Poetry

November 29, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Agastya Alfath photo

 

By

Jacqueline Jules

 

 

 

Signs*

 

 

In the store window, visible from the sidewalk,

a colorful sign, professionally printed

in four languages, welcoming all.

 

Not something I saw, growing up in the 60’s.

The windows of my small town sported

hand-lettered cardboard, barring entrance:

No Blacks, No Jews, No Dogs,

No Mexicans, No Japanese . . .

 

The mountain we’re climbing is high

and the promised vista still out of sight.

 

If only we were from Krypton, able to leap

in a single bound, to bring change

faster than a speeding bullet.

 

Instead, I take comfort in signs.

Printed in color, written

in alphabets from around the world,

posted in windows, planted in yards

as I march toward the crest of the mountain,

still determined to see the promised land.

 

 

*Hate Has No Home Here https://hatehasnohome.org/index.html

 

 

 

 

Smoking Bans

 

 

I remember

when every home had ash trays.

No one was asked to step outside.

 

The wispy white tendrils

were welcome in any building.

Bowling alleys billowed.

Butts littered break rooms.

 

Now smokers

are only seen on the streets—

guilty pariahs

hiding by back doors

and dumpsters.

 

In my own sixty years,

pulling out a pack in public

has flipped like a copper coin

from common to crass.

 

Who says voters

can’t change? Can’t care

for collective health?

Can’t discard addictions

acquired in youth, accept laws

declaring all have the right

to breathe free.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacqueline Jules

Jacqueline Jules is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, Stronger Than Cleopatra, and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street PressHer work has appeared in over 100 publications including New Verse News, Rat’s Ass Review, and Rising Phoenix Review. She is also the author of 40 books for young readers. Visit www.jacquelinejules.com

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