a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Jill Austen


The Mott Haven Garden Club

Seeds were sown early and re-sown
each generation at the first sign of

 

spring

 

trouble

tender sprouts
break ground
nurture

 

metal barricades
delineate perimeter
police

 

grievances

 

 

crowded perennials
gently repotted
shoots

opposite sides

block the street
peaceful protest
end police brutality

 

take root

 

 

planters suspended
from the brownstone’s
street-side ornamental
black rail boundaries

black lives

in protected territory
sentinels in riot gear
with automatic weapons
pace ready aim

 

choose

 

 

flowers
stand tall

pick
unbending
chant

fights
defiant

 

I can’t breathe in the fragrance of sweet alyssum

 

proud petunias
rise
firmly rooted

die
face to face

with raised fists
cities choke
no justice no peace

 

 

there comes a time
when

 

beauty speaks loudly
no racism
in the garden

 

silence is betrayal
its taproot screams
in the sunlight

 

one neighbor
stops

 

raises a hand
to her heart

 

beams a smile
flower-filled

 

and says

 

beauty doesn’t lie

 

black beauty shines

 

cultivate truth

 

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Jill Austen lives a multidisciplinary life, embracing creativity through poetry, music, and visual art. She is passionate, too, about her role as a professor at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, where one of her favorite courses is Music in Film. Jill’s poetic and artistic sensibility is grounded in the natural world of the Midwest countryside where she grew up. A world traveler and keen observer, she is interested in the connection between the mundane and the metaphysical, in the small moments that illuminate life’s larger truths. Her inner gypsy is happy to call New York City home. Jill’s poetry has appeared in Leaf Garden Press, Mom Egg Review, Blue Door Quarterly, and the Poets Network & Exchange International Anthology.



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