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?


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


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


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


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


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


I saw you unleashed, unbridled, unfettered

And ne’er have I seen a single thing better

Wholly awakened the light clung to you

Each moment engulfed and lived through and through

The drawing of breath, each blink of your eyes

Cherished with knowing there was no reprise

Each joy celebrated, each tear wept with pride

Fresh snow or a sunset, not once swept aside

You smiled and you loved through each gifted day

With grace and with gratitude lighting your way

Unheeded Lessons

With shards of dreams

to gouge my eyes

The blaring sun

does fiercely rise

The squawking birds

chide at my pane

Cracking my crown

like a scolding cane

A groan escapes

as my stomach churns

You would think by now

I might have learned

Morning Window

Swaying blades to trace the wind

Clearing all the soot and sin

Shafts of light to feed the green

Giant trees that creak and lean

Grousing birds and groaning wood

as life proceeds just as it should

Once I Slept Like A Stone

His kiss felt like Arthur

Freeing the sword

Or the sea spilling forth

To fill in the fjord

A flowing, a gushing

A wave tall and tidal

A wild blooded stallion

Cut loose of it’s bridle


And through me the feeling

Spread with its heat

My head swam and swooned

‘Til the surge was complete

The color returned

To my once graying vision

His love moved in me

With the sweetest precision


The once mottled skin

That houses my scars

Is now filled in gold

And shines like the stars

A value that slept

Was now reawakened

Thanks to his kiss

My slumber was shaken


How could my mouth come forth with such words

These millions of phrases we’ve all of us heard

As if we could capture the sun within syllables

But I guess one man’s anchor is another’s dirigible


Flight is subjective when blood plays a part

The flapping of wings can sound just like a heart

And the air raising altitude requires some motion

To accomplish the churning of a well winded ocean


So batten your hatches and raise up your sails

And decide here and now what it means to prevail

Adept navigation to cut through the tide

Or willingly, wanting to be swept o’er the side


Love has a meaning to any and all

To some it’s like rising, to some it’s a fall

But with wings or with bruises we still forge ahead

For a life without love, we just were not bred

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