Steps in the Road

In this nation we’ve made,
we kill the souls of people who fight
for the right to breathe,
when it should be no right at all.
There should be no wrong in breathing.
There should be no want in breathing.
It should be an
automatic,
unequivocal,
unquestioned
gift from whichever deity you prefer.

In this nation we’ve made,
we’ve made it a right to snuff out life,
a right to stop the breath from someone’s lungs,
to tell someone that they are not worthy
of the oxygen that they require.

In this nation we’ve made,
we see a threat as a person’s death sentence.
We do not take time to listen
but instead reach for a supremacy
that is nothing but a trigger
and burning flesh.

In this nation we’ve made,
we see love begging on the side of the road.
We favor our closed doors
to crying neighbors.
We walk away from facts
because it is easier to lower our head
to ignorance.

In this nation we’ve made,
it is time we stood up.
It is time we straightened our backs
and raised our awareness to the pain
around us,
to the need around us,
to the love that is yearning to live
around us.

The majority of the minority
made this nation,
and it is time we reclaimed it.

 

 

“One Last Time”, Hamilton: An American Musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015

Finding a Limit

I am in enlightened bliss,
where nothing else can reach me.

I am in enlightened bliss,
where nothing else can touch me.

You no longer see the facade I carry,
you only gaze on the soul
that sustains me.

Take heart, this too you can find
with a glass and a prayer,
and a bourbon so quick.

Do not look on me with fear
but rather with laughter
and a wish so clear.

The Thing About Knowledge

I need you to know
that I don’t know.

Many trudged before us,
and I don’t know why
we were left to go alone.

The pain you feel,
I can’t tell you its origin
or cure.

I wouldn’t know the dueling
end of a sword
if someone threw down
their glove before me.

But I know the sun
will rise from the east.

I know you can only be healed
by living.

Most of all, when I know
nothing else in this world,
I know there is you
and there is me.

And that’s more than enough.

Cracks in the Wall

You’re right, I have met my match.
And part of me is scared—
scared that I’m going to slip (again),
scared that I’m going to relax
enough to be shocked when the pain comes—
because the pain always comes,
despite my convictions.

I have walls
and they’ve served me well.
Too well.
They don’t tell you about loneliness
when you sign the bill of sale
on a fortress.
It’s self-made and self-perpetuated,
and I’m afraid there’s no going back.

Rhythm of Change

Human beings
from a war-torn earth
show up to give life,
show up to give birth

To a sound of purity,
anger and rage,
to fly from the madness—
to break the cage

That threatens to rein
them, bring them to their knees,
when all they want is to reign
from the rooftops and trees.

These sisters of soul,
full of the Goddess within,
walk home bloody and bruised
by the hand of someone else’s sin.

These brothers of blues,
their brows creased in thought,
are whited-out of education,
graduating on what the streets taught.

The sexes are divided,
your gender an excuse,
combating racism
with more pain and abuse.

A man can blow his horn,
but a woman should whine.
Pulling him from his art
is your mission, ultimate and divine.

Eve pulled Adam from the garden,
or so we are told.
But if Adam was so pure,
his mind wouldn’t have sold

Out for a quick bottle
of cheap booze,
he would have laid on that trumpet
with nothing to loose

Because if jazz were the devil’s,
as the white bosses claim,
the devil would be here
to put the white man to shame.

And truth be told
I love the sound,
every rhythm and note,
heartbeat and pound

Of a drum that isn’t mine
to own
but is worthy of my fight
to let it be known

That jazz is a soul
you cannot contain
with the shackles of hatred
and a bloodied chain.

A musician is born
in every Goddess who walks
in fear of darkness
and a shadow that stalks

Her from around the corner,
so charming and smooth,
promising hope with
a voice to soothe

The hurt of generations,
yours and mine.
A musician is born
out of water and wine,

Blessed with an ear
for the notes of the past,
blessed with the courage
to make it last.

For Goddesses don’t give
life to easy blessings—
just blame it on a woman,
your trebles and testings,

She’ll hold it in her heart
and maybe one day a sax
because art will chop the
binary, not a knife or axe.

Swinging

I stared at my reflection tonight.
I don’t avoid mirrors, but I by no means worship them, either.
But tonight I stared.
I looked myself in the eye and asked,
“So, what are you going to do?”

“What are you going to do,”
I whispered,
“when he starts off with your best friends?”
“What are you going to do,”
I shook,
“when he targets your loved ones?”
“What are you going to do,”
I shouted,
“when he harms strangers you’ve never met?”
“What are you going to do,”
I asked,
“when he points the trigger at you?”

I stared at my reflection—
at the ghosts of the women before me,
at the “deviants” of the past,
at the people of color just trying to survive,
at the disabled
handicapped
incomplete
malformed
monstrous children
of by-gone decades, years, months, days.

I stared at my reflection tonight
and asked,
“So, what are you going to do?”
My reflection met my gaze
and a voice from the depths
of my despair replied,
“Fight like hell.”