Re: NYC Poetry Festival Promise
The 11 th Annual New York City Poetry Festival on Governor’s Island (September 10 -11 2022) provided a wonderful collaboration between The Rebel Poets and the NWU. Our shared stage conveyed styles, and themes our audience seemed to appreciate. This venue initiated a “New NWU Tradition” of post-performance audience generated word prompts.
Audience members were encouraged to provide us a word or two that resonated within them during our readings. After our feature, we collected audience word submissions and incorporated them within new works. Our promise to the audience was twofold: 1) We would incorporate audience submissions into new pieces and 2) we will post them December 2022 on the NWU website.
The result is a collaboration between writers, and an attentive audience. Of course, we are hoping to encourage all genres of writers to join the NWU and read Rebel Poets literature! In addition to the “Audience Submitted Word List” the following works are attached: “Remembrance” by Betty Pierre, The Adamant Rain” by Judy Andrews, “Paradigm Shift” by Mike McQuillan and my submission “Light on My Feet.” This is also another example of an expansive body of work I initiated elsewhere as “Ect Etc Works.”
Thank you, Judy Andrews, Betty Pierre, Mike McQuillan, and Alexandria Faiz.
Please enjoy! Remain safe and healthy everyone. DMW
The Adamant Rain – by Judy C. Andrews
I used the words: gemstones, silence, prosperity, adamant, and mother for
Mother Nature wished for silence
when her child, Rain, dampened
the concrete of New York City
on a warm day in August.
“Listen,” She whispered to me.
Rain’s footsteps gingerly
walked across grass,
tiptoed toward the bottom
of tree trunks,
kissed squirrels, leaves, cement,
& my lips.
The smell of clay
curtsied to the wind.
It wished humans
this gift of prosperity
a day filled with
memories, awkward moments,
smiles, joyful tastebuds,
& infinite thoughts
praising the peace
of gemstones & beauty
glistening on the lap
of the Earth
Paradigm Shift – by Mike NcQuillan
Holy light fills window's tree at dawn. Autumn leaves as angels embrace our white-haired God.
There is peace as people sleep. I pray. May heart's compassion bridge mental walls to unite and
not divide. The youthful idealism mourned in my bones with Gandhi’s maxim to “be the change
you wish to see in the world” mandates clarity: what values dear to me must I enact to infuse
good where I can? My spiritual yearnings touch Zen Buddhist tenets, Christ’s Sermon on the
Mount, Rabbi Heschel’s insights and guided Jewish meditation. Resonating with the white-
haired God from knowing we are one is that I grasped the telephonic olive branch of Biblical
discussions with Jehovah’s Witness missionaries. Limiting the anguish each news report
enclaves, I lace my days with silence. I rarely race through front page stories, preferring longer
thoughtful works. Francesco Da Vinci’s I Refuse to Kill last month manifest his brave and
ultimately vindicated steadfast moral stance as a Vietnam Era Conscientious Objector. “To be
outside such a situation so violent as war is to find it inconceivable; to be inside it is to be unable
to conceive its end,” The Iliad or the Poem of Force by Simone Weil points out. “Heroism is but
a theatrical gesture and smirched with boastfulness.” Weil bore witness to others’ plight through
dehumanized factory life in France, parting from an affluent teaching career for the Paris Renault
plant’s assembly line. Enduring aerial bombardments on the Spanish Civil War’s front line, then
joining the London-based Resistance to Hitler’s French Occupation, Weil left a harrowing
journey as a model of moral integrity. Yet her refusal to eat more than wartime rations induced
malnutrition and illness that meant her demise at age 34. Twenty posthumously published prose
writings and journals raise issues of what lay ahead had the world’s misery not snuffed out her
candle. Missiles toward the Moon and Mars manifest a mastery of science but to unleash arsenals
of kindness would prove that we’ve advanced. “What do you think of western civilization, Mr.
Gandhi?” a reporter asked the Mahatma. “It would be a good idea!” he replied. “You should
enjoy your retirement,” my adult son implores as my two-year soup kitchen service ensues on
Mondays. “I’ve seen your generosity with the homeless, but you’re just one man so what can you
do? Now it’s your time.” I wrestle with moral dilemmas as police officers wake up to force
above ground the homeless who sleep on the subways; where are they to go with city shelters
filled or unsafe? Luxury high-rise construction, abundant in New York’s Brooklyn Borough,
mocks their fate and my despair. I’ve written postcards to low-turnout voters in Texas, Alabama,
Virginia and Georgia, coordinating our synagogue’s project. I’ve been calling on old friends for
coffee to lift myself from struggle, to share the joy that, ephemeral as summer fireflies, fills
Remembrances – by Betty Pierre
Names we hold dear or feared.
Held like gemstones or mourned
in my bones for mother.
Tales weaved in truth,
fantasy fiction of futures that
sometimes become reality like when
the butterflies danced.
A trunk line ruptured,
snake oil poured from the ashes
stickiness shocking my betrothed,
I thought, I gotta commit but didn’t.
The White-haired god un-named,
unseen except for the arsenals of lies told
through the years.
Silence resonating when we seek an
anchor of truth, for prosperity, balance and
connections among strangers.
NYC Poetry Festival Assignment/NWU’s Promise
My five words are in italics. They are as follows:1) the butterflies danced, 2)
gemstones, 3) silence, 4) weaved in truth, and 5) resonating.
“Light on My Feet”
I watched in silence and listened to my internal humming.
In concert with nature, I internally heard wings fluttering.
I saw them with my eyes closed enhancing my silence.
My silence echoed an internal humming.
Their floating gemstone– laden embroidered wings beating, fluttering, resonating with
my internal rhythm. Faceted colors, glittering and blindingly bright their flickers gave my
inner eye an echo locution of bouncing shimmering lightness and flight.
We weaved through the air, we weaved honestly never quite touching, the
weightlessness of their fluttering wings, weaved between my arms, my legs, truthfully,
they weaved as I fluttered along with them our steps in synch, because they weaved in
truth with a commitment just as I had to keep this dance, this beauteous moment for an
eternity that never exhausted either of us.
I danced with the butterflies with my eyes closed.
We pirouetted together, we curtsied each other. We played matador to Ravel and
waltzed to Shubert, we rumbaed with Cougat, and answered Caroline Oakley’s square
Yes, we danced with my eyes closed because my heart knew how to move as the
butterflies danced between my toes and welcomed my soul.
Diane Murray Ward