Casualties of the Times…#373

Casualties of the Times –

The homeless cannot sleep

on winter’s cold nights. They

gather around a burning

barrel, men, women, and

children, forgotten, shattered,

and despised, in the

distance, a baby cries.

Begging for food, being

homeless, no jobs to be

found, families no longer

sound, government talks

end up in contradictions,

poverty is the prediction. 

 

The spirit freezes, the

fruit of labors rot, life

squeezes and struggles

persist, bad luck smothers

heart and soul, and

hope ceases. 

Shifting winds turn into

storms. Will the world

grow wiser, or will it

be humbled and beaten

into servility? 

Trust departed, a

cardboard box in the

streets is where the

homeless make their

beds, hope disappears,

and the future appears

dead.

Copyright©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

The Writer…#370

The Writer

Sleep, never-ending consciousness,

thunder, spray dashing against

the windowpane, in the distance

railroad cars, clang, clang, clang

Sleep, gulls screaming float through

the air, wild and free, diving into

the frothy white waves, living without

care.

 Sleep, ghost trampling upon the mind

and soul, brushing shoulders with

death they surge across time wanting

their story told.

Sleep, wanting the body to relax, flip

right, flip left, the noise of the world

springs from every nerve, wistfully let

there be silence, calmness come back,

come back, come back.

 Sleep, brooding, daggers in the back, rise,

dress, the night will never be soothing.

those words in the head keep moving,

mind in a rage sitting silently staring at

the blank page.

The mind locked in a writer’s block,

the page is blank, time is slowly

moving forward, as the writer stares

at the face of the old wind-up clock.

copyright©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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4.13.2022

Somewhere between the trees and clouds…#369

Chuck Murphree – YA Author, Educator, Mental Health Speaker

Book Release April 12, 2022 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

April 9, 2022…#367

The poem below was created by my thoughts about my grandmother, whom I never knew. The influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 was the most severe influenza outbreak of the 20th century. A virus called influenza type A subtype H1N1 is now known to have been the cause of the extreme mortality of the influenza pandemic of 1918–1919. The disease that caused this devastating pandemic has also been called the Spanish flu.

The influenza pandemic of 1918–19 resulted from such an occurrence and affected populations throughout the world. An influenza virus called influenza type A subtype H1N1 is now known to have been the cause of the extreme mortality of this pandemic, which resulted in an estimated 25 million deaths. However, some researchers have projected that it caused 40–50 million deaths. Many were not reported; they got sick and died without it being reported. During this pandemic, an estimated 25 million persons worldwide died of the so-called Spanish flu, which was first widely reported in Spain but originated in the U.S. state of Kansas.

My grandmother got sick and was dead three days later, on January 11, 1919. It would be 1954 before my daddy would place a tombstone at her grave; I was 15 years old. All those years later my daddy let me pick out the writing on the stone. “Mother is not dead; she is only sleeping.”

Two days after her death, she was buried. My daddy always believed that she was in a coma. He would say that they opened the casket for him to say goodbye to her, and her hand felt warm. He ran from the cemetery and did not stop until he reached the woods surrounding Tarrant City, Alabama. He spent several days roaming in the woods to find a reason for her leaving; she was only 34 years old. 

The tombstone states Emma Hall Evans, but she was never married to but one man, Thomas Johnson, my daddy’s father. His grandmother Jane Hall had asked him not to be placed on her tombstone. My daddy said she was never married to any man. She lived with Thomas Johnson until he found a younger woman. Her maiden name was Overton; she had two children by two separate men that no one ever knew. She called them both Evan’s. He was a womanizer. She was never supposed to go anywhere unescorted after moving back into her mother’s house when Thomas left her. It was always thought that my daddy’s siblings were his half-sister by a white man and his half-brother by a Hispanic man. Yes, she led a colorful life, slipping out of the house at night going to the nightspots in Birmingham, then she slipped back in before daylight. Daddy’s grandmother had him sleep in his mother’s room, thinking she would not leave or that he would tell on her. He loved his mother with all of his being. He never told of her roaming around in Birmingham, Alabama, after her mother went to bed. He would be punished when it was noticeable that she was pregnant. He remained faithful to her until her death.

