Breaking Ground 105 Arts - Poetry

Dad by Joanne Sanford Cherpack

Dad, So Sad to be losing you. At first no choosing you, the boozing you. Never daddy’s little girl. Except maybe now as the fates allow and show me how, I’ll feel the Wow.

As you prepare to leave we grieve for all you achieved. Nearly ninety & almost 43 years, so

many will shed some tears. All you taught in school, and in the rooms everyone presumes you’ll be in the Great Pumpkin patch, naturally. It seems your work is nearly done. What a run! I love you a ton. I will surely cry, hating to say goodbye.

Joanne’s Bio: Joanne shared, “The arts provide me a safe, rhythmic release for my emotions - clears the head, soothes the soul, releases some control. I sometimes get the opportunity to be brave and share these expressions.”

It Will Be Alright Now by Brian McHan

It will be alright now

Said a man to a kid

Who had lost a loved one to a storm

Your loved one will go to Heaven

Where there is no pain or sadness

The houses in your town will be restored to new

Tennessee will recover

And the flowers will bloom again

And some day you'll go to Heaven

And see her again

That's wonderful said the kid

But I'm still sad

Because I wanted to see her today

Brian’s Bio: Brian McHan is a 2002 Partners in Policymaking graduate with schizophrenia. This is his response to the Nashville tornadoes in spring 2020.

Spinning Circles by Selina Hyzer

I’ve tried so hard to make it right again.

The next day, the next hour, the next moment.

I’ll try again. I’ll make it right. Start over.

Time slips away, and I’m back at the bottom of

the well,

struggling to get out again.

Thinking if I could just get to the surface, I could

start over to breathe again.

Growing, then withering, The laughter is fading.

Eyes fixating on this world.

Confusing consumption swallows me whole.

So a new day comes, and I will try again.

But the fog takes over me once more,

dragging me into a slumber.

Feeling like a dream I can no longer wake up from.

Selina’s bio: Selina Hyzer has been creating art ever since she was a young child. Selina says “Art allows me to communicate freely through imagery, when I struggle to find the right words to express myself verbally.”

He Doesn’t Speak by Brett Madron

He doesn’t speak but his crooked smile does.

It’s as sure as the rising sun.

He doesn’t speak but his touch does.

When we wrestle and laugh on the sofa,

when he climbs into my work van demanding

a hug every morning.

He doesn’t speak but his tears do.

Frustrations he can’t articulate, he clenches

his fists instead.

What’s inside won’t come out.

He doesn’t speak but his curiosity does.

He persists to go, to see, to touch, to taste, to

hear. To experience.

Convinced there’s much in this life to absorb.

He doesn’t speak, but his watchfulness does.

He’ll find you in a crowd to return the bag you


Or pick up what fell out of your pocket.

Carry a load too heavy trying to help.

He doesn’t speak, but I do.

Insisting I pray for him each night

Or invent exaggerated onomatopoeias that

provoke his enviable laugh.

He doesn’t speak, but we do.

We will teach him to mature all the ways he



Brett's Bio: Brett Madron is married to his wife of 12 years, Michelle, and has 3 children, Levi, Grace and Joseph. A plumber by trade, in his spare time Brett enjoys creative writing, woodworking and spends time volunteering with the non-profit Global Outreach Developments International.

Dreaming: A Poem by John Paul Tetzeli

I once had a dream that I woke up to find myself in

an apple orchard

And the air was sweet and fragrant

And around me was a foggy mist.

And that I was a child awakening in this orchard,

Knowing that I was a pilgrim

And that despite everything, I belonged there.

I long to return to that dream

Or at least to be able to plant a field of wildflowers

in the middle of a forest

And to live freely and create with my will.

And that in this life I would overcome all of my

fears and sorrows, somehow resolve them. Knowing

that there is always

hope informed by faith,

I am a man drenched in the rain and sun

On a journey to chase his boyhood dreams

Dreams that sustain me.

John Paul's Bio: John Paul Tetzeli lives in Memphis with his wife Marta and two children, Audrey and Gabriel. He loves writing poetry and engaging in artwork, and is president of the local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter.