A Summer Evening of Rock & Roll-An Erasure Poem Honoring The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

A Summer Evening of Rock & Roll

Anticipation growing to hear some tunes
The beautiful sun concedes to the moon
I heard a Filipino sing

High on the lawn of the venue this night
All followers of music
Under the moonlight

The masses started to sway
The followers started to sway

To the songs of Classic Rock

An older musician played each ivory key
The bass guitar sang to the sweet melody

Rock on, Baby!

The singer
Long ebony hair
Danced and spun
Women whistled
He smiled and winked
Just for fun.

Rock on, Baby!
Shouted out at him in a marijuana filled fog
Rock on, Baby!

The musical dream took the crowd all away
Fingers tingled from the vibrations
of the song being played

Voices raised to sing along the refrain
Voices raised to sing along the refrain

Go the hands between beats
People stood now
Leaving their chairs and their sheets
Covering the mid summer grass

“We won’t stop believing!”
“We will hold on to this feeling!”
“We won’t stop believing this night!”

Strangers in the darkness
Finally united as one
Held their lighters and drinks til the concert is done

Then all walked away silently
No words to be said
The lawn and it’s music
are finally dead

In Honor of Tim Howard: 120 Minutes of Play

120 Minutes of Play

Eyes of decorated and traveled
Outlaws and unified Red Devils
Shine with excitement
Divided masses
Singing songs of devoted countries
Dancing with joyous feet
Chanting with emotions of the heart
Victory must be decided

A chiseled body man covered in black
Takes his place and prepares to give his body
As a sacrifice
To entertain, honor, and infuriate the crowd

Shots begin
Sweat pours down his temples
Like crystal waterfalls crashing
And ending at the edges of
His weathered beard
The assault continues
There shall be no mercy

His lean, athletic body contorts and twist 
Soars like a satellite
Launched in the dark sky
To take the many hits and strikes
Against his soft and protected palms

One bullet clangs behind him
He is not afraid
For this is what he was born to do
Each time he seems to collapse toward
The green grass in exhaustion
He continues to rise to his feet
He stand up proudly
Chest with hope and lungs filled
With pride from his country
It keeps him alive to continue to fight

One minute left
A lifetime in the eyes of many
But a sign of possible brutal end for the hero
Devils salivate and snarl with delight
Scream come at high pitches
And call for the blood of this
Man of magic

Outlaws with faces painted
In shades of white and blue
Bold stripes and shinning stars
Cringe and wonder
How much more can this one man

A decision has been made
A calmness begins to overcome
The masses of friends and foes
Not victorious is the verdict
This man walks away almost broken
but will forever be glorified in honorary lights
He lowers his head
Eyes damp with heart-broken feelings
A mind filled with thoughts
Of what might have been

Observers stroll away
With emotions that shall never leave the soul
Joy Heartbreak Anguish Awe Pride
War paint of all is washed away


I have found lately that I am in need of some therapy.



Now, some choose to go and speak to others about their issues,

Sitting on comfy, overpriced furniture while higher ups

Nodding their heads in agreement

Eyebrows pinched downward with discomfort,

Waiting to hear the “Powers-That-Be” say

“Times Up.”


To find a co-worker to listen to the woes of the world,

Ones who will give a sympathetic ear

Just to work their jaws

To others in gossip,

With small smirks curling up at 

The ends of tongue-licked lips,

Totally pushing one deeper into a depression,

A cavern of darkness,

To feelings of nowhere.


I chose to write.

That natural outlet for disturbed, warped in thought individuals,

People trapped in thoughts that can not be shared

To the average man.

To just type and listen to the sound of the keys

Under one’s fingertips.

The rhythm of knowing that words can

Drop out of the soul like

Rain splattering on the pavement in an unannounced

Spring storm in May.


That’s therapy.

In honor of Maya Angelou-Thank you for allowing me to see that poetry is the way to give one’s thoughts from deep within one’s soul.

A Frank Discussion

Today, my seniors and I had a discussion about life choices. It’s the second and last semester of their high school careers, and there are moments where there is a sudden change of thought, behavior, and focus within their lives. Today was the first sign that I received that my fifth hour was indeed becoming adults. 

This is my smallest, and my most quiet class of the school day. It’s a class of just 26, but I usually have only 20 of them at a time for different reasons. Today, there was a brief interruption for some of the kids to work on their financial aid, so that left me with around 13 of them. I was preparing to do a lecture on my one my favorite writers, Zora Neale Hurston, when one girl asked me about my biggest life decision, my Lapband surgery. I had taught Alexis last year, and she had been very curious on the process and how the ups and downs were in doing something as drastic as bariatric surgery for health.

“Ms. Mathews, when was the last time you had your band filled?”

I had to pause and think of when it was that I did indeed have the band buddy (that’s what I call it) filled. It had been over a year. I told Alexis that, and she seemed surprised.

