Agony, My Friend In The Dark – A Collection of Haiku Poems

Warning: if misery is a current mood, do not read any further.

1. Agony, my friend

In the dark corner, surmise

My impending doom

2. Misfortune mature

In an Amalgamation

Evoking anguish

3. Great cloud of twilight

Which creeps in subtle states from

Dawn to dusk, untouched

4. Bloodline curse bestowed

Upon the fated bastard

Begat of brute loins

5. Deep the jaws of grief

That devours contentment,

To shit out despair

6. Divine fortune ebbed

As chance flees this dastardly

Game of existence

7. Vast tree, forsaken

The branch siphoned of majic

‘Til none prevail

8. Life manufactures

Anguish with every angle

No matter the trend

9. Nightmares manifests

From much dismay and peril

Dwindling all our hope

10. Suckle my pain out

From this broken place, derived

From all this sadness

These original poems are written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in March 2021 (C)

Unfinished Business at Hollow Manor – A Short Story

A few weeks ago my mother was lowered into her final resting place of the EverGreen Memorial Park. My three siblings and I surrounded the hollowed burial place to mourn her passing. As I stood there with glass tears in my eyes, my mind filled with the bittersweet memories that still held images of my mother—her presence, her voice, her hugs, kisses, her love.

After the somber ceremony we went to my mother’s home. She hadn’t moved since we all lived together decades ago. Reluctantly, we walked into the house. None of us wanted to be there, but mom left some loose ends and we couldn’t decide who would be the one to tie them, so we all decided to work together. The house looked as if it was vacant for months—no dishes in the sink, brown house plants, stack of newspapers sitting on the coffee table. None of us were ever really good with keep up with her, so mom’s illness came as a total surprise for us. In some semblance of respect for her, we pooled money together to hire home care nurses to watch her. Some of us—two of us, came to visit on a monthly bases. Her passing was still a surprise, however. We separated and each took a room to complete. The emotions flowed heavily as we sorted and collected forgotten memories of our lives—joys, disappointments, successes and regrets.

By the time we were done going through all the things that once mattered, the feeling of a life long lived seemed to flow about. It was her home. It was our home. Even though she’s gone, It will always feel like our home. We all lived most of our lives there. Some of us grew up, left, returned and left again. Our very beings were forged within those walls. As we gathered in the black SUV, still shedding our tears, our hearts were full. But grief took us in waves. I sat in the passenger seat, watching our home shrink away on the horizon and I smiled through the grief. I smiled as the happiness followed us from behind.

Credit to Jae Davis, as Editor of this story.

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

Blog – How I Plan on Saving Myself #2: Failure and Picking Yourself Up Again

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” -Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Macbeth is my favorite Shakespearean play and we know what end came to the character, though he had goals and with his goals came failure and ruin…but with goals most of us do not prepare for failure. Most of us, our goals don’t end in ruin but yet we do not plan for those obstacles that may impede our path to accomplishing success. We visualize what must be done and by the end of day one, we are ready to either quit and/or exit promptly. Have you encountered this before?

So, I fell off last week with my first “how to save myself challenge” on meditation. Yes, I felt like Macbeth in that soliloquy, acknowledging my failure but I am working to recover this week. Getting back into the discipline of meditation is not quite as easy as it was over 8 years ago when I practiced diligently. At that time, meditation was also a part of my practice along with my spirituality. I have lost my path again even with that (looking into the vast nebula which is made of me).

Moving forward and getting back on track towards that goal is often put off for another day. Then you try again and feel empowered that the next day you have accomplished what you set out to do with laser focus. A week has gone by and you haven’t skipped a day of your dedicated purpose. Your pace is as steady as a heartbeat, not erratic or slowed.

At first, with your goal set, you then decide attainment and timeframe. Such examples are saving for three months for a new car or reduce that belly fat to a sexy midriff for summertime or build-a-business using these successful tips and steps to financial freedom. In any case, no one leaves room for the fumble, the failure or the agony of defeat. Nobody realizes that they can fall and get back up again, tomorrow. And it is alright. Trust me when I say it is and don’t stop getting up after it all.

