by Joseph Wyatt
Hear my rhyme,
against all crime.
Words for the holy,
truth be divine.
Where lies our folly?
Does it lay with mine?
Black, White, who knows the truth?
Indian foo’ or Asian routh?
Haters dis, killer dat.
Leave you this, imagine that.
Beings we are,
dust is all.
Choices go far,
Rise or fall.
Life springs tall,
Death so small.
legacy or naw’
Do you call for resistance?
Is your power so raw?
I preach not destruction,
but freedom from pain.
Love is resurrection.
Rape ain’t sane.
Why, I ask,
do you steal?
What’s your task,
you see so real.
Pay them back.
That how you tame?
Blind my rack,
hung in shame.
Circles we run,
all the same.
What is fun?
What is our name?
Outside the box,
inside the membrane.
Peace my detox,
shelter I maintain.
Father Sky I hail,
Mother Earth my support.
By my spirit I flail,
violence is no resort.
I am a dancer, that’s my life.
Don’t be a fighter, therein lies strife.
Who needs discreet in the face of defeat? I bow my head and stare at my toes. My eyes cross as I focus on the end of my nose. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life right now. Should I? Do you? Some people do. I thought I did too. I might, but … well no see what had happened was … okay look it’s like this … One excuse after another. You should talk to mother. She’d tell you it’s true. Actually don’t that’s up to you. I’m babbling rambling not making any sense and my words run together like my thoughts when I’m trying to sleep or my feet on the street as I run and I can’t stop my lungs are about to pop I need air and to … breath. Deep breathes, in and out. No need to scream or shout. One day I will let this all out. For now I’ll just write it down and pass it around town. On day everything will make sense. On day … but today, today is full of nonsense.
She exhaled heavily as she set it down on the sink. Slowly, she looked up into the mirror and then closed her eyes. She caressed her face gently with the back of her fingers, imagining his soft touch. Her head tilted back as she pictured him kissing her neck. Tears began to run down her cheek.
“Don’t cry baby,” she could hear him say, “You’ve always been the strong one.”
He was trying to help. But now, she is alone. They have all died. Her cheeks and chin quivered. “No! It’s…not…fair,” she half yelled, half yelped. In an eruption of tears and emotion she collapsed to the floor. With her head buried into her fists, she experienced within herself a feeling so immense her body felt as if it could explode. She was not so lucky.
Her crying exacerbated her cough. With every bark emitted, it was followed with an immense, searing pain in her chest and throat. The action made her want to cry more and she cuddled within her own embrace, wrapping her arms around her abdomen.
She crawled deliberately down the hallway, through the bedroom door, and rested against the wall. The deep orange sun was low in the sky. She hated the night.
She examined all the pictures of her family in the collage she had built around her.
Picking each one up as she spoke, “Dad. I know you, more than anyone, would be upset by this. I hope somehow you can forgive me. I hope I can see you somewhere after this, in that better place you always talked about.”
She sniffled, fighting back tears and more painful coughs as she spoke. “Mom, I can’t do another night alone. I hear the moans and screams outside. I can’t listen to it anymore. I’m slowly dying. The sores haven’t even begun which means I have months yet to go. There is another reason now too. I’m so sorry.”
“Alexa, I love you sis. I still feel like your alive somewhere out there. Even if I had the strength to find you, I wouldn’t be able to in my condition now.”
“Brian, you and Jennifer were quite the pair. I know Mike and I wanted to be as in love and happy as you two were. You were an amazing brother,” she choked on her words, “You were always there for me. Part of me wishes you were here now, but I know it’s better you’re not.”
“Mike. I was never the strong one. Together though, we were perfect,” she broke down again. Through her tears and gasps for air, she fought to verbally express her thoughts, “I love you with all that I am. And, I have some news to share if you can hear me out there. I’m pregnant, Mike. We finally have a baby after all the failures. Can you believe it? But now you’re gone…I hope to see you on the other side my love.”
“See you soon too, my baby,” she put the gun in her mouth, her other arm holding her stomach.
