I was confused today by the use of “us” and “them.”
The polarizing use of pronouns came as I relaxed,
Watching waves come in and out
While my heart rate settled into a super slow calm.

Further discussion continued to cause greater dismay
When questions about “ours” and “theirs”
Started being floated as I felt the sting of a social ocean breeze
Supercharged by defensive, albeit subtle, reverse racism claims.

Disappointment burned my skin, my thoughts, my heart
For I never expected to be having that kind of conversation
On vacation, with the people I was with, on the side I was on,
Which was nearly alone, my words floating like foam in a Nor’easter.

I find the victim mentality of cultural being to be insulting for all,
Erasure culture doesn’t work either, although, as my daughter said,
“There aren’t any statues of Hitler in Germany.”
So maybe the hateful in history are getting their just deserts as statues.

History should not be erased, it should be studied,
All my Social Studies classes said we studied history,
“To learn from our mistakes.” Racism, classism, zealots, dictators…
It seemed from our conversation that WE aren’t learning.

I know because people I listen to talk of loss,
Loss of their culture, status, or worth, misguided thoughts on statues,
While muddying the dialogue with stuff learned in incomplete schooling
Or from the last “breaking news” or trending post.

How do we take the hatred back from personal pronouns?
How do we teach people to be tolerant?
How do we get people to understand what has happened outside of “theirs?”
Be the waves and just keep coming with tolerance and acceptance…

What does experience stand for,
Having lived through mistakes,
Finding the lesson,
To not make the same errors again.

Like when the weather app says 40% chance of rain
And you’re sitting in the car
Ready to play mini-golf
While rain is falling despite the odds.

Experience says, “Don’t get out there, yet.
Come back tomorrow, the pirates will still be there.”
Youth says, “It’s going to pass, let’s go.”
That’s how lessons are learned…raincheck…

Maybe that’s where the country is now,
In a weather delay
Where the experiences have not led to learning,
We’re still going putt-putt in the rain.

Refusal to wear masks,
Gotta get out and get my drink on,
Can’t learn that racism is wrong,
And personal responsibility extends beyond just yourself.

C’mon now, we’ve been at this long enough,
History should show us our mistakes,
We should know better directions to take,
Do right everyone.

A conversation today,
Well, not really a conversation,
It was a textervasation,
Really got me thinking about all this madness.
Have you gotten to the point of exhaustion?
I can’t begin to explain how tired I am,
Reckonings are like that,
I’ve had a few of my own,
Times where I had to have heart to heart talks with myself.

Before the freakout police come and shame me,
I’m not equating my past reckonings with those happening now,
That would be….um…well…dumb.
I am suggesting that the high wire our society is trying to cross,
Is full of the kind of wobbling seen in the big top,
Which I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to,
My only circus I remember going to was at The Spectrum,
But that’s a diversion I can’t go on right now,
Because I’m so tired.

I wish I could rest and those ridiculous white people out there
Who can’t understand that Black Lives Matter is not divisive,
It’s recognizing that the life of privilege existing in America
Is not afforded to all and that African Americans have dealt
With a shunning that is more than just being ignored,
Often it involves being afraid and mistrustful of the very government
That is supposed to protect them…anyway…sorry for long post,
I want to rest and wake up and have white leaders say,
“Black Lives Matter.” A small step for a long journey, for sure.

Back to the texting,
It was restful knowing that a friend, a white person,
Could see that we have a long way to go,
That the decisions white folk make from day to day
Cannot be separated from race,
From the races, it’s just not possible,
So we need to listen, to learn, and to look out for the future
By combating intolerance and hate beyond a typed up conversation.
I take it back, I’m not too tired for that fight.

Golf was on yesterday,
Not that that is the most important thing out there,
Not that everyone likes watching golf,
Not that I should even write about such a snooty game,
But,
I do like watching golf,
The swings, the courses, the way the pros get out of trouble,
It’s all good,
Except,
Golf isn’t really up with the times,
Things are changing and only a few does not a movement make.
Tee it up, let’s go.

So much discussion,
About what? A clown.
Maybe if they had just stayed in their lane,
Providing awesome fitness programming
To everyone,
But no, grandpa had to go and show his ass
Dissing the most important social events
Currently engulfing the world
By making light of the pandemic and protests
Over the brutality put on black lives.

How did that happen?

