Six-Word Stories 2020: 103-106 (the playground)

I took this panorama shot on the same ride.

The following six-word stories are based on events I saw on a bike ride on June 25, 2020. The scene almost looked “staged” as it unfolded in front of me. Unfortunately, because I was riding in heavy traffic, I couldn’t take a picture or video.

Keith M. Kelley

103. Observed “quality time” at reopened playground.

104. Women recording video of themselves twerking.

105. Men “supervising” children with illegal fireworks.

106. Men passing a brown paper bag.

HAIKU OF THE DAY #26 & #27

Sometimes you gotta take a moment…


Radical self-care

is revolutionary

for the “underserved.”


“Black on Black crime” is

racist, and a deflection

to skew narratives.

#BLM or #blacklivesmatter is a hashtag not an omnibus or silver bullet to address all the racial issues of this country (world). Americans tend to like things quick and convenient. The dramatical changes we need to heal this country (world) require hard collaborative work. They are neither quick nor convenient. Instead of asking, “What about Black on Black crime?” Try a asking “What can I do to promote a climate and culture of love and healing?” Shit, that might even help address “White on White” crime. Cultural change is multifaceted and nonlinear. That’s not to say that you can’t compare apples to oranges. Of course you can! Why do you think they’re both in the “produce” section? The “what about Black on Black crime” question begs for orange juice to be made from Granny Smith apples!



Photo by Mitja Juraja on

Centuries before Covid-19 hit

A pandemic infected this country.

And since it was a plague, we ignored it.

We whitewashed genocide and slavery.

We wore politically corrected masks

To shield others from verbal aerosol.

Treating the symptoms was a short-term task.

Red, blue and white pride came before this fall.

Historic disparities reared their heads.

Structural biases waged their impacts.

Statistics mattered, after all was said

 By white men in power disputing facts.

Racism, the plague we chose to ignore,

Led coronavirus to Black folks’ door.

WE WEAR MASKS (a Novel Coronavirus PSA)

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
Paul Laurence Dunbar

This poem is a COVID-19 “remix” of “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. I tried to follow Dunbar’s original rhyme scheme and meter. I hope you enjoy it and take it as a “public service announcement” to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). You can listen to the demo on SoundCloud below. Peace, Love & Safe Passage!

We wear masks and save others’ lives.
Covered beneath N-95s, 
Making our own to last a while.
While presidential denials
Try to downplay casualties.

We wash our hands and sanitize
To prevent a viral surprise.
Bandanas to protect, not style.
We wear masks.

We smile to strangers with our eyes,
And shop for essential supplies.
We sing and post to our profiles.
God bless the “remote learning” chile!
While black men keep dropping like flies
We wear masks.

Chicago, IL

For more information on COVID-19 updates and prevention, visit the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at:

Six-Word Stories 2020 – #94

Chicago, IL – Shoppers observe “social distancing” waiting in line outside of Trader Joe’s. (Photo Credit: Keith Kelley)

Waiting in line for toilet paper!


Hoarding toilet paper

Hoarding the essential

Essential is a relative term

Essential service

Essential good

Good die young

Good people still die

Die of loneliness

Die of ignorance

Ignorance with a megaphone

Ignorance in denial

Denial of the truth

Denial of facts

Facts based on evidence

Facts that can be verified

Verified by clinical studies

Verified by experts

Experts with experience

Experts with knowledge

Knowledge germain to the discussion

Knowledge is power

Power to influence

Power has sex appeal

Appeal to the base

Appeal to the unwashed masses

Masses cancelled in the vatican

Masses overwhelming hospitals

Hospitals providing curbside triage

Hospitals rationing their surgical masks

Masks to protect from airborne pathogens

Masks worn to masquerade balls

Balls of brass igniting presidential pants

Balls and bravado masquerading as brains

Brains of the operation

Brains are called sweet bread

Bread flew off the shelves

Bread and water

Water from springs

Water purified of pollutants

Pollutants that poison the air we breathe

Pollutants diminished when we stayed home

Home is where the hatred is according to Gil Scot-Heron

Home should be a sanctuary

Sanctuary from hatred

Sanctuary from the ignorant

Ignorant in bliss

Ignorant and contagious

Contagious like rumor spreading like a virus