Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Posts tagged ‘grandmother’

Camden Street

“The devil
is beating his wife,”
my grandmother used to say
if the rain fell
while the sun was shining.
It was always a humid day
when the burdened sky
could not wait for cloud cover,
and the hurried downpour
never lasted
for more than a minute,
the faint sound of thunder
soon forgotten,
as if a dream.
Always there was a hush
on my grandmother’s face
as she stood ironing bed sheets
while the devil,
confused by what seemed
a reasonless trick of the weather,
took it out on her who
forever had been the same.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2013

Poems: Passover, From Faith to Faith

( In the following guest post, writer Debra El-Ramey** graces us with her beautiful poetry.** Show her some love and leave a comment!)


Summers, Aunt Kathleen traveled south
to Bible Belt Land with Uncle Jim in effort
to save our souls from the burning hell
we born-again Baptists believed in.

Mother said the couple had once been
kissing cousins, married in the Christian
faith. A shame, she said – a crying shame
what they became: Jehovah’s Witnesses

of all things. Going door to door. Refusing
war, politics, blood transfusions, and even
Christmas. Icons, idols, images, the Easter
bunny, and hunts for colored eggs on the (more…)


I talked about my grandmother’s way of talking in the last post, but how did she influence me as a writer?

Through my grandmother, I learned how to appreciate individuality as shown through the way people talk. Accents, inflection, dialect, regional colloquialisms–all of these fascinate me. It’s like peeking into another dimension.

From her, I came to understand that poetry does not have to be limited to a particular set of words or syntax. An outgrowth of this is that I enjoy “spoken word” as a form of poetry because it often uses the vernacular. I also enjoy hip hop and rap music. What’s more, these modes of expression are as dynamic and versatile as any other mode.


Poet Paul Dunbar (1872 – 1906) wrote (more…)

The Language of Childhood

The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. – Kurt Vonnegut

What speech patterns did you grow up with as a child?

My mother’s family migrated from North Carolina when she was young, and from then until the time I met her, she had eliminated everything from her speech that would betray her roots.

Not so my grandmother.

My grandparents were born in the 1890s. Just to put that in context, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863. My grandfather’s father was nicknamed Pen but his full name was Independence–so named, I think, to celebrate his birth outside of the institution of slavery.

My grandmother was a fairly typical of black women of her day. She had raised her brothers and sisters when their parents died youngish. She herself was a young widow who eventually married again, to my grandfather. She was not overly educated, at least not formally, but she was wise in the ways of life, witty, and quick on her feet.  When my own parents separated when I was 7, (more…)

A Christmas Carol From the Recalcitrant

Many people are stressed during the Christmas holiday, which can range from being overextended to feeling depressed.

Even for those of us who don’t celebrate Christmas, there is no getting around it.

From television to radio and in my case, to most of the people I know, Christmas is the overriding topic of interest. Sure, it’s a free country and people like me can do what they want, but as someone who has been known to veer from the “mainstream,” I can tell you that sometimes it feels like I’m in the wilderness talking to the wind.

Holiday parties at the job are (more…)

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