Poem: Missing


Warm safety soft sweet

quiet click door

snap lock complete

stone wall fortress

round belly womb

float free

peace  security


Outside world

harsh human walk

shout stab lie stalk

pass eyes blind

crowd crazy

torn mind

man sick sad

gone bad


Run home

hide dance dream

dark night no light

tuck head lay low

sleep silent deep

inside under away

out there no way


Stop stay

here dear abode

far far


dead end road



Poem: Gossip

Parrots swoop in their group

They provoke me to ponder

Could I teach them to speak?

Instead of a squawk

We all could talk

Imagining the things we’d say

them what they see

flying high every day

And me with my thoughts

as I walk on my way

Would they be easy to teach

a figure of speech

or the nuance and joke?

So many of them

and just one of me

conversing quite difficult

when they sit in the trees

Yet one thing for sure

is that talking with birds

won’t be nearly as absurd

as chatting with those

from my own catty herd



Poem: Chains

Years a slave

finally walking free

mud-caked down dirty shoes

dragging home

Will the soul ever sing on key

after bent down beat work

freedom is loaded

heavy with ropes

pulling on out

but ever tying

things tight low hopes

Forty years in Penitentiary

then hitting the street

smelling the air of


Bars and walls now left behind

the etching of punish

carved carefully through time

The binding gavels

final thud to close

the pathways forward

And words and words

to wound and cut

much bloodier than what

a gun can shoot

Inside the body disappears

until  it seems to be

just hollow fears

Fly away or gather others

yet sounds still linger close

will any time

seem anew

and recapture the ghost

Slave, prisoner and abused

can liberate some day

and wanna walk hard away

from hellish past

with head up and

chains left in a rusting mass


Poem: The Cold

What is this nose

like a pink petaled rose

and the streaming eyes

looking like they’ve cried

The booming head

so sunk on the bed

fever chilled sweating

leaving all freating

How did this enter

my core, my center?

And then spread all around

on my sacred ground

Taking over with delight

good blood cells take flight

So miserable I lay low

till it decides to go

taking with it my pep

and slowing my step

Thanks to all the trees

donating tissues for my sneeze

One day I will recover

and won’t be such a bummer

Hopefully soon

next year…immune??






Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You???

Some of you may be surprised to know that I am taking a 9 week course in my town that is a Citizen Police Academy. No, this doesn’t mean I will walk around with a gun or even a taser when I’m done. But it is giving me a close up perspective on what the women and men do on my city police force.

The idea behind this Academy is to build community between the citizens and the police department. Of course, the folks who show up for the course aren’t necessarily the ones they need to preach to–we are their choir already. But we’re also tax payers and some of us are future police officers, and it’s a good show they put on.

They give us all the bells and whistles; or at least dogs and flash bombs. Every section of their department gives a presentation from the marine unit to the SWAT team to dog officers. We’re up close and personal with equipment, loud noises…and maybe not too close to the German Shepards.  Not only do they present the history of this department, but of how certain units came to be initially; like SWAT units started during the race riots in the 60’s.

Having been a paramedic I’m used to working near the police, so some of the stuff is familiar. But I admit, this is a medium city and this department has some pretty big advantages. This also means different types (and more) crime. In some ways being in the class gives me the willies knowing what goes on around me, like the gang violence for instance. Who knew they are high school kids? But in other ways in is comforting to know these people are quite dedicated to serve and protect in some extremely dangerous situations.

An interesting thing I have noted is how many women work in this department; the Chief is currently a woman and one Assistance Chief too. Even one of the SWAT members is and the program is incredibly rigorous. It’s also a very culturally ethnic department.

This department does other community events like Coffee with A Cop where they meet the public at none other than Dunkin’ Donuts just to have open dialogue. Not a bad idea in these troubling times.

We get to sign up for two ride-alongs with an officer on duty. I’m looking forward to that one. Hopefully I’ll get some action that night. Maybe we’ll catch some bad guys? It might bring me back to my ambulance days…sigh. One (silly) man asked if he could bring his gun that night if he had a concealed weapon license; the answer was a resounding NO. Really?!