Few have known this kind of love between a mother and her children. I have been so very fortunate that the love between my children and me has followed in my grandmother’s and daddy’s footsteps. I was married to their father, he is now gone, but the love and trust between my children and myself have not waivered very much throughout these years.

For my grandmother:

Black Feathered Angels  

Old memories, new memories, memories

that last for a lifetime.    Unstinted

buried deep, hidden from the surface

of the mind. As I sit on steps where

paint is peeling and rotting, I have,

but one thought. Childhood is dead.

Some refuse to stay buried; I see a

small country church, a chorus of

crows, the splashing sounds of a

brook running through Birch trees.

The wind caresses the colossal

row of Oaks in the nearby field.

Death, departing the small, weathered

house of worship, a wagon pulled by

six black horses, and a manifestation

of black feathered Angels. My

great-grandmother is gone. Everyone

we love soon leaves us. A sad memory,

a heart has been silenced, and a rocker

on a porch stilled. 

Copyright©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Somewhere between the trees and clouds…#362

Preorder at: https://www.ten16press.com/product-page/somewhere-between-the-trees-and-clouds-paperback

My son, Chuck Murphree has a new book coming out April 2, 2022, published by ten16pess, somewhere between the trees and clouds is a must read.

Somewhere Between the Trees and Cloudswritten by Chuck Murphree PaperbackYA Fiction - Mental Health - Sexual Abuse - Novels in Verse404 pages

ABOUT THE BOOKI’m damaged goods,Torn apartIn my mind. This is how Dylan describes himself, how teenage boys feel when they are sexually assaulted. Damaged. Yes, it happens to boys too. It isn’t until Dylan meets Audrey that he feels like he's something other than torn and damaged. She too has her darkness. Her assault is recent, from a party where she was taken advantage of, and she is forced to move schools only to face rumors that make her feel like she did something wrong. Together, they help one another navigate their pain and possibly find some healing and grace. Somewhere Between The Trees And Clouds is a story about loss, internal wounds, healing, love, and hope.   


ABOUT THE AUTHORSomewhere Between the Trees and Clouds is Chuck Murphree’s second novel. He lives in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, with his wife and spoiled dog. When Chuck isn’t writing, he can be found teaching adolescents, talking to others about mental health, reading, biking, doing yoga, or taking a mindful hike deep in the woods or straight up a mountain. 

Somewhere Between the Trees and Clouds [paperback]

On sale at Amazon and Barnes&Noble April 12, 2022

Reincarnation…#357

The Beginning – Artwork by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

Reincarnation

Beyond the clouds, a spirit will soon

Be born, extraordinary, soon to breach

A world unknown.  A ghost of another

Time, penniless, now altered to

 wander in a different time, no more

Walking, in this new world

The newly born spirit will soar climb. 

It is transformed like the wind, hopeful, no.

Broken promises, a life filled with family

And friends.   Oh, what a journey this

Life will hold tributes, honors big and

Bold. 

A moment of memory into the

Past, this newly born spirit knows that

This life won’t last.  Soon it will be time

To go beyond the clouds and rest,

Knowing it will return, each time it prays

That the new life will be its best.   

#poetry #Reincarnation # Life #Beginning

BSU Conversations…#354

Image result for Black Lives Matter. Size: 157 x 95. Source: www.ebay.com

I ran across this article today and thought it worth giving attention too.  My garden is still graced with a flag that say’s “Black Lives Matter”!  Is this still true, I hear less and less daily?  The individual creating the BSU discussed in this post is my son Chuck Murphree.  Chuck has moved on to another school where his “talent” in special education is needed, yet he continues to support the BSU students.  Chuck is a YA author on mental health his first book, “Everything That Makes Us Feel”, and he has a second book coming out this winter, and already working on the third.  I am very proud of him and believe that his work with the BSU should be continued by the teachers at the school. You can find Chuck’s books at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and in most book stores throughout the United States and Europe.

~

This was an excellent article…

We don’t fight with weapons; we fight with our voices’: Students create first Black Student Union at Waunakee High School

By Channel 3000 – Jan 21, 2020, 0

By Jamie Perez for Channel3000.com

Black students at Waunakee High School are hoping to ignite change or at least start a conversation.

