John Survivor Blake writes from an open chest wound. Ex-junkie/drunk turned poet/writer/teaching artist, Mr. Blake grew up to learn we are all living breathing, moving targets. "This life is all about what we dodge." His writing style has been described as "making ugly things beautiful" and many would accuse him of dropping full first drafts of poems on accident. He's toured the US the last five years and is ready to take on the world. He's shared stages with minds as beautiful as Saul Williams, Amiri Baraka, Suheir Hammad, Tshaka Imhotep Campbell, Carlos Andres Gomez, Kelly Tsai, Ainsley Burrows, and many more. He's currently in the midst of publishing his first full book of poems, memoirs, essays, and book of daily meditations. He's been published in BeyondRaceMag, InTheFray Mag, Urgan Weekly, Naugatuck River Review, and has lectured/performed/facilitated writing workshops and many institutions of higher learning (Columbia, Virginia Tech, Berkeley, Drury, etc). You can find him on Twitter.com (JsurvivorB), Facebook under same name, and johnsurvivorblake.com. Many more samples of his writing can be found at said webpages, and samples of his performances are all over youtube.
Mother's Nature I brushed her hair, begged strands of memory to bring back the younger version of her face, cascaded to the floor, gray, rope I hung from in a house of pain, My eyes opened, four years old first time I noticed her hunch, spine bent from abandonment, dreams dead, drifting off her cigarette, floating from man to man, to man. She spent hours taming her hair to behave for their amusement in darkness, sit, lie down, roll over, play dead, storms brewed in her bedroom, thunder clapped against the headboard, a tornado grew around her ring-finger when she exchange vows with a hurricane, this season of destruction that came and went, left us to rummage beneath flattened breast for a part of her that may have survived, I was the youngest of nine experiments in a two-bedroom cage, drenched in torrential tears, flooded pots on the stove, bruised with the stains of stepfather long ago. Table legs snapped at the weight of bills outweighing welfare checks, so college tuition faded away like Autumn leaves for our school clothes every September, Prostitution enabled her the time to attend parent/teacher meetings. Lipstick on without a mirror, perfect, as she left the house, modeled for gossip artists that painted the scarlet letter she willingly wore on a fuck-you chain. My mother sewed no apologies together and made a blue dress for the devil she had to be. She knelt at Sunday alters, prayed for one painless moment, washing the feet of that crucifix with sobbing sincerity, screamed, cried, died daily, tried getting off dope, but some things are easier than others. She was my mother and father, two half-lives with full responsibility… The stench of regret yanked me back to her bedside, still brushed her hair, remembered carnivals she took us to while hiding poverty in the bottom of her purse, brushed until every bristle rode her mane like that ferris wheel when wings burst from her spine, feathered with acceptance, spanned over fears of coffins, and with one last breath, she glided right through me. I wrote this poem on the flat-line of her heart monitor. Mom’s back almost straightened in the casket, her hair surrendered. Her legs, for the first time in life, now comfortably closed.
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