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Billye Okera

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Savannah Street Memory
by Billye Okera

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Rated "PG" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Billye Okera
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           >> View all 17

A memory of abuse, and spiritual confusion.


I am a long way from Savannah Street
I am a long way from the boys at Douglas Dwellings
The streets from Parklands to Ballou
The walls of St Elizabeth’s juxtaposed between
And all the mean years since
All the tears in the stairwells of Congress Heights
Night- smells and sounds of Sarah Vaughn
n ‘summer and smoke.My mama broke
The pink slip on the door
And men pretending friendships -
Creeping, thinking you asleep
But you never are,
For the stars in the sky are falling
And the moon is turning red
And your bed has known a stranger.
I am a long way from Savannah Street,
Rehoboth, and the bishops’ flowing robes
Holy Rollers, holier than thou
Now being the acceptable time
For repentance and shame
But, can you name the sin
Of hemming in the rage
Of a child in the isles
Mumbling in an unknown tongue
The hum of whispers in her ear
To say nothing to no one
Be nothing to no one
Take everything from everyone
While the stars in the sky are falling
And the moon is turning red
And your bed has known a stranger
I am a long way from Savannah Street
Walking pass the class of ‘sixty-eight’
Now faded into middle age faces
Calling on forgotten graces as we peer
Headlong into the night that came so fast
So soon past our mooning
And swooning behind bleachers
And tough teachers telling us how to overcome
When we were just trying to live another day
And not play hide-n-seek and peek-a- boo
With wino-men who held my mother
And bled her and led her down the path
While the stars in the sky were falling
And the moon turning red
And your bed has known a stranger.
I am a long way from Alabama avenue
Highs’ Store and Jumbo Market
The 94 bus on Stanton Road shaking
The walls of Parklands.
There was danger behind those walls
Bruises masked in makeup madness
Lies lingering in longing for my father -
The futile fable that another would come:
The bastard hope of a child crying for rescue
Watching the sky falling
And the moon turning red
And your bed has known a stranger.

Really…it wasn’t so bad! Not really!
Not Masada
Or Middle Passage,
Or the Inquisition
Or Strange Fruit
Or Hitler in forty-five
Or The Sudan
Or Rwanda and Female Mutilation
Or AIDS in South Africa
Or Iraq
Or Nine-Eleven
Or Katrina even
It just…that the stars kept falling
And the moon kept turning red
And your bed knew only strangers, that was all
As I waited for God – to hear His call
But who never did.
Billye Okera

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Reviewed by Miller Caldwell 10/3/2012
one of the best poems I've read in a while.
Reviewed by La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart 8/3/2012
Deep and inspring to soul searching. You wrote this from the pain in your soul and it touches mine.
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 7/25/2012
You touched my heart with this one. Your honesty, openness and raw memories of a place I've never known which you have shown. The atrocity of your youth is no less diminished by the list you have offered.

God is the sham of the unholy man. It looks like you got out by yourself. I think an autobiography of those times would be in order. I'd read it.

Reviewed by J. Joy Matthews Alford - Sistah Joy 7/25/2012
How can pain be written so beautifully? Blessings to you, Billye, ...always.
Reviewed by Keith Rowley 7/25/2012
Breathtaking, tinged with the infinite sadness of a child's reality that becomes an adult's waking nightmare. This is a beautiful voice for those who have none of their own left to voice a cry.
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