy), she convinced men to accept her into their intellectual circle when virtually women had none such freedoms. Voltaire, one of her many lovers, declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of Prussia that du Châtelet was “a great man whose only fault was being a woman.”  I reckoned like her, it was totally awesome to be smart and sexy and enjoy my woman’s body and mind, no need to be just one of the boys.

Sophia Loren – I lived in Rome, Italy for over ten years, Italian is my language of love.   Sophia Loren’s characters in her films inspired me when I was an ingénue in my twenties to focus on what counts as I became a woman. I wanted to be like her as a mother, lover, wife, friend, comedian, confidant, spaghetti-cooking temptress. But of course, for me, I wanted to be all of  them at once – an Italian multiple personality sex symbol –  and  a serious medical student. It was really fun trying.

Seven: What type of literature, influences, or experiences drives you to create written word?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I was plastered in books most of my life because books grew my imagination and grew my knowledge.  I started to write for others by the time I was in high school, jamming out essays on the floor of the girls bathroom for kids who hadn’t done their assignments, after I’d bartered for something. I simply loved to read and write using my imagination. The force behind writing my Alzheimer’s books came after I was incredibly moved by the loss of an individual with dementia. I wanted to help caregivers, so shared what I knew. That project was a labor of love and compassion. Crazy abandoned love makes us all poets under its influence, whether we write or not – in love, we are all poets.

Seven: Can you share with our readers a time where you called upon your inner strength to encourage and inspire someone?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: When I go to work,  each day I start out, I call upon myself to give up wisdom, skills, and bend my ego towards the needs of my patient. I try to encourage every one of them towards health. Often I take care of drug addicts, shackled criminals, homeless folks, people who are sick that break others around them and break themselves.  I look past whoever they are, whatever they have done and try to be present and in the presence of the individual that is in front of me.  I try to inspire them with the reality that love does exist, caring people do exist. I teach that self love starts each of us on the path to our own healing.

Seven: You channeled numerous female goddesses for inspiration to write Poetic Penumbra. What methods or rituals do you use to tap into your creative goddess?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I don’t have any rituals but I practice yoga and work on getting myself still and open to feel beyond what I can see. Of course making love, while being in love, is the greatest way to tap into my creative space, and the poets through time know this. The poetry collection was unusual because I was semiconscious, half asleep when I wrote it. Around 4 am I kept waking up with these words in my head, I just had to write them down. Seemed to me at the time , the energy of  muses, goddesses in spirit were present guiding my imaginative experiences. Love and the art of lovemaking, tapping into ones sensuality, creativity, never seemed more enchanted. I surrendered and let the feelings pour in  and was suddenly able to write without thinking. I blossomed like a big fat peony and exploded pollen poetry.

Seven: What in your life has bought you or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: Helping patients to die peacefully.  I did hospice work for many years and of course still do when the need arises.  To know you helped someone by easing their pain, any kind of pain, and then guide them and their loved ones, as far as any of  us can offer guidance up to the  moment we ‘cross over’- a nice euphemism for dying – is just beyond words.  To be filled with compassion  and see a final peace and love overcome them, see it in their eyes, that is the greatest gift I’ve been given.

Seven: Women’s roles in the community have drastically transitioned over the past forty years. How have these changes affected you? How can we improve upon those changes to create a better society?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I am fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of giants that came before me.  My mother did not have the opportunities that I did, her generation and her mother’s before her were  removing obstacles for women.  I am blessed to be exquisitely, unapologetically, unequivocally my own person, able to determine my own path. But we have a lot of work to do if women are still kept from a basic education,  sold like animals into slavery, and female infanticide prevents her born life  in many parts of the world still today. These are current horrors.  We can be the giants for the next generation and mentor other girls to do the same: break rules, break traditions, become self-aware and free their minds from anyone who dictates what a girl or woman should be. We need to teach by example, be what you want to be and fight for it.

Zoë Ann Lewis, MD, FACP   is a nationally recognized Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine physician, speaker, published author, travel writer, photographer, poet, radio show host and healthcare education activist.

She has an undergraduate degree in Biology with departmental honors from Temple University in Philadelphia. She got her medical degree, summa cum laude, from the Università degli Studi di Roma -La Sapienza  Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia.  Her graduate doctoral thesis research on melanoma was published in 1993, Oncology.  She completed  her medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital. She won a post graduate scholarship for research on parasites at the Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand 1994. She was elected to the honorary society of American College of Physicians as a Fellow, FACP. She has other numerous awards and medical publications.

