“I can’t breathe!”
This sentence will never again be spoken without an eruption of consciousness. Its connotation has been forever changed, become a sorrowful mantra.
And the people who took advantage of the righteous anger of African Americans to wreak their own havoc just sicken me. Speaking of whom…
Indelible is the image of 45 standing before Saint John’s and hoisting the Bible — about which he is illiterate — as a weapon.
45 has decimated any progress our country has tried to make toward its ideals. He might as well pull down every symbol of the nation’s dream. He has made the Statue of Liberty a symbol of our gravest hypocrisy.
Our dream of democracy has devolved into the battle scene from a Batman film. Our beautiful cities are suddenly cartoon Gothams.
“I can’t breathe”—and I mean this with deep sorrow and respect—“I can’t breathe” will forever be our metaphor. We all woke this morning feeling that metaphor: We can’t breathe.
45 called state and local leaders weak.
I hope the weak will inherit the earth.
“Appalling!” said Grace. “How in the world
could you join that fraternity?” She peered over
her bowl of Granola. I wanted to admit the vow
included, “Being white and of Christian birth.”
I poured myself another cup of coffee, cut it
with cream. Then I told her. Our black friend
across the table nodded. And Grace said, “How
could you say that? It’s horrid, horrifying!” I rolled
my hard-boiled egg along the table, peeled off
its shell, dabbed the white in the salt lying on my plate.
On June 21 at 2pm I will give an online reading with charles Baxter and Laurel Blossom as part of M.L. Liebler engaging reading series on ZOOM. Write to him for details.
Naomi Shihab Nye has a new collection: CAST AWAY (Greenwillow). She has developed a fascinatingly direct voice. Imagine, 147 pages of poems about trash! Those concerned about our environment–everyone!– will find it a companion.
Linda Hillringhouse has a personally powerful book of poems out about the things that shape her life. The Things I Didn’t Know to Wish For, from NYQ Books.
Dan Gerber’s new, beautifully reflective long poem, Landscape at Eighty, has been gorgeously printed in letterpress by Hound Dog Press.
Gayle Boss has recorded her luminous book of environmental essays, Wild Hope, Paraclete Press, available now through Audible.
Our own Pastor Sal — Salvatore Sapienza — has a new book out, encouraging us to put away our childish thinking. It’s called… wait for it… Childish Thinking: How the Church Keeps Us Stuck in Sunday School.
Where are the books? Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.
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Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.