Again and Again

After rain, or tears, have extinguished
flames of many candles, diminished now
to stiff wax puddles from last night or
the one before that.

Flowers wilted on the street, solemn vigil
is over, but anger remains. Community grief
is necessary. People hurt together, even
heal together. When allowed.

Until next night, or the one after that. Another
mass shooting, traffic stop or another situation
where race meets hate. Another protest over
another death. Never changes.

Again and again, lives once lived, stories told,
never-ending headlines. Grief forever knows
no boundaries. Another night, another life
gone. Hate makes waste.

© 2021 j.g. lewis


Look Away

Gather, you beggars. Assemble 
like pigeons, seeking morsels of kindness 
on these filthy city streets. We notice but do not acknowledge.  
Or apologize. 
I cannot deal with all I see. 
Any spare change? No answer. No chance.  
I saunter by in my warm parka, well-rested, belly full 
of breakfast. I know no hunger, though not immune  
to the pang. Sunglasses shield my eyes.  
I have witnessed too much. 
There, but by the grace of God, go I. 
They remain. Unrecognizable 
even to those who have loved them. A person’s sister, somebody’s  
brother, somebody’s child. A somebody; 
another vacant bed or private hell 
another excuse or story to tell. 
We do not want to hear. 
Nor dare to breathe. Ask no questions. 
I am only what I ask myself to be. If 
charity begins at home, what then of the homeless? Nothing. 
I know where I will sleep tonight. 
Ashamed. I do little but look away. 
Filthy pigeons stare back.  
Then scatter. 
2021 j.g. lewis

Crime After Crime

Voices raised in anger, solidarity,
and in protest of that no person should have to face:

misogyny; violence; anti-Asian hate.

Vital lives, already shaped by stereotype and stigma,
everyday sins of a multidimensional world
in a country formed by immigration

and promise.

Ethnicity. Here, in a multi-cultural city.

Diversity and inclusion once a dream,
now a tagline or social media hashtag
nobody seems to pays attention to;

except the haters.

Now speaking out, speaking up over damage
already done; the words and the guns.

‘Fuck your bad day’

Time after time, crime after crime, hate
is a virus we are unable to isolate ourselves from.
Information and understanding is not enough
to inoculate fellow human beings.

They protest. More should.

We are not in this together; some have to stand apart.

We all have our reasons.

What’s your excuse?
What is your explanation?

© 2021 j.g. lewis