Hour 24: Outrage

Outrage keeps me alive

Gives me enough strength and sufficient energy

To take on again this woefully weary world

I offer no weak apology

care nothing for your silent disapproval

with the way I choose to stay alive


Love is not enough

To stay the onslaught of demons

troubling the waters


I’m keeping on

By holding on

To my righteous outrage.

Hour 23: The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

My people came over the water

Over a sea salted with sorrow

Some people drowned in their sorrow

But my people let the sea carry them

My people came over by water


My people lived by a river

Wandering wide and winding to the sea

Sluggish with the weight of the world

Their hopes took root by the river

Some blooms bled into the water


Blood of my people flows

Through that river

To the sea

Meeting old sorrows

My people’s blood flows in the water


My people settled by a lake

Large like the sea

They wintered there

Shivering in the wind

Swallowing the taste of salt

Planting dreams

Surviving storms

My people came through the water


Carrying salt

Carrying sorrows

Carrying the sea

My people came over the water


Hour 22: Monarch Butterfly a Wing

Did the title tap memories of feelings so right

they moved your heart higher than a soaring kite?

Did you imagine yourself in a meadow so bright

the colors would bind you in endless delight

while wandering waterbirds dance and excite

You? Did you assume serenity would land your sight

on a monarch butterfly caught in mid-flight

while skimming and skipping over lakes so lightly,

ephemeral motion, in stillness made mightily

calm, profoundly full of meaning and insight?


You suppose wrong; the title’s not a typo.


Stepping out of the church’s front door —

in a fog of solemn sorrow and ire

after a troubling memorial service

for a troubled sister who had left me

hurt, angry, too soon, and unresolved —

I glimpsed a butterfly wing on the sidewalk

just before my next step would crush it


I froze in thought, “Oh, Butterfly!

Where have you gone?”

And remembered my much admired beloved sister.

I spoke to the missing piece,

“Are you still flying on one wing?”

And remembered my enigmatic, wounded sister.


My mind’s eye created instant poetry:

“Did some jealous god capture you

to rip your wing

from your frail body

then spirited you away

and left you forsaken

far from your wing

To seal the separation?”

And remembered my fiercely gifted sister.


(Oh, my sister!

No one ever – before or since –

so close to me

so far apart.)


All in a fleeting moment

I stooped to gather up the wing —

ignoring voices speaking comfort,

hugs seeking to console me

with joys in their memory of her.


Rejecting those useless cares,

while remembering them kindly.

I tucked their memories and my wing

between two pages of eulogy

and took them home with me

to wash myself in all the unshed tears

drowning me in despair.

They’re still here – the memories and the wing —

on the wooden box that holds her ashes.


On that otherwise empty bookshelf

The dust covers happy memories

And she (oh, butterfly!) looks so forlorn;

in my dreams she’s flying.

In her life I dreamed I could make her whole again;

she would not land long enough to let me.


When I saw a craft vendor tossing away

a wooden dragonfly with one wing missing,

I offered to buy it; we bargained for two:

one whole and the other I wanted.


I keep the dragonflies on the ashes box,

placing the butterfly wing

where the dragonfly’s is missing.


The dragonflies stay still.

But every now and then

the wing

moves —

Is it trying to fly? —


Once the wing fell and was lost

to me.

I recovered it

while dusting behind the box.


Sometimes I forget the whole one;

even when it’s there, I don’t see.

I allow the sight of the wounded one —

and the wing — to haunt me,

knowing the butterfly will never be whole

but hoping to one day reach

Solace and Resolution.



maybe I began this wrong.

Perhaps, after all,

this will be

about finding serenity

while watching a butterfly, a wing.

Hour 21: Question of Character

Tracy suffered traumatically

after witnessing Brad beaten to a pulp

Kevin couldn’t keep shocked eyes off

the frying pan on the fire

Roger wondered why Wanda looked so happy.

“I just want to die laughing.”

Not all eggs are in the same basket.

Hour 20: Nightmare

It seems I’ve fallen into

Someone else’s dream

Of nature’s glory

With blooming flora to cushion my steps


Where I can sleep

Under bright blue skies

and the shade of verdant palm trees

with a hint of sunshine peeking through


They’ve even dreamt soft clouds

Where I can pillow my weary body

And dream of peace

And serenity


But I want to embrace the storms of life

Endure the sharp stings of adversity

Survive intact while walking over the coals

Be strengthened by what I overcome


Hour 19: Sweet Home Chicago

I miss the soft summer breezes

And digging cracked toes

Into the silken sands of Rainbow Beach


I miss playing tennis on free courts

And knowing every exhibit

In the Museum of Science and Industry


I miss the midnight movies

And riding the el to work

Or whenever the mood moved me


I miss being pushed by winter’s hawk

And the needles of icy wind

Piercing whatever skin I left exposed


I miss carrying my book bag like a weapon

And chasing away the mugger

As I walked home that night


I miss dancing in the clubs

And through the streets to the tune

Of Sam and Smokey and Whitney


I miss the cussing crowds

And the unexpected serenades

While riding the bus


I miss the good times that killed me

And the bad times that made me strong



Hour 18: November 2020

the door was kicked and

opened wide; the ceiling cracked

— from side to side


“we have the votes!” the

women cried; and hearts of hope

shout joy and sing pride

Hour 17: Lights

Though darkness closes in

Don’t go into the light

where there is only afterlife


There is no magic apparition,

no transportation beam

to ease our way

no wizard nor angel

no Superman to the rescue


Turn around

and see what shines brightest

in the darkness

It’s your light

Let it glow!

It’s your life

Let it live

Hour 16: Breathless Grace

fresh fading sun rays

ribboning the sky; moonrise

peeking o’er the hill


starshine restlessly

waits nightfall’s velvet veil; ah!

What stirs my soul’s joy?


Hour 15: Cravings

Wanting nothing more than

Completing this journey,

I felt myself fading and falling

Hanging on by a thread


Something whispered in my ear,

“Sleep. Rest. Heal.”

And I was wrapped into the night.


Wanting nothing more than

Making it to the end again,

My body collapsed, left me weakened

My mind kept creating

My heart stayed in the game



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