...now browsing by tag


First Poetry Collection, Mystic Connections

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

A celebration of my second poetry collection, And Yet, available now at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/and-yet-by-rita-coleman/until June 18, would not be complete without celebrating my first-born collection, Mystic Connections. Available at Amazon, Mystic  Connections, was published in 2009.

Here is what poets have said about my debut chapbook.
Mystic Connections is crafted like a sacred circular hoop, and by the end, it has returned to the ethereal state with which it began. There is something for every one who seeks the spiritual in the sensual world.” Ed Davis, author of The Psalms of Israel Jones and Time of Light. 
“The clear language and evocative imagery of Rita Coleman’s poems helps the reader see deeply into the nature of the universe and the self. In her poetry she crystallizes moments into wholeness and peace.” Gary
Pacernick, author of Something is Happening.

Below is a favorite poem of fellow poet Ed Davis and my friend Jean Evans, from Mystic Connections.

Once Upon A Time Rita Coleman

Running, running, running, his lungs burning with the fire of freedom,
an escaped slave jumps off a limestone cliff into cold Massie’s Creek and turns to stone.
Red hounds bay and wheel in confusion and black-hatted trackers halt,
cursing their misfortune.
The man of stone brushes past ragged beards of algae and
stirs a benign cloud of silt,
sinking like the rock he has become.
His frantic mouth gapes in dumbfounded terror and
his black eyes glitter with panic.
He lies between half-sunken boulders, his head the lip of a new waterfall.
In rock consciousness, he cries out, “How did this happen? My wife, my children,
what will happen to them?”
Tears of desperation roll from his stone eyes,
swept away in a simultaneous wash by creekwater spilling over his chiseled face.
A low moan rides the water,
ascending the limestone cliffs past ferns and red spiders,
rising into ashen clouds that hover near the earth.

Hundreds of miles away, his wife feels a sorrow so fierce it breaks her heart.
She keeps cutting tobacco while the high sun bakes the red clay at her feet
and the foreman on his roan circles the field.

As the ears of corn turn down, the run of Massie’s Creek becomes a trickle
with mudcats searching the bottom downstream.
Leaves yellow and redden and torrents of rain obliterate the man of stone.
A leaf drifts onto his eyes, shielding him from the pain of separation.
When the breath of winter blows, he freezes in a curtain of ice.
He lives in the circle of seasons, first losing granules from his stony face,
then small chips of rock.
Lambent moonlight, full and soft, rolls over his features still frozen in fear.
Generations of water creatures flow by on their journey through time,
and the power of water softens his face.

Hundreds of miles away, his wife and his four children ride North in a wagon that jounces over ruts and cuts through gaps in the old mountains where, on the far side, the soil is brown.

Millions of gallons of water flow over the man of stone as hope
rises each morning and isolation cloaks his small world at dusk.
At first, a small chunk of his brow loosens.
Next, part of his lower lip flows out to the calm pool downstream.
In a spring flood, most of his nose falls off and is lost to the roiling water.
But his eyes, intact and searching, scour the cliffs, the maple, ash and oak
that spring from its surface, for something.
No one notices. Who could see an African man turned to stone,
his head wedged between pocked boulders, the rest of his broken body underwater
where crayfish dart from beneath him to another rock.

A few miles away, his wife, gray and gnarled, thinks of her husband and her breath quickens. His body, muscled and glistening, his voice, rich and gentle. Their three children that live bear his wide forehead and her simple nose.

Water burbles, glides, and surges past the man of stone.
His right cheek breaks off.
His eyes begin to fade as memories of his life as a man slip away.
“Here I lie,” his rock consciousness thinks, “Here I die, here I change.”
Sun dapples warm him as shading trees filter light.
Night wind cools him from heat that slows the creek to a thin ribbon.
Iridescent-winged dragonflies dip into the water to sip.
Blue herons, wait, still in the shallows, to spear a wriggling blue gill.
Snow swirls and melts on his face and into his water.
A cascade of ice freezes the waterfall the man of stone has become.
Melded into all that is around him, he senses, rather than sees the gradual change
as vernal breezes coax nascent leaves into unfurling greenness.
Again and again, the seasons heave and fall, circling over and under him
like blankets of mist and surprise until he is merely a suggestion.


A young woman with glistening cocoa skin clambers onto a jutting rock.
With one hand on the cliff face beside her,
she steps cautiously over large pocks to a mossy overhang.
With a sigh, she settles on a natural depression in the limestone
and wipes trail sweat off her forehead.
She gazes at the waterfall, dreaming of nothing,
her legs swinging over the edge.
Her green eyes widen as she thinks she sees
a man’s face in the stone under the smooth fall of Massie’s Creek.
She tugs in her pocket for a small, red notebook, certain of a story in the treasure she has found, collective and personal, a remnant
of a past remembered.