Portfolio > poetry

start with the pain
social isolation
eyes flood with tears captivated by silence

7:55 a.m. - i gently squeeze her shoulder
trying to be present
the crying never stops
empty spaces
the rush of adrenaline
left with fragility

Dec. 7, 1941 countless Americans
official death toll 2,403
Navy personnel, Marines, Army service members, civilians
a nation in peril
recruiting stations
a pivotal moment of solidarity
and yet when 47,000 Americans kill themselves yearly
as a result of depression
and 72,000 more die from addiction
isn’t that a silent Pearl Harbor

when basic norms of decency, civility,
and truthfulness are under constant threat
isn’t that a silent Pearl Harbor
when Black and Brown youth are
five times as likely to be incarcerated as White youth
isn’t that a silent Pearl Harbor

this is not about comparing pain
this is an epidemic

a dedicated nurse navigates 12-hour shifts at a VA Medical Center
providing care to Covid-19 patients
at the sacrifice of self care

a furloughed hotel culinary worker processes the days to come
questioning God and where his next meal will come from
witnessing the self-indulging nature of others

a concerned neighbor in Greenville
indignant because once again
Black youth continue to face intentional injustice
just as gross as 1955

a college student in the Midwest
convinced that she is the only one
haunted by compulsive thoughts
about her own worthlessness
equated by mathematical theories
and agents of poverty alleviation

the Trump-supporting small-business man in Louisiana
silently clenches his fist in rage
as presumptuous dinner guests
disparage his way of life and theology
trickle-down theory

this pain is a common threat
lack of healthy connection,
an inability to see the full dignity in others
the resulting culture…fear, distrust, tribalism, shaming, strife
an obsolete system of oppression
operating on the basis of one-dimensional perspectives
conceived by the Holy Spirit

start with the pain
social isolation
processing insecurity yet confronted with collective reality
attempting to understand
why there was ever a need for weeping to endure for a night

silent Pearl Harbor

Inspired by “A Nation of Weavers” by Opinion Columnist David Brooks, The New York Times, Feb. 18, 2019