This is a visual interpretation of my six-word story by an AI app called Wonder. It’s a pretty cool app, but it is definitely biased in favor of images of white people. If you don’t explicitly state, “black man,” the app will usually draw white man.
Blessed are the humble braggarts for they shall inherit social media attention and superficial kudos.
“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.”Maya Angelou
The caged bird
Is gagged and
No longer sings
A song of freedom.
Now instead it shrieks
A muffled atonal opus
To glorify its captivity.
Once morning ritual
No longer crescendos
Into melodious anthem
Of the hope and break of
A new day’s dawning.
Now it tweets
A cacophonous dirge
Of dystopian unrest instead of peace.
The caged bird’s
Of taking flight
Have been replaced
By desperate pre-dawn quests
Through mountains of stale birdseed
For the ever-elusive earworm.
Its gilded cage
From a bygone age
Has become tarnished
And turned a soylent green.
With feathers unruffled
It sits upon a crusted perch
Above yesteryear’s press clippings
Now irreparably soiled
By its own fecal droppings.
Both bird and cage
Sit tucked away
Forgotten under a quilt
Of ahistorical culture
Quietly waiting for someone
To remove the shroud
Of lost short-term memories.
The caged bird’s song
Recorded by adoring aviculturists
Is dusty and scratched
And plays in an infinite loop.
Its existential musings reiterating
Over and over- repeatedly until
The listener finally… notices.
TBH, when they said THE queen was dead, I thought they meant RuPaul! Whew!
Hopefully, this post will shed some context on my general mood during August. Today marks the 40th anniversary of my best friend, John Mark Williams’ death. He was shot while emptying garbage at his part-time job in Detroit, MI. John Mark was a wonderful person and a brilliant musician! He could play ”Stairway to Heaven” in the sixth grade- and I mean PLAY it not like those annoying Guitar Center hacks. John Mark made me appreciate Rock & Roll. His mother now also deceased was a supportive adult I would often run to for help growing up. He was my first best friend I buried. John Mark’s funeral was the first time I spoke (in my own voice/words) in front of an audience. I still remember how people reacted to hearing me speak. I recognize now that that trauma has had an impact on how I interact with others. I realize that all relationships are temporary and you will either be mourned or left to mourn someone. I don’t think his murder was ever solved. Evidently, after 40 years, I still wake up crying.
The cycle starts with systemic neglect.
Without economic development,
communities become irrelevant,
and their residents command no respect.
Next comes the decay the experts call, “blight:”
broken windows prove dilapidation,
litter strewn about- with trash cans in sight.
and bespeak of residents’ frustration.
Then comes the, “urban redevelopment:”
the first wave of hipsters, and artist types,
the, “I don’t see colors, just people” types,
who raise up property values and rents.
But neighborhoods’ hipness, like new toys… fades
to blue lights and sirens’ harsh serenades.
Some of the people you consider “phonies” are:
a. just nervous and awkwardly trying to engage you in the best way they know how.
b. being genuine, but you are distrustful of people who smile at you.
c. just some phony-ass people.