“We are what we always were,” she said, “Underground.” From The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates.


Mama’d holler, “We have struggled for hundreds of years.

Are you not aware of that?”


So, what do you have to say?”

“We have always bumped our heads on roots” I’d answer, and think

we were like two moles down in the hole.

My mama, she said, “Watch your head!”

I’d say, “How we get out of here?”

She’d answer, “Like always, through the Underground.”

Faithful Light: A Brief Prayer

Faithful Light: A Brief Prayer


How do i find The Way?

How do i discover The Truth?

Like a midnight cat following its moonshadow

i ask the Faithful Light, who never fails to stay the night.

Strange Days Indeed

Strange Days Indeed


From my window at night

I watch a firefly flit around

my backyard embracing

this summer’s heat, reminding me

of the times when as a child I’d trap

such an insect inside a clear bottle

and proudly show my mother.


I sit here now with a Covid mask

atop my desk, staring at a computer

screen, repressing my lethargy

by going on Zoom to chat

with my socially-distanced siblings

and kin as well as friends with whom

I seldom come in contact.


Like that jarred firefly, I sit

here imprisoned with others

looking at me from an outside

universe, unable to touch let alone

embrace me. Mere weeks ago

that firefly and I were freed.

These are strange days indeed.

Tyger, Tiger Revisited

Tyger, Tiger Revisited


Tyger Tyger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


Tiger Tiger where are you

In a landscape at a zoo

Or roaming free in a stream

Where you remain a modern meme?

Season of the Silence

Season of the Silence


I hear the silence

of the fans

in the parks

in the arenas

in the stadiums.


I hear the silence

of the owners

and the athletes

as they weigh

their options.


I hear the silence

of the season

that begins late

and finishes early—

the televised season.


I hear the silence

of the virus assessing

the behaviors of the fans

and the owners

and the athletes.

A Blessed Day

A Blessed Day


Having my cold morning feet warmed by soft pillows.

Waking up to the aroma of hot coffee with cream.

Arranging the white living-room curtains to shade my eyes from the rising sun.

Reading several daily newspapers on my i-pad.

Peering into the neighborhood lagoon on a calm summer’s day.

Dreaming about far-away places I want to visit.

Catching a dozen large blue-claw crabs.

Writing a poem that is meaningful to others.

Making a seafood lunch for my wife.

Having chicken dinner made for me.

Watching Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room.

Falling asleep in front of the TV.

Waking up.

Falling asleep again next to my wife in bed.

Beach Umbrella

Beach Umbrella


I have stood here, like always,

deposited in the sand

like a moon flag

watching Earthlings

camp, one by one,

on my shores.

But now, many of these

aliens don small

tents on their faces

covering their noses

and mouths, tents

larger than the briefs,

thongs, and bikini bottoms

most of them wear.

Like me, those

water-resistant canopies

are colorful, diverse,

and vital.




For Billy, Who Died Too Young


I am surprised at how often

I have thought about you

over all these decades.

Your tragic end still lingers.


I wonder what has happened

to the infant son and young wife.

you left behind. I wonder why

you become so erratic as a teen.


Was it because of your relationship

with your father and mother?

Or the low self-esteem you suffered

because of facial acne?


Like you, your cousin, Joe,

died unexpectedly a few years ago,

but he led a relatively full life,

one you were never afforded.


I wonder about your afterlife

and ask myself “Are you at peace?”

When my life comes to its end

will we three reconnect?


Our lives are separate stories

containing suspenseful moments,

with their own unique endings

some tragic, some unforeseen, some abrupt—


some unforgettable.

The Covid 19 Bop

The Covid 19 Bop


How long will it take

before I can drink

a cold one at a bar

or dine out

with family

and friends?


How long will it take?


I have worn my mask,

stayed six feet apart

from loved ones,

cleaned groceries

with Clorox wipes,

and washed my hands

until they have bled…

for months now.


How long will it take


for science to lead

for data to dictate

for politics to follow

for distances to shrink

for bandannas to disperse

for Change to take place?


How long will it take?


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