Welcome!

I have written my whole life. Stories, essays, songs and more recently poems. I wrote a few story poems for my kids and they loved them. I started writing more regularly so I started a blog where I could share with more people. It served its purpose well but I wanted to make something easier to find and more personalized. So here we are.

Most of the material will be new, but I am going to post some oldies just to give you an idea of what my writing is like. There will also be photos that I take, mostly of nature stuff. There is a link to listen to my music if you’re interested. All my new works will be posted here. I hope you can find something you enjoy on this site, feel free to comment or share with friends. Thanks for visiting and come back again soon!

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Featured post

The Vital Thread

“This one Nana!.” she said. She pointed to the sparkliest spool of thread in the case. The elder chuckled to herself and replied “Are you sure?” “Oh yes, Nana!” So the elder took the spool and threaded it into the needle, showing the young girl as she did. The girl pictured a sparkling dress, something out of the tales she had been told. Worthy of only a princess or a magical being. She imagined floating through the room to ooo’s and aahh’s, the undivided attention of all the people in the room. 

The machine stopped whirring. She noticed the elder refeeding the thread into the machine. “What happened Nana?” “The thread broke my love, that’s all, don’t worry.” With that the elder was sewing again. Nana was very good at sewing and had made all of her most special outfits since she was a baby. The most special hung in a storage closet in protective bags as if they were skins she had shed as she grew. Each one was the picture of beauty and perfection. Incredibly well made and not a fray to be found, even after living in a closet for some years.

The whir of the machine was the sound of bonding between the two. Since she was about 6 months old the girl would lay in the sewing room and watch her Nana sew, often falling asleep to the soothing sound of the machine. Other members of the family complained about the noise, but to the girl it meant comfort, safety, love. 

Again the machine stopped. “What happened Nana?” The girl asked again. She was older now and her patience was at an all time low in her growth process but she did remember to respect her elder. She was becoming annoyed that her Nana kept stopping the creation of this most important garment. “Can I help you Nana?” “Yes my love, grab that string right there and pull it down to where the needle is, my old fingers can’t grip little things like they used to.” It was at this point the girl noticed her Nana’s fingers. They seemed to exude agility, or at least the idea of agility. They were slender and had a surprisingly strong quality to them despite their delicate taper. Her nails were bumpy with ridges and lightly coated with a shimmery pink paint. The veins in her hand were blue and seemed just beneath the skin giving her skin the appearance of translucence. There were wrinkles too of course, but that aspect impacted the girl the least.

“Thank you sweetheart.” Nana said after the thread had been repositioned by the girl’s young fingers. The elder finished rethreading and began sewing again. The girl peered at her own hands, they were still a little plump but soft. She splayed then wiggled her fingers, watching the back of her hand as she did. She didn’t see the veins in her hand the way they showed up in her Nana’s hands. She perhaps could make out slight traces of blue if she closed one eye, but the differences between the two sets of hands were quite evident. The girl was surprised by the sadness this began in her. 

The machine again stopped. The elder managed to contain the frustrated scream that wanted to ring out, to a heavy sigh. “Well the string has broken again my love.” The elder stated, heading off the inevitable question. “Why does it keep breaking Nana?” The girl asked. The elder removed the spool from it’s designated place at the top of the machine. She Cut the thread to free it and began unravelling it a bit from the spool. “If you feel the thread you can tell that it is made from mostly plastic. That makes it very sparkly but also very brittle. It doesn’t have enough strength or stretch to be sewn in a machine like this.” The girl’s face now fell, weighed down by her disappointment. She took the spool from her Nana and began examining the thread upon it.

It was so sparkly! The light reflected off of the thread in such a way that no matter how she turned it it sparkled in even the dimmer part of the room. She touched the thread, grabbing the end and pulling it away from the spool.It felt coarse and made a soft but crunchy noise as she unraveled it. She examined further and realized that the sparkle was created by a barbed texture. She could feel its spines as she pulled it between her fingers and when she tightened her fingertips around it it snapped with only a mildly forceful gesture. She dropped her hands with this final realization. Her dream of having this very sparkly thread in her special dress seemed to be quickly waning. 

