Good Trouble | Chella Courington

Good Trouble

John Lewis at the Edmund Pettus Bridge
Screen grab from CNN video — ©CNN.
 
 
I was fifteen
in a small Alabama town
when I first heard your name
John Lewis   
then
Edmund Pettus Bridge. 
Their clubs cracked your bones.
Their tear gas clogged your lungs. 
Their iron pipe almost ended your life. 
But you stood up. 
You walked on 
for fifty years plus more
modeling resilience.

When you died 
the earth slowed 
the sun dimmed
the air thinned. 
The world would never be the same. 
Full smile   baritone voice
departed. 

Yet we are not alone. 
You left us with your words

Walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, 
and let the spirit of peace and the power 
of everlasting love be your guide.

Thanks to Robin Jonathan Deutsch @rodeutsch for making this photo available freely on Unsplash.

This poem was previously published in Valiant Scribe, July 17 2021
and is the title poem of the chapbook Good Trouble.


©2022 Chella Courington
All rights reserved


Chella Courington…

…raised in the Appalachian South and now living in Southern California with another writer and two feline boys, is a writer/teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in numerous anthologies and journals including DMQ Review, The Los Angeles Review, and New World Writing. Her recent collections of poetry are Good Trouble, Origami Poems Project, and Hell Hath, Maverick Duck Press. Lynette’s War, a micro-chapbook, will be issued by Ghost City Press this month.

Other books by Chella Courington: Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage and In Their Own Way.

Author page



Strength Comes for Us | Chella Courington

Strength

I buy sunflowers today
fuzzy  faces   
canary  yellow  petals

stand them  one by one
sturdy stalks
in an azure vase

7000 miles away   tanks
roll across Ukrainian borders
trying to wipe them off the map

grandmothers   aunts
fathers   sons
throw their bodies   against bully armor 

hearts forged   in resistance
  
    

“When the Russians come
for us, they will see our faces,
not our backs.”
               —Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy takes off his suit and puts on battle fatigues,
stands in the streets, talks with his troops.

And when his fellow patriots can’t see him, literally,
he makes videos—calls to soldiers from every

continent to join freedom’s fight. “We are
all here, protecting our independence, our country,

the free world. This night will be difficult, but dawn
will come.” And it arrives, morning after morning,

despite tracers slicing the pitch black, despite 
gutting of homes, hospitals, schools, & markets, despite 

bombarding of Kherson, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol, &
Melitopol, despite screams & slaughter of civilians.

Then Russia turns its fire on Zaporizhzhia—home to
Europe’s largest nuclear plant, six reactors. Flaming

shells like falling stars cut into darkness. A huge orange 
globe lights up the sky, exploding beside a car park. 

Smoke billows. Radiation knows no borders. “We will not 
lay down our weapons. Our weapons are our truth.”

Sunflowers in Azure Vase

Poems and photograph ©2022 Chella Courington
All rights reserved


Chella Courington…

…(she/her) is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including DMQ Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She was raised in the Appalachian south and now lives in California. Her recent microchaps of poetry are Good Trouble, Origami Poems Project, and Hell Hath, Maverick Duck Press.