In Death the Silence Can Still Be Heard, by Juanita Kirton

Editor’s Note: In response to the election, there has been a lot of crying — and outcrying — on both sides. The TLA Network asked for practitioners to share their thoughts. This is a poem submitted by a TLA practitioner Juanita Kirton.


Bullets lodge themselves in brown bodies
uniformed uninvited guest invade doors
young boys with no prospects
patrol the projects
and the temporary rhetoric of speech stomping
silence the scattering of rodents

This one person, one vote, born from ashes and strife is still in labor
Two hundred years of pushing and breathing has not given birth to a new nation
Freedoms call needs a hearing aide
The blood that lies beneath the soil will turn to stone
There is no roadmap to a Democratic Republic, never done before
Someone said, “we are a grand design”, an experiment gone wrong
The “Pursuit of Happiness” has so many interpretations
the perspective is from your own
male, female, somewhere in-between,
black, brown, yellow, white or all encompassing, like a rainbow
Is happiness, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or none?
How do we pursue Peace?
war, reflective, reconciliation?
On the eve of November 8, 2016, the silent will be heard with the jerk of a handle
the stroke of a pen and the counting
In Retrospect does my vote have substance?
Democracy is sill stuck in the birth canal and she has only dilated 3-centermeters Seven more to go, If I’ve calculated correctly, four-hundred more years before this nation gives birth and then we can listen for the first breath, clean her up
watch her learn to crawl
In my silent dreams the earth has no boundaries
her natural resources shard by all
with no hunger, there is no want
with no want there is no war
and so the leaves continue to fall, winter will arrive
all the silent voices will be heard
I walked on Mt. Evans, rode across the desert, swam in the Pacific, traveled on the waves of the Atlantic
The Caribbean & Metearrean have their blues.
The salt in Utah is humbled by glacial Bay
All that divides us is made-up mindless stories
Your blood is my blood, your wish, and my dreams
your fears a lack of knowledge
Trust is a hard word to swallow

screenshot-2016-09-11-at-15-48-20Juanita Kirton holds a BA in Psychology, an MEd in Special Education, a PhD Educational Administration and a PhD in Developmental Disabilities. In 2015 she obtained a MFA from Goddard College in the Creative Writing/Poetry track. Juanita sings with Riverside Church Inspirational Choir, is a member of Rutgers University South African Initiative Brain Trust Committee, the Pocono Mountain Arts Council, the Pocono Mountain African American Network, volunteers with several local organizations.

Juanita facilitates the Blairstown Writers group in New Jersey, which is affiliated with Women Who Write in NJ and participates in the Women Reading Aloud workshop series. She directs the QuillEssence Writing Collective that coordinates an annual women’s writing retreat at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Bangor, PA, and is currently a poetry editor for the Goddard College Clock House Literary Journal.

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