Most of us have felt it

That “Oh, no!” feeling in the pit of our stomach

We are running late

Dash out to the car

Keys in one hand

Everything else in the other

We hit the remote to open the car door

Jump inside

Shove key into the ignition


We get nothing

Except that sickening little “click, click, click”

Which screams at us


Still it is your lucky day

You have roadside service

They ask, “Are you in a safe place?”

You respond, “Yes”

But sometimes the fates are not so nice

Sometimes your car quits on you

Gives up the ghost in the most unfriendly places

Like in the middle of an intersection

Or a city street

Are you safe?

You sure hope so

Hope that other drivers see you are stuck

In the middle of the road

And drive around you

Then they arrive

You breathe a sigh of relief

Hopeful for help

But you also hold your breath


They are the police

Called to protect and serve

But they are also white


You are black


You are male

You raise your hands

And you pray

Just before that first shot

Just before the searing impact of bullet against flesh

Just before that last heartbeat

You pray

That you are safe


You were not

You bled out in that unfriendly place

And the morning after

The media blows smoke and screams

“Angelina Jolie Files For Divorce From Brad Pitt”

As the rest of us

Who are left behind

Who continue to hope and hold our breath

Whenever we see black and white

Human and inanimate

We are left behind


Contemplate strange fruit

That no longer hang from trees










It is a quiet invasion

Something akin to “The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers”

The movie classic about aliens who come to earth and duplicate humans

Plant pods that replicate the human when the human falls asleep

The duplicates look like the original but they can’t quite capture the persona or personality of the human whose body they have snatched

Yeah, exactly like that

The quiet invasion of which I speak

Begins one root at a time

Black strands no longer connect to the scalp

Instead insidious gray roots

Crawl in


Nothing like the original

Stubborn and wiry

Refuse  to be tamed

Refuse to hide

The goal, conquer all

Lulled into a false sense of security by Lady Clairol

You drop your guard

But one day

You look into the mirror

Just an innocent glance

Then a double take

In the reflection you spy the second wave

Your chin under Gray attack

Hair grows where it never grew before

The first wave of that second wave is black

Irritating but not easily spotted by outsiders

Don’t drop your guard

The Grays are on the way

You will lose the Battle of the Chin

A never ending battle

Long gray hairs sprout

Grow from an unwilling chin

Tweezers are your weapon of choice for a counter attack

But you must remain vigilant

Ever watchful

For the enemy does not rest

Until it has conquered all

Gray in unmentionable places

Clothes that cover the saving grace

Even so

You will eventually realize

The Grays are always victorious

The moment you begin to pluck at them in your eyebrows

Until you realize all that is left

Are remains of what once was

Forlorn patches of hair

That will never return to glory days

Hover over surprised eyes

No need for a white flag

The Grays have already raised it









I am African American

I also identify as Black

But I don’t have to tell anyone this fact

As soon as you see me you know

I am African American

I am Black

Raised in an era where I was commanded to stay in my place

i have never been unaware of the inderground racism of America

Unfounded presumptions about me and my community

I have been the “only one” many times

From my first real job in 1969 to my last real job in 2014

I have done private sector, government and education

In each place I worked harder to prove the doubters wrong even as they questioned my right to be in their presence

Today’s climate of unfettered racism, though a disappointment, is no real revelation to me

Which is why I feel compelled to address this hot spot of “Black Lives Matter”

Responses are appreciated, but reflection (rather than reaction) is encouraged first

A View From Monday

Why should Black Lives Matter?

Because for too long they have not mattered enough. Seen as a monolith rather than individuals, the lynching/murder of one equals the lynching/murder of all in our collective hearts. In the minds of the silent majority, not so much. Such horrors viewed in silence is tantamount to assent, pretty much like those viewing parties/picnics held back in the day at the foot of a tree upon which hung strange fruit harvested in southern soil.

Yes, Black Lives do Matter to us; it is our assertion of the right to our humanity, to live without fear of of being accosted and harmed without reason or logic while the society that surrounds us can blithely devalue our loss, condemn our anger, reject our pain and question our frustration by demanding that we relinquish our sovereignty to their command that All Lives Matter.