After coming to accept this she said “Nana, I don’t think this is the right thread for this dress.” The elder smiled sweetly, recognizing the compassion and intelligence this still young girl was already growing within her. She wrapped her arms around the girl saying “I think that is a very wise insight. Will you help me pick the new thread we should use?” The girl savored the embrace for a moment more, then stepped back to face her elder. “Nana, you better choose since my first choice was bad.” The girl’s face had a look of resignation on it and it broke her heart. “No my darling, I insist that you help me, it is your dress after all.” “But what if I pick the wrong thread again? We’ll never finish the dress!” the girl said, exasperated in her state of self doubt.  

“What if I give you a selection to choose from that is more suited to our needs? Perhaps it was what I should have done in the first place.” “Okay” the girl replied meekly. The elder began collecting various spools from her vast kit and setting them on a table. The girl began looking the threads tentatively, then picking them up, feeling the spools, unraveling the threads and pulling on them. If one snapped she put it back into the sewing kit. The elder was excited to see the girl exploring with her new knowledge, though she kept a pleasant and somewhat bland expression on her face, her heart was beaming. The girl still seemed conflicted between two of the spools, unsure of whether either of them was adequate.

“Oh I forgot one!” the elder suddenly exclaimed. She pulled the top of the kit out to reveal a deeper storage compartment. It was filled with pieces of beautiful fabric too small to make anything with, various needles still mounted on cards and ready for use, and even a furniture repair needle kit. From this cornucopia of sewing implements she pulled a spool of thread and handed it to the girl. 

It was golden and shimmery, not as sparkly as the previous thread but still beautiful. As the girl unraveled the thread she could feel that it was soft and smooth but still very strong. It had a very silky quality. She finally pulled on the thread and it showed no sign of breaking. Satisfied the girl handed it back to her elder and said “This is the one.” The elder’s heart soared with the reappearance of confidence on the girl’s face. She threaded the machine and got to work quickly bringing the garment together. They talked as she sewed, she, about the different aspects and tidbits of knowledge about sewing and stories from her full life. During fittings the girl talked about school, parental conflicts, and her favorite books and TV shows. It was a well spent evening for both.

Just as the elder seemed to be finishing the garment, the girl’s mother came in with her fingers in her ears, proclaiming that it was past the girls bedtime. The elder turned to the girl saying “You’d better get to bed my love, you have a big day tomorrow!” The girl begrudgingly accepted the command, dragging her feet the whole way out of the room. She turned to look at the almost finished garment one more time. She smiled broadly but the elder could see a hint of disappointment in her eye. She was not worried though because, thanks to her years of experience, she had formed a plan during their sewing session.

The next morning the house was a flurry of activity, Mom and Dad were preparing breakfast and getting dressed in their nice clothes. The girl was watching the activity with excitement with her Nana at the breakfast table. They exchanged glances and giggled amongst themselves as if to say that all the stress of the morning was a bit silly. At one point the girl’s mother turned to her and said “Are you still eating?! It’s time to get ready to go!” The girl’s eyes got very big as she sensed the gravity of the stress her mother was feeling. “Don’t worry” said Nana, “I’ll make sure she is ready.” She motioned for the girl to come with her and they gathered her tights and fancy shoes, hair ribbons, and her basket that she would carry the flower petals in.

They took the bag full of items into the sewing room. “We’re leaving in 5 minutes!” came a bellow from the front of the house. They giggled again together, and then the elder took down a garment bag that was hanging up on a rod in the room. She unzipped the bag and showed the girl the dress. It was beautiful, shimmery and well made. The girl already could tell she would have great fun twirling in that skirt! “What do you think?” The elder asked. The girl examined more closely and she noticed that her Nana had woven the sparkly thread here and there throughout the dress. It was laid in the seams and woven through the hem and neckline. 

“I also loved the sparkly thread.” said Nana “So I added it where it seemed right to, I should have consulted you first but I think I did okay.” The girl beamed in a way her Nana had never seen before. The girl embraced the dress and her Nana. “Thank you Nana!” said the girl, unable to find any other words to express her feelings in that moment. 

