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The United Nations Flag
Designed by Donal McLaughlin

Tagging All Flags
© 2009 Renee Matthews-Jackson
All rights reserved
We need to play catch-up,
fess up to our shortcomings.

No more thumbing our nose
at supposed to, and misconstrued
positions, while opposing
repose, as we stress ourselves
into oblivion.

We need to grow-up and show-up
for one another,
sister for sister and brother for brother
with druthers that enhance
every chance to succeed.

That’s what we need to do
to feed the hungry,
house the homeless,
dress the unclothed
and assist those
who suffer from daily woes.

We need to get in step,
fix our burnt out rep,
and prep each child
with a scholarly education
that will make us forerunners in all nations.

We need to stop using religion
as a final decision to judge the next person
while basing our fear-riddled,
middle of the road,
load of crappy differences
that cause our despising minds
to become hardened hearts.


No matter beliefs,
leads to less grief.

And after these needs are fulfilled;
we must press each Bill sent down from
our governments,
demand that they benefit
all races, cultures, persuasions…
within these melting pots
that we all call home.

No sovereign woman/man
or single clan
can stand as one--
not under a sun
that warms us All!

But we will not (cannot)
do these things alone,
nor can we wean citizens
from baneful bones of contention,
or dismiss hatred
in this, our present condition.

It is time for new renditions;
“America the Beautiful”
"O Canada"
"Mawtini (My Homeland)"
"San Min Chu-i"
or "Three Principles of the People"

time for reinstatements of old songs
sung from healing hearts
within a solitary, loving world.

For attitudes are ugly and one side
always disagrees with the pleas
of the other
because Democrats
and Republicans have forgotten
that we are the US, and so;

if we truly want to be blessed
as a country,
lifted as the Earth's people;
a coming together must evolve
and it has to start with love,
because as it stands, “Yes We Can”
has fallen on deaf ears
and no one hears the Hope anymore.

Gay men and women
should (must) have the same rights
as all Americans!

Blacks should (must) be next to Whites
in the truest fight for liberty,
and we need to extinguish
the plight of all minorities,
make everyone a majority.

I’m looking from above like an angel
or a dove, and what I see is devastation 
jealous rage, pained from degradation,
and in a moment annihilation
from bitterness and frustration.

Nuclear bombs set for detonation;
because conversation and dialogue
has been bogged down
to simple-ass rhetoric--
where no one is speaking
in truth's tongue,
the suggestion of Peace
has become a foreign language.

spew absurd words
that blind the hearing,
appearing to be more
than possibility can reach.

Cut-throat gloating
sings in highest praise
to dazed  humans
who have become immune
to flagrant tunes of lyrical jargon,
bargaining compromise
disguised in white linen;
beginning from yet another beginning
with each new day.

Guess all I’m trying to say--
It is time
to unite
to fight
the best fight;
better spirits weilding justice,
and halt the entire finger-pointing,
fault placing, and race-bating bullshit.

Because if we sit
on our hands any longer,
the real shame of it is;


”If nothing changes,
nothing changes…”

Author notes

Picture Credit: Flag of United Nations - Designed by Donal McLaughlin


“America the Beautiful” - United States
"O Canada" - Canada
"Hatiḳṿa' - Israel
"Mawtini (My Homeland)" - Palestine/Iraq
"San Min Chu-i" or "Three Principles of the People" - China



Missing image 

Male head
Edo peoples, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria
Copper alloy, iron
22.2 cm (8 3/4 in.)
82-5-2, purchased with funds provided by
the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program



Past lives paint dust-colored scenarios,
and post themselves on now-a-day billboards
to advertise a parched sense of being there.

I faintly remember...
that is until pictures pop into my mind
in flashy darkened hues of afterlife.

I reigned as Queen of Songhay tribes
in Ancient Africa.
Ruled in my father's absence in Benin.

Covered the cosmos with a hand woven shawl
my grandmother spun from the silk of Persia,
and flung the perfumed garment in my lover's face.

My speech patterns influenced language, politics, 
educational systems, philosophy, science, and arts,
giving rise to the European Renaissance.