The Art of Letting Go
no distinction between lust and pain
flash backs to the past- disturbing images
honesty catching up in- weaving lies
pointing fingers where they do not belong
tearing up the meanings of every word
don’t put your world into mine
this world is always crashing
it will crash yours as well
trying not to notice the possession- the property
like owning a star- unable to claim for yourself
those words were trailed with malice
controlled by pain- controlling the agony
feeling the anger- embrace those feelings
set apart by personality
act accordingly- silently suffer
this temptation to bury it all
stay inside this cycle
the circle of nothingness
this hole of nothing but shit
pain is nothing but an illusion-
to master and to teach
just a star in the sky
just a grain of dirt on the ground
just a hole in your head
nothing stops the tears but the tears themselves
my silent rant
my hidden place amongst the stars
the sands of infinite time
my essence in the background of this society
creativity splashing against me
like a painter in a rage
masterpiece of disaster
‘tis my life
pulling on the notes
as I sing my tunes
so poetic in my collapse
I show my weakness
and my impenetrable intelligence
something was just as right
when you came along
wishing to become
inside in my head
nothing but piano strings
and broken pitch
do I hear the words
of a silent surrender
and depreciated beings
as I compose
this wretched tune
seemingly out of nowhere
does my song die
where does the climax lie
and allegiance to none
does my soul cling
to a state by which
we are sold
questioning my existence
along with my survival
does the composure
lift me up
to slowly captivate my muse
disturbing, does the violin
sway to the emotion
set in written note
balancing out the factors
in leading note triad
Rescuing my intuition
As the lance separates my internals
In an enveloping closure
Put forth by a pact of blood
A reign of misfortune
Three days of silence
Before the next hoard conquers the same land
Blood imprinted in a splashing array
Soaking through the pitfalls
Of the snow fallen earth
A battle wages in a three sixty descent
Also within as I struggle
To see the conscience benevolence
That bestows its presence within my heart
Gripping tightly to my weapon
I wish it was pointed the other direction
As I compromise my emotions
To experience the inevitable
This act of violence
Would change the world around me
Just my perceived notion
As I use my crown as a bomb
I pay homage to the defeaters
I confront this interchanging perspective
As I cradle life into the bowels of humanity
Severing its strength
With the apathetic point of my ego
Intending to rediscover
Each interpersonal relationship
As I stare into their life drained eyes
I place a score
Of conquering power into their bodies
within the compounds of my mind
the grasp of ugliness reaches out
questions rave my mind
answers conquer them
you can’t portray the surface
ugliness is what I think I see
pain is what I think I feel
apathy is what I think I encounter
hate is what I believe I know
visions of myself become chaotic
misery is my state of being
suicide floods the mind
as seen in visions
of what went wrong
I glance into the mirror
I see the emptiness staring back at me
the space you call human consists of me
my tears all run together
as my existence
is reflected in each shard
from the mirror
I broke against my flesh
The Sound of Disappointment
I could hear it in your voice
the sound of disappointment
a tone of B
the words escaped
into a web
I dared not respond
for the attachment
came at the cost
of the reenactment
you didn’t want me to know
you didn’t want me to know
you have acquired
I wish I could mend
all these broken ways
that have beckoned you
they bring up memories
of your past
where your father
never believed in you
and your mother
abuse never came
in so little words
yet the actions
made up for
tendency that laid lament
against my will- surrenders a sunder
succumbing to the submissive mass
that entrances my quotient
slightly remastering the edges
the radius of the cosmos
which we travel in our
traveling in cycles
routine as the circles
that forge the flux
bursting against my contested flesh
light speed is not as fast
as the momentary time
passes into this continuum
the reverent hecatomb
as the creativity enshrines
itself within the composite
of my substance and function
When I woman sheds her final tear.
When a woman sheds her final tear it is a final release of what was but no longer is. It is an absolution that she is done. It is the realization that it is over. When I woman sheds her final tear it is regret that the love she once had feels wasted. It is the emotional release that’s draining her inner spirit, flowing freely from her for the last and final time. It is the sadness seeping from her heart, because the ache has become too much.
It is the end.
It has no choice but to be the end because it is no longer giving her life. It is now only taking away from life. A woman’s ability to love a man, the right man, is truly tremendous. A woman will give a man she loves her all, often times, with only just receiving half of that man. When she trusts a man, he gains her belief that he will never hurt her. When a man reciprocates with his love in return she gains the belief that they are connected. She believes they are one and that often leads to him being placed on pedestal.
This is the first mistake.