About 20 students have helped create the school’s first Black Student Union (BSU). It all started with the special education teacher Chuck Murphree’s leadership.

Chuck Murphree said he started asking black students how they would like to form a BSU on campus. In October, his idea came to fruition.

Murphree said at; first, the meetings mainly were “A lot of community building, and getting to know each other. It was the first time they were able to sit down with other black students in the school. So that was powerful.”

Murphree said he wanted to create a non-judgmental space where students could learn by relating to one another. But when people look at Murphree, some are surprised that he was the person to take the lead on creating the group.

“Being a white man, somebody who is very aware of his own privilege in society, being able to sit with these young black people. For them to trust me, to pull me into those conversations, to hear their ideas on how we can change the school.  To bring the awareness on how this needs to happen,” he said. “The first thing I said to them is, ‘How do you feel about a white man advising the Black Student Union?’ The kids said to me, ‘Mr. Murphree, who else is going to do it?’ It was as simple as that. It was the right thing to do, and the kids needed it.”

Murphree sits in on all the meetings, saying that he has already learned so much. He said other teachers are now expressing interest in coming to the sessions too.

“The district curriculum director recently contacted me about coming in and talking to the students about our curriculum and changing that so students of color can start seeing themselves in the curriculum,” Murphree said.

BSU members said the group’s point is to educate others, and they welcome people to just come to listen.  “I just want first and foremost to educate and show younger students the representation of black people in power, black people making changes,” said a BSU member.

It is rare for two black students to be in the same classes together at Waunakee High School. The school doesn’t have any culture-based courses, so there isn’t much opportunity to learn about different people.

Having a BSU gives them that opportunity and provides black students a space to all sit in a room together for the first time.

The struggles black students face are often not understood by many of the other students at school who don’t relate to those same thoughts or feelings, like Martin Luther King Jr., to motivate the group can make a positive change without resorting to anger and violence.

“The things that we do daily are things that they could never even dream of,” that progress has already been made. But taking it a step further to dream even farther, and I don’t think they would want us to meet the goal and stop there.”

Murphree said he lets the students lead the conversations at BSU meetings and is happy to provide them a safe space to talk about matters.

“I’m really proud of these kids for what they’re doing, and I’m thankful for the administration too because they’re allowing us to keep moving forward with this,” Murphree said.

The BSU has already made a significant change in the school district. Murphree said because of the students’ desire to educate and change the curriculum to be more inclusive of black culture and black history, this will be the first year Waunakee High School will teach students about Black History Month.

~

My books are as follows…

Authors Books at Amazon.com and Barns&Nobel.com

Innocence Breath…#353

Innocence Breath

Once fearless, spirit broken; Innocence no longer understanding the meaning of love.  She writes upon an invisible page, while her Keepers spew words of rage.  They held all of the treasures, her love, they never cared for her or the pain they gave. 

Sorrow lingers in the twilight, while the tears of the Angels fall upon the earth, into the sea; remembering the beauty that once was and no longer can be.  Quiet falls upon a sparkling shore; dreadful hours gone like a stormy wind in the night, as the Innocence soul takes its flight. 

There will be no flowers covered by morning dew, darkness has left her spirit is free and new.  What follows this perpetual fate, no tears, pain or hate; love no longer tossed away, earthly needs melted away; the Keepers heart remained evil until they took their last breath; Innocence is free with her death.  

©2021.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Sorrow will last forever…#352

Image result for sharecropper

I sometimes picture myself being born in another time; I may sit for long periods of time letting my mind wander.  My situation does not change much, I may be holding the bridle of a mule plowing fresh ground during planting time; if I find a piece of paper floating in the warm southern breeze, I chase it down.  Maybe I can use it to write on, a bit of poetry or a short story about my life as a sharecropper’s daughter.

There is always proof somewhere in the scene that lets me know that I come from poor folk.  I wear it like a suit of armor, it does not fail me.  Like a pencil falling from my hand, I am brought back to the present, I am much older, much wiser, and mostly happy with where I am in life.  I know that I will not see sixteen again, nor even thirty!

