Posted in Poetry

Straining Towards Compassion

We don’t choose who we love
Most of us don’t even choose what we believe
It still usually ends where it begins
And the masses are easily deceived

Me, I try to love you all
But I wear my heart where my tattoos should be
Taught to ink the flesh is sin
And I still feel guilty for these three rings

When you try to stand tall
They say nothing is what you should be
Just put that fake smile on your face
And learn to live by these three things


Harnessed, hallowed out, weaponized
And then held against your head
Just learn to say “I forgive you”
When 9 loved ones turn up dead

North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee
There is blood on the church floor
The south is burning again
Just like it was in 1964

But if you’re paying attention,
You know it never really stopped

And 2015 was to be the summer of LGBT love
And rings and proposals do proceed
But celebrations are muffled
As shots ring out at San Fran Pride
And there’s been beat downs of our trans sisters
In Seattle streets

I think we need Harvey Milk and Rosa Parks
we need Malcolm X and Dr. King
Right now we need Bayard Rustin
to help us connect the dots between their dreams

Full participation of gay and women’s liberation
In the movement, that’s what Huey Newton said
But it’s been 45 years and you know the lyrics
Two shots in the dark and now Huey’s dead

Can we ever go anywhere with each other
These animals that we call mankind
When these fat cats like Trump or Hillary
Creep across broken hearts like landmines?

Sometimes I can’t stand mine
I want to say if you want it you can have it
But I know my capacity for empathy lies within
So i won’t let anybody grab it

I still believe that we can fly
If we would only open up our eyes to see
But our feet stay planted on the concrete
That paves the way to shattered dreams

I said…
We don’t choose who we love
Most of us don’t even choose what we believe
But what I believe keeps changing
As I keep straining
Towards compassion
I’ll do that ’til I bow out  and take my leave

*This poem was inspired undoubtedly by a plethora of recent events that I had been trying to put words to for some days. Then last night I read these words from a speech given by Black Panther co-founded Huey P. Newton in 1970 and this poem was the result.