Saturday, September 18, 2010

You will find 4 poems that are specifically influenced by my careful navigation of being bi-racial (half Middle Eastern & half Black); “Confessions?,” “Beauty Is Fair,” “Statement Of,” and “Caught.” Additionally, you will find one more poem of interest, “I didn’t say what you wanted.”

I have enclosed all poems in the body of the email (see below signature) as well as pdf attachments. If you are able to view the pdfs, that would be best. I understand that some of my poems ideally have unique space requirements, and if any of them are chosen I would be happy to work with the editor in charge of uploading the content to help ease the burden of laying it out properly or coming to a compromise on how it can be laid out more simply.

Short Bio:
S. Mojdeh Stoakley, is a 4x award winning bi-racial American-born writer, performer & interdisciplinary artist. Her work is about the intersections of race, trauma, and social stigma. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her audio and poetic works have been exhibited internationally in Tokyo, Berlin, and New York amongst other places, and is the founder of, The Mojdeh Project, Radiant Devices, and Lethal Poetry Inc.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Mojdeh




CONFESSIONS?
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


I should
be quite keen on color coordination
Bold footwear should be on my list of important accessories
But diamond studded bling should be most important

My clothing
worn by a white person should be seen as no less hip hop
Should I stray from the hip hop image
it should only be to wear the threads of tribal Africa

I should bend over
laughing every time Chris Rock tells a joke
My number one roll model should be Oprah Winfrey

My survival as an artist
is dependent upon the Afro-American population

Growing up
in a white community
should have no effect on my black character
Despite my heritage, I should hold black power to be most important

I should own up
to the fact that I am only offered opportunities
because I am a light skinned African-American
I should not
seek an education when there are plenty
of custodial and food service jobs offered as a means of honest work

When I write poetry
I should write in hopes of becoming the next big hip hop queen
I should be most fluent in Ebonics
I should be able to offer
the names of the top artists on the BET

You will become blacker by spending time with me
You should worry that my blackness is contagious

I should be aware
that it is my people that takes advantage of the welfare system
It is perfectly acceptable for me to have two, maybe three children out of wedlock

I should accept the word Nigger
as a term of endearment or empowerment

Gospels should have been my first encounter with music

My poetry read by a white person
should be awkward
because they would lack
the profound genetic tendencies towards rhythm

I should not take offense if someone assumes I know drug dealers
Even I
should be cautious of black men roaming the streets past eight o'clock

It should be most important
that people recognize my skin tone
so that they may properly apply their knowledge
of the black experience to everything that I say



Beauty is fair
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


I’m tan. No
Caramel, brown

She said, I should protect
my skin.

Because it’s the most beautiful
thing that I stand in

She said it
like a double-edged sword. She said,
I should be proud

I’m mulatto. No
Mixed
Light, sometimes

My pride should swell
As my features would glow
amongst a crowd of dark creatures

She said, I should be proud
of my heritage
But what she was really saying
Is that I should be proud of hers

Fair? No
Neither, both

It wasn’t her ignorance
speaking but I finally heard the hurt
in her voice

And part of me
wants to let her be

And let her believe

that my beauty is
because of her

That beauty is fair


Statement Of
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


i feel hurt
i feel that now
there's nowhere to escape
judgment and norms
expectations
and
my form so I was born

because i make
my choices

and i let other things dissipate
and i will continue to move
my mind
my form
forward
anticipation
to deviate

i will continue to
take the kink
out of the nappy
out of the curls
because no matter
what i do

what i choose

of comfort
it becomes my
statement of


Caught
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley 2007


I walk right in
to these expectations
But I’m always caught
unprepared, unready

bemused, and

you tell me not to read too much into this
but those words speak so much truth

I always walk right in
to these expectations
But I’m always caught
un prepared, unready
bemused
I’m always caught

flatfooted, unwilling
ill predicted, and you

you tell me not to read too much in
to this

But
when all I hear are judgments I’m confused

I always walk right into these expectations, but

I’m always caught, unprepared
unready, bemused

I’m always caught
flatfooted unwilling, ill predicted
I’m always caught
grudging, resistant, and tired
bone-tired
and weak, weak enough to
almost give up this fight and you
you’ll tell me not to read too much into this, but

when you’re already comparing me
without ever
really looking
me over to make comparisons I feel
weakened
and I shouldn’t feel that way, but
I do. and
I’m caught
I’m caught
walking right in



I didn’t say what you wanted
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley



She sings to herself when no ones looking
Full conversations while she walks alone
Some would brand her,
but THIS is her way of telling

Healing comes so painfully
And it chills to the bone
Won't anyone get close to me
I'm damaged, as I'm sure you know

She has conversations with you
of course you’re not there or listening
But this is the closest she gets to telling
She practices with you
with everyone she hopes to feel safe with