In my whole life, I only loved one boy, yes, a boy.  A high school boy! That was before my life was turned upside down, he moved on with his life and at sixteen, I stood still.  Was it love?  I like to think so, of course, girls, women seem to fall into certain unclear slots of not knowing what they want.  From farm girl to city girl before I had an adjustment to either.  In those days the parents made the decisions, today the teens make their own decisions in most situations. 

The mental health issues have not changed, just the teens are growing up much too fast.  The schools, nor the parents fail to recognize that they are too far out of their comfort zone.  The parents are allowing them to make decisions that are still being pondered by a much older age group; they are children making adult decisions.  As parents, we are allowing them to do so, thus comes problems later in life.

When one of the great masters was dying his last words were “Sorrow will last forever”.  That could be anyone’s epitaph as the eternal has its own laws. 

EAJM

©2021.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Back On-Line…#349

Image result for someone typing in a dream

I am back on-line and out of the hospital once again.  I want to let you know about my latest episode with “Multi Myeloma”, bone cancer.  I went into the Oncology center for my “Chemo” treatment Friday, August 20, 2021; the ride was uneventful as was the blood draw.  I was taken to Dr. O, office for a consult before treatment.  It was there that she informed me that my oxygen was low and that she was sending me via ambulance to the ER.  The ride to the ER was the last thing that I rationally remembered.

I remembered one of the ER Doctors saying that I had, a fever, lungs filling up, Pneumonia, for many my age this is a death sentence!  They begin treating the infection immediately, I explained that I needed to go home, that I had been in the hospital for two-half weeks, Rehab for two-weeks, and I had been gone from home for over one-month.  Home only one day and was in Oncology for Chemo, I needed to go home.  I remember IV’s and confusion!   

I opened my eyes and it was still dark outside, a nurse told me it was August 21, 2021, I told her that I thought it was December 21, that my room was decorated for Christmas.  She was very kind explaining that I had entered the hospital on August 20, 2021, it was early morning and there were no decorations in my room.  Thank goodness she stayed with me continuing to explain that I was taking “mega” medications and that may be the reason for the delirium. I “thought” that I got up out of bed making my way outside where there was snow on the ground, a scene out of a movie “Four Season” that I had watched recently.  I tried to remember the names of the other couple go no avail, not even the stage names or the man I was with, Alan Alda.  My thoughts, I was dying and my children had decorated the room making it Christmas for me. 

When morning light began to creep into the room my mind took another turn into the fantasy world of delirium.  Christmas had disappeared, staff came in and out, I believed it was time to “shut up” and take in my surroundings, the only real thing was my son, Chuck.  

With Chuck being there and a telephone call from Carl make me realize that they too had experienced this type of delusion, and Mia a wonderful nurse that stayed with me until he shift had ended.  I continued to weigh in on my surroundings, I was suspicious of many things, and I tried to keep up with the staff, their names, and their positions in the hospital.  I read each IV that hung over my head, the contents and did I know what they were giving me.  My little knowledge of medicine gave me no help, but some of them I understood.  The hospital was not trying to poison me!  Chuck and Mia talk to me, he seem to have a great deal of understanding of what she was telling him, she had hugged me earlier, which was nice.  I did begin to come out of it and by Saturday afternoon, once again had control of my senses.

My delirium is now gone…  I had to spend several days in the hospital.  The combo of medications placed me in that position, which I did not care for and hope to never experience again.  I am back at the computer and tomorrow plan to work on my book.

My plan is to take all of the experiences that I have endured to put in the book that I had started before all of the health problems begin, Severe Anemia, Vitamin D Deficiency, No White Blood Cells, Cancerous Red Blood Cells, Bone Cancer and the latest a Broke Back and a Right Fracture of the Ankle, and on top of all of that Pneumonia.  Yet, here I sit pounding out my latest story for all of you on the old keys.  I and down but do not count me out!

I love each and every one of you and hope to work on a poem to post over the weekend, along with writing as much as possible on the book.  The days are getting shorter and the deadline may be at hand.  I hope that you will find my poetry books interesting and the book about my daughter compelling.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

EAJM

*What are your thoughts on Sirhan Sirhan getting paroled? 

Authors Books at Amazon.com and Barns&Nobel.com