She’s an acclaimed speaker on hospice issues, and received national recognition from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for her leadership role in the development of new programs for hospice care and end stage dementia patients.  She produces and hosts the  30 minute  radio program,  ‘Hope Through Knowledge Radio for Caregivers’ on blog talk radio, guests from the NHPCO, AARP, national aging and elder care organizations, and award winning authors.  She has presented at the National Council on Aging, American Society on Aging and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as a faculty speaker.

She is the author of three books.:  “I hope they know….The Essential Handbook of Alzheimer’s Disease and Care, ” a listed resource with the National Alzheimer’s Association,  and the Spanish translation, “La  Guía Holística para la Enfermedad de Alzheimer”, and Poetic Penumbra.

Her websites, zoealewis.com  and hopethroughknowledge.org, are sites  dedicated to “Hope Through Knowledge,” promoting physician and community education on Alzheimer’s disease and end-of-life care.

Dr. Zoë has 16 years of experience as an internist and hospitalist. She was the Corporate Medical Doctor for Beacon Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc.,(the largest hospice in New England and  she is one of the first certified HPM specialists in the country.)

She held academic positions as Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard School of Medicine, Tufts University Medical School, and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Currently she  holds three state licenses: Massachusetts, Florida and Pennsylvania and is an independent contractor hospitalist physician and hospice consultant. When not working, she lives in Miami Beach and travels, and produces and hosts her radio shows. She’s been to  45 countries and now writes and photographs her travel experiences for the internet magazine, Travel Curious Often.

For more information on Dr. Zoë A. Lewis please visit:

Website: zoealewis.com

Twitter: twitter.com/zoeannlewis

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Hope-Through-Knowledge-with-Zoë-A-Lewis-MD-Talk-Radio-for-Caregivers/191572204199518

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/hopethroughknowledge

Blog Talk Radio: blogtalkradio.com/hopethroughknowledge

Books

1. Poetic Penumbra

Itunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/zoe-a.-lewis/id521169283?mt=11 

Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/shop/zo%C3%AB-a-lewis/poetic-penumbra/paperback/product-2846354.html

2. I Hope They Know- The Essential Handbook of Alzheimer’s Disease and Care

VBW:http://www.virtualbookworm.com/bookstore/product/I_hope_they_know.html

A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably different.  ~ Melinda Gates

Welcome to our women’s issue!  Seven is celebrating inspirational women across the globe who contributes positively to society in some way, shape, or form.  Who are your female role models? What is your definition of a strong woman?

Women represent a vast majority of the world’s population, and yet are the most underserved, impoverished, and uneducated in comparison to men. Partly, this is because of gender inequality and poverty which marginalizes women as a whole. But when women armored with the essential tools to compete in a male driven society, where odds are stacked against them before conception, they blossom.

This month The Pen Bleeds features the artistic stylings of Dr. Zoe A. Lewis, Shashi Moore, Jill Scott and Maya Angelou, all positive women who inspire others to use their voice and be comfortable in the skin they’re in. See how their verses flow below, and be inspired to pen a piece of your own!


poetic

Untitled 

Why fear confrontation,
if once for love we died?
We ably massacred our enemies,
blood mingled side by side.
No strangers to our glorious past,
no shadows left to fear.
Steady onward towards our future,
rebirth through love is near.
We’ve found each other once again,
but still I’d like to know,
if love finds life eternal each birth,
why souls are want to go?

-by Dr. Zoe A. Lewis

 Essence of a woman

Heavenly beauty of divine handiwork

Preordained with chic elegance

Delicate mingling of strength and poise

Adorned with virtues of inestimable value

Covert, hidden display of aptitudes

Archetypal, classic

Placed on earth to stand beside her

Complement gent

Cherished and charmed

No aorta of abuse should befall

The creation of God

-by Shashi Moore

Tree Like She (for Grandmothers Everywhere)

How many times have you heard the infant cry?

How many leaves have you lost to fall?

How many secrets held?

How often, the dead weight of castrated boys on your arm?

How many younglings lost in the name of lesson?

How many generations?

Fire from fire

Storm from storm have you stood with your feet clinging

And your bones crying for lie down?

How many poets rest their backs against your frame?

Tree How many danced when the wind blew

Or the water tumbled

Or the sun looked and the snow painted?

How many names carved in your heart?

How many lovers rock sweet and right under your blessed shade?

How many moons?

How many knives?

How many destinies have you seen get wet?

And yet you are constant

painstakingly healing and swelling from your greater providence

You have seen the earth green and fresh

Turn to synthetic

Yet you grow

Through fences

Through the concrete

Through wire

Through rapid obliviousness

Through hared swept in neat piles

I watch you sway in the October breeze

and am

up

lifted

everytime

-by Jill Scott

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

-by Maya Angelou

© 2013 Seven Magazine