It’s only for my soul - To undo this fear and…

She was just another child and he was stronger
And she wants to tell you but instead
she’s sabotages her cover stories
So that hopefully
you will know. hopefully
you will wonder

I'm scared and I'm alone
I'm shamed and I need for you to know
I’m here but I’m fading
I’m here but nothing seems real

She is beckoning you to ask – but you don’t

I didn't say all the things that I wanted to say
And you can't take back what you've taken away
Cause I feel you, I feel you near me

She whispers when no ones looking
She even has quiet conversations – with him – he’s not there
But she hopes his ears are burning

I didn’t say what you wanted, but you’ll take it anyway


[Some text in "I didn't say what you wanted" appropriated from “Damaged” by Plumb]
Saturday’s Swagger


It was an early night –

1:00 AM early.

Police passed by,

For the bigger problems,

And the clubs roared

A little louder than usual,

While I danced,

And danced,

The Saturday night stumble –

To the left,

To the right

And twice back

Destination -

Home.

I continued,

To tripped,

Or ripped,

To have a friend,

A little lonely,

But feeling a little famous

All the same

And all the while.

I strode with swagger,

Head held a little higher

Than usual

Made my way home,

Slept,

And started over

Tomorrow,

Or was it the day

After,

Sleep can be such a nimble little

Beast,

When it wants to be.

Good thing a

Cold beer’s

Always

Just around the corner.


Imperialism


I’m drinking their

Beer,

But I don’t feel bad.

I feel –

Patriotic.



I’m greedy,

I’m entitled,

I’m self-indulgent,

I’m an American,

I feel none of the above,

I feel it all,

And I’m numb,

But still

Smiling.



I squeak out some

Laughter,

When I embrace a new

Family

And sweat an

“Ineligible” one

Of sorts

Out.



Oddly enough,

I don’t deserve this –

The beer

And the laughter,

As my countrymen celebrate –

Not with “them,”

But

For the cheap goods they

Provide.



I laugh even harder,

Choking back the tears of

Assumed exploitation,

Correctly assumed

With an added

Inept aggression

Against others.



I cackle to a

Sudden stop

After my eyes spy the

Bride

I go home with.



I take and

Take,

And take her

Home.

I study,

I assimilate

And allow

Assimilation.

“Assimilation,”

Being a Euphemism for

“Conquest.”



Somehow hybrid

And somewhat

Unoriginal,

Where does that leave us

Now?

Torn,

Wholly

Symbiotic,

Or building the world

That deep down

We always dreamt of?



On the other hand,

And there’s always another

“Hand,”

Are we the tyrants that’ll

Strip clothes

And later strip-mine

Souls,

All in the name of

Manifest Destiny

Underneath the flags of

Corporatism,

Fortune

And the Fatherland?

I’m an American after all.



Outside in and Introverted



The bass annoys neighbors,

But occupies

And entertains me,

As I write,

With red wine,

And smoky ink.



My cigarettes,

Now smolder in the carpet.

As the song continues into the

Night

I stop

To spy a pounding,

From my heart,

From the city,

And from my door.



I choose to ignore

It all,

But most importantly

The pounding at the door –

My landlord,

Who demands silence

During the wee hours of the

Night,

A joke

And the rent.



I could provide one,

Of the three –

The joke,

Just by answering the knock,

But choose my safety

Within the noise,

My noise,

And solitude of existence,

My existence.



I snore

While awake,

Bored with the premise,

Of company,

More aptly described as

Lechery

And the loss of honesty

Intrinsic to “people.”

I continue in avoidance of the

Pounding.



I guess

I could try to be happy

Within the annoyance of

Camaraderie.

But the butterflies

Would soon float,

From the mouths

Of the others,

Simple promises into the

Flowers

That are my ears,

Pollinating,

Procreating,

And making something

New,

And something unwanted,

At least for the time being.



When my sentence ended,

And finish line seemed even

Further away,

I was

Sorrowed by the thought,

Of another lost poem,

Lost moment,

And new friend –

Another knock at the door,

A robbery more vicious

Than any dealt by the

Unwelcomed thief.



Call me an

Introvert,

Or call me

Lonely.

I’m only seeking my kind of

Quiet,

If only for a moment.

Let me have this one

Night

To myself,

Alone

With my pen and paper.


Leaves, Ash, Snow and Flowers


“It’s”

A sinking feeling,

A drowning touch

And somehow above the

Cold water’s

Surface.



I’m loosing my taste,

But can still smell hell,

While my eyes show the world,

They show “it,”

Or me,

What?

I’m not quite sure

Yet.



Reluctantly,

My heart sees the truth.

I’m losing,

And I’ve lost,

But why does it feel so good

To be the

Loser?



The sunny days laugh,

Few and far between,

Where the clouds cover,

And even the stars seem gone.