I am neo-classical, prehistoric,
the Mycenaean script almost forgotten.
I am every island, valley, and mountain fathomed.

My bones unearthed in archaeological digs
still create a melanin factor in plant, animal,
and protista kingdoms.

My prototype was, and is cloned daily
to induce future generations of my likeness
even through my fervent protests.

Scientists are surely unaware of the inability
to duplicate a peculiar people
such as the gene pool my kin excrete.

But I sigh, knowing the outcome of mutations,
and practice teaching them how to walk upright
regardless of my weariness.

Illogical presumptions about me
have formed irrational assumptions.
But simplicity allows for commonality.

So, I become what you wish you could be,
and you foster envy in my stead
because I have no want for any human thing.

Basic ethnicity aside, I am the first and last,
born of dirt scooped up by the Creator,
molded into existence by Universal hands.





you stifled my mother, an epic poem

July 1, 2008.  © Renee Matthews-Jackson, All rights reserved




let's play pretend
allow the anesthetic-count
to begin at five generations
counting backward
dress up in our ancestors clothes
shoes too big to fill
act like we're preparing
to have company for tea
while sticking our pinkly finger
up the nose of a struggle
in some cases
a simple pair of coveralls
and work boots
to gather ourselves in fields
plow and plant
reaping sparsely the harvest
in yet others
blue collar indifference
lunged at a society that
makes class of its members

let's pitch a tent
in the backyard of imagination
thumb through the pages of memory
to finally settle
in the simmered broth
of cleansing
because we are not
so far removed
cattle even know
when it's time to eat
the beast fathom the seasons
we are higher in dominion
but still mammals
least some forget
the wilderness
because of the condos
stigmatized by contemporary
washing away antiquity
and dis-endowing birth rights
because ham saw noah's nakedness
a drunken stupor won't be the excuse
not this time around

we could assemble ourselves
in a fora-like environment
tossing about opinion
like a kid
with a fierce paddle-ball
striking away at happenstance
pounding the rubber
till it bores holes in wood
but who cares
that we rest on malice
instead of the vengeful peace 
we claim to want
with our desired fetishes of creativity
longing to issue-forth the revolution
with hopes of encompassing hearts and minds
and not travail the elders
making them stir in their earth-beds
they have restlessness
in their eternal sleep
quiet stress summons their voices
but we are too busy forcing rhymes
to hear the advice they wield
in light of darkness

make no error in judgment
i am not willing to touch base
with social-political critique
at present
simply want to air some linen
that has been soiled
and had need of soaking
before the wash cycle began
no fabric softener here
the rough texture of this material
is natural
with unbridled tongue
let loose its cleave
there are no profundities
no prolific measure of any sort
redundancies most unnecessary
a turbo-charged mentality
solely pretentious and wishful
an idealist left to roam freely
with a few muses to make suggestion
ear-shy of reality

from above-board boutiques
adorned in quagmires excursion
we relentlessly forge onward
technology filling out applications
and securing jobs without emotion
no need to check the gender
or ethnicity box
to be assigned a workload
key-in responsibility accessed
vacations obsolete
leaves of absence
for child-rearing
machines can't make babies
or hadn't anyone noticed 
conception eased its way
through a muddy birth-canal
and swam to the shores
of an isolated island
children come here
like they've been here before
old folks come back
the wiser but weaker
stalking tomorrow
as if the X title they were given
amounts to who they are
before the first tooth
sprouts in tender gums of perpetual motion

i would rather pamper myself in denial
than listen to lucky sparkling stars
on eves that give me indigo digestion
and heartburn
waiting for that day-spa
a face-lift that never comes
indulge in simplistic reason
than brandish a three-level tier
of importance
like i know what medicine to prescribe
to rid us of decay
exotic are my thoughts
grandiose in the highest degree
deflated by philanthropic donations
that i would have loved to collect
just to pay my rent
body-oiled indecencies flinch
at what could have been
but then i know which decisions
cause my turmoil
self-induced canopies
may be over your head
but mine lie next to me
coughing and wheezing the bile
of private detoxification

