Poetry Makes a Difference


poetry picture
Thirteen women. Different backgrounds. Different outlooks. Different lifestyles. But all in the same room, writing. Writing to tell a story. Through symbolism, art and passion came poems.

In conversation with Marvin K. White, GLIDE pastoral intern, he encouraged me to write more. Maybe “encourage” is not the appropriate word as there was a tone of expectancy. So I took his notion back to the Women’s Center and made this “write more” a community experience. I asked the ladies to identify an object of meaning, visually describe it and share a personal connection. Two drafts and one hour later, thirteen women had transcended the most ordinary of objects – through poetry.

My Lip gloss

Shiny and sparkly

like I know I am!

“Take that shit off

Before I smack it off,”

My parents would say.

I can’t go anywhere without

It like a curse!

Looking for my parents while

I look in my purse!

It makes me feel magical

Like my favorite Smack by Mac!

My Lip gloss.


Blood Jewel

Faceted hologram.

My mother’s red necklace

Is a vision through my soul.

Blood Jewel.



Creamy, rich, heirloom beans.

The kind I loved most at Rainbow.

The California Food Movement has been good to me.

Creamy, rich, savory, spiced.




The feel of steel around the well of ink.

Ballpoint slides to the rhythm of life.




Golden with bright colors-

With sayings-

Courage, strength, wisdom.

Go through the Now-

With grace.




White with an inspirational quote on the outside

And a mental health workbook inside.

For 9 months I carried it with me to treatment.

It held the key to my recovery.



Candle Holder

Amber brown and soft glow.

Calming comfort and soothing soul.

Candle Holder.



Pieces of paper with color and print.

Memories shared.

Bonding as father and child.

Now a fatherless child

Remembering the memories shared.



Yellow Bear

Big and stuffed.

Still and simple.

My protector.

My friend.

Yellow Bear.



Intense, petite package.

A gift that healed

My wounded heart.



The Sun

Bright and yellow.

Warm and caressing.

I seek happiness

In the glow.

I am provided comfort.

The Sun.


Ivory Soap

A white bar of soap

perfectly curved and carved

Smelling of floral fragrance.

A white bar of soap

That washed my mouth.

A white bar of soap

That tasted of chemicals

And nothing nice.

Ivory Soap.


Bernadette, GLIDE Women's Center
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GLIDE Instagram
Joyce Hayes, celebrating life, love and GLIDE with @doricamino and @edenchanstreetscooper at the 2014 Holiday Jam. A retro photo of Joyce Hayes, a true GLIDE hero, who so strongly believed in supporting children and providing them with stability, education and #unconditionallove. GLIDE regrets to tell our community that Joyce Hayes, an icon in our history and childcare program, passed away on Tuesday, 5/23/2017. Her life, love and legacy will not be forgotten. 
Please take a moment to read this tribute to our beloved "Joy": glidesf.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/in-memory-of-joyce-hayes-the-heartbeat-of-glides-fycc/ Shout-out @blueshieldofca volunteers! Our Harm Reduction Team always needs people to help assemble safer injection kits. Distributing these kits to our community members who inject drugs greatly reduces the spread of Hep C and HIV. It's about #publichealth and recognizing the dignity and human rights of ALL people living in our city! #harmreduction #cleansharps

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