No matter how much a woman loves a man and trusts a man, she should never fool herself into thinking that he would never hurt her. It is inevitable. This may sound harsh, but it is a fact. It may not be a tremendous hurt, but hurt is hurt no matter how minor. Once that woman has experienced true hurt she will be done.
build me a box
build me a box from my shattered dreams,
my broken heart, my silent screams
build me a box where I can sleep inside
my own little place to hide
made from the things I could no longer evade
because I was too weak to fight the being afraid
build me a box where I can recoil
and hide from the toil
a retreat from this place
my very own space
build me a box stronger than me
that withstands the waves of this tumultuous sea
with walls made of iron and steel
so tough I can’t even feel
build me a box and hide me away
don’t ever come if you can’t ever stay
leave me alone if that’s what you must do
There are things that I need to say.
On a quiet evening I would like to have tea with you.
Let’s talk about the meaning of the world—
Of our daily nuances, of talking, of people,
Of wandering aimlessly but always being home.
Let’s travel the world, or travel in our hometown
And see just how different our perspectives are—
Though we see the same, hear the same,
Taste the same, smell the same—love the same.
On a mundane afternoon, let’s walk and listen
To the rustling of trees and the warm drifting
Cloud of steam from our coffees. Then sit—
Slightly apart, always together, afraid
Of touching. Let’s stand on the sidewalks
And wait for the lights to turn green
And allow us to move forward, into the streets—
Into the mass of cars that threaten to end our existence.
On a warm Sunday morning, let’s sleep in,
Together—maybe—or miles away. Let’s not
Think about the other, but the self—
Or perhaps the lack of the other, or the self.
Let’s go antique shopping on the same morning
And reminisce about the things we tried to understand
And ask for help from the other—hoping
They can fill that empty part of ourselves.
At a certain midnight, let’s lie on our back
And gaze at the stars—and let’s not talk.
Talking is too much, and too little.
And it is never enough, never fulfilling.
Let’s wander aimlessly till we are home
And the fences close at sunset. Let’s go out to sea
And swim into the currents, or sit upon the sand
And disappear into the horizon.
These are the things I would never say.
He sits a couple of feet away in his armchair,
Reading the daily newspaper.
He had read it once before, of course,
In the morning, always in the morning with his coffee,
Black, and a thinly sliced piece of homemade bread,
The fruit jam spread on thinly.
And yet he reads it once again every night after dinner,
Over tea, often herbal, as if he needed to.
We do not talk.
He sits in an armchair that is undeterminably old.
At times, he says it is a relic from his
Grandparents’ days; other times, it would be
A rare find at the flea market.
His story changes as often as his mood does not.
There he is now on the mysterious armchair,
Framed in a beautiful mahogany,
With dark brown leather lining.
It sits confidently and sturdily in the corner of the room,
Demanding the sort of attention that nothing
In corners of rooms has the right to demand.
Even more special, perhaps, was the man atop the chair.
He was, still is, and will probably be
The only one who sits in that chair.
I have no intention in coming close to it,
And he has no intention of letting me think I can try.
He sits on the edge of it, his right leg crossing
Comfortably over his left, the ankle on his knee,
His back leaning against the leather and wood.
The back of the chair, though hard and rigid
From almost anyone’s perspective, seems
As soft as feathers next to that man’s back,
A back hardened with time and life itself.
He held the newspaper with his hands,
Weathered and worn without
The long years of hard labor.
His face is hidden behind the paper,
But it is not hard to know what he looks like:
Wrapped in mild interest and a hint of dark amusement,
His normal expression towards ordinary things
Like the news, his coworkers, his students, or me.
Oh, if I could rip that newspaper out of his hands
And throw myself on him, my hands
Clamping that face, that hard jaw line,
My eyes staring into his grey ones, searching, looking.
He shifts, untangles his long legs,
And cross the left one over the right.
He shakes the newspaper in one jolt of
Motion and settles back into the chair.
Look at me.
Please look at me.
I glance back at the chair in the corner.
It is empty now, but it still holds a suffocating presence.
It stares at my back, a small, nervous back.
It seems to smile, even laugh, at my small back.
Child, what do you think you are doing?
I stand up and face the chair.
Reaching out a shaking hand, I touch the leather lining,
Still warm from the touch of that man.
I breathe out. One, two, three.
At the end of the day, it is but a chair.
I see no reason to be afraid.
No reason to shake, tremble,
Heart palpitating, palms sweating;
No need to cry.
No need to fear, to dread the very act of speaking;
That which so many take for granted.
