ashes turn grey

Churches are burning. I sat down with a pen and a scrap piece of paper. This is what came out.

ashes turn grey

ashes turn grey

and coals as black

as black can



charred remnants

of holy worship

and cries for


and peace.

where songs were

sung there by

brown, black, mohagany



people unseen



but by


God – help.

terrorism erupts

in flames

in shots

in flags

in hearts.


from the 60s

the segregationists

are coming

i see

their remnants

in the coals

in the ashes

in the pain

in the

hell and damnation

they cause

and continue

to purpose.

my voice

my mind

my heart

seem small

in the shadows

of the




hatred and blissful





pen and paper

are all i can

bring myself to

words will not come.

how can we wake

wake ourselves up?

then what?

and churches burn

and ashes turn grey.

and brown, black, mohagany



to overcome

the terror.

not only God help them.


how did we get here?

what must we do?


Her Hands Are Aged in Beauty

I have been thinking of my great-grandmother, “Nanny” as I called her, “Irene” her real name. I have been missing her and also thinking about all the things I cherished and looked to in her. I don’t think I could capture them all.

Some poetic thoughts about her have been running through my mind as I have driven home from work this week. Last night, I took pen and paper and put them down through many tears, ignoring form and rhyme. Only letting my memories and feelings flow.

This month marks 10 years since her massive stroke and our great loss. So, it seems appropriate to pay tribute to her here.


Her Hands Are Aged in Beauty

Her hands are aged in beauty like the memory in my mind
Her voice steeped in rich tones
low and breaking the silence
as we ride in her car.

Her hands take mattock and hoe
back bent, breaking the earth
rip up weeds under hot summer sun
and end danger of serpent
as I watch from my bedroom window.

Her hands hold soft petals of
pinks and purples
which fill the banks behind her house
small cabin black and white
on the side of the mountain.

Her hands form dumplings, make
apple cake, chili,
potatoes which no one now
can figure out how to make
just like she did.

Her hands folded neatly then reaching
during church
into her purse for a dollar
so that I, as a child,
had an offering for the plate.

Her hands open for me
to come closer, hug and kiss
her blue eyes bright
voice singing and telling stories
as love pours out in buckets.

Her hands got bruised and I
reached out to touch them
that last time we spoke.
Her voice no longer working
“I love you” all that would fill mine.

She still touches me
ten years later though her hands
have been gone from earth.
She was granddaughter, daughter, mother, grandmother,

She was our hero.
She was our friend.