would you care
to spend the night
with my conscious
travel with me
down memorable roads of pleasure
and disdain
unearth those hidden treasures
that i have the key to
but am afraid to unlock
amused at my fear of success
i look to an outer produce
to fund a production
that constantly drains
my winsome wherewithal
zanzibar blue is my tale of woe
its mainstay a headliner
in coalition with the gods
no cover charge
passion's historic melding
passed on from daddy's tenor sax
delivered late by the mailman
but just in time to tune
a mutual-fund investment
that i leave as a legacy
to my offspring and theirs

have you ever
really listened to a cricket
as it strummed a rhythm
in cadence with the nightingale
and katydid
joined by the toad's song
have you
don't let the hood of death catch you
before you pay admission to hear
grandest symphony of life
it bellows from the grasses
in night splendor
and lulls its victims
to an interrupted sleep
there is a gentle calm
in between lines of chaos
you've got to rummage
through all the bullshit
to find its peace
but it's there
in the funny-bone
just at bend of the arm
blazing and hot
roasting marshmallows
over campfires
holding your lover
on a chilled winter night
while orion smiles at the sight

in the beginning
a wondrous work
which included the whole of mankind
she was the queen
the earth's
most precious jewels
embedded in her crown
her territory
one fourth of the world's land
rich in iron ore
every mineral
and animal
made her soil their home
she danced
with silk scarves
for kings
dined from pewter ware
designed every imaginable contraption
was forerunner in the arts
from cairo
to cape of good hope
her beauty
comely and dark
bathing in the nile
she dipped matriarchal fingers
into cocoa leaves
and made chocolate
the stilt village of ganvic
hoisted her heart up
as she stretched out
welcoming arms
to all nations
and they so remind me often
where not to tread

they came by ship
cross waters
to find treasures
and did they ever
when foreigners arrived
the natives became
although they were geniuses
far advanced in how to
but seen as barbaric
and given titles of great myth
captured and careened
with chains and shackles
and queens
forced to into arduous labor
stripped of native tongue
stripped of swahili names
isolated and cast off
placed asunder
by greed
and capital
her western neighbors
raped her spirit
and abandoned her
she suffers still
advantages swept away
from her reach
by those who used her to experience gain
with a deep sigh
I am amazed
that we turn our backs on our mother
who held us with tender hands
and rocked us in the bosom of her love
nurtured us with passions' fruit
yielded us from nature's harming fields
and claimed us in spite of our skin-tones
so much here to take the mind on a bend
paints a picture of the global society
that wears itself thin
even on thick skin

sometimes we have to search
to find our true identity
sad and filled with desire
It spins off the tongue
like a little kids top
a vast area where sin lies
is confirmed in past and present actions
almost as if
these words should be whispered
or spoken under one's breath
I wonder of the melody
with which the music plays
we cannot breathe without assistance
the oxygen mask is unseen
invisible but we know it’s there
the spiritual surely some place
where we need to be sorrowful
spilling over with humility
and the need for forgiveness
common sense
and the understanding of human nature
where oft times even apologies
are not enough
face the fact
we need to be remorseful
heal wounded hearts
a dire need to forgive
we are all one
I am always suspicious
it’s my nature
my mind
speaking mountains of things
the liquid essence of clever words
finely crafted
subliminal infraction bound by reason
flagrant sentiments
who have who seemingly disregarded
being human beings
guilt-ridden layers
needing removal
felt more praise than the emotion 
rueful and discontent with one's self
lying dormant in the psyche
in the heat of anger
tend to give to both arguing parties
the word became my inspiration
400,00 years is all I can recall
what a twisted ending
a little cumbersome
but poignantly dark
you know it's nothing but colored sugar
I dream all the time
unending dreams
that some would say
are over the top
doppelgangers humming negro spirituals
my birthstone
yellow topaz
a rare find
mockingbird mocks my content