The mere act of opening my mouth and allowing
My thoughts to flow into solid, concrete words
Send shivers down my spine.
For no reason.
No reason at all.
Now why is it that my frail hands
And its nerves tremble at the mere thought
Of speaking, the mere thought of
Breaking the silence that comes so natural with life?
Indeed, why is it so hard
For the silence to break?
It is deafening, that silence;
Like a swarm of bees, or a flash of the winds.
The silence exists inevitably, for always.
It is an everlasting force, a will of nature.
Who am I to break that silence?
Yet so human is silence, and yet so human
It is to break that silence.
With every gesture, every move,
Every opening of the mouth, every stretch
Of the vocal chords, the silence is broken.
Broken and never put back together again.
Who are we to break that silence?
Who am I? A small existence, not more than an ant
Or a little blade of grass in a never-ending meadow
A single star in the sky.
Who am I to break the silence?
I wish I could shut myself up.
Rid of all gestures, movements, sounds, words.
The silence must never be broken,
The silence must be respected,
The silence must be there.
Yes, the silence must be there.
For without silence, there are no sounds
No words, no music.
There is nothing without silence.
Nothing without the feeling of being trapped
In time and space. Nothing without the feeling
Of being one with your surroundings.
No, there is nothing like silence.
Let us teach you something
By: Jennifer Hershberger
Let us teach you
Let us help
You’re seeking a future
You’re seeking wealth
Common knowledge won’t do
You must seek the truth
The truth within yourselves
The truth of this world
But the containment of it is breathless
Let us teach you
Let’s become one
With your mind
With your soul
This isn’t a joke
We find in you a faith
Unlike no others
Seek what’s not for granted
But what gold in which you seek to find
Let us pray
You will find your calling
You will find the day
But for now
Just listen closely
To the words in which we say
For one day you’ll thank us and be upon your way
Let us teach you something
Beyond your mind’s delight
Finding comfort in our wisdom
Passed from dawn to night
Let us teach you glory
In walking upright paths
So that day you stand there gladly
Upon the pedestal
That we taught you
That hurt is not in vain
Move on into the future
Holding on, to what you’ve gained
Let us teach you something
What Can We Do??
It’s like a sick joke that goes too far
The pain…….. the suffering
The killing…the diseases
Why can’t everyone live by the saying, “I would never harm a flea?”
Instead we insist on letting harden criminals walk the streets, does not anyone care about you and me?
Rapist get five to ten, will they pay in the end??
Drug dealers get three to five and they do nothing but take lives.
How about Jeffery Dommer or the terriest bombers?
They all walk free but what about all of the trauma?
The lives they have took
What do we do??
We let them off the hook, why must life be so bad?
There are so many problems and we try to ignore them
We have so many that are poor, and what do we do?
Legalize the whores
We can send a man to the moon
We can predict typhoons
We are a Nation of Big Brothers
But why do we insist on hurting one another??
What ever happened to fist fights….now they do drive by’s
What does that prove? Kids shooting kids
What happened to Barbie’s and GI Joes
Instead of hard work, it’s who you know
It does not matter how nice you are
All that matters is the amount of money you have
I know this is sad, but it’s true
But what can you do??
We have rights like no other country in the world we are entitled our freedom right from birth
We have the right to choose
No matter if we choose to loose
Go for ‘it’ they say….what is ‘it’?
Is it love ……is it money
Is it power…..or fame?
Maybe it is to someday meet the creator of our game
That is if you believe
There are so many religions to choose from
How do we know which one is right?
In some countries this even causes fights
Is really that far from sight?
I hope and pray that someday we will all realize that we were created equally
We all live and die and we all show emotions and devotion we can all cry and show fear when it is needed
So please be kind to one another for you will never know when you will need their helping hand to help you stand.
What can we do, it is up to you.
BY Shanda Graber
Every breath you take every step you make
I will be a step behind you all the way
I’ll tell you what I think
I’ll tell you my love and how I care
Even though we’re only friends
I’ll be there till the end
My only wish is to somehow find the key
To unlock your heart, for you to see that
You could put your love in me
Each day I look forward in finding the key to make my dreams come true
Someday I will no longer walk a step behind
I will walk by your side and take the same breath and make the same step
Until that day I guess I will have to stay a step behind, but I will never give up, till I find that key, because I’ve walked so many steps to get a step behind.
By Shanda Graber
Nov 30 2009
I can’t remember Felix.
The trees. I can’t remember if they exist.
I remember it was beyond your backyard and its restricting fence; we had to sneak through several neighboring yards to get to it. It was a grove of about eight or more trees, so beautiful and orange, there was a chain link barrier concealing it from us, but we didn’t care about that. In the middle of these beautiful trees was a meadow of the most luscious green grass and at the center of that was a large pile of sticks and leaves and things. Do you remember Felix? There was no grass around the pile; it was the one ugly thing amongst all that beauty. You used to take me there when we were just children. We would laugh and play in that meadow all day. Felix? Do you remember? It was grand back then when we were children, so open and free. The trees seemed so dense back then, like a forest. It was an adventure…
Felix? Was it real? Or a dream? I can’t remember now. But it was so vivid, your laughter would fill the air and I would smile so wide and we would play until your mother called us in for dinner. She kept telling us we should find a new place to play. It was dangerous….
Was it dangerous? I can’t remember now, my memory is hazy, it was so long ago, so glazed over by years of torment. It was a nice memory if it was real though…We would play army and go on missions to defeat the enemy. Remember? If we got shot we’d lay down dead and then get brought back as another soldier.
We’d lay down dead…
Remember we’d use the pile of sticks as home base? We tunneled into the center and hid out until a squirrel appeared and we’d jump out and try to catch it. It never worked though; the enemy squirrels were too fast for us. I remember one time I was in the base and you were being the enemy, I was spying on you. You did something odd though Felix, remember? I heard footsteps and you turned around, I couldn’t see it but something made you leave. Quick…
I couldn’t see what it was; I thought you went to get something real quick and you were just playing at scared. Then it got hot, real hot…
Felix? Was it real? That place in the trees? I can’t remember now…
I can’t remember the trees. Do they even exist?
Dried Flower’s Tale
By Melody Bilbo
Naked flesh; I’m stripped of me.
Gave up all I had, for free.
Entrusted, open book to read.
Neglecting all of everything.
In our novel, sprouted seed.
With stem of certainty for need.
Roots mending broken heart,
Somehow birthed a secret deed.
Skeleton veins in leafy sprout—
cower through an angry shout.
Watered with blithe ignorance,
sorrow hides in pages’ pout.
Without ink, nude story told.
About a youth, abruptly old.
Calloused flower pressed to dry.
In a tale of you and I.
Then – Den door- do’ floor- flo’ that- dat that’s- dass for- fo’
The- De fact-fack “Yes my dear little one”- “Ya Ma Cher p’tite” boat- bateau
Rabbit- Lapin chicken hawk- manageur de poulet alligator- cocodrie them- dem
and-an’ through-t’ru they-dey thing-t’ing dog-chien getting-gettin’
A Christmas funny story of Cajun life in the backwater bayous of Louisiana.
Backwater Bayous Cajun Christmas Offered With Flair
(With Apologies to Clement Moore)
‘Twas de season of Christmas, an’ all t’ru de land, Dey don’t a t’ing awoke, not even de marching band. Den out on de roof, I heard a large clatter, I rose from my bed to see what de matter. I run like a lapin out de do’. Den what my foot do, but step in de chien bowl in de middle of the flo’. Slip right off de step and landed on my crack. I rose up slowly hoping I did not ruin my back. I rose to de feet to see what made dat clatter and what did I see but a great big ladder. I jump like a cat onto de ladder I was bound determine to find de matter. I rise to de top and what did I find but my Paw Paw sipping on some muscadine wine. I thought I was going to find a burglar, an’ dass fo’ a fack! I den slip down de ladder for it was time to empty de bladder.
Den in de kitchen what my eyes saw was my sweet Mama. De skillet left on de stove from de bacon dat was just fried. Biscuits going in de oven, and Mama replied, “Ya Ma Cher p’tite it is time to gather de eggs dat de hens have laid.” I den run out without a splat! My feet were going licka de’ split to gather de eggs de hens laid all in de pen. While eggs were collected my stomach started a grumble, and den I realized it was time to eat so we can begin de day without a fumble. Breakfast was already for us to enjoy. We ate and den realized dat Paw Paw was missing and how could dis be? Oh, no, I remembered where he could be. Without a sound not even a shout, I flew out in a great big flash.
