Ferocious Jabari

Ferocious Jabari *
By Dorothy Hagan

While explaining to 7th graders the
Ways to combat the haters, the ignorant
And race baiters, I said plan to ignore
And then I implored them to guard their souls as
They invent and present without question their best

So I keep preaching saying you
All keep reaching for you can,
Embrace that geek and
As you continue to seek in
success of the nerds as you slay with the
Words of the Poet inside, who wins in the end.

So my kids, be free to peel off that mask
Grab a whole new forecast, push the past aside,
Celebrate the skins you are in as you freshen
Your lessons with academic questions, your
Futures are told so tell your mouth
Your dreams won’t bleed on the road, forthwith

So my loves, be fearless, ferocious
On occasion be precocious with your lines,
Your teachers got you and will be there to watch you in spite of
Some folks and positions with strong, potent
Dispositions…but just let them…for you are the poet with the pointed poetry.

Dorothy Hagan
December 8, 2019

*I recently had the pleasure to teach the Nikki Grimes poem, Jabari Unmasked. This poem is written using the Golden Shovel form, a fairly new form using words from another poet’s poem to inspire your new one. I searched through my most beloved poets, finding naught, and then lines in Jabari Unmasked reached out and grabbed me, begging me to join in her quest. The bolded end-words come from the last stanza of Jabari Unmasked.

Ms. Grimes, thank you for your words and inspiration, and may my words be a fraction as useful as your own.


Posted in Golden Shovel, Jabari Unmasked, Nikki Grimes, Uncategorized, We Wear the Mask | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tribute to a Precious Friend

A Tribute for My Sherri, My Friend

On a bright day in ‘74, a resplendent friend walked through the gym door.
The first thing I saw was her infectious smile, I knew quickly we’d be friends for a while.
Forty-five years to be exact; I’ve never had another friend like that.

Our teen years were a rocky lot, most shenanigans are best forgot.
But oh, the joys of our high school loves, reaching out to all because
We were children inquiring, reaching, seeking, to try everything and keep on breathing.

Post graduation brought its own new time
More shenanigans would suit us fine.
Sitting by the fire at Steak and Ale
As we made our plans to leave and sail
Around the world like buccaneers
Way back then we weren’t ruled by fears.

Twenties were another thing, finding husbands and wedding rings
Settling down wasn’t easy though,
We had to cool down and take it slow
But changes came anyway, as we embraced new days
From here on out we had grown up ways.

Middle years we drifted some, but that never stopped us from being one
Of a set of best friends I’ll ever enjoy, as we waited for our careers to deploy.

I had a few kids but Sherri did not
Rather she would have thousands that she never forgot
Oh, how fortunate were those in her care
Sherri cherished her kids like a Mamma Bear.

In 2012 I joined her in teaching, watching her magic
As she just kept reaching
Out to those students who needed her most
She transformed lives, sometimes even to host.

In the last few years we’d meet up for a bite
Catching up with our families and laughing despite
Getting older and slower as we waded into
Ages and stages we expected to get through.

Our friendship was such that no matter how long
Time between us transpired we’d reconnect like a song
Whose melody was in our DNA
We’d just sit down and then hit “play.”

We even had a pipedream that if we ended up
Alone and homeless we just might set up
A Golden Girls home where we’d live out our days
With friends and cats and set in our ways.

I will never forget you, my Sherri, my friend
One day I’ll stop weeping and just pretend
That you’ve gone up to school to pick up a stack
Of Teacher Editions, and you’ll be right back.

Dorothy Hagan
September 22, 2019

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Goodbye Poem

A Goodbye Poem

Oh, my dear students, how I will miss you so
Thus I penned you this missive before I go
For there are several things that I want you to know.

Please never forget, now, the things I have taught you
Either and neither and to, too and two
And remember to always capitalize
Your proper nouns and ALL of your I’s
Remember your paragraphs and always indent
Because you want your reader to know your intent.

Remember Anne Frank, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan
Remember Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Dr. Ben Carson
Remember Romeo and Juliet and Ebenezer Scrooge
Remember Ben Hur, Jacques and his family, too
Remember Shakespeare with his poofy pants
And remember Bob Ross and his happy plants.

Oh, the work I gave to you noon and night
All piled high to give you a fright
The book reports, the bio reports and the dreaded research papers
All that work might have caused you the vapors
But not in my kids, you took it in stride
You did some great work and you did it with pride.

So, no matter where you go, whether near or far
Wherever you travel by train, plane or car
There’s a round Mrs. Hagan in your memories recesses
Encouraging, reassuring, always wishing your bestest
Which, of course, isn’t really a word but you know what I mean
Because we’ve learned connotation so it’s meaning you glean.

