Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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Kenyatta Yamel is an African American man who was raised in Buffalo,
New York and is currently residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He served
in the US army from 1970-72. After serving in the military, he lived in New
York where he attended York College. Among other things, he writes,
paints, drums and protests against the war. He is employed as a peer mentor
assisting persons who are living with mental illness. Kenyatta also writes the
Veterans Affairs column for New York City Voices. He may be reached at
Cecil Williams is a veteran of this poetry column, always amusing us with his
witty poems. But this time around, he offers some practical advice on how to
avoid boredom and do something useful at the same time. Regarding his poem,
Cecil says, "It does help to make priorities and the list is far from complete."
Pat Nicholson was born in Brooklyn, learned how to read and write on Long
Island and is now a resident of Bayport. His poems are not only seasonal but
they show us how much can be said using economy of language.

By Cecil Williams
Put out the garbage for collection.
Weed the garden
Vacuum the floor carpet
Sweep the floors
Mop the floors
Redecorate the apartment
Visit or telephone a friend to socialize
Prepare the change of clothes and hygiene
Shower regularly
Attend a concert, art gallery, museum or library
Prepare your favorite meals
Go grocery shopping
Find out about a furtherance of education
Go to the beach or picnic
Read a book
See a new movie

Title: I Saw Myself Running
By Kenyatta Yamel
I saw myself running
In an urban park
With sunlight
Twigs crackling
Beneath your feet
Was a race
About to begin
With young strong men
Already primed
Muscles straining
Against warm-ups
Ready to slash the air
With long, sure strides
A signal was given
The race was on
From nowhere
I entered the race
These bright young men
The cool autumn air
On my body
Myself on
Only dreaming
That my long distance legs
Had left me
And in their place
I found
Legs balking
When asked to run
For a bus
And medicating
Again, I was running
And competing
Don't ask me now
That I am awake
Would I catch
Those swift sure strides
Just follow
My Dreams
Watch me run!

Title: Schizophrenics Understood
By Kenyatta Yamel
Does this poem
Resemble you
I want you to know
I have heard you

Everyone talks
About schizophrenics
Almost everyone
That is
Except schizophrenics
I have heard
More than once
About artists
And everyone
But my grandma
A schizophrenic season
But who among you
Can understand
The terror
My friend felt
After waiting for Bob Marley
All night on a street corner in Milwaukee

Does this poem resemble you?
Do you spend weeks, months or even years
Decoding secret messages to you
Hidden within The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
And The Washington Post?
Have you been this person?

How have you explained
Those gaps in your resume
When you say you went to France
Explored yourself
Or took care of your elderly mom
When in reality mom was helping take care of you

Do you fear
Someone at work
Finding your medication
And asking
What is this Haldol, anyway?
Bobby, Karen or Frank
You never said anything about this

Is your worst nightmare
The thought one day
A breakdown
Could destroy
Your job
Your friendships
And maybe even
Your life

Panicked by police,
Or anyone else
Invading your mind's reality
Am I talking about you?
Are there days when
All you have the strength
To do
Is cry out loud?
Did you wonder, was anyone else out there?

Cash their reality checks every day
But ask yourself?
Where are you?
Are you a watcher
A listener
A trusted friend or
Or someone silently
Oh so slowly
Reaching out
Not knowing who you might trust

We must all begin somewhere
Sometime in our lives

With knowledge
Comes understanding
Understood me
Understood her
Open your minds
To our hidden injuries
And embrace us

Does this poem speak to your heart?
I wanted you to know
I have heard you

By Pat Nicholson
Violence swept through me
Like water bursting
Through a dam, ruptured by the force of it
Here in the whip
Of the Autumn wind
I am strewn about like litter

Title: After Bradstock
By Pat Nicholson

Oak trees tower
Overhead, and bleed at the top
The first blush of fall
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