A Reflection on Juneteenth

Crimes unimaginable

Sins unfathomable

Wrongs not righted

With an apology,

A soft word,

Or the stroke of a pen.

Pain to the deepest parts

Of the heart and soul,

The very fiber of one’s being,

A wound that doesn’t heal,

But rather cuts deeper

With every smile,

Every handshake,

On every pay day,

Every trip to the grocery store,

Every night at mealtime,

When they look at their children,

When they look at ours.

Privilege continues

Despite the lip service,

Despite the promises,

Amidst the meager gifts,

The dregs of easy charity

From the tatters of a bursting purse,

The guilt trip laid on thick

To the middle class and even

The working poor.

Those that lack for food,

Clothing or shelter,

Living barely day to day,

Not knowing where one’s next

Meal will come from.

And at the church the preacher

Says try harder, pray more,

Save your dollars

So you can send your little ones

To a good college,

Make them study,

Keep them out of trouble,

Tell them you love them,

That you’re proud of them

For that report card.

What do you say

When the white kid

Calls them the n-word?

What do you say

When you don’t have a job

Because you refused

To kiss your supervisor’s butt

When he would talk to you

Like you were nothin’,

Just a cog in his machine,

A disposable, replaceable,

Optional, neglectable,

Insultable, disrespected,

Used, abused, tossed out

To the street

Like so much garbage,

Black man?


Wrong meets right.

The fight is strong.

Laugh, they will.

Cry out, they must.

Shout, at the top of their lungs—

Justice must prevail.

So many innocent lives

Have been crushed by the fist

Of the oppressor!

So many suffer

Because of the greed

And the arrogance

Of the powerful.

The powerful?

Who is powerful?

What is power?

Don’t you know that

The wind has changed course

On this hot, dry day.

The wind! The water!

The earth! The animals!

The birds! The insects!

The trees! Yes, even the trees!

Look at an old oak tree,

And tell me about power!

Look at a rushing stream,

And tell me about power!

Watch a lion kill its prey,

And tell me about power!

Is a gun, power?

In the hands of a six year old, a gun is just as powerful as in the hands of a grown man!

A gun is just a tool.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it useful.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it powerful.

And when a thousand voices scream,

That’s power!

When the people speak as one,

That’s power!

Don’t be afraid.

Be excited!

Be joyful!

Be glad!

For power has come to the people,

And they will not be denied this moment.

They have prayed,

And they have worked,

And they have suffered

For this moment.

Listen to the wind blow

Through the trees!

Justice has come like a mighty rush of wind,

And anything that’s old, anything that’s weak,

Anything that’s not tied down tight,

Is gonna blow away!

Those old tricks, old ways,

Cowardly words, weak attitudes,

Straw men beware!

The wind of justice has come to blow you…


A Public Reading

Lifting up to

Turn a spark—

Didn’t think through it,

At least not that far.

Standing up

With knocking knees—

Kinda nervous…

“It’s a breeze!” Yeah,

That’s what they say

But they’re not me.

Please god help me,

I desperately pray.


Now what do I do?

They’re looking at me.

“We’re waiting for you,”

They say, impatiently.

But I’m not prepared

To put my best foot forward,

So I stall a bit.

“I’d like to start,”

And I clear my throat—

“With one I wrote

A long time ago.”

And they are listening,

So here I go!


Stained glass tear drops fall

Echoing a loving presence here

For all to endure, press on.

One passed onto another life

Seems so small pop is gone

But remains in minds and

Hearts of family and friends

Cooled out semi freeze blows

Trickling bullets of triumph,

Tribute and torrents of rain

Separate for the grand man

Father son and soldier in

Crushed bathing suits of blood

Honor guard leads stars and

Stripes, colors fly. Horses

Ride nearby come join the

Army, boys such sad intentions

Never wished it wouldn’t end

Never glimpsed the magic

Behind his handshake and

Choreography make us laugh

Dad come on strike with me

A jolly old tune follow in

Step on my command ready?

Sink and drive and glide

On by my facial whistle try

Mine haven’t tossed their backs

In time to go the distance

For my Kiwani fine day to

Celebrate a man’s coming and

Going we all appreciate your

Love and care we salute you

Sergeant major on top of

The front runners collide

Attack bring em back in

One piece please no thank

You for my pride I give

Myself until I die oh

So easy to lose touch

Not contain my cheers

Hoorays and woes steering

Through the days and

Nights come again thrifty

Young Boy Scout badge on

Training for life saving

Merit badge cling tools

Red roses songs and so

Much memories frail and

Tough inside good byes never

Enough man and wife

Son and daughter raise

The right hand and watch

As he stands among us

Strong and free: Kenneth

Harvey Kuhns my grand-dad.

Leaving You

Leaving you here.

Stop. I am here.

Close your eyes.

Come. Be with me.

Enveloped in the soft petals

Of a dwindling iris.

Tossing and turning

All night in my bed.

Realms unleashed.

Following you down,

Down the cold, dark steps,

Into the dungeon.

It is here,

Where madness thrives.

A small token

I leave with you—

Crumbs of bread

Falling into a withered hand.