These are my original thoughts…life lessons and fumbles. I’ll being posting on my journey. Please subscribe for original content and leave a comment if you like!

POEM: Why Blood Needs Tears

Veins are no different from tear-ducts

They flow despite themselves keeping us sustained

The return necessary for the process to continue

Even though it may be from dread or fate

Pain in the delay of the cycle

Of growth and grown and gone

We push pull and hesitate

Stifle

But still they come down your face

Blinding

Not without the lack of blood

Thank you for reading this spontaneous overflow. Please feel free to like and comment, even criticisms are welcome.

This original blog post and poem was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her. April 2020 (C)

VERSE: Something

Horizon

The day waking up to something

To anything

And sometimes to events we had not fathomed

In between

We living life honorable to our own abilities

Yet we reached and fought and got there

Eventually the sun reached noon

We had more to endure and with a sigh

We had to give up something through it

Through all and everything

Still meditating as we move on

Memories feel like dreams

Eventually

By the time the dawn reach the edges

The porch darkens

Our minds relieved and slumber sets in

The next day, doing it again.

Disclaimer: This poem was created straight from the universe that is within me. All photography or original art for this post was created by Juana M. Gumbs, AKA HetHeru. Thank you so much for your support. Please like, comment, criticize, make suggestions or say “hi”.

This is an original poem imagined, created and copyrighted in 2019 by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her.

VERSE: We Are Mighty

Foreword: This poem is dedicated to my greatest love, my inspiration, my Djehuty. You are love. You are loved.

We are beyond

We are diverse, but worthy

We are stars with planets of life and light

We are motion, flying forward and following no one

We are the wind, quick upsweeps and always landing on feet

We are invincible, immortal spirits roaming for a time then…

Travelling back to where we were conjured from

100,000 years or so, bringing back with us eternal knowledge

Wisdom fresh and renown

With all the answers presented in many lifetimes

Disclaimer: This poem was written in whim, from my heart to this blog, for my lover. Thank you so much for your support. Please comment, criticize, make suggestions or say “hi”.

This is an original work imagined, created and copyrighted in 2019 by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her.

VERSE: WHERE CAN LOVE KNOW

Lingering in the outer reaches of the universe

CAN

Loving that which was in open

That with cosmic eyes CAN sought out

Unknowingly, Love unconscious of the trail

Left behind

That cosmic eyes CAN sought designs

To perfect, to what purpose imperfect

What CAN saw was mirrored

Reverse universe

To take part in for a little while, Love

A little while became more so home

Digging CAN put treasures in

Now known for where treasures grew

Studying something more divine

Studying himself no less

Love was the opposite to his opposite

Same to his same

CAN cursed it, thinking his thoughts undeserving

Syncing motives with clever intensions

Love was really CAN

CAN really Love

Love asking CAN “are you a god?”

Unknowingly, CAN disowned the thought

Thought Love a threat from learning

If CAN didn’t learn what that Love was before

CAN would Love with out question

Disclaimer: This poem is created off of pure inspiration in the universe that is within me, Het Heru AKA Juana. Please feel free to comment, criticize, make suggestions or say “hi”. This is an original poem created and copyrighted in 2019 by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her.

Brief Narrative: IT ROTS IN THERE…

It was said that Malisa’s grandmother, Irene, was a witch and that she dealt with majic that was treacherous and unnatural. Irene would gather in secret sessions with other men and women with similar dealings in her small hut, behind her home. It was rumored that she would summon bad luck and creatures to swallow souls of anyone she deemed a threat to her or her family. The majic of many was born in those secret sessions. Majic from all of Africa. Not that majic in Africa is dark or evil, no. Not all majic was bad, but Irene only wanted it as dark and as black as the space between stars. During these sessions, the majic they conjured would emit an odor of burnt wood, decay, putrefaction and they would say, “it rots in there…”

The remembrance long past, but it lasts and lasts.