Not that an ignorant person would say something,
Well, ignorant,
But that we are discussing it like the fitness org
Is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Hey, I’ve got nothing but respect for the fitness,
People do amazing things there,
They defy their odds and find a community,
But the corporation has lost sight of the mission,
The money has corrupted the effort,
His power warped his judgment.

And still I wonder, why are we talking about this?

We shouldn’t be,
The clown would have thrown up a long time ago
If it had endured the beatings from police.
Rhabdo would have set in had it seen the beatings
So many black people have endured by ignorant policing.
No, I don’t think we should be writing or talking about fitness companies,
I think we should be talking about people,
How they learn to hate,
How they can learn to be tolerant,
How they need to join the rest of society and stop flipping,
Kipping, or being sarcastic about everything.

Starting with their race baiting words…

Note: The people who are entrusted to make and enforce the laws need to do something to change the “policing” in our country. People are done with the do nothing rhetoric, the “promises” of better training, and the tone deaf tweets. I hope this poem comes across as a criticism of the way things are and my hope that our “policing,” can be done without the kind of results we are seeing far too frequently.

I ignored some signs today,
Went running in a parking lot
Where I wasn’t allowed
Since I’m not an employee,
But I figured with nine problem free weeks of running there
Nobody would care
Since it didn’t look like anybody was working.

I made my loop,
With about a track’s lap left in my dash
A car pulled up beside me
To let me know I was trespassing,
That I had better leave.
The car pulled behind me
And did a good job of making me uncomfortable.

I deserved it, there’s no rationalizing my decision,
But with security up my butt
And the way I’m feeling about “authority” after Mr. Floyd’s death,
I could feel my defiance, a trait I don’t carry well, rising.
I wasn’t interested in this guy or his stupid rule
And the closer he pushed, the more angry I felt.
Really, though, what standing do I have on this issue?

On the scale of injustice, this was nothing,
A big fat nothing,
But I had a moment where I was thinking, this is BS,
Not for me,
But for anyone who fears the police,
Overly excited security guards, or clueless politicians,
Because of the color of their skin.

I won’t run there again, avoiding the issue, essentially out of sight.
I worry that everyone doesn’t have that luxury, the luxury of steering clear.
That said, PEOPLE OF COLOR SHOULD NOT
HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THEIR LIVES WHEN POLICE ARE AROUND.
How clearly do we have to communicate that to the cops,
Security guards, presidents, white women walking dogs in parks?

Too often, I fear.

“Poetic facts lay their claims on us.” Jason Silva

Not enough is done to help the ladies of justice and liberty,
They probably get paid less than the statues of men,
Even the Confederate ones,
Who are unfortunates in history,
Dudes fighting for the wrong cause,
Losers, I’d say, no matter the metric used to gauge their role.
Dixie demagogues…face up to it, y’all.

Growing up in the South
Taught me many lessons about the goodness of all people.
Yet it never taught me how it felt
To live under the symbols of hate expressing
A glorified revisionist interpretation of history.
I never thought how divisive a statue of Jackson or Lee
Could be.

In fact, I never thought of how the grand ole south
Where the mint juleps, land of cotton, and horrible segregation
Cast a pal on people that co-ops a decent life and
Breeds contempt for everyone who dares to decry
Race baiting, racial intolerance, racism,
Whatever the smarter set decides to call this thing that
We do not have the social efficacy to rise against.

Nope. My south was full of diversity.
I ran around with everyone not caring much about how they looked,
Where they worshipped, or where they were from.
I only cared about who they were
And throughout, I learned to be better, not perfect,
Closer than what is possible when fitting in or humor breeds a long lasting shame
Like it did in Albemarle County the other day.

There are moments that can define who we are,
It’s a gift, though, to be able to think,
To be able to reflect and not accept things as they are,
To know that the way we treat others, whether overtly or not,
Will be judged, not only by society but spiritually as well.
Knowing is a process and I know that this ground of Charlottesville
Has been a place of inspiration for me and for this nation.

Yet, Charlottesville just happens to be in the south,
Another unfortunate, only this time geography, not history
Being the spotlight that shows the worst of people.
Too many other places could also absorb the same negativity
As that little town in Virginia
With its big university and dubious legacy
That goes back at least as far as the Founding Fathers.

The time for bitching is over.
Let Lady Justice do her thing,
How about some mandatory sentences for hate?
How about a national crisis as a result of hate groups?
How about all the rocks get turned over so
Hatred has no place to hide.
Whatchya say Donnie? Jeffy?