Sheila is a long-time member and past board member of FRWRC. She was the first chairman of our Spotlight on Women, our annual event honoring local women for their contributions to the community and was a long time reviewer of our monthly book donations to Samuels Public Library. In addition to all these things she is a gourmet cook who has fed and continues to feed us all in both food and spirit. As a poet and gifted writer, Sheila speaks directly to our hearts. She is an inspiration. Thank you Sheila!
I HAVE TO WIPE THE CRYING FROM MY EYES
by Sheila Lamonz, June 2020
I HAVE TO WIPE THE CRYING FROM MY EYES
It was a crisp morning, brightly emboldened by cypress and oak.
Her feet touched this soil for the first time, this land of freedom.
But, for Angela, it was the antithesis,
Captured, bruised, driven from solace,
The taste of sweetness lingering on her lips no more.
A reality of enslavement ripping through her chest,
Encapsulating fear, despair, an uncompromising death.
The cadence of life surged forth, while gaining strength of body, heart, spirit,
Never yielding to the crack of the whip or the wailing of forced entry.
This Angolan treasure persevered and rose up from the depths,
The pride and dignity embodied at youth embellishing
Then, on a crisp morning, draped by cypress and oak,
She surrendered to the land, now free,
Never to wipe the crying from her eyes again.
…..1955, Mississippi; Buffalo, NY
He was a mere child of fourteen,
A northern boy of color, cocky, carefree.
Thrust into the murky waters where Crow was supreme.
Voices of hatred, ignorance
Gathered him up
Eviscerating the body, desecrating the soul.
Hence, a mother who literally exposed this outrage to the world,
Would be forever stained with the crying from her eyes.
Young, away from home for the first time...naive, dark-hued,
A freshman in college living a dream as the second in line,
Sent off with pride and an innate sense of integrity.
Luncheon with friends at a Woolworth counter
All served but one.
She did not understand but they did, her white cohorts.
They took her by the arm, lifted her up,
With a spirit of humanity she would never forget.
En masse, they shed that place,
Harnessed with a hope that would reign forever,
And a comfort to the tears in her eyes.
…..1999 to the present
Bronx, NY: Forty-one shots rang through the air,
Nineteen met their mark.
Dark uniforms surrounded the stilled target,
Diallo, Guinean, one more lost.
DONTRE JOHN EZELL ERIC MICHAEL TANISHA AKAI TAMIR JERAME ALMAUD
and, now, GEORGE.
A few among scores.
Some, perhaps, not having lived stellar lives, whatever that is,
But gone before they had the chance to change; and, more importantly, to live.
Vanished by vicissitudes that emerged from the darkness,
A handful of garbed impersonators who should have been shields.
When do we say ENOUGH?
The miracle of life commences in a purity that evokes overwhelming joy,
Ripening the senses as never before.
Somehow, this stunning episode turns upside down,
Revealing an ignorance, fear,
Eradicating the innocence of creation.
Sadly, probity is fleeting,
Becoming tainted, perhaps irretrievable.
Yet, even with hesitant aspiration,
Goodness can be birthed again.
Perceptions discarded, allowing us to walk in the light, once more.
Hand in hand; heart to soul.
Seeking kindness, like flowing water on a lazy summer day.
Comforting, mesmerizing, effortless, soothing, clear, colorless,
Satisfying subtleties that are enveloped by all who partake.
Bringing forth a smile,
Internalizing its strength through gentleness.
Thus, becoming healing waters,
As only kindness can do.
Some will not want to inhale the vapors; many will...many have!
Yet, we must steady the course...a greater journey hath no man.
Salvation will only come through hope, love.
Given the power to feel the warmth of goodness,
To stride in the sunshine while embracing each other.
To diminish grief, allowing anguish to become stagnant,
Striving to hold each other up as we traverse this land.
That is hope! That is love!
We can do it...collectively, we must do it.
For then, and only then, shall we wipe the crying from our eyes!
- Sheila Lamonz, June 2020