the louderARTS Project

Dana Elyse

Dana Elyse is an educator, poet and mother. Writing has been her choice of expression since she can remember. She has been published in several anthologies. Her work has also been published by Noble House in a collection called Theatre of the Mind. She is a member of the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She is an Early Childhood educator by day & attends Adelphi University by nights & weekends where she hopes to expand her career as a secondary educator. She works with many After-School programs and inner city youth teaching and directing drama, music, art and writing programs. She is currently studying as a mentor with Urban Word NYC. She runs and produces her own event once a month called Express!ON in the LES where she showcases poets, painters, musicians & music producers.

 




Warm Orange
By Dana Elyse

She had your hair upon arrival
Warm orange, like the feeling inside my chest
When I breathe the air in at your gravesite
I left you daffodils
they smell of warm sunlit Spring mornings
after raining all night.
Remember the song you used to sing?
"Rain Rain Go Away Little Johnny wants to Play"
You were always smiling unexpectedly
never flashed a worried eye
You would watch "What's Happening" with me
I would mimic the dance moves
with your encouragement
"Look" you'd say "See, she's got rhythm
like me"
I never saw you dance
your legs too weak and stiffened from disease
your strength was unmeasurable
You held a steady listening ear
for things like
how mom found my diary and
scheduled me for counseling every Saturday
how little brother got beat up in school again
And maybe big sister won't think to end it all
over some boy
You used to pull out this old box
with a broken lock
showed me pictures of Grandpa
a handsome man in his uniform
I never knew him but your smile told
a million well kept stories
You were always my savior
But you never knew it
I thought it was funny when you'd say
I was getting tall
and it was you who was shrinking with age
You always offered whatever you had
A piece of cheese or some milk
that was usually all you had left in the fridge
At night I would use your phone to call my friends
because dad said after 10 was too late
but you knew my mind never stopped
Forever contemplating

So clever and full of life
Taking you in was almost exhausting
Sometimes I needed to stay away
you never questioned me or my abilities
You understood
I made sense to you
Perhaps you felt like me more often
than I thought
I should've talked to you more often
Made you tell me more about my past,
your past
Maybe I should've said the rosary with
you on Sunday morning

I only saw you cry once
When I told you I was having a daughter
Suddenly my 18 year old baby face
turned into the portrait of a woman
No more knocking on my bedroom door
to wake me up
or using the phone late at night
I thought you had given up on me too
Because Dad told me to leave the house once I started showing
"The neighbors will know and we are private people"
Mom stopped believing in her own success as a woman
every time she spoke my name
You forced me to grow up
with just one look

I brought her to see you and you called her
Miss America said she was a star
We tried to keep you close but your spirit
grew tired
tired of clever
tired of strong
tired of the changes surrounding you.
We plan our visits to the cemetery around the weather
It rains every time
SoI can hear your song in her cry

I miss you so much

Especially when I see raindrops
in her warm orange hair

 



© Dana Elyse



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