When I sleep,

I’m back…way back,

With what I try to forget,

But need to carry on.



Waking,

Walking,

Talking,

Touching,

Loving,

And dying,

This is my winter,

Where my friends have

Already

Fallen as autumn leaves,

And I’m left to carry the ashes

In our snow.



I’ll keep my eyes open

For the –

Flowers.

I’ll welcome you all

Home,

When I see the first colors

And fresh breath of

Spring,

Please..?



I think his name was Random


I arrive to talk,

And make an attempt to explain –

Time travel,

Physics,

And my latest poem,

Somehow catching

And for a moment

Capturing

Who I was prior to

Pain and Prose.



That was him,

And not me “now,”

The “I” –

That can stand before you,

Albeit swaying,

Ten drinks later,

Pad in hand and

Pen in ear.



It’s him

I try so hard to bring back,

But not for you.

It’s for selfish old

Me,

Who sometimes longs for

Sobriety and

Reason

As compared to this

Chaos and drink.



You later laugh,

½ Relieved and

½ Bewildered

When I mention,

That pissing on ice,

Reminds me of love,

Confetti

And corpses left to the

Sun,

Because random’s –

What I am,

And poetry’s the byproduct.



After two years,

And an off-and-on

You,

I’m no longer allowed to

Remember “him” any more.

I heed your wish,

Placing a pillow over his

Face and for good,

A cold-bodied kind of

Good,

Against my better judgment

Perhaps.



Truth be told –

I cried,

To a certain degree,

When I left him behind.

Destroyed,

But not entirely.

Lucky for me,

Figments surfaced like the

Life-preservers of those

Who could hold on

No longer,

Eternal.



And when I blamed you,

For the almost-total loss of “Me,”

Him,

And not "I,"

Goody-goody me,

My good grades,

And wholesome lifestyle,

I was right to,

Though you remained a

Simple accessory.



All intrusions aside,

Reality became –

Wild nights,

Poetry and the girl

I brought home

Once again.

All illusions aside,

It was me

And never you.



“The man with many names.” (My Biography) -

I was born “Christopher Hanson” in Minnesota; Born in the same hospital as Bob Dylan, not that it matters. I remember very little from this snowbound world having actually grown up in California where I picked up the nick-name, “Cloud,” I don’t know why, simply, “Cloud.” While in good old San Fran, I made nice with some fellows and females of Japanese decent. I picked up a sword, I learned to eat sushi and wander in between the realms of Aikido, Iaido and Zen. They dubbed me “Kazuki.” All aside and all names following me into college, I studied for five years at the University of Wisconsin and graduated with degrees in both Criminal Justice (to bust-up a broken system) and Anthropology – I love people, what can I say? During year five of college, I’d acquire my latest addition, “Yang Yun,” my Chinese name. The name basically translates to, “a tree in the cloud.” This was the name given to me by my wife, the love of my life that I met while studying abroad in China. Since my graduation in 2008, I’ve lived in China for nearly two years as a teacher and within this last year, have finally made it back to the states, wife and all. It’s been a wild ride and something tells me that it’s just begun. As for my “writing” and my “art,” it’s a time-honored tradition and way of life – at least for me.



Thank you for your time and consideration. I truly hope you enjoy.



Best Regards,

Christopher Hanson
Walking Down Frat Row
(By Walter Beck)

So all these bros and hipsters were staring
At this weird, long-haired, barefoot thing
Ambling down their street;
With a Dunhill cigarette hanging from his lip
And strange incantations muttered
Of Two-Headed Dogs
And Lazarus Digging himself back in the Cave
That came out of the pocket of his loud gonzo shirt.
A fleshed out legacy of the Doctor’s words;
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”


A Fire Poet’s Lament
(By Walter Beck)

Reduced to hashing out
Press releases and promos;
The red flame don’t need no poets
To keep her fire burning.


The Dust of Many Moons
(By Walter Beck)

She tells me the dust of the moons knows my name and their hands squeeze my chest as dirt hardens and cakes around my pale leather soles.

She tells me the dust of the moons knows my name and I speak to them as the ash blows from the reed and clay.

She tells me the dust of the moons knows my name and they speak to me as I take a hit and fall in the mud, hearing the words in my head, “à tout le monde, à tous mes amis, je vous aime, je dois partir”.*

*Taken from the chorus of the Megadeth song "A Tout Le Monde"


Neon Sign Blues
(By Walter Beck)

He drinks his Pink Gin
With an Olive garnish;
As I sip an Iron City
And look down
At my dirty natural leather.



Walter Beck is from Avon, IN and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. He has become a mainstay in the Terre Haute poetry scene for his intense performances. His work has appeared in the ISU Tonic, the Vincennes University Tecumseh Review, subTerreanean, Camp Chase Gazette, Paradigm Journal and most recently, Burner Magazine.