Poet Laureate

E. Stanley Richardson


Poetry Readings


Readings of "Century Oak" and "An Elegy for Black Bodies"

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Reading of "Make Me Wanna Holla"
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E. Stanley Richardson, Poet Laureate
Alachua County Poet Laureate, E. Stanley Richardson


Poems

AN ELEGY FOR BLACK BODIES 

1867 - 1924

Truth And Reconciliation.

Alachua County, Florida 

 

 

Your favorite pastime

 

Bonfires and   

backwood 

family gatherings 

beneath

the live oak canopy

sprawling confederate ivy

the smell of sweet magnolia

and

burning flesh 

permeate

our history

 

die hard 

 

die hard your heroes 

the old southern 

maestros

who strummed 

the swinging rope

emittiing

the strange 

familiar sounds 

of the peculiar 

instruments 

played down south

in dixie 

killing us

 

but i wasn't 

there!

 

we were all 

there!

 

just as we are all 

here

bound by our 

systemic

assembled together

not by happenstance or 

accident

but by a divine

power

much greater than ourselves

urging spirits

ghosts of 

bystanders

terrified,

afraid,  quiet, complicit, loud , boastful  

howling 

 

innocent

 

taken

 

dazzled by strangness

enthralled by the spectacle of

dangling black bodies

suspended in

atrocity

blowing in the breeze of

white supremacy

 

you 

revelled in our terror

our inherited 

horror

trauma passed down as gifts 

carved into us

 

you 

took

pieces of us

 

souvenirs

 

you 

took

pieces of us 

 

heirlooms

 

relics of our

comingled existence

 

 

but i wasnt

there!

 

we were all 

there!

 

just as we are all 

here 

 

today 

 

in this place 

at this hour

 

we confess

 

we seek 

a collective

mending

 

we seek

to heal

historical wounds

 

we seek

atonement

 

recompense through our reconning

forgiveness through our efforts

 

we grapple with

deeds 

we struggle with 

words  

 

inadequate language 

 

with each utterance of your name

victims of sanctioned violence 

we 

acknowledge your humanity 

 

taken

 

given

 

we 

honor you with hymns

lifted 

up from the backbone of our 

blues

we 

celebrate you in our mourning

we 

give reverence to your eternal spirits

 

we vow

never 

to repeat such atrocities again

 

you 

who have waited too long for

 us

 

we 

bid you

 

your 

descendants 

 

solace

 

may your souls rest 

in everlasting

peace

 

-          E Stanley Richardson

 

 

CENTURY OAK ___ A Conversation With A Tree

 

As I walked by

 

The Tree 

…. Cried out

 

Why don't you hold me anymore 

Sit beneath my shade

We barely ever talk

Like we once did

 

100 years ago

 

I know 

You blame me

 

For being

 

Deep inside

Us

 

Hidden

In the blind spot of memory

 

All of

Our

Pent up

Pain

 

We

Must Feel

 

I know 

 

You blame me

 

Because,

 

If I 

Had not been

 

They

 Would not have 

 

Dangled 

Your Brother

Your Sister

Your Father

Your Mother

 

....  From my limbs 

 

There would be

No blood 

On my branches

 

I would

 Be 

 

Only brown 

... Like you

 

With green hair 

 

Without tinge

 

With

No hint of red

 On 

My wood 

 

Please forgive me

 

 Had I known

 

If I could

 

... I would have

 

Plucked myself

Up

 

By 

The Root!

 

-          E Stanley Richardson

 

 ​

___ Make Me Wanna Holler

bah dah dee dop!
bop bop bah dah dee dah!
 
make me wanna holler
throw up both my hands
 
make me wanna holler
throw up both my hands
 
 
 
 
mother mother
there are too many of you crying
brother brother brother
there are far too many of you dying
you know 
we
got to find 
a way
 
