Photo by Mitja Juraja on Pexels.com

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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/index.html

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



HAIKU 2020 #21

I took this “selfie” on one of our shopping adventures during the Illinois statewide “Shelter In Place” order.


It is a black thang

It is all good

Good that die young

Good thing going

Going up yonder

Going up in smoke

smoke that smells of recreational weed

Smoke that never seems to clear

 Clear the unfriendly skies

Clear your thoughts and mind

Mind over matter

Mind on my money

Money soaked in blood

Money makes the world go round

Round the horn of Africa

Round about midnight

Midnight hour

Midnight mass

Mass extinction

Mass incarcerated

Incarcerated means locked up

Incarcerated in penal colonies

Colonies of a motherless child land

Colonies subject to taxation

Taxation of goods

Taxation on services

Services provided

Services rendered

Rendered moot

Rendered unfit

Unfit parents

Unfit to stand trial

Trial and error

Trial of the century

Century after century of white supremacy

Century twenty-one and blacks are still redlined

Redlined and gentrified by square-block radius

Redlined by demarcated bike lanes

Lanes to stay in

Lanes for cash payments only

Only love can conquer hate Marvin said

Only love can conquer hate

Hate unfortunately can motivate

Hate crimes

Crimes against humanity

Crimes of passion and opportunity

 Opportunity to change

Opportunity to change with the times