Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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The top three reasons why Cecil Williams is our featured poet in this issue are: (1) His witty and profound style always entertains me; (2) he mentions Bob Dylan and Walt Whitman "in one fell swoop"; and (3) his election poem serves to remind everyone to cast their vote on November 7th -- the future depends on your voice!

A Humorous Vote in 2000

By Cecil Williams

What's absent at our present Board of Election?
Is it sweet love and affection?
And since we're going in that singular direction,
What happens after we pull the lever down?
Do we cavort and rejoice throughout the town
Until the name of the victor can be bounced around?
Somehow the entire process is rather profound.

And without taking out time for a longer note,
I think I shall just go in and cast my vote,
Thinking no one can withhold from the wealth
When the issues pertain to mental health.

Cast your ballots and squeal with glee
As you vote in this great democracy
And remember the cost is absolutely free.
Make certain the nation hears your voice,
As you step up and assert your choice.

A Brother's Credo

By Cecil Williams

After all, we have time on our hands to kill;
And I for one have just about had my fill
Of how we are only labeled as "mentally ill"
As I swallow another psychotropic pill.

There is hope that we can all recover
And attach our emotional side to another—
Find a relationship with a significant other.
What are the objectives of an urban brother?

I intend to type on the computer.
Compose a melodic song,
Brew me some coffee
And drink it real strong,
Walk down the college hall
Play a game of basketball,
Bow real proud at the curtain call,
Go shopping with you in our favorite mall,
Dance at the disco till I drop,
Simply because they still have hip-hop.

And once I have tasted the best wine
I'm going to rededicate myself one more time
To making sweet love to you.
Now those are the things a brother can do.

Invested In The Fight Against Writing It

By Cecil Williams

But then I get lonesome on the desolate pavement which twists and turns
And I long for a Walkman where Bob Dylan provides lyrics for me to learn.
And I envision a world free and devoid of disease
Where children can run in fields and find a haven of peace.
Where mental illness is quelled and an end is put to this malady.
But mostly I remain unselfish because it is not just a world meant for me.
I take my delicate fingers and envelop the fragility of a flower;
I read endlessly and try to connect to the heavenly power.

We together wish to conquer this stigma put on our destiny.
But I know it is not a world made exclusively for me.
My vocabulary fully encompasses the eight parts of speech;
Yet my perception keeps four of them out of my immediate reach.
Before the cause arrives to nonchalantly dismiss her,
My muse tells me I should at least ask for a chance to kiss her.
One of the stories of the World Trade crumbles under the legacy of a poet
Who thwarted the will when he put it down and then proceeded to show it.

With a wealth of Walt Whitman's poetry we shall never go destitute.
It becomes a conceit to commit it to memory and let it symbolize our "loot".
My penniless pal must pay a visit to the sacerdote where he will confess
To having committed carnal sins while under much duress.
Whose fearless henchman will arrive to put us under deadly restraints
When our rich allusions and metaphors elicit substandard complaints?
And in the process of this figurative language I have only spelled out
When encroaching in my memory is the occasion to sing and dance and shout.

Right on! to the love of concepts already in the universe
Because hallucinations might have only made things even worse.

Living In The Charming Emerald City

By Cecil Williams

We live together in this big, overpowering City
Never showing grimaces of pain, shame, guilt or pity,
As we blend into the throngs, meandering by,
The skyscrapers shriek as they reach to the sky.

I sing my song without an obvious melody;
I paint a mural totally lacking in beauty.
And I carry a burdensome trait as my load
Whenever you meet me on the endless road.

A derelict once threatened to wring my neck
Because he felt I was displaying undue disrespect
To the fact that upon his person was a bountiful check.
I used coercion and signaled I was correct.

Wayward reality returns us to a sickening trip
Wherein we have sworn to never let alcohol touch our lips.
And with the empowerment of AA we heed the tips,
But our mania suddenly reverses itself and we flip.

In this City you are confronted by the sum total of existence
You'll make it with a panacea if you practice persistence,
Especially if you fight back and put up some resistance.
And to those daredevils with the million dollar stare
Sorry! But I decided to cut my hair
Forgetting what long hair had come to symbolize
Where there is no longer shoulder length tresses to meet your eyes.
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