All Lives do Matter, but when you reject my right to point out that the value of my life is too often subjective, allow you to defame character in death as though execution was warranted and long overdue, that we must be the first to forgive when our hearts are broken, then we have a problem. Until this changes, our assertion must continue to be because All Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, in fact, Black Lives Must Matter.




The old man sits silently on the steps of his front porch.

These are his thinking steps.

“Always thinking,” his wife used to mutter to herself, “Always thinking!”

Miz Mae never really understood her husband’s quiet ways, his continuous reflections on the curiosities of life.

“Always thinking!”

The old man sits on the steps and stares down the street to the corner where some young boys stand discussing whatever it is young boys discuss these days.

“Hey, old man!”

Rufus, a longtime friend, shuffles up to sit beside his old friend.

It is a daily routine for these two, old friends sitting side by side on the stoop talking and listening to one another.

The old man clears his throat, a sure sign he is about to speak on something he has been thinking about for quite some time

“You know, Rufus, we as a people personify grace under fire.”

He rubs his gray grizzled chin as he speaks.

“Whut you mean by “puhSAHnuhfie?” The old man’s friend often wonders where his friend learned all those big words.

“It’s like we look like grace under fire, like if grace under fire was human, it would look like us.”

“Uh Hmmm.”

Rufus tries to make himself sound like he really understands the old man when he “speech-a-fies” but the truth is that he almost always has a hard time following his friend whenever he uses those big words.

“Yep, grace under fire, that’s us.”

Whenever the old man speaks of “us,” he means African Americans

“Grace under fire is the real story of us, you know, Rufus?”

Rufus grunts assent and waits for the old man to expand on his thought.

“Yes sir, they ripped us from our native land. The smells, the sounds, the taste of home was our only luggage on the middle passage. They dragged us onto foreign soil, alien tongues assaulted our native ears. Our language was whipped out of us and we were forced to speak a foreign tongue they did not teach us but when we finally learned to speak what we thought we heard, they laughed and called us ignorant. They did not recognize our genius, did not see the majesty of our being!”

“They barely named us, treated us worse than that stubborn old mule that refused to pull the plow. They beat us and expected us to love them unconditionally, bowing and scraping whenever they were around, had us mammy their babies and bear children forced upon our women by the master’s rough hands.”

“The sounds and the smells and the tastes of our native land were forced out of us. We swallowed our sorrow, mingled tears with sweat and endured the angry bite of cotton bolls picked in the scorching heat of every day.”

“They force freed us then designed a new bondage named after a minstrel song that foisted violent servitude upon us, brutal acceptance of their inhumanity. They hung us from trees while they picnicked and took trophy pictures like hunters on a safari.”

“We endured it all, wept through it all, buried our dead too young, muted our anger, wrapped ourselves in our frustration and waited and waited and waited for real freedom  ”

“Well, freedom finally caught up with us, we thought, but it came with conditions attached. Stay in your place, accept what we say is right for you, be grateful for the crumbs we half-heartedly throw to you, walk through that open door then work twice as hard to prove your worth.”

“We worked hard, we assimilated, we embraced our natural roots, we expected more but each day we received less and they wonder why we are not satisfied.”

“But, dagnabit, look at us Rufus, we are still here, still climbing Mr. Hughes’ torn, worn stairs. We are still striving, still pressing, and Rufus, we ain’t rioted full scale across the country, yet, not even when they  killed Martin or when Malcolm died, not even when they killed our boys, our girls, our men, our women. Our souls have been tried. Our spirits have been bruised. Our hearts have been burdened. Our tears have been bitter. Our losses have been huge. But, even so, we held on to hope, we still hold on to hope. They still killing us but we still get up in the morning. We still laugh. We still dance. We still sing. We still love. We still marry. We still have children. Shoot, we still like sex when we have the energy!”

Rufus chuckles then looks around to see if anyone heard that last comment his friend made.

“We have not yet reached the end of our rope but I’m mighty a-feared that the rope of our hope is getting shorter, that the fuse of our anger might be about to be lit for a great explosion of retribution. I pray that peace prevails and that equality, one day, will one hundred percent win. That is my prayer. It’s my prayer for our land, Rufus. Its my prayer for us, too.”

