Poem by Brenardo
Sustainability is the ability to stay strong
To keep generations’ moving on
But literally and figuratively there have been storms
Fires, floods that have ravaged lands
And when we know the causes
How can there be these great pauses of profit over margins
Should we wait til all are starving
We have to stop
Sustaining the need to change the pain brought on by drain
Straining to survive with what remains
Claiming what we can from land abused
Drought over land
Bought over objections of protection
By corporations with core objectives to take and take without limitations
To proliferate profits without the slightest indication to sustainability
Fill the coffers, meet the proffers to investors and move on
Though raining hard
Yet yard refuses yield
Like headstones in a fruitless field
Reflecting death, from those who’ve left
But messages were left behind
Remember to respect the time the things contained
The way things change, while staying the same
These ways Sustaining must be explained, must be learned
That paths of wrath may thus be turned
That for our children earth remains
Brenardo aka Andre’ B. Taylor, is a native Washingtonian poet and songwriter. He has been writing for over five decades on all matters of life. His written words have been featured in countless newspapers, magazines, and poetry anthologies, and he is a veteran of stage, radio, and television, who believes in being of service to the word which graces him to help others.
Poem by Luther Jett
When my mother packed
my lunch, she wrapped a slice
of gingerbread in wax
paper and the upper crust
stuck to the wrapper when
I peeled it open, so I set
the greasy paper aside,
and meant to throw it out,
but that Malony girl,
whose dress was always stained,
snatched it from my desk
and licked the crust off the waxed
paper, all the while beaming
with delight the way an epicure
might grin to avail herself
of a fine morel paté.
Her family lived in a rundown
farmhouse behind the cemetery,
all the paint worn off the clapboards.
How many siblings she had no-one
could count, and because
I didn’t understand, I told my father
how that girl took my trash to eat,
and wrinkled my nose in disgust.
But my father, who had been
to Calcutta during the last war
and seen people sleeping in the streets,
only sighed and said softly:
“You must have compassion.”
I still didn’t understand,
but I wanted to be a good son,
and now I wonder what
became of all the Malonys,
and if that girl grew past her hunger,
if she ever tasted anything sweeter
than my mother’s gingerbread crust,
and if one day she got to wear
a dress without a stain.
Here is the link to the video on You Tube:
W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals as well as several anthologies. He is the author of four poetry chapbooks: “Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father”, (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and “Our Situation”, (Prolific Press, 2018), “Everyone Disappears” (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and, “Little Wars” (Kelsay Books, 2021).
Poem by Gabby Gilliam
When Schools are Soup Kitchens
She doesn’t raise her hand
when the teacher asks
who wants to order
the free snack/supper
even though she knows
she will go hungry.
No one else raises their hand.
He shrugs and tells his friends
he isn’t hungry, covers
his growling stomach with laughter
because he’d rather starve
than his classmates discover
his lunch account is empty
again. Dining with dignity
impossible when nothing
at school is anonymous.
Her teacher slips
bags of chips into her desk
while they are in P.E.
so her classmates won’t see.
The counselor fills
his backpack with boxes
of mac and cheese
and cans of beans
a bag of rice
so he won’t go hungry
over the long weekend.
on the gaping wound
of their hunger.
Click on the file below to listen to Gabby read the poem:
Gabby Gilliam lives in the DC metro area, more specifically Montgomery County, Maryland. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming from, The Chesapeake Reader, The Fredericksburg Literary Arts Review, and Tofu Ink Arts Press. Her short fiction will appear in a forthcoming anthology from Black Hare Press.
Hunger-focused Poems by Maryland Poets
Creation of this section and publishing the works of Maryland poets was supported by the Maryland State Arts Council.