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Ray Whitaker – The Colors of Ideas

Profile Ray Whitaker LE P&W Dec V One 2018

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The Colors of Ideas, 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.


The Children of Uranium

We are the bright child.
Always wanting to be lit by a radiant glow        yet
We are not lit by a burning hearth
With shadows dancing on cave walls.

As if Coriolanus was sent to conquer.
There is the beating of breasts            in wretched betrayal
Weeping, that this pursuit is death to so many
Blind , and blinder. A blindness that overcomes.

Again and again, Coriolanus warns his people
As if the dogs of war were upon them
“It is for your voices I have fought”
Warning repeatedly about the light that blinds.

We are the bright child.
Even tho our ancestors may yet be present
Within us, even so we are,                  almost…
Unable to handle an evolution that takes us further.

The United Kingdom in fifty-seven
Windscale’s reactor released   after meltdown
Over Stratford von Avon blew clouds of radioactivity
And also the rest of Europe.

The flowing river Susquehanna splits.
These channels feed then to the reactors
Number two of which melted             in seventy-nine
All were constructed naive of it’s toll.

We are the children of uranium..
Always wanting to be lit by a radiant glow      yet
What gives us the glow,
And at what cost beyond mere money?

On the floor, a discarded child’s doll
Wants you to find the kid, and give it back.
Only this doll is in Chernobyl     where the paint now peels off walls.
Where no child will ever come, in our lifetime, again.

A Japanese family wants back into in Namie.
To take photos of their grandmother’s framed photo they had to leave behind
Framed in isolation now, from the  Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors disaster
Since the tsunami      humbled the power plant.

Those children of uranium
Wanted the life of light,         yet
Not willing to even see more safety regulation
Suddenly seeing that the source of this technology can kill      us      all.

Referring to the Before The Flood special (National Geographic)…
It could have been Corialanus speaking again as urgently
To defend the precious earth        our only precious earth.
Beyond sighing earth, crying earth.

We want children to be brightly lit
We want them to be lit by a radiant glow      yet
In the lighting, forgetting the cost
Way beyond what may be lost.

The Colors of Ideas

An olive green jet aircraft parts the smoky air
dumping red water on the orange of forest fires below.

The glacier’s moving ice smothers the valley gathering greys and browns
there is the bluest running water when it melts in the sun.

The directions we travel on our lives’ paths track our footprints
these are tan and dusty, they go upwards and downwards on the same castle walls.

The gold and dark blue of the rigid pharaoh’s death mask
belies the pink chattering smiles of children.

Sculptures on a pedestal in the art gallery are well lit
yet their delicate black shadows are as much a part of it,

not apart. What we see that is meaningful
Is surrounded in the grey mist of what it is not.

It’s art when a plaster arm reaches out of a blank wall
hand and fingers extended in an invitation to join in.

Newness born of ideas stands green and tall
on the soles of smelly, mundane shoes needing repair.

I am dancing around the white fire of creation
with bright yellow feathers tied to biceps, purple on my painted face
loincloth swaying above swirling legs,
bare feet touching the fertile ground of ideas.

I see the colors
the colors are on the canvas.
I am the hand
holding the paintbrush.


© Ray Whitaker