I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: justice

Finally, I understand tattoos

Context — We all look to certain symbols to enhance our lives.


I’ve hung around my neck symbolic love
of those who love me in return, and looped
two anklets black and white constructed of
the prison threads of dissidents Han swooped
away from protests in Tibet. But thread
disintegrates with time, and both decayed.
I used to look to them for what they said
about the need to evil disobey.
Without a body token to remind
I’ve in me smoldering small charcoal rage
to make the world’s injustice partly mine
I waste the limelight’s burn on life’s broad stage.
A pocketful of fury lights the way
to make tomorrow transcend yesterday.

Absent justices

Context — What’s going on with Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Rumain Brisbon is heavy. It’s stirring up memories that were shared with me of carjacking with no recourse.


Nairobi’s automatic weapons high,
at gunpoint’s shout coercion’s plainly forced:
they drop their phones, bags, wallets, quick comply
so they won’t with their lives be soon divorced.
Bereft of all but clothes and minds, blood’s pump
extreme in thrust, discussed the chance what’s just
could be obtained from cops: “Corrupt and plump,
their paunch fat’s staunched the faith of public trust.
We go to them, we’ll end up poorer than
we came,” exclaimed young Ben, ashamed that home’s
regressing reputation overran
community ubuntu chromosomes
encased in Kenyans’ DNA. They broke
as poverty made crooks of common folk.

Piling together our comfort-inducing trifles of transit

Context — Thoughts of inequality haunt me. This version came as we were landing at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg.


A mustard light shined through the dingy glass,
augmented by the bulbs of chandelier,
illuminating tilework with last
adulterated dusky rays. A tear
began to well on iris, as to wilt
its floral lens so often tinted rose.
For there an overwhelming sense of guilt
to winter thus my spring bud view had froze.
Grand Central Station, thousands treaded through,
and purchased Dunkin coffees, three bucks each,
a sum in minutes, were it to accrue,
enough to fix a shortage, let us teach
Rwanda’s thousand hungry pupils met
so distant from our well-intentioned fete.

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