The church itself was made of stone, that was laid, between them was cement. I recall the smell of Frankincense and Myrrh and Ms. Ana’s dewy floral perfume as she rocked in her seat before the service began. As a twelve-year-old, I felt helpless and uneasy being that this was my very first funeral. For comfort, I invited Malisa, my best friend, to lay her head on my shoulder. Ms. Ana, Malisa’s mother, slid her eyes close, humming the tune that the congregation sung at the time. “How great though art…” they sung, their voices rising and falling throughout the hymn. The funeral began without mourners want or permission. The catholic priest, Father Mitchell, came down the aisle first dressed in his robes. Malisa’s mother stood up, but her knees buckled, and her forehead beaded with sweat. Mr. Ben, Malisa’s father, along with his brothers emerged from the back of the church to accompany the dark blue coffin that entombed their beloved mother. All five men surrounded the casket, walking solemnly alongside it with their hands at their sides.

I was moved to emotion when I saw how this event affected my best friend. Malisa was usually the brave one between us, my protector at school when anyone would trouble me. She would defend me better than I could myself. So, I vowed to be there for her and attend the funeral to support her. She was my very best friend. I was brave for her now. Unfortunately, she had not had a relationship with her grandmother.

It was said that Ms. Ana was not favored by Irene. Malisa’s grandmother was very vocal about her distaste when Ms. Ana and Mr. Ben first made known that they were in a relationship. She worked hard to sway the union in other directions. When that did not work, she used unconventional customs in order to divide the two lovers. When Malisa’s oldest sibling, Castiano, was born he was tormented in his crib nightly, up until the age of five. His parents took him to doctors to find out what was making him cry with violent fits from the day he was born. Even the doctors did not know why. They said he was having night terrors. Then her second to eldest sibling, Arthur was born, but he was blind and deaf. The third child was born, Leslie who was a bright and beautiful addition to the family. As she became older, they noticed that her hair began to fall out on her head, brows and even eyelashes. Ms. Ana was convinced that her children was all cursed by Irene. She was so convinced, after she gave birth to Malisa, she had not shown Irene the child or allowed anyone to touch or take photos of the child. This saved her though, because she had no ailments or defects.

As the years passed, Mr. Ben was still close to his mother and she was also able to manipulate his emotions and actions. Ana and Ben’s relationship suffered from infidelities and abuse. Irene would spin stories and give a driven purpose to Ben to put Ana in her place. She even whispered lies into her sons ears and passed off deceptions to cause conflict between the couple. The children also suffered from these quarrels and disagreements.

Now, we are witness to Irene’s funeral. There were many mourners, some bawling, distressed and saddened. Ms. Ana eyes were wide and frantic as they opened the casket so that mourners can view the deceased. Viewers lined up, perhaps to see if the death was credible being that many believed her a mighty and powerful woman in her possession of majic, black majic. Other family members and mourners crossed themselves as they got in front of Irene and then quickly moved on, back to their seats while whispering to other mourners. Finally, Ms. Ana looked at us beside her, held Malisa’s face and kissed her forehead which was still wet from holy water. Then she whispered to us, “we will go to view the body, it cannot hurt you now. Don’t be afraid. She cannot hurt you now.” I was afraid…I have never met Irene before, especially when she was alive.

On the way down the aisle, we walked holding hands to comfort each other. Malisa was not crying but she was deeply saddened. Ms. Ana was steady with her footsteps towards Ms. Irene’s casket, where her body laid. She looked like she was sleeping, I thought. Her loosely curled silver-gray hair was shiny and styled with ringlets around her caramel colored face. To me, she seemed like she was alive, but just sleeping in her royal purple dress with frills. Her hands were clasped in front of her, with her fingers mingled together. Irene’s lips were the color of a blushing pink and her eyelashes curled. We all sighed…not sure why, but Ana said, “I’m relieved. Rest in peace.” Then she made the sign of the cross and she quickly left to go back to our pew. Malisa and I running to catch up behind her. As soon as the funeral was over, the burial site was ready and waiting to accept her. The undertaker ensuring that the casket was lowered to its destination.

