Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lessons from a Mockingbird

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee


I’ve stripped to my bones

to try and feel the weight

of another’s skin, crawled

out of my own thinking

to explore foreign thoughts

alien to the landscape I’ve

made my home.


In the brine of history

my spirit burns with the scars

of those shackled to prejudice.

The walk of chains allows only

as much freedom as the length

inhuman allows it to roam.


In the everything repeated nothing learned

anger blooms from the same well-tended root

of hate’s tree never pruned.


I walk the cliff edge of hymns where

the slave song is now a chant,

“No Justice No peace.”


In a savage shaking I awaken in my privilege,

look down at my skin, and know nothing

will change if I remain content to live

in my city of silence.


©Susie Clevenger 2020

The Wednesday Prompt ~ Word Crafters

Saturday, July 18, 2020

From the Eye of the Moon

We thought we could own moonlight, 

steal stars from Asteria’s palm, and brag 

conqueror in bloated chest bumps of human privilege. 

In our tunnel vision we couldn’t see 

the cat’s eye moon stalk us with 

bared claws reaching for the very breath 

we had bottled in our lungs. 

There is no fool like the one who owns stock in oblivion, 

an empty nirvana where men play gods and trust 

their footprints will lead to dominion. 

A mere toy in our sky litter the feline 

sniffs our defeat in the tomorrow 

we are so careless to trust we will quell.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Eyes of Ink

Image: Antonio Mora

My mind is an open window,

a free-thinking view of the eye’s appetite

for images translated through ink stained imagination. 

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Inspired by poetry prompt @ WordCrafters

Friday, June 26, 2020

Dreamless Moon

The air is thick with empty.

Windowpanes wink with passing cars,
but no one stops to read my lips anymore.

I live in a burnt candle moon 
where arms atrophy 
from the loss of touch.

I’m words on a screen, a photograph, 
a video wading through pretend trying
to trust I’ll reach flesh and blood.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Wolf Howls in Red

I screamed into the wind,

“Give me your worst,

 bits of hell

purchased with a liar’s tongue.

The storm is always with me

even when the moon

tangles my hair with dreams.”

 I was born in the womb

of a dead valentine,

a loveless lullaby hummed

through the throat of delirium. 


Today is another matchstick

on the bonfire I breathe,

the scar chasing me with

its knife I won’t let cut me.


I will be strong even if I fall.

Every weakness in me will find

its shaman to pulse my spirit

with survival.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2020

I was inspired by the image and a thunderstorm. 

The Sunday Muse #113

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Not for Sale

My eyes aren’t servants

of diamonds nor does

my hand owe allegiance

to glitter.


If you wish to capture my heart,

pour your soul into charity.


I’m not a mannequin

to be gilded with your arrogance.  

©Susie Clevenger 2020 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Prejudiced Tunnel of Dead Ears

Swallow your wings…
forget the madness of freedom…
the sky will never remember your name.

In the prejudiced tunnel of dead ears
cries for justice are smothered
in the throat press of violence.

We shall overcome sings in tattered notes
as history repeats, and anger lights another match.

How will this end? How will this end when
white is the darkness that measures a soul’s
value by the color of skin.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Inspired by a Word Crafters Writing Group