De sun was shining, and I was not alone. I had a journey, and it was to take de ladder and not go to Rome. The top of de ladder led me to de place where my Paw Paw was still awake. He was dressed in several furs and feathers dat were of musk-rat, lapin, and mangeur de poulet from his head to his toes. His cheeks were a glow like a rose with his dimples looking so merry! He was laughing and his belly shook like a bowl of blackberry jelly. I smiled to myself for as it appeared he was old Saint Nick dat was full of great cheer. I said to him at dis time, “Paw Paw food is ready for you to come down and dine.” I den left not thinking any more of dis matter. I headed to de woods to begin in what really mattered.
Papa has been in de fields working all day, while trying to make a living de Cajun way. Time was still needed for collecting de hay. De cows and de chickens were in de barn yard bay. Maw Maw was in de barn sitting on de stool milking de cow we had all named Sue. I checked all de traps dat were set in de woods. Den I headed back to de barn to collect de crawfish nets and bait. When I arrived at de barn yard site, there was Maw Maw going inside with de milk that Sue had supplied. I gathered de nets and bait dat was needed, den slipped in de house for a quick snack. There was a great big surprise. It was Mama making gingerbread with Maw Maw by her side. The gingerbread smell was such a delight I den went out to catch de crawfish, hoping they’d bite.
De day grew long, and de sun was soon to be gone. I den realized a strange chill in the air. I began to pick up de crawfish nets. The sack was full of crawfish and de nets were folded. Now was time for me to split and not for me to hesitate, not even an inch. What did my ears happen to hear? I turned in a twist and looked, and what did I see but Paw Paw standing by a tree. He was whistling an’ hollering an’ calling dem by name: “Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an’ Alcee! Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an’ Renee!” (Cajun Night Before Christmas). He got in de bateau while still calling dem by name. The eight cocodries all lined up in front of de boat for ole Paw Paw to tie ropes on dem. I den stooped low to de ground in fear, but I was so amazed dat they all could hear. Paw Paw stood up in de boat wit’ de snow-white whiskers dat was on his face, looked forward, and said, “Nothing will get in my way, for I know dis place.” De boat began to glow, and den I realized it was starting to snow. Paw Paw leaned forward and picked up a sack, flipped it over his shoulder, and chuckled with a jolly laugh as he arched his back. I den stood up a little so I could see while he leaned down to pick up a whip. Den I heard him shout loud with de splashin’ an’ crackin’ of de whip. Den a tug on de rope and de cocodries were all at a float. “Merry Christmas to ya’ll and to ya’ll a good night.” I den realized dat ole Paw Paw was ole Saint Nick and started to gloat.
I den ran with de sack of crawfish and nets for home and hoped to make it there before the moon come back. I arrived home peacefully and what did I see, but a feast of Christmas and even a tree. I den knew that Christmas was real, for what did I witness but ole Saint Nicholas though somewhat ridiculous. Without a click not even a clack, I grabbed my hat and coat and began to help in gettin’ ready for all the Christmas display. Lights were hangin’ and all a glow. Papa was roastin’ a hog, while I sat on a log. Mama in the kitchen and Maw Maw too, busy makin’ the fixin’s’ for the group that was arrivin’ very soon.
The tree daslin’ with color. The snow was still fallin’ and it all was such a glow. My eyes did see that Christmas was so very near. I was so excited everyone could see I was jumpin’ and gleemin’ and even shakin’ at the knees. In a distance I could hear a noise that was comin’ very near. It was splashin’ and clashin’ and even some shoutin’. Then what did my ears hear but the voice of ole St. Nick as he came near. “On Gee, Suzette and you too Gee, Ninette!” “Come on now, Ha, Tiboy and Gaston we got presents to deliver so let’s get a blastin’!” Then the arrival did come and there laid all the glowin’ of ole Saint Nick. Laughter and shoutin’ filled the air as the kids and neighbors were all filled with cheer. St. Nick began his givin’ with presents and treats, and all I could do was think this was so neat. Christmas was here and we all could hear the sounds all around us of great cheer. The family and neighbors gathered all around to collect the Christmas wishes that Paw Paw had laid on the ground. It was den dat I learned at dat time dat cocodries were there for a reason. Dis reason was to bring all de folks treats and great cheer for de holiday season. And it was den dat I thought dat Papa and Mama did know ole St. Nick was Paw Paw all a glow sipping on muscadine wine, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” And though those cocodrie if hungry might bite, I said, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”