All family and friends followed to the home of Ana and Ben to mourn the deceased. Her children thanked guests for attending and bringing food and comfort. All the little children and teens our age gathered and played scrabble and card games. Some of the teens Malisa knew as her cousins. She never met her cousins before. Because her mother believed that Irene was a witch that cursed her and her family, her children was not allowed to meet and play with her cousins. Until today. Ana said to us in the car on the way home, that any majic that Irene placed on others would cease after she was buried. Hearing that, Malisa and I just looked at each other. 

The remembrance long past, but it lasts and lasts.

Later that evening, Ms. Ana drove me home. Malisa stayed behind because she was not feeling well. I was curious and asked Ms. Ana, “Why were you afraid at the funeral?” She smiled, then she was serious immediately after. “You do not understand. Irene…Ms. Irene, never liked me. She did some terrifying things to me and my family for years. I was afraid of her. Now, well, she has passed on and we are blessed to have probably, better luck.” I replied, “Oh, okay.” Looking back, I didn’t understand at that time, what she meant. But what happened next terrified me to my core. When I looked at Ms. Ana as she drove, behind her head was the head of a familiar smoky figure, wearing a semblance of a royal purple dress with frills. The figure had an icy smile that was clear as the day bright. Chills ran through my body, I looked away immediately shaken. Ms. Ana had not noticed a thing. She continued driving. I dared to look again, behind Ms. Ana’s head where I saw the specter. It was still there this time; the figure became more solid the longer I looked until I could see the bulging eyes with irises pitch black and the facial features as though Irene was coming more alive before me. The curls and ringlets about her head, the blushing pink lipstick against gnarled lips, with browned teeth revealed. I closed my eyes and squeezed them so tight tears rose up and gathered at the corners of them. “What is wrong, Laura?” Asked Ms. Ana. I never opened my eyes to look.  

I screamed.

Journey – Mimic’s Last Recall

As the day begins, we never stop to think where we will be by day’s end. Yet it is inevitable, but we still live our days by time’s law, as though it makes us immortal. When we realize we are physically mortal, then, it’s too late, of course. The questions come into play as to where will we go, and of what our final transformation? We are afraid to even venture that far in our daily capacity of work, family and friends.

In came the butterfly, that somehow lost its way. Or at least, that is how I want to tell the story of this creature. A co-worker found a dead butterfly and passed it on to another co-worker that thought I would want to examine the specimen. I did want to see this creature, all be it, in its post-mortem state. Even if in its post-mortem state it was so stunning in all its glory. It was somehow, or perhaps, newly departed. The butterfly, which I will name Lailah, may be a variety of the Viceroy-Monarch Butterfly or a mimic Monarch Butterfly that is somewhat similar to the Monarch (also known as the Milkweed Butterfly) but does not carry its poisonous nature. Though it may be a mimic, it was the most beautiful and visually alive thing that I experienced all day, well except for that special someone. They know who they are. Observing the beauty of this insect had to be captured by me, because it was just a copy of its former self. I took it upon myself to love this organism, though it was not alive, and record or recall its existence by photo. Lailah will not go forgotten, because social media and even this blog will be shared of her ephemeral time. A sentient transient, as we are but are too busy to make time to meditate upon our own ephemeral existence.

Lailah was a reminder of our own journey from gestation, birth, living or existing and death. What does it matter? Which part matters most to each individual? After capturing Lailah, I plan on providing a burial, and burials, are in essence for those who are alive more than for the deceased. I am just trying to complete the circle/cycle of life. We must love every moment, even in suffering and look at all experiences in life as a path to transformation. I believe it is most important how we live not exist, reveling in the journey with our eyes wide open.