Rufus blinks a few times as he chews on the old man’s words. He is both proud and afraid at the same time but he sits up a just a little straighter, squares his shoulders and says,

“Yessuh, we sho have puhSAHnuhfied  grace undah fiyah, yessuh, we sho have. ”










Sunny Hostin and Whoopi Goldberg Clash Over Whether Black Women Wearing Weaves is Cultural Appropriation


My definition of Cultural Appropriation: A group “takes” what is my legacy, something my ancestors created, that which has been passed from one generation to another as a honored and often sacred tradition but you laughed at it, devalued it, called it hood and ghetto until you begin to see it as trendy, a thing to do or have so you now consider it, evaluate its worth for your brand, your market, your sense of style and you “take” it, rename it and claim it as a new thing/creation and you choose (intentional or not) not to acknowledge or even admit the true source of its elegant majesty.

How an individual chooses to dress or how they style their hair is of little consequence to me but when it becomes an issue of cultural pride and relevance what I need from the “new” user is that they acknowledge and value the origin of their “new thing.”

You see, my community is so used to being ignored, devalued and overlooked that when our legacy, our ancestral tradition/legacy is assimilated, subsumed, absorbed, consumed and renamed by those who have no clue to the why of our pride or they are not even interested in its origin or sanctity within a community, we call it as we see it, OFFENSIVE!

I love the maxi skirts made of African cloth and recently was gifted with three. I have worn one and I love how I feel when I wear it, how it looks on me. But, recently, I read an article/blog by an individual from Africa who called us out on making their heritage, the cloth, into a fashion statement. This concern certainly has made me more conscious of how my choices, innocent though they may be, may appear frivolous and offensive to the group of origin. I will wear my skirts but I will also do my research on the cloth and its “history” so that I may consciously honor the group and their ancestral legacy through my acknowledgement of its cultural roots and pride of heritage when I am complimented.


We must all become just a little more sensitive to how our choices appear or impact others especially when it comes to those “products” of culture.


I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers  





Fannie Lou Hamer was an African American Civil Rights activist of the 60s/70s.

She was well acquainted with the poverty and violence in the Jim Crow South.

A phrase she coined, in all of her activism, was “I am sick and tired of bring sick and tired.”

I feel you, Fannie, because I am tired, tired of being watched in unexpected places.

What do I mean when I say I am tired of being watched in unexpected places?

Well, i have lived most of my life being watched in unexpected places.




Here’s the deal…

I am tired of being watched in places where it is assumed I will not be or presumed I should not be.

Watched by startled eyes that mark my every move to make sure I live up to their lowered expectations.

Expectations gleaned from a family book of prejudices or a media that reports its own brand of digital apartheid or stereotypes paraded behind closed doors of private clubs or redlines rigidly drafted onto stark white paper strewn across dark walnut tables in a good old boys boardroom.

I am weary of others deeming denial as my birthright while privilege continues to labor to keep me in a place as defined by them.

I am sick and tired of my concerns being dismissed as yesterday’s old news while microaggressions nip at my heels day after day  after day.

Yep, I, too, am sick and tired of being sick and tired, so dear people, please be forewarned from this day forward.

Before you bring me any of your foolishness, fine tuned in the errancy of your self-entitled pride, take a deep breath, step back and re-think how you think before you speak.

Because if you don’t, I most definitely will “clap back.”.

Be very, very sure, and rest assured, that the next time you dismiss my truth, I will call you on it and just so you are not uninformed, here is my truth: I, too, am sick and tired of being sick and tired!



Where’s my mic?












WHEN DID I BEGIN? Daily Post Challenge

Origin Story


When did I begin

At birth?

Before I knew who I was

Or what I was

Did it begin

When I named myself adult

Grown enough to  make my own decisions

Or so I thought

Was it when I became “Wife”

Or “Mama”

Or “Supervisor”


Was it when I became “Widow”

Had to figure out life on my own

Manage single what once was double

Sleep alone

Dine alone

Survive alone

Become someone’s object of pity

Yearn for Yesterday

Grapple with Today

Wonder about Tomorrow

Find a new voice

Face a new normal



New beginning

New day

New season

New start

New Normal