We’ve had our laughs and our cries and our prayers and our sighs
We’ve had our jokes and our cokes but it’s now time for our byes
Please keep in touch because I want to watch you all grow
Into the Godly adults that will grow up and sow
Great things and great joys in this world we are in
I’m counting on you all to build a world where all win.

Dorothy Hagan
May 18, 2019

Posted in Goodbyes, Poets, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bringing Home an Empty Cage

Bringing Home an Empty Cage
Bringing home an empty cage
Another cat gone from old age
Charlotte gone to be with brothers
Eli, Rusty and the others.
Pets are parts of hearts and places
Who, with our families, make up the basis
Of our homes, our kith, our kin,
Into our being we’ve let them in.
Pain at parting leaves us smarting
Crying, wrenching, from their departing
From our arms, our laps, our snuggles
Oh, how they made us forget our troubles.
Goodbye, dear Cat, we’ll miss you much
Your furs, your purrs, your eyes and such
Say Hi to kitties so soon you’ll see
Kitties now far away from me.
Dorothy D. Hagan
January 19, 2019
Posted in Pets, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Post Poe Pondering

A Post Poe Pondering…


What, oh What, shall this Year bring?

A nominal nothing or a Mighty Thing?


So what is real and what is crap?

Lying wasted, I’ve had my nap.

Need to wander, ponder, saunter

Get my move on and really want to

Give the gift I have inside me

Need my muses to please guide me

Bradstreet, Poe, Dickinson, Thackeray

Though, am I worthy or full of quackery?


Nearing sixty and still no lasting

Works abound but still no passing

Into glory and recognition

Exiting from my field of vision

Of lasting on beyond my existence

Writing steady and with consistence.


Oh, Twain and Dickens, how’d you do it

Never ending, and rushed to do it!


I, who endlessly am lazy

Collect my thoughts yet still am hazy

Perhaps this now will be my year

To leave a tome, an atmosphere

Of something useful, mighty, keen

To once and for all fulfill my dream


Of leaving a mark on the earth’s blackboard

Of standing out amidst the horde

Of countess lives who all have meaning

Yet mostly silent and some left screaming

For the glory few will ever possess

Left out of history and steadfastness

Gone tomorrow and missed by none

Die in silence and no glory won.


Will I waken now and beckon

Will I finally face the reckon

Or still in cloud will go to sleep

And will not care if soul to keep?


Oh, these fates, they leave me breathless

Will I stand or still be feckless?

Grab the morrow!

Be brave and daring!

Quit the sniveling

And start preparing!


For the grandeur that awaits thee

Go get your glory, and let the fates be

Yours and only yours, you’re earned your places

Into history and bookcases!


Dorothy Hagan

December 30, 2018

Posted in Anne Bradstreet, Bucket List, cadences, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Female Poets, Goals, indie author, indie publishing, Mark Twain, Poems, Poetry, Uncategorized, William Makepeace Thackery | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mamma Mia Two: What’d You Go and Do

You know…

Thoughtful writing is not that hard

Fans didn’t deserve this harsh canard

Parker, Craymer, Streep why did you

All have to take her without thinking it through

You excised an icon, a heart, a star

Why no door left open not even ajar

That might give us hope for Sophie and Sky

To share that grandkid and keep the story alive

Or find Sam happy and joyous and bright

To lay with his wife and kiss her goodnight

You took Donna and left us Cher

Who wasn’t bad but why wasn’t there

A touching scene between Donna and Mom

A healing beam from time gone on

A touching arc from the chasm of time

Everyone happy would have been just fine.

To her loyal fans from ten years strong

You promised a sequel and strung us along.

Do you truly not understand what you did?

To take what was joy and make it morbid?

She recaptured our youth our own dot dot dot

And then you stole her without even a thought

That youth has an end date, for some this is real

You gave us a throwback for which we could squeal

With delight and madness that made us reel

From the memories we savored…they were a big deal.

Words have power writers know this is true

Never been more shocked than this painful redo.


Posted in ABBA, artists, Children, Director, Family, Judy Craymer, Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Meryl Streep, Motherhood, Mothers, Ol Parker, Poems, Poetry, Sucker Punch, trailers, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mamma Mia: There It Went

Not quite forty-eight hours and I am still recovering from the betrayal and sucker punch delivered by Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.

Spoiler Alert: If you don’t want to know the plot, quit reading now.

Before I begin what I hope will be a cathartic rant, allow me to explain why this movie meant so much to me, and why literally killing the story-line is so personally disheartening.