 
 
my country tis of thee
sweet land
of liberty
of thee
 i
 
i   . .. i  .    i ...   i
 
 
i was thinking
 
if the poet sings
will it make the suffering
more real
 
if i
composed a concerto
instead of a poem
arranged an orchestra
put the pain to music
could you
then
feel
 
the rhythm scream
 
if i
resurrected
 
not 
the son of man
but
marvin gaye,  bo diddley, tom petty
and
we sat in a holy circle 
singing 
willie green's blues 
 
my baby
 ain't got no shoes
or
 
healthcare
 
would you then
dare to care
 
 
      but the poet
 
the poet doesn't 
sing
the poet
poems
 
as did 
the prophets to the kings
 
when covid came
 
when covid came
a plague
marching 
its acapella death song
laid bare our ugly
underbelly
 
rolled us over
 
onto
our exceptional
systemic side
 
showed the world
 
how we live
how we die
how we 
fall 
through
huge gaping holes
that
you consider
cracks
 
showed the world
 
how we live
how we die
 
disproportionate
essential
less privileged
workers
indigenous
black and brown
the other side of town
redlined over eons
stacked
like
tuna 
in a tin
 
unable to escape
death's breath
 
its six feet tentacles
 
when covid came
knocking
at our 
toil and scuffle
 
 
 
 
    /  this ain't
 
living
 
 
 
 
ghosts of the uninsured
gone too soon
to woe 
and dust
haunt us 
from the other side of
soup lines
just below
the poverty
index
 
give us healthcare
      give us healthcare
expand medicaid
 
give us healthcare
if you care
 
     if you care
if you care
 
if you care
 
 
 
 
to have no concept of
terror
the sickening
unknown
what holds tomorrow
today
made all too real
the cost of your child's next meal
weighed against
the price of a
pill
 
to have to choose
is
horror
 
 
 
something heavy
 
something heavy
thick and wicked
this way
wails
 
in the halls of
injustice
 
just outside
the lawmaker's
chamber
 
you severed your soul
to spite 
your neighbor's 
getting
 
righteousness wallows
in 
disbelief
 
citizens 
 
citizens poor
sick 
and dying
petition powers
for 
relief
 
brazen neglect
a life
of 
grief
 
 
 
 
    / this ain't
 
living
 
 
 
 
give us healthcare
 
give us
healthcare
 
expand medicaid
 
render us
aid
 
give us healthcare
if
you
care
 
if you care 
to do 
the human thing
    the good thing
the right
thing
 
empathy  
     decency
 
compassion
is 
all
that is 
required
 
without politics
    without political party partisan
antics
without debate or
hate
     without dispise
peering through
racist eyes
 
though I fear
there in 
lies
 
the rub
_____________________________
 
© E Stanley Richardson  ​

___ The Big Picture

A long way
from Mohawk Valley

A young spirit going back
to the natural world

To nest in a wetland

A creek between
two lakes

A home
to create

To trace human figures on canvas
Capture complex  __  shadows 
The Light
Pouring like
Gold over nature's 
Green

A symphony of hues
In
Open
Air

What it feels like 
To be here
In this
Place

To witness
The angle of
Sunset
Like no other

To discover
Friends worth fighting for

Seventeen Sisters
  __ Sampson Point
Cypress Island
__ Little Hammock
Burnt Island
__ Grassy Point
and
Twenty Brothers

To be
Gifted a glimpse of the coming
Nightmare and
Trauma

What the land must feel when dug into by the uncaring 
Claws of
Commerce

To wonder

What will the shoreline look like in
one hundred 
Years

To see 
The big picture

When reminded
Just how much a dollar costs

A mother
Lion
In her
Den

To defend

A creek between
Two lakes​

___ Fare Thee Well Commissioners

To be
Or not to be

To be
Or not to be

To Hutch
Or not to. Hutch

To Byerly
Or not to. Byerly

These have been
Our questions
For
Many many many many many many many
Years

Tis true

_ Some

A few

Have wondered
Painstakingly pondered
Just what to do
With these
Two
Commissioners

__ Our elected
Petitioners

Of our
Legislative
Good will

Until

Such a day as
Today

Bitter sweet

Shall I
Repeat

Bitter sweet

Bitter bitter bitter
Sweet

To friend and foe
Alike

__ Though
The latter
Bid you
Take
A hike
much sooner

___ I suppose

But
Make no mistake
Be assured
There are
Those

Who
Enthusiastically commend
You

So
__ Commissioners

Fare Thee Well

And
As far as I can tell

The only question
That remains
Is

Now
Who
Will provide
You

Your
Backup
Material?

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