(In the aftermath of Charleston)

To each bullet a heart,
One voice,
One drop of blood yet
unspilled by hate not fate–
But wait!

They say the day stole away
with Life.
They lie! To try but fail
fail to try? Tell me why or why
Not. And while we rot, our thoughts go
out to all and sundry,
a laundry-list of new neglect.
Who selects the few that do?
The few that don’t? A brazen trumpet
sounds the note: The sun has set;

we have not yet


How to erase
the taste
in the back of your mouth,
the clinging shreds of doubt
mucking about, pouting,
shouting unintelligible rhymes into
your mind?

How to reveal
the stains
inside your chest (or is it best
to leave them hidden?)
to all the rest of everyone, and
when you’re done, how do you
seal them up again?

How to conceal
the bruises
of misuse and self-abuse,
physical, spiritual, the virtual
recluse, chained up in flesh,
mesh of lace, stranger’s face
hard as chiseled stone?

How to undo
the knots
that tie you to a past
that speaks with voices you don’t know,
can’t recognize, not realizing
they’re your own hollow tones
spoken alone?