Throughout the day many commented on the dress and how beautiful it was but what the elder noticed was the confidence the girl marched down the aisle with. The ease and grace with which she took her compliments and the willingness she had in both being the center of attention and of celebrating the recognized stars of the day. Though she had a long history of sewing, from seamstress to designer and everything in between this was by far her most favorite creation.

Untitled

It feels like turning an orange slice outward

Wrenching it into the wrong position

flexing it away from protection

There is where you access the deep roots of its sweetness

where you can consume every last fiber of the blissful, juicy radiance it offers

Yet there is a brutality to it

Force is required

but what hurts the most is the betrayal

The inversion of that spherical skin against its will

There is resistance

there is a tiny rain of its essence lost in the process.

As you wend toward that succulent prize you can feel the breaking that occurs

how unnatural a process it is

how all the shape that it once knew now becomes flaccid.

The strength once contained there now operates only through habit and has lost all meaning.

As your eager mouth mines it’s treasure from the inner white of it’s skin

once all the value you had perceived has been collected

you release it to fall and it remembers the shape it once held.

It reverts back to that sphere

though misshapen

though bereft of its once solid glory

it remembers, it returns.

 

Charities

Here are various charities that will not only help the protests but also the communities most impacted by racial injustice. If you have any suggestions for additions please leave a comment.

 

Black Lives Matter:

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

 

NAACP:

https://www.naacp.org/

 

Know your Rights Camp:

https://www.knowyourrightscamp.com/

 

Color of Change:

https://colorofchange.org/

 

Black Movement Law Project:

https://bmlp.org/

 

Black Voters Matter:

https://www.blackvotersmatterfund.org/

 

Survived and Punished:

https://www.alliedmedia.org/survived-and-punished/donate

 

Black Journalism Fund:

https://www.localmedia.org/journalism-fund-for-black-newspapers/

 

Equal Justice Initiative:

https://eji.org/

 

Black Emotional and Mental Health Reform:

https://www.beam.community/

 

Fair Fight:

https://fairfight.com/

 

Transgender Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project:

http://www.tgijp.org/

 

ACLU:

https://www.aclu.org/

 

Campaign Zero:

https://www.joincampaignzero.org/

 

Reclaim The Block:

https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home/#about

 

Community Justice Exchange:

https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/

 

Act Blue Bail Funds for Protesters:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bail_funds_george_floyd

 

Communities United Against Police Brutality:

https://www.cuapb.org/what_we_do

 

Fayette Village:

https://www.facebook.com/FayetteVillage/

 

Historical Evidence of Black Oppression in American History

This list is not in chronological order nor is it anywhere near complete, as I continue to learn I will add to this list. Please leave comments on events you think should be included.

 

The Beginning of Slavery:

https://www.history.com/news/american-slavery-before-jamestown-1619

 

Slavery in the United States:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_United_States

 

Fugitive Slave act of 1850:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_Slave_Act_of_1850

 

The Civil War:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War

 

Tulsa Massacre:

https://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/hbo-2019/the-massacre-of-black-wall-street/3217/

 

Redlining:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20redlining,the%20selective%20raising%20of%20prices.

 

The Green book:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Negro_Motorist_Green_Book

 

Segregation in schools:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_v._Board_of_Education

 

Jim Crow Laws:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws#:~:text=Jim%20Crow%20laws%20were%20state,blacks%20during%20the%20Reconstruction%20period.

 

Tuskegee Syphilis experiment:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment

 

Attacks against African- American churches:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_against_African-American_churches

 

Confederate Monuments:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Confederate_monuments_and_memorials

 

Black Suffrage:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_suffrage_in_the_United_States

 

Segregation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregation_in_the_United_States#:~:text=De%20jure%20segregation%20mandated%20the,Fair%20Housing%20Act%20of%201968.