Mamma Mia was first released in 2008. It was the year my mother got very sick, and it was the last movie she ever saw. I was hovering around my 50th birthday. My girls were around 10 and 14. I went to the movie, and during the first few scenes was looking at my watch to see when it would be over. (Don’t know why, but I found the Money, Money, Money song annoying.) I think it was the Honey, Honey number that grabbed me by the heart and drew me in.

I was instantly transported back to my own magical days of wonder. Before I knew it I was engulfed in the visual beauty of Greece, the allure and energy of youth, the palpable ecstasy of decades-long friendship. And, honest to Pete, with every scene the delightful narrative just got stronger and brighter and the denouement left me giddy with joy and pleasure.

I spent money and watched that movie SEVEN TIMES at the theater. Never before or since have I even watched one a second time. I even went alone on several of those occasions.

And then I shared it with my girls. We bought the DVD, viewed it over and over, sang with it in the car…it is not hyperbolic to say that Mamma Mia was an regular, notable influence on our family during the next ten years.

So, you can imagine our delight when the sequel was approaching. So much to look forward to! Both my girls are in another state now, and we dearly wanted to be together for opening night. Alas, we missed it by one day. I saw it a few hours before their allotted time.

I viewed it with a dear friend from high school. We arrived more than an hour early, sat through a half hour of trailers, and finally, finally! The opening shot.

And I knew it instantly…the magic was gone. The opening shot was quiet, dark and lacked energy. Expressions were dower. And then, God help me, Sophie hung up a picture of Dead Donna, and said something about “This is what mom would have wanted.”

Are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

They effing killed Donna???

So I have read that “Meryl Streep doesn’t do sequels.” Well, good for her. Knowing that, the writers couldn’t have had her go to Europe to see a friend? Join the Peace Corp? DID THEY HAVE TO KILL HER? And yet she shows up at the end as a damn ghost, so she did in fact do a sequel?

Well, I have not been that sucker punched since they threw Anne Hathaway under the truck in One Day. (Or maybe when they hoed the otter in half at the end of the movie, Ring of Bright Water.)

And then the grief started. Sam grieving. They had four, maybe five years of happiness before her death. Sophie grieving. Then Rosie and Tanya arrive crying. Good grief, who writes this crap?

How in the hell are you supposed to start singing and dancing and telling vagina jokes WHEN THE MAIN CHARACTER/MOTHER/WIFE/FRIEND is DEAD?

Call me a wuss but I cried for two hours. And so did a lot of other fans. And then I got really pissed.

The trailers were deceptive. Meryl Streep’s interview was deceptive. All Judy Craymer appeared to care about was shoving her sequel out of the gate.

Meryl Streep in her own words:

“Indescribable joy…pure fun…?” In what universe is a dead mother/wife/friend “joy and fun?: And for the record, I had heard rumors about Dead Donna. And this above interview had me believe my fears were unfounded. Very deceptive. Not cool, Meryl. Not cool.

However, anger, betrayal and grief aside, let’s have a look at the actual quality of the sequel.

This isn’t just the bitter talking. The musical numbers were an insulting rehash of the ones that were so strong, energetic and powerful. The jokes were equally as weak. Rosie wobbling around like an imbecile made me want to slap her down in the chair she kept missing. Sky and Sophie, who in the first movie exuded unbounded energy and sexuality, looked like they’d been married fifteen years and wanted a divorce. And, of course, Harry was still spontaneous.

There were a thousand ways this narrative could have kept the magic alive without turning it into a tragedy. With the addition of Cher, I personally was expecting a healing reconciliation between Donna and her mother. I was expecting to see the rise of the Dynamos and perhaps a bit of Sophie’s childhood.

I have spent the last two days discussing this with many fans on social media. Many of them loved this new movie, and that is their prerogative. But many also feel as I do, that it was a blind-siding script and an insult to those expecting an actual “reunion.”

I hope this crappy bait-and-switch will never quell the wonder, beauty and near divination of the first Mamma Mia. Shame on the people who killed this narrative. You didn’t have to.

Here is a fraction of what made Mamma Mia so amazingly special and the only song I cried at during the first movie. Tears of love at the bitter-sweetness of mother and daughter-hood, not in any way tears of loss and grief:

RIP, Donna Sheridan

Posted in ABBA, Anne Hathaway, Betrayal, Cher, Children, Daughters, Family, Friendship, Judy Craymer, Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Meryl Streep, Motherhood, Mothers, One Day, Regrets, Ring of Bright Water, Sucker Punch, trailers, Uncategorized | 1 Comment