I too am in the ranks
have been the druggie
the drunk
the whore in distasteful places
circumstances, and situations
most gifted people have indulged
in the jet of life
at some time or another
the un-gifted (of which I cannot consider)
seem to make a log-cabin abode
in the woods of their demise
and remain in the valley
with no need to be removed
I really can't see much of a difference
a wicked enchantment
finely weave
a residue that still sits
in her dusty mind
after the war
vivid emotions
that set her whirling
wait until the bewitching hour
miseries and the flu 
just pain old murphy's law
what the hell happened to her luck
the intensity of being scorned
plays itself out with an effortless flow
make my task more of a task

to unearth the darkest kiss
no matter how evil and haunting
the pale of society’s image
with no hesitation
is quite intense
I’ve forgotten my mother now
having to estimate the ills of a sick planet
preparing for the race
with sole less sneakers
metered running makes no sense to me
nuances spent
ranking last lines
kind of claustrophobic
time for some serious house cleaning
find a synonym
for the word greed
it was made less obvious
what you were trying to convey
that feeling of utter silence
in eyes that bellow
and seethe with anger
the past as it seems
brings things
into a "let's look at her" perspective
childbirth is one of the most intense
happenstances in the world
she bore us
in pain and anguish
and we seem satisfied
to almost help her
licking the glue
before sealing the envelope
almost tasting the ink
of good fortune
on the best of bleakest day
double-fold meanings
either you never get enough of what you want
or for some reason
you don't get anything you ever want
let me blatantly share that I love
that I loved her
even in my orphan state
taken from her womb as he lie dying
hemorrhaging because I grabbed hold
of inner-tissues
fighting not to come here
there is for sure
a "galaxy" out there that remains
the passage may have worked better
had it simply allowed us to bring our drums
i love it when someone
finally finds that love that overflows
even when low self-esteem evolves
this is truly personal
to devour the sins
of those who have passed over
into the next realm
is something of higher esteem
pity is not something I need in my life
(who really does)
but sometimes it is good
to recognize those feelings
there is also a tender bliss happening
been drawn into the winners' circle
a victorious smile appears on my face
mother will be replenished
the last first
and the first
there is no way she will dissolve
we won’t let her
will we



June 27, 2009  © Renee Matthews-Jackson

All rights reserved




he said he wanted to be a singer
from the age of three
and now he is nine
I knew I was no vocalist
but was taught as a youngster
how to properly use my voice
push it out from the diaphragm
right there between the breasts
and the stomach, right in the middle
place your fingers there and say, "HA"
feel it expand and release
not from the throat, from the diaphragm
yesterday he was singing
"I want you back"
and remembered
placed his slender digits
in the exact spot and belted out
the most precious note
then, smiled at remembering


she was quite
barely spoke in an audible tone
always kept to herself
and whispered to me one day
"is it wierd that black
is my favorite color"
I pulled her to the side
got my tube of white face
plastered a perfect mask
let her indigo clothing move
in motions that beamed volumes
her mime was raw
showing off a talent
I knew could never stay hidden


he was starry-eyed
ham was his middle name
could talk faster
than the speed of sound
loudly rambling made up scenes
in a world that only he knew
how to arrive at safely
any given moment
had him reciting lines
from movies and plays, stories
I took him by the hand
and walked him to the arena
placed him center stage
and left him to bask
in a pouring down light




Renee Matthews-Jackson © March 2006



Tension builds in the cosmos
Turmoil about to erupt
Armies of good and evil
Ascend to Earth quite abrupt

Billions run for cover
But there is nowhere to hide
No need to secure refuge
If in God your soul abides

At End righteousness triumphs
Sin has had its turn to play
Confess to love the Savior
Be ready for the last day

No one knows the exact hour
It comes to all as surprise
There will be gnashing of teeth
Everlasting, mournful cries

Fire raining from heaven
The day will be turned to night
For those who trust in Jesus
Everything will be all right

Prophecy has been written
Revelation is the book
If you cannot believe this
Take this moment to go look

For sure, man wrote the Bible
Divinely driven was he
Take heed to what I've told you
For me there's no mystery





Generations Breasts

Renee Matthews-Jackson © April 2006



The stage;
set with magenta gels
over sparsely hung lights
to give
the atmosphere of antiquity.

Furnishing tinged
with a fine yellow dust
that swept itself
into corners,
yielding the fragrance
of age and memories.

Grandpa slumbered in a
chair that had seen years
of fatigued bodies,
all falling asleep
in its comfort.

You could hear grandma
hum "Precious Lord"
as the balm
of oven-toasted bread
rose throughout
the moment.

Sentimental psalms played
the strings of my heart
in missing them,
like silent movies
of yesterday.

I could feel
the warmth
of their sturdy hands,
caressing away my pain.

Nostalgic embers
soothe my spirit
in remembrance
of my youth,
as wrinkled smiles
purposely press tears
of loss love,
on cross-stitched
afghans of time...



Acute Symptoms

Renee Matthews-Jackson

© December 13, 2005



should have been attentive
when the pitch of  foolhardiness

weighed massively on benevolence

too engrossed

the first flush of morning

in the radiance
of the hunter's moon
purchasing moods
delighting in moments
disregarding the alarm

yesterdays' disaster
befitting of recall
swayed past reality
I cringed
as a frigid tongue
lapped against
the icy peak
of grievous shame

begging to be relieved
from existence
with pre-eminence
by those
who choose
to salt away

behind words
that made no sense

since I am a mere mortal
and have no concern
for things
that most cherish
I trip over happenstance
and drop
           through the void

died inside twice
chanced upon
an abstracted fragrance
that lulled me into slumber

but that was restless
who knows
what I dreamed
in the flash of a second

I gave myself quietly
to desires that made me bitter
for I could not grasp
all that was ending
from the beginning of naught

best to beam
instead of bewail

melodies rule the day
baptized and melancholy
played on strings
of angelic harps

reeling from menthol
tar and nicotine dazed

backwards down the stairs
past parched pretense
mouth moving
with no articulation
pasted posture seeping
a ghostly crimson regime
wandering until fatigue
        slays me gently
as idleness ensues
pictures pretend
to be familiar







Renee Matthews-Jackson

© December 3, 2005



she was going through 
some kind of phase
others kept alluding
but she knew 
which timber was falling  
with thuds 
that made no sound

there need be 
a stay 
from thoughts
shaking moods off 
like puppies 
after bathing
as thundering 

hope regresses
when deliberate 
shuttle buses 
make their way 
through corpuscles
faith keeps watch
over divided souls
right and left
opposing corners
waging battle 
from a distance

focused wit 
places seals 
on mason jars 
of inconsistency 
effortlessly gliding 
through stale air 
even when there is 
just one cigarette 
till morning

blue bird's song 
plays revelry
their hour glass 
right outside of 
migraine ills 
and sinus                    
her to be thankful

raging sun peers 
through filtered blinds 
exactly like the side door 
night light 
from the house next door 
both feet hit the floor 
in jog mode
icy starbucks
a wake up freeze
the day zooms 
into the future
she has to gnaw her way 
out of the box





Brown Ink

Renee Matthews-Jackson

© November 17, 2005


countless hours spent 
spinning words, 
pressing phrases,
simmering stanzas 
of stewed sustenance... 
stillness creating
negotiable thoughts 
that rage.
hesitant notions 
due to exposure
whisper themselves into existence,
as fondled memory sighs.

brown ink

tormented bellows usurp
because tête-à-tête 
is not found.
wicked moods 
mixed with absolute
spill with rancor.
core substance;  like elixir,
medicates spirits that scribe.
flowing like molasses
up from scratchy voice boxes
writs of life
embrace viewing souls.

dried blood;

hands dug in soil,
pulling weeds,
pruning to exact beauty.
elaborate rhetoric
spewing like solar flares.
brows sweaty 
from palms 
strapped to foreheads.
pensive passion puffed-up.
arthritic fingers 
ache out a need to emote.
invisible costs often incurred
yet reveling 
impedes when perfected--

lore on parchment.

beleaguered misanthrope,
acapella soloists,
lyrical to no end...
born-again in verse,
lauded in exposition,
coaxed negative and positive.
masters in training,
coddled and corrected,
steered excellence,
in extremis.
no prerequisite,
a simple will 
on the brink of sanity.

brown ink,
dried blood, 
lore on parchment.




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