Anyway, a lot of effort goes into this course, and I know it’s really a bunch of PR for them, but they do have a hard job. My cop friends would tell me over and over that all they saw was bad stuff and bad people. It got old for them and some were pretty bitter. Maybe this is a way for these guys to do something good for a change? And to get a good rap for once? It’s not an easy job by any means; trying uphold the law when there’s so much negative stuff in our world these days. I don’t envy them.

And some of these Officers do this stuff on a voluntary basis simply because they love what they do and are committed to it. There are certain teams (like SWAT) that are voluntary to be on call until you’re called.  That’s pretty amazing when you think about it. And yet they train constantly! These Officers were not folks I would want to meet up with at any time! Yikes.

So, I’m learning some interesting and new things. And trying to look with an open perspective. Even though there are some police that don’t exercise good judgement , I wonder what it would like without any of them?

Poem: Birth

Out of the dark woozy womb

sliding toward the grasping fingers

They grab

then point

set a course to go


knees of grass patterned words

written from The Mother

Until upright

feet meet pavement

and head far from the beginning

there is no turning back

It is black


Slipping farther away


Into no-one

or maybe


To wander and wonder

looking upon the staring reflection

and seeing

faceless recognition

Wanting to stick it

back in

and start over



Poem: 1956

Forbidden love

is tossed back

into the arms of the hand

the throw of the gamble

that most fear to play


under cover

‘neath the sweaty dark

of the hidden night

in the pulsing fury

of times angry divide

A union

of color

entangled together

through tension and tender

White wanting in concealed desire

wrapped in Black brave

Heart marches

toward an outlawed end






Given gone away

to spare the agony

of blasphemous belonging


split to wander separate worlds


drowning in the blood

of both

Poem: Speak Sweet

His words then

ring ring

true today

the voice that

speaks sweet

only time can solve race injustice

some said to him

It has not

Black ghost

talking before us



in winters of delay

When will The Dream come true?

destinies of Negro and White man tied together

Rip the bonds of inequality

and weave nets strong enough

to catch us all

as we come together

through time


Note: I am spending today listening to Martin Luther King Jr speeches, especially some I have never heard before. The words in italics are his.


As this Martin Luther King day approaches, I am compelled to contemplate (and write) about racism and bigotry in this country. With a president that feels he has the right to boast his hatred and utter his disregard for equality it is quite evident that some people still carry these sentiments most obviously.

But a book that I recently read: Tears We Cannot Stop, A Sermon to White America, By Michael Eric Dyson, made me look more deeply into the question of implicit racism. By definition found on the computer it means:  implicit racism includes unconscious biases, expectations, or tendencies that exist within an individual, regardless of ill-will or any self-aware prejudices.

He speaks to ‘whiteness’ in general, not in a way that is scolding, but in a way that most definitely made me look at my privileged life in this country as a white person. Of that there is NO doubt.

It is easy to notice things like what the president did and said: that this is racism/bigotry. But there are other signs that are less clear. The lines become blurred when looking at crime and how media portrays who commits them. Who do we feel as white folk are the criminals? Really, answer that question, then check the statistics. Or how do you feel when you walk down a dark street and people of color are near?

There are tests to see if you have implicit bias (or racism). The results may be surprising to you. I was scared when I took one, afraid that I might not be the person I thought I was or wanted to be. The result was fascinating actually. I guess it may depend on life experience and how much you really believe what you read and see on the news.

Dyson challenges white people in order to make this a world as Martin Luther King envisioned (and many others like him), then we must engage those who say racist things when we hear them. Sitting silent is as good as saying it ourselves. Let people know you won’t tolerate this kind of talk. Use it as a teaching moment if you hear folks spouting incorrect information about black people; let them know you know the truth.

This president is trying to worm his way out of the disgusting words he spoke recently and so will others. It is not being tolerated.

So in the words of MLK, speak up!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”