 

Seneca Village:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seneca_Village

 

Wilmington Insurrection/Massacre:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington_insurrection_of_1898

 

Rosewood Massacre:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosewood_massacre

 

East St. Louis Riots:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_St._Louis_riots

 

Red Summer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Summer

 

Selma to Montgomery Marches:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches

 

Elaine Massacre:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_massacre

Black Leaders, Movements, and Persons of Note

This is only the beginning and focuses more on the historical icons of the fight for equality in America currently. I will continue to build this list and bring in more current examples. If you have suggestions for additions please leave them in the comments

 

Medgar Evers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medgar_Evers

 

Myrlie Evers-Williams:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrlie_Evers-Williams

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr.

 

Coretta Scott King:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coretta_Scott_King

 

Malcolm X:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_X

 

Rosa Parks:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks

 

James Baldwin:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Baldwin

 

Angela Davis:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Davis

 

Fred Hampton:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hampton

 

Victoria Gray Adams:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Gray_Adams

 

Thurgood Marshall:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurgood_Marshall

 

Endesha Ida Mae Holland-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endesha_Ida_Mae_Holland

 

Muhammad Ali:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali

 

Fannie Lou Hamer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Lou_Hamer

 

Harry Belafonte:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Belafonte

 

Langston Hughes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hughes

 

Bob Moses:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Moses_(activist)

 

SNCC:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_Nonviolent_Coordinating_Committee

 

James Forman:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Forman

 

Deacons for Defense and Justice:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deacons_for_Defense_and_Justice

 

Robert F Williams:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Williams

 

SCLC:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Christian_Leadership_Conference

 

Huey P. Newton:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huey_P._Newton

 

Bobby Seale:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Seale

 

Black Panthers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_Party

 

Bayard Rustin:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Rustin

 

Ella Baker:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Baker

 

The Underground Railroad:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_Railroad#:~:text=The%20Underground%20Railroad%20was%20a,the%20cause%20of%20the%20escapees.

 

Harriet Tubman:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Tubman

 

Abolitionists:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolitionism_in_the_United_States

 

Frederick Douglass:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Douglass

 

Freedom Riders:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Riders#:~:text=Freedom%20Riders%20were%20civil%20rights,ruled%20that%20segregated%20public%20buses

 

Sojourner Truth:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sojourner_Truth

 

Ida B Wells

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_B._Wells

Black Lives Matter

I want to encourage people to listen. If someone wants to tell you about the adversity they face each day, getting followed in stores, car doors locking and purses being clutched more closely when they walk by, having great phone interviews and suddenly it’s not a good fit when they attend an interview in person. When people spit on them or threaten them without cause, including the police, listen. Not the kind of listening that you spend time preparing your clever counterpoint either. In fact, if that is your reaction you need to educate yourself or at least check yourself. Why do you want to preserve an untruthful perception of the world when you can help? If you educate yourself, you will see the injustices. Not only have studies been done to expose racial disparity you can also talk to your friends about it.

I want to live in a world of diversity. I want to value my friends and loved ones who have different experiences than me. I want to support them and help them when I can. That’s across the board, but when it is something so vicious that people still openly and vehemently deny it makes me angry. There is evidence everywhere, undeniable evidence. Even more so though why not just believe what your friends and loved ones are telling you. Listen to them, don’t dismiss them, and help them if you can. Don’t we all do this with the people we love and value anyway? If you have a reaction to this it may be revealing something about yourself that needs examining. If hearing these accounts of what they face regularly makes you defensive, you very well could be part of the problem.

There was a time (for white people) when everything seemed better. All that really meant is that it was easier to ignore. It was more subtle or hidden enough that it rarely crossed the white American radar. It was still happening mind you, it just didn’t seem like as big of a deal unless you were paying attention. It got quiet enough that people could call people of color and allies crazy when they brought it up. It could be dismissed and the life that you were leading would prove that you are right. You didn’t see any of the stuff they were talking about, but then you wouldn’t, right?

Growing up myself I heard people say that it wasn’t an issue anymore. They didn’t even talk about it in school that much, so when people told me it was over I believed them for a time. The internet blew that wide open though. People were talking about it there. Rage Against the Machine, one of my favorite bands was talking about it. So I started looking and talking to people. I saw a PBS documentary called “Eyes on the Prize” that discussed, in great depth, the Civil Rights movement complete with interviews of the involved parties. I read books about it.

