A festering past, unacknowledged wrongs, and our role at present

A festering past, unacknowledged wrongs, and our role at present

Born and raised in the United States. I learned quickly not to bring up subjects (past, present, future) that would cause strife at the dinner table. Not with my immediate family, where discussions, dissent, and even discord were welcomed as long as tones and topics remained respectable (and even that word “respectable” remained rather broad and undefined). I was raised into a family were the idea of talking about something/talking things out was the only way that they would/could actually get solved/be addressed. But almost everywhere else where I found this to be a problem: The holiday tables of grand and great-grandparents, and second-cousins. The unfamiliar homes of friends and their parents. The round tables of strangers and in the workplace. On public transportation and in the aisles of grocery stores. At communal cookouts, where everyone laughs and drinks beer but bite your tongue lest you incur the ire of the man who sometimes shovels your walk for you in the winter and is sure to remind you that he was the one who did it. I was born in Hackettstown, New Jersey, U.S.A.  After that, we lived in Alabama for a brief period before heading north to Minnesota. That was where my younger sister was born, Huntsville, Alabama. (This is being written in the time of Donald Trump and Judge Roy Moore. Roy Moore was recently defeated in the Alabama special election, arguably the largest shift of the tide since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency in November of 2016. Moore, an accused sexual molester, at best, and the owner of such regressive philosophies as homosexuality...
As long as love I live: The unchanging nature of people

As long as love I live: The unchanging nature of people

Yesterday We stand in front of long white walls: No pictures or wallpaper or paintings or even scuff marks to show that once, once, we had lived between them. The photographer takes two pictures. One I will send to grandma, where it will sit on her mantel next to old pictures of granddad and mom young, and the Christmas decorations she forgets to put away. She doesn’t put up pictures of Jesus, thought: She is more into the fantasy of lights and colors; the notions of goodness within herself rather than from the Book written by men. She goes to church: She goes for the people, and for the coffee. She goes to see her friends. Nessa and I stand arm in arm. Nessa weeps softly with her head against my shoulder. The photographer steadies his camera, keeping his head down and covered so as to keep the whole thing impersonal. Distant, professional. But I know you, I think and I tell him with my eyes, I know you from the streets. From the alleyways. From the pictures of crimes and rapes in alleyways that you captured and published next to boxes of text trying to explain what happened to our world and all the people in it. I can hear the streets outside moving in ways they didn’t use to. The sun shines now in a way it never did before. A year ago the streets were empty and dusty and alone. There was no one. Feral dogs through trash bins. A year ago the only shouts came from rooftops, conversations between windows, arguments over telephones, the distant...