“I thought you had to do that at least once every 6 months?”

“No, you only do it if you are getting hungry.”

“You haven’t had a really bad hungry bout hit you? And you have lost weight since last year, do you know that?”

After pausing to think about it, I had to tell her that I had not had one in quite some time. Which was a little odd, because I had to do it around every 8 months the first years of having the band. I thanked her for noticing my hard work of losing more weight.

This, of course, opened the door for more questions from students that hadn’t known me as long as Alexis. It wasn’t a time to ask questions to get out of work; they had looks on their faces of amazement, horror and intrigue with me discussing my life as a Banded Baby. Some had heard that I had done it, others it came as a complete surprise.

I realized during the conversation that none of these kids remembered the former, and way heavier, me. They had not met that woman, and when they asked for pictures of me during my heaviest time, I broke down and showed them. Many were astonished that I was the girl in the picture.

“Naw, that’s not you, Ms. M. It can’t be.” One student, David, was amazed by the picture of me at over 300 pounds.

“I have to tell you, David, that was me around four or five years ago.”

“Do you feel better now?”

I nodded my head to show pleasure in my accomplishment.

“You should be proud of your hard work. You’re a new woman.”

He is right. I am a new woman.

My Christmas Writer’s Miracle

It just struck me that my life changed one year ago today.
One year ago, I checked my email before bed, and discovered that my life had officially changed. I read the email, I screamed, and I read the email again. I had began one of the best stages of my life. One year ago today, I received the best surprise Christmas gift of my life. I learned a year ago, that I had received a book deal and become a published writer.
That one email made me feel that I could take on the world. Someone thought that I was talented enough to say they wanted to publish my work, and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity.
In this past year I have met new people that have expanded by views on writing and on life. I have been inspired to tell my story to others and hopefully give them the will to try to put their words on paper. I have done a book signing with over 30 people, taken pictures, signed books to leave smiles on others faces, and received praise in striving to live my dream. Being an author for the past year has been nothing but amazing.
At times it has been humbling. The times I have sat at signings without a single visitor, the times that people have avoided eye contact me with in fears that I would ask for something or beg for them to buy my book. It is not an easy life, it is filled with humbling experiences and people who do not want to believe in your talents. But that won’t stop me. Nothing will stop me, because the positives of receiving that email and having such blessed experiences out way the bad. I love being an author, and I will continue to write as long as I can breathe.
For those thinking of writing: Do it. There are no excuses, pick up that pen, place your fingertips on the keyboard, and tell your story. As I say in engagements for those looking for advice, “Everyone has a story to tell, but most are not strong enough to actually tell the world.” Be that strong, be that bold, and be that example for those to follow. I believe in you, and you need to believe in yourself.
So, as I think about the books that have been signed, the people who have said that they are proud of me, and those who share my dream, I can’t help but to be happy this holiday season.
Merry Christmas, friends, and may you receive surprises that change your life in the future.

Tis’ The Season for Ice Storm ’13-A Semi Squatters Story

Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I do not have power in my house.

I know, such a bad time for such an event, but we all know that Mother Nature has her own schedule and cares not about the holiday season.She comes and goes as she pleases, and she had decided that her effects to end the year would be epic enough for those to have memories of her great powers. There is ice everywhere is Genesee County, and over 61,000 of us are without power. According to the recording from our friends at Consumers Energy, some of the people in our area will not receive power until Saturday, which is December 28th.

This breaks the hearts of many, and the thoughts of children opening up their gifts in frigid temperature households and barely seeing their treasures in the small amount of daylight barely gleaming through the shutters of the windows in quite disheartening. No one would want to deal with the questions of impatient children, and I would hate to be the one to explain how Santa got inside to deliver those gifts.

So, here I am, living in my parents home until things are fixed. They have gone to enjoy the warmth of the weather in the South (well, warmer than here in Michigan), and I have taken over their home with my room mate. We are lucky, we have heat, we have our food in their freezer and are not losing money in paying for a hotel, and we have beds to lay down in. I will say it once again, we are so lucky and so blessed to have a place to take refuge.

So many in our area are not as lucky, and I think of them during this time. I just hope that others can help to make them as comfortable as possible until they receive power back into their households. I do know a couple things that I want to share with the reading public:

1. For those who have houses with power, don’t criticize those who are complaining about it. They don’t want to hear your stories and how they should be happy to have a house to live in. They don’t want to hear you tell them they are selfish, because there are people worst off than they are. Although this might be true, the holidays are as stressful time for all, and you poking the hornets nest of emotions will not help, especially when their are children involved. Instead of tell him to “be grateful for what they have”, invite them to your homes for a meal or to warm up. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

2. Thank the Consumers workers when they come to your house. Five different states workers have come to Michigan to help us. It’s not their fault that this happened, but they have come to your rescue. I know you want heat, and to have a great Christmas (trust me, I do too. I had planned so many things to do before Christmas and can’t), but find the spirit to just say “thanks for what you do” to those workers. Their plans of being with family have been ruined too.

