Ray Whitaker – Remembrance

Profile Ray Whitaker LE Poetry & Writing September 2018

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Remembrance, poems by Ray Whitaker

Ray firmly believes that poems need to reach into the everyday person’s pictures in their minds, and engage with those. This is where he aims to make a difference in his creative writing.  Ray does readings around the state of North Carolina [USA], and is a member or the North Carolina Poetry Society, Winston-Salem Writers, and The North Carolina Writer’s Network. He has thrice been a ‘Writer-in-Residence” at the NorthCarolina Center For The Arts and Humanities. He has two books published, “ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Poems From The ‘Nam,” 212 pages, 03/2015; “23, 18,” 106 pages, 10/2015.  He has two other books he is presently seeking publication for: ‘WHITE DOG SPEAKING,” 88 pages, 2016; and “FOR THE LOST AND LOVED,” 93 pages, 2018.  Some of his work has been published in American, Irish, English and Scottish Literary Journals.

Woke up wondering 

Shifting in bed, not awake,
So completely asleep
Then suddenly sitting up in bed ….

It is still surreal
Reflective thinking.
Sleep vanished now, and
Yet, tangibly as if still dreaming:

Seeing self, after self
In among pre-dawn clouds,
Lined up, ready for….

Becoming a waking pondering
While fingers rubbing the sleep out of one eye,
Smelling sweaty sheets from the night before

Lost feeling, barely aware, hardly stirred, having had
Rapt reflections startling enough, and powerful
To awaken from sound sleep.
Its dawn in the dream, a soft-colors real beauty of a dawn

Seeing this while running with someone
Down this dawn’s dim wooded path
Looking sideways, I see it’s me.

Can’t remember

Woke up this mornin’
a Dave Mathews song rollicking thru my head.
Lively steppin’, moving me along
steppin’ into a new day.

Woke up this mornin’
thinking about the definition of liberal
about the definition of conservative
the lack of tolerance from either, for either.

Woke up this mornin’
mist was creeping up from the lake
towards puffy clouds above
blown about by the slightest breeze.

Woke up this mornin’
wanted to remember a unified country
and a world without hatred and war.
Was it ever like that? Can’t remember.


The house is a melancholy place
while someone is dying inside

the push towards death belies
appearances, involved so in its own roll.

She sits up in her chair
out of bed for the first time in two days.

The touchdown she is going for
isn’t in between goalposts

and that is a lie, too
because all waiting want to think she is going up

no touchdown, it is a flight, away
leaving hip replacements behind without a swish.

Sips of occasional cold, clear water
puts her tongue in perspective for a few raspy words

the water moves her eyes to make contact and
the reached savor it, mysteriously somehow it is more meaningful

the clear water is the soaking, warm rain
on the window to the outside, waiting patiently to be opened.

A little nuts also

 fifth in the Scuppernong Books series

He wants to be free.
A comment overheard in the bookstore

it was another Immigrant story, too often
heard around the world.

Maybe its: She doesn’t want to be raped.
A comment that needs to heard

in the midst of the biggest, largest
refugee crisis in recent history.

Those pictures of boat people
all looking more than a bit like nearly drowned

terse near-smiles on desperate faces
cold dripping windbreakers sodden with worry.

They just want to be free, people fleeing that
killing we can’t stop

it is inherent, the understanding that
it’s murder in or out of a uniform.

The Bulgarian cabin steward
is a pleasure to get to know

and even as he served us, all smiles
in a moment aside, said quietly: things are all fucked up.

The pain behind his friendly eyes hidden,
barely noticed.

Math dream  

When she is alone
with her thoughts

at 3 am, she is really alone,
and won’t even share them later.

It is ground he does not walk on, he
only wants to know the direction

wants to know just what he can fix
like changing a light bulb or a tire
since that is what he does
so well.

In looking at the dream images
therein a problem asks for solving
yet there is no gradient towards solution
no formula, or otherwise a clue.

Yet a solution is demanded in the dream
even tho there arn’t any odors to go by
seeing the images           the photos of the mind
snapshots not found on instagram

Her sleeplessness is not for him to solve
while waiting for moments to be shared.

Waiting for words eagerly,
wishing for the dawn of breakthrough

what she has lain awake with
as much a mystery as if spoken in Norwegian.

Dreamlike, each picture has a math to it
a formula well beyond E=Mc2
a solution begging like a starving dog on a winter’s morn
to break open, the sun from behind clouds.