What Goes On – Poetry by Renee Garcia Brown

Poetry by Renee Garcia-Brown



What Goes On


by Renee Garcia-Brown


What goes on is not what’s going on

Now, an anomaly suspended in time

Stuck between two centuries

Fuck-you finger raised to the digital world of moving forward

While staying two-footed and whole-ass bound in the analog world of

Grainy black and white film

Showing the Fuhrer arm salute

The adoring worshipful masses

And the piles of what used to be humans

Skin stretched over skeletons

Being bulldozed into pits.

Some people (white) fear others getting what they’ve had for so long

A nation stolen from people of color

Misappropriated by right-of-white

Because for centuries

They simply


Oh, the good old days

When white Christian men ruled the world

Boot on the spine

Breaking backs

Raping and slaughtering

Enjoying a fine brandy and a good cigar

And church on Sunday.

They found their imagined savior

In a Cheeto-frosted messiah

With a blond comb-over

A potty-lipped chamber pot

They could fill with their excrement

And he would happily digest

And spit it back to them with golden promises

That the white shall rise again.

Back to the glorious century

When blacks couldn’t vote and were lynched if they tried

Women stayed home and pregnant and took their beatings silently

Latinos worked in the fields for pennies then got deported

Homosexuality was a mental disease that needed to be cured

Children were abused with discipline and denial

The only good Native American was a dead Indian in a bad Western

Asians were Japs and Chinks

Jews money-grubbing Anti-Christians

And Muslims? Whoever heard of them until they created terrorism

Which of course never existed until people other than whites did it.

What’s going on is

White-lash by white wishful-thinking whitey-whites white-washing history

Under the white sheet trying to turn the white tide back in their favor.

What’s going on is

The deliberately ignorant believing their fake Facebook news and rightist-whitest hacked-whacked conspiracy theories

The belligerently lazy refusing to change, learn, move on

Blaming and scapegoating others

   who don’t look like them

   or pray like them

   or live near them

For their own inability to rise in a new century.


In this battle between 20th Century America

And 21st Century Earth

The past century won.

But it cannot persist.

Demographics, mathematics and the laws of physics are against it.

Time runs forward and runs out, people die and the trajectory of history moves in favor of progress.

What goes on

   is the resistance to going back.

What goes on

   is courage,

   the Constitution,

   the continuity of

Freedom of speech,

Freedom of religion,

Freedom of the press

   and the accountability of government

To We the People.






by Renee Garcia-Brown


I am dead to this world.

Rendered obsolete because a woman who can no longer breed is deemed an eyesore like a derelict building and no longer of use.


I am useful elsewhere. Now I am free, not stuck in the linear flow of space-time-matter,

I move in spirals, blinking in and out of this reality

Like a quantum particle.

I live in my mind, the body just a cell I occupy

Like medieval anchoresses who chose to be walled in brick by brick,

Leaving only a window for taking food in and waste out and receiving visitors who considered them living saints.


I’m no saint.

I went into the world and enjoyed all its pleasures until I was satiated and bored.

Then I raised my voice for women, the poor, the disabled, the abused, the veterans, the old, the forgotten.

Now I’m in my 21st Century anchoress cell, flesh walled in but digitally expanding like a galaxy

My words are photons streaming in multi-verses

Sending out conviction and contentiousness, ecstasy and exasperation, common sense and uncommon sensuality.

I coddle courage, incite integrity and revere revolution.

I believe the light will prevail but not in my time… maybe yours.

I am cheering for you, world, from my anchoress cell.


There are blessings enough for all and I have left them out where anyone can find them.





The Farthest Horizon


by Renee Garcia-Brown


The sad carry a weight that cannot be measured by any scale

Their backs bent over, shoulders slanting down, heads bowed

Walking slowly

Beasts of burden with a destination only they can see.


The depressed are sad but not all the sad are depressed.

The depressed lose hope of the light,

While the sad see hope on a dim horizon,

Faint glow of a rising sun blocked by shadows.


The farthest horizon is the one you will never give up trying to reach.

Even though sadness pushes you down you’ll walk through the muck

Each step forward burying you deeper, up to your eyes but not over them

So they will never lose sight of the horizon.


Like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill

Only to have it roll back to the bottom

One more beginning, one more step

Sadness bears down but the sad bear it and push on.


For even Sisyphus has hope that just once in the eternity of time

The rock will stay at its apex

And once is enough

To let it go so he can run down the hill, his burden left behind.


The sad have faith in hope.

They strive to reach the farthest horizon

And see the sun rise

To its full and brilliant glory.


The sad push that rock, trudge through muck, carry the weight

Towards the far horizon

Inspired by hope

That the sun rises

Not by random chance

Nor by divine will

Or even the laws of physics,

But by their unending quest for enlightenment

That lights up

Every place of darkness

In the world

Where men block out the sun

Believing their shadows

To be real.



Renee Garcia-Brown was born and raised in Los Angeles, is an army veteran, a retired print journalist and published author of poetry and fiction under the name Renee Y. Brown. She is now using the surnames of both parents.   


5 Comments on “What Goes On – Poetry by Renee Garcia Brown”

  1. I loved these. I am especially intrigued by Anchorites. The whole ideal of them and the practice has always been interesting to me, so thanks for this. They are amongst us still, maybe just not as revered, definitely still feeling punishing eyes though.

    And ‘What Goes On’ so clearly what I hear from so many “Old Timers” filtered with the white guilt phrases most of them master, “Not everything, not slavery…just….” But a very good ear for the voices of the day.


  2. Thanks Matt, Brittany, Grainne for your support. Thanks to Mitchell too for the great layout. The best reward for writing is connecting with readers and getting their feedback. I appreciate it!

  3. GREAT poems. I have visited several Anchorite cells and Renee really portrays how it is today in the 21st century for a woman of that conviction. I really enjoyed the other poems and I do hope that we can expect more from Renee here.

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