Poetry from JD DeHart

Who Am I?
First and foremost, believer –
one who thinks and feels there is a Creator
and the universe is headed somewhere.
Then, a husband and son and, one day I hope,
a father.  My family relationships are
a series of roots that ground me.
Next, I am a teacher who is sometimes
disappointed with the reality of people but
always enamored with their possibility.
This is central to my work.
A writer.  One who has tried his hand
at a variety of publications, sometimes poetry,
sometimes essays.  Recently, research.
I always hope to write something.
A lister.  One who has been making lists a long
time to feel adequate, to feel like an overcomer.
No more lists.  This is who I am.

The Story I Always Wanted to Write:
An Ode to My Childhood Imagination
Welcome to the City,
once called Salem, changed to Slam,
a bit of scratching on the road sign.
Maybe it’s a change
in the atmosphere, more rays allowed
through, but here people could do
amazing feats.
Slam City is
where you can find…
a slender robotic assassin
with ebony liquid skin,
probably inspired by The Matrix;
a man with implements on his feet
large enough to cause an earthquake.
I called him Stamper,
imagined his thudding steps
shattering the world to its center.
A guy who could leap a tall building
in a…well, you know.  Kangaroo.
I drew him once or twice, complete
with hat and bionic legs.
Because who wouldn’t want
bionic legs?
A figure from my dreams with gun metal
gray hair and a mouth sewn shut, stitched
dark clothing, went by the name Silence.
I drew his costume in between drawing
the one I would wear when I could
save the world.
An unfortunate fool who turned the wrong
knob in an experiment and became a living
creature of stone, dubbed Cement.
My family pet, the barky Chihuahua, blown
up into a fifteen-feet tall monster,
his bug-eyes bouncing along a dark street.
A character inspired by Jim Carrey’s Mask
with purple skin, a lavender suit, and two ping-
pong paddles to spin him into manic orbit.
He would deliver jokes I had not written yet.
Maybe I read too many comics.
Maybe I watched too many films.
Maybe I still do too much
of both.
An entire race called The Lizards who lived
on the bottom, darkened level of the metropolis,
led by a scarlet-clad reptile man called Levine.
Surely this many-leveled world was inspired
by my frequent visits to Batman Forever.
Another race of creatures called The Sand
who live in the outer recesses where the urban
landscape meets what used to be forest.
I dreamed their stories daily
in my childhood walks with my father
and his large black dog.
In those reflections, I saw
a figure with the wings of a hawk and the body
of a man who could swoop down deliver them
all, if he only cared.
Of course, nothing is permanent.
Though you want to imply it is.
The world is made of sand, not concrete,
and structures wave in the wind.
This wall was not built to last.
There is a space in the future world
where this set of rules will not be.
Look forward to it, if you can.

I have heard of your kingdoms
but that story has been told.
Even in the way you frame
the phrase, Not my daughter,
you show ownership of the other.

Mothers, daughters, sisters,
and queens, they are not cattle
nor are they empty voiceless
vessels for selfish ends.

Their freedom from the patriarchy
is a song the world keeps
tuning down, but I say, rise you
Queendom and be the strength
loudly you have always quietly held.

Be the voice, art, and music
of an equality that is centuries
too late, delayed by millennia.