Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Peace Not Pieces": A Poem by Dorothy Randall Gray

For Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Four little girls went to a church to play
   and ended up in pieces
James Byrd went for a ride in Texas
   and ended up in pieces
Amadou Diallo went for his wallet
   in his doorway
   and ended up in pieces
His door with 41 bullet holes
   sold on the internet
   in pieces

Black women stripped searched in airports
Their dignity ripped to pieces
Black men stripped of manhood in the streets
Their lives forever in pieces
And I want peace
Not pieces

We are a country torn to pieces
   by bad karma
   cloaked in good intentions
Its jagged edges cut into our lives
   and the pain grows deeper every day

Arabs and airplanes fill us with suspicion
Anthems and anthrax order our days
Muslims are seen as murderers
While countries we've bombed
   still bleed with rage
   that comes back to haunt us
And I want peace
Not pieces

America is at war with its own
   the dissident
   the different
   the disenchanted
The chronically outspoken
The perpetually powerless
The bodaciously black
America is at war with its own
Bill of Rights, Constitution
   and the freedom
   it says it's defending

We are a country torn to pieces
   by police and politics and posturing
And barbecue mentalities
   bent on smoking out the enemy
   while calling itself a friend
The world doesn't need a friend
   who kills with friendly fire
And I want peace
Not pieces

Peace not pieces
   not just the absence of war
   but a state of mind
   not scribbled on
   thin papers of promise
But carved into thick timbers of veracity
Peace because my soul demands it
Peace because it is my birthright
Peace because its pot has been
   on the back burner too long
   and it's boiling over

Peace because
   "An eye for an eye makes one blind"
   says Gandhi
And I want to live to see this world
   dressed in the rainbow
   of all its possibilities
Peace because
   "I have a dream" said Dr. King
And I want to wake up to a new day
   with an ancestor song on my lips
"Free at last, free at last
Thank God almighty, we're free at last!"
Peace not pieces
Peace not pieces

"Peace Not Pieces" from the poetry collection Sharing the Same Sky. For more info on Dorothy Randall Gray and her work:

To work with Dorothy in person, here are two upcoming opportunities.
Dorothy's new women's writing workshop
From Fear to Fierceness: How To Be Brave on Your Page
Tuesdays, June 2 - 30 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Location: Downtown LA
For further details:
Women Writers & Artists Matrix Soulful Spring Retreat
An Intimate, Intensive, Inspiring Weekend, May 1-3
Writing & Art Workshops, Marketplace, Dinner Salon, Meditation & More
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Photo by Emma Rosenthal

From Brooklyn to Bombay, Iceland to India Dorothy enthralls audiences with her dramatic poetry performances, spellbinding stories and captivating humor.

She has facilitated creative writing, personal development, and empowerment sessions for women's groups, incarcerated youth, homeless populations, professional writing associations, HIV positive men, cancer survivors, university students, and business executives.

Dorothy is author of the acclaimed bestseller, Soul Between The Lines: Freeing Your Creative Spirit Through Writing (Avon/HarperCollins.) Her other published works include Muse Blues, Woman, Creative Rituals for Daily Living, Family, The Passion Collection, and A Taste of Tamarinda.

She has been a contributor to the NY Times, Conditions, Personal Journaling, Heart&Soul, Drum Voices, SisterFire, HealthQuest and many other anthologies and periodicals.

For years Dorothy has been an advocate for spiritual activism, personal empowerment, transformational creativity, and global healing. To implement this passion she founded the Heartland Institute for Transformation.

She has since shared the dais with the Dalai Lama, served as a UNESCO delegate, and supplied African schools with writing implements.

Among the numerous venues that have enjoyed Dorothy's creative works are Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon Institute, Claremont Colleges, Huntington Women's Studies Association, the United Nations, PEN America, Nuyorican Poets Café, Center for Policy Studies, The Kitchen, International Center for Cultural Studies, Open Center, Yari Yari Pamberi, and NYC Museum of Natural History.

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