Posts Tagged ‘The Firetalker’s Daughter’

[featuring two poems by Regina Garcia]

This Fire Tastes Like . . .

This fire won’t taste like the last ones did
Singed souls torn up, crying, wandering,
wondering how to get love back
How to fix life
How to repair
The last fires tasted like . . .
Tasted like loss
Tasted like shame
Tasted like despair
Tasted like mourning
Tasted like no way out
Tasted like no way back
tasted like Tulsa
Tasted like Elaine
Tasted like Watts
Tasted like Wilmington
Tasted like old Eppes High . . .
Tasted like all that it had consumed

This fire tastes different
This fire tastes fed up
This fire has eyes set
Beyond loss
Beyond prison
Beyond death
Beyond the graves
This fire has new eyes
Fixed on that “New New”
New fire gonna propel these children into
promised land
They won’t need the water fo the oppressor
Because they are children of living waters
And Raging Fires
And earth tht has promised fertility
Yet pushed out weeds to choke and distract

This fire tasted different
It tastes like energy

Tastes like righteous fury
Its fuel is dark kindling root
It will combust from a place to deep
So misunderstood
So, underestimated
That it will not be contained
This fire tastes different
It tastes like resolve

It will reject any attempts to thwart combustion
The internal combustion
It will incinerate attempts at trickery for
It has seen the video and believes
It waw murderous hubris
It saw The Dead that were tried for dying
It saw the solid stance of patronizing defiance of other fires
It saw the lies stifling acrid air
This fire tastes different
It tastes alive
It will not stop until there is nothing left that can stop it
It will then scoop the ashes and build
This fire tastes different
This fire tastes like revelation
This fire tastes like change
This fire tastes like

Regina YC Garcia
from The Firetalker’s Daughter, Finishing Line Press, © 2023



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Rainstorm, windstorm, limbs thrashing the house in panic, rain attacking the windows through the screens: we can feel Amelia’s mounting fear each time the sky grows dark and she asks, “Is this a tornado?” No, Honey, just a big storm. We don’t get tornados around here.

Until this afternoon. Severe Thunderstorm pings on the phone while we’re watching a movie with Amelia in the living room. Within minutes the sky is slate and the TV goes black. When hail peppers the porch we lurch for the basement. Amelia makes it into a game, the divine gift of the seven-year old, and while we play with flashlights we hear the drumming of rain but assume those contrabasso reverberations are thunder.

It’s all over in fifteen minutes. We climb the stairs and open the front door – our neighbor’s venerable willow oak, trunk at least two meters in diameter, is angled across the road into our driveway. Not crushing our living room. One sugar maple at the end of our house has had its spine snapped and hurled, but not into our bedroom. As our neighbors emerge, we tally and discover no one is injured (although not true of several roofs).

Everyone’s yard is full of twisted trunks and limbs or huge redclay balls of the uprooted. We notice most of the trees aligned prostrate in the same direction and we mutter, “Downburst.” “Straight-line wind.” Two days later, though, the National Weather Service makes its proclamation: an E0 tornado. We wonder if Amelia will ever want to finish that movie we had started. And if we ever get our power back on, we’re ordering some more flashlights.


Regina Garcia’s new poetry collection, The Firetalker’s Daughter, is elemental – wind, earth, water, fire. She describes her mother and her son as Firetalkers – they can speak to pain and talk it into submission. And isn’t that what these poems do, speak to the pain? If words could remove the pain of the world, the inescapable pain of living, perhaps a new day would dawn when the earth would have no more need of words. We will never see that day.

But strong words, words of compassion and truth, can raise us out of the pain. We can stand on the shoulders of the poetry, the hymns, the stories of the Firetalker and see a way beyond the pain. We can see a road before us where pain can’t wield its power over us. We can live in this world of pain and still proclaim joy, the rise of indomitable spirits from the embers. Oh, Regina Garcia, may your poetry lead us there. You are the Firetalker.

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The Fire That Consumes: The Burnings of Black Histories

Have you ever seen fire, the kind that consumes . . . ?
a house, a block, a street?
a community?
a town?
a nation?

Have you ever stretched fingers towards fire just because you wanted to feel
the last gusts of breath before the flames melted . . . ?
Mortar from brick?
Wood from steel?
Skin from meat from sinew from bone?
Have you ever jumped at the crack and splinter before the crash?
Hid your face to escape the blowing soot?
Covered your nose to block the smell of escaping gases the incineration of
flesh? Squeezed eyes shut to restrain the release of tears?

Fire destroys completely
Except memory
Those who have lived through fire never forget that all that was lost cannot
be returned, cannot be restored
Pre-fire life flickering in memory

Have you ever known the indignity of stolen memory?
Of erasure of thought?
A disallowing of necessary history passed on from ind to mind
No collective storage
Trashed as disposable waste
Scores of nations and families of people relegated to one layer of life lived
while other layers burned away
Withdrawn from the light of day
Layers that could have lit
the illumination of minds
the awareness of conditions

the recognition of irreverence and unrighteousness
the tackling of generational traumas
the overcoming of fear
the pride of resilience

Layers of heated memory
Deemed villainous
Tossed into the ashes
By thieves, those who dread
The power that it brings
And the rise of indomitable spirits from the embers

Regina YC Garcia
from The Firetalker’s Daughter, Finishing Line Press, © 2023

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