3. I will still remember the reason for the season, and hope that others do too. I will continue to wish for joy and peace in the world that is so dangerous for all of us. I will continue to pray for those in need, and I will embrace the good things that I have been grated with over the hard times I have suffered. Things are not perfect, but I will strive to make the best of what I have, today and always.

Merry Christmas, friends. I hope that everyone stays warm, stays happy, and stays blessed during the icy storm season.

The Waiting Game

Another book signing, means another round of “The Waiting Game”. I have learned that being in the world of writing is filled with times of waiting for people to give some kind of reaction to you. Waiting for a response, waiting for people to notice you at a table, just sitting and waiting. I feel like Dr. Seuss, when he wrote one of my favorite books, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”. 

He spends quite a bit of time discussing “The Waiting Place”. Where people wait for busses to go, for hair to grow, and for a second break. As he stated, “Everyone is just waiting..”

I have found that even if you have a go-go attitude, and want to get your information and writings out there, sometimes you have to wait because other choose to wait. It’s a hard thing to do for people like me. I like to keep busy, to share my story, to make appearances flooded with people, but in the real world of being an author, that often doesn’t happen.

Just now I have three people walk by me and try their best not to look at me. I fear that they think that I am a telemarketer, waiting to demand money from them. Of course, I should take it personally. But you find yourself watching the clock at times, watching the seconds tick away and your mind begins to wander to others things you could be doing.
So, of course, the ultimate questions comes to mind. “Why keep doing it if you spend so much time just sitting there?”
Because when you find your passion, you are willing to wait for others to realize your talents for the world. Because, one day, people might think back at the time they walked passed you in the cafe, in the crepery, in the book store, and they will think back on your face. They will say, “I remember seeing that author before! I should have stopped! I had the moment to share a conversation with that person and to learn their views!”
See, the loss is not of the authors. The loss if for those who didn’t stop. So, for those authors who do book signings and feel the loneliness resting on your shoulders as other avoid you while you struggle to get your words into their hands, I understand. I am going through it once again right now, with the cold air of Michigan swiping across my face each time someone opens a door, walks in, and rushes quickly past me.
But, as Jimmy V said in his memorable speech, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

I’m Just “Teacher” Tired

One thing that I know, there is nothing like being “teacher” tired. It is a level of fatigue that no one outside of the profession can understand. School start last week, and my body has broken down like I am a heavy weight contender that had a match with the Mike Tyson of yore. Everything when you are teacher tired, hurts, doesn’t want to function, and is on the verge of shutting down.

For example, my hip hurts at the start of each school year. I am talking limping, staggering around a house, pain. It will do this all weekend, and suddenly be cured for Monday morning, just to ache again at the last bell of Friday. It might be psychosomatic, but I tell you, anyone who has experienced being “teacher tired” completely understands.

If you want your mind to function, forget about it. You have to get your room set, clean up, make copies, sit in meetings, here a cheer for the new year then be belted back to earth with hearing about your standardize testing scores, stand in front of children, talk for hours, field a zillion questions (and no, that isn’t hyperbole, we get that many questions) from kids and parents, plus start to read and grade again. Most who aren’t called to teach would try this one day, and make a dart for the nearest cliff to jump off, because being a teacher at the beginning of the school year can break you.

So, to my dear friends that are “teacher” tired, I am with you. In less than an hour, I am going to put on my happy face for Open House, and make it seem like to parents that I have all the energy in the world for their children. That’s what teachers are designed to do. So saddle up for another school year, and fight the weights that bear down on us. Despite being this exhausted, we always make it for the benefit of our children.


The Sadness of Sunshine

I dream of you every night.

But you are gone before the dawn.

Your face, it fades, in morning light.

I dream of you every night.

The tears, the loss of soul’s delight.

In my warm arms, you do belong.

I dream of you every night.

But you are gone before the dawn.

Writing Hint of the Day-Write It Down Before You Forget

Writing Hint of the Day: Write down whatever weird things cross your mind. Most of the time, these crazy ideas come during our dreams. The unfortunate part of writing down our dreams is we forget them very quickly. I read an article that stated that we forget 90% of our dreams after the first 10 minutes of waking up. I truly believe this piece of data, because in the case of most writers, I have crazy creative dreams that wake me in the middle of the night, and if I don’t write it down immediately, I forget it.

So, here’s my tip for you. Keep a pad of paper and a pencil/pen next to your bed. You can roll right over and write down what odd events are produced by that mind of yours. Save the topics and ideas for a later time, for a time when you can think clearer and write your masterpiece. I have found that this helps me when coming up with creative topics, way more creative than when I am sitting in front of my laptop, stuck without topics to express.

So tonight, make sure to grab that small pad of yellow paper, one of your favorite pens, and do what great writers do, enjoy your dreams.