{a ‘tipping point’?}


“I have learned that
racism affects African American people
every day of their lives.”

the labors of Sisyphus
were punitive –
just desserts and
fair penance for
underhanded, dirty dog
an underworld eternity
of useless effort, of
endless blistering frustration

some god must be offended
some Poseidon, a lightning thief
escaping, marked this realm
besting Zeus. we are accursed
with knowledge

understanding is a boulder;
the truth a heavy weight
rolling back to crush us
on repeat

ignorance speaks – and whoosh!
dust flies – that two ton weight rolls on

like mercy hasn’t.
like empathy can’t.
like racism always does

rolling the rock –
straining for uplift
only for its weight to crash down —

The other night I tried to write a letter to an acquaintance who wrote a letter with the above statement… I sat with it for two days before I tried to respond and then determined that it’s just… too… much… work. During that time, however, I came up with a metaphor: if a child you loved was bitten by a dog, you would in nowise stand as they wailed, bleeding, telling them of all the breeds of dogs which are Good Dogs, which have not bitten them. You would, I hope, if you possess your humanity, bandage and hold them and grieve with them over this dog, this breach of trust, this theft of innocence, this pain, this bite.

Oh, the difficulty of hearing from someone in a position of trust about “the vast majority” of policemen with “integrity and courage” just now… it is both unnecessary and repellent — the same as grandiosely stating that all lives matter to God, because DUH, but that’s not the point just now.

Why do people find humanity, empathy, and solidarity so hard?


please stop asking

if i’m okay,
only to offer
how it is with you:

i hear you, but

i have reached capacity.
i will take up your cause

        or maybe never

please stop talking

asking what i know
what i have seen
stop marveling

about yet another murder that should



please stop reaching, don’t

extend greedy hands for

that cookie, wanted

expected, nay, believed

deserved from brown hands
i see you. you do

your good deed. now let it be

between you and your Eternity
with me left

please stop


{tab’s #tiwyk project}

Tabatha Yeatts is an exceptional poet, and often has poetry projects into which she invites others. I am a goof, and a terrible joiner; I often THINK about adding a poem when invited, or I start a poem, and then hate it, and slink away… So, I’m doing justice to her National Poetry Month project called Things I Wish You Knew, where poets examined parts of the self that are deeply personal and generally overlooked. Hidden disabilities and trauma, things which make us ‘other’ – giving voice to these parts of the self that often remain hidden can be cathartic. Do you have an ‘owner’s manual?’ What things do you wish people knew about you?


these things i wish you knew:
some days the world’s a maze
with trap doors i fall through
land mines left in hallways

silence gets misconstrued –
my anxious brain steals words
i don’t agree with you
but can’t make my voice heard.

there’s nothing you can do –
ignore my sweaty hands
it’s panic’s residue
i hope you understand.

{npm: solus 29}

another birthday

Last night, and dreaming –
My brother, in a stairwell,
Paused, smiled, and hugged me,
Resumed his downstairs sprinting.
He’s out of reach, just like time.

(I don’t know why I dreamed of my brother when it was my nephew’s birthday yesterday, but my brain doesn’t make sense; ymmv. Also, I have worry dreams often; my brother works in a store, and I think about him, stocking shelves in a mask and gloves, and sigh.)

{npm: solus 27}

We have tried to take fewer risks with my health, as the one with both the previous history of undiagnosed pneumonia, and the one with the autoimmune disorder, but I started cleaning this morning and …weeding and cleaning some more, and doing laundry… and probably would have started pulling out my hair next, strand-by-strand. Sometimes, one must consider one’s mental health… and take a breather.

I intended to only sit in the car, but finding the farmer’s market up and running was an unexpected joy. Finding the growers from four hours away was sheer bliss. Brought from warmer counties, they had blueberries! and strawberries! and early cherries! I had to get out. Mask, hat, sunglasses, bag, and socially distant – and I didn’t even think to touch my face. Who cared that the band and the bubble machines were absent? Who cared that there was no chalk art and that the children were swathed in cloth masks and carefully kept at their parents’ side? It was still community, and connection. And, most importantly, strawberries.

Irvington Market

forty days desperate
seeking fresh tastes and faces
we, tangled in masks
find a sweet slice of heaven.
farmer’s hearts are paved with gold.

{npm: solus 26}

My mother – and my sister – are stalwart women, calmly accepting the presence of myriad translucent new friends, climbing the curtains. My father, brother, and other sister are somewhat less sanguine about the whole thing. Oh, to see the world as an adventure, and every rock and weird seed pod looking thing as something which should be picked up and brought inside… There’s nothing like being ten and twelve, under global house arrest.

indoor adventures

“some kind of egg case”
was the conclusion they reached
two boys on lockdown
bored until the emergence
tiny mantises, climbing