Post-weekend Poetry 012: ‘Tragic Needs’ by Grace E Reed

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the twelfth poem in this series. This week’s piece is by Grace E Reed and taken from her collection ‘Needs’ (ISBN 978-1-4276-4477-0).

Tragic Needs

We need mystic saffron robes flowing implication of God’s realms

We need magic rabbits and blue wolves that bark at full red moons

We need illusions and delusions as measure of time and place that do not exist and perfection in the material space—that killer of life giving soul—that—

We need eagle feathers raised in prayer to the Great Mystery Power whatever that is—if it is at all

and glass beads that catch the light as we dance and twirl with hope and desire going forth with presumption

We need transition and mediation and the means to negotiate our shadows

We need each other and stubs of love attempts

We need to reach out with five fingers to touch fur and scale and make sense of that

We need to bleed and birth and dry up and die passing through old and new dimensions over and over—recycling through time getting it right and wrong

We need violence to contrast the void that calls for action and motion

We need absolute shinning happiness of innocence in faces of innocent things

We need to need so to be fulfilled that plays out as expressio

We need drama and stage and costume and mask and paint and thimble and cloth and mirrors that reflect all this—that hides in itself—that exposes all in the darkness

We need to walk into dark closets with a book of matches

We need to strike the match to understand the gods that pant for and long for us as the stag pants for the water brooks by banks of green and branch in high desert

We need jackal to talk to the giraffe so quirking things collide in twelve-mile tunnels so dark matter swallows light and light embraces dark

We need it all and we don’t need anything

I asked Grace what prompted this piece and she said…

I was inspired by my study of non-violent communication techniques and my 30 plus years working with marginalized addicts. I realized people are ‘in tragic expression unmet needs’ when basic needs are not met. I thought back of when I was struggling with unmet needs and wondering where I was going to find peace. I thought of all the disappointment when things were not perfect like I wanted them to be. I thought of all the energy it takes to be a human in tragic need.

Thank you, Grace.

Grace E. Reed has a MA in Conflict Resolution and BA in Drama Therapy. She broadcast for Prison Pipeline at community radio advocating prison reform. Her work with addicted at-risk youth experiencing homelessness and jail led her to write and publish ‘Needs’ and Negotiating Shadows: Journey to the Sun. She is on the gang violence task force and police review board in Portland, Oregon and mediates for Occupy WS Portland chapter. She writes for several online sites including, and Her books and work can be found at  Her new book ‘Negotiating Shadows’ (ISBN 978-0-85398-560-0) has just been published by George Ronald Publications, Oxford, England. The book addresses poverty in US and its ripple effect as it follows an addict from her childhood into present day.

If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.

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