I try to be better, I still make mistakes but I try to learn from them. It is a series of learning. Realizing how deep it goes, how subtle it can be. Having the experience of being a white person with other white people and hearing how they would talk when people of color weren’t around versus when they were. Hearing blanket statements about African American people made based on one bad person but not hearing the same thing when it came to white people. I would even hear the most offensive terms fall easily off people’s lips when they thought it was safe to use them. I’ve had many discussions, debates, and even arguments about it.

I’m still working through it. I’m still trying to be better. It’s been so separated from us as white Americans that we don’t really have to think about it if we don’t want to. We don’t have to learn about what’s happening even today right under our noses. When you do pay attention, it doesn’t feel good to see what’s going on. It feels better to turn away and go back to our bubble. It’s a mistake we all make, but that’s getting harder and harder thanks to cell phone cameras and brave souls who release their footage. 

I feel like now it is pretty obvious that it never went away and has even been refueled recently by certain influences or at least brought back to the surface. When protests happen now some see needless destruction happening, I see multiple eras worth of pent up rage finally being released. Some see people making mountains out of molehills, I see people who have been carrying two worlds on their shoulders their whole lives screaming for help. I have even heard people say that this bitterness and perception African-Americans have toward white people was something they were taught by their previous generations and they were oversensitive in today’s world. To that, I say two things. One, watch any episode of “Eyes on the Prize”   and see how quickly you are able to forget about it and two, what do you think the white supremacists were teaching their kids?

Awaken

The yawn of spring awakening has nearly reached its peak now

scampering squirrels and birds of all colors

Even the cabbage white butterflies have returned

my favorite souls coming by to say hello

The sublimity of purpose in action

The fluidity of flights and fights

a game of survival carried out in warm grass and light breezes

It all seems so easy and effortless in the bright light of a spring morning

The songs and calls of life make harrying cacophonies

symphonies

that for some are an acquired taste

For me it dredges up ancient ideas

of gentle suns and ancestral promises of life renewing

Soon it will feel as though we have stepped into the fiery sun itself,

sweating and reddening and recalling these peaceful and promising days.

Ringing out from within us

like the birds song or the sun’s fire

we will remember that promise of renewal

And keep going

Fiefdom

A credentialed man with a reasoned plan is easiest to follow

But what to do when his words come through and are difficult to swallow

Do you tow the line cause the rest is fine or cry for insurrection

Do you simply coat a now threatened throat with the sweetest of confections

 

Will the forming shoals deep within your soul still allow a good night’s sleep

Will you make a stand put a direct hand to ensure your oaths will keep

Will the tales you told of the streets of gold become a mocking farce

Will you hide in sight taken with the fright that your statements may be parsed

 

Just what does it take to admit mistakes when a thing has gone awry

When you’re faced with facts it feels like attacks so therefore you must deny

Can you still locate why you still fixate does it uphold your intentions

Does your leaders cunning guarantee a shunning if you speak about dissention

 

You have lost your mind in a search to find the most comforting of logic

You refuse to bend as the world’s ways wend and your rendered hypnagogic

You perceive just phases and you cling to phrases that preserve your way of life

So you march along to the blaring song of a tarnished broken fife

Sovereignty

Within his mouth I put my worth

Within his eyes my beauty

Though the burden was unknown

He still fulfilled his duty

 

The smallest favor he would pay

Became my only light

For it could coat like sunshine

And keep me up at night

 

The slightest of disparagements

Could crack my thickest crust

Disabling my heart for days

Upending all I trust

 

I yearn to think that in these throes

A lesson yet was gained

But in times of failing confidence

I still adduce his name

Entangled

The gnarled and naked limb

Reaching for its sun

Within its graying fingers

The string, woven and spun

A joy from warmer days

Also hoping for the stars

Trapped within this wooden grasp

Leaving chafed and aging scars

Its urge to float diminished

But still aloft, it dreams

A strong wind still brings hope

But alas it always clings

Perhaps the knots will loosen

And one day the string shall fly

Or perhaps it twists forever

Grateful for its piece of sky

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