Today went significantly differently from what I imagined at 6:30 this morning. In some ways worse, some ways better. In most ways, surprising.

I’m annoyed tonight to already be seeing “late breaking” headlines that say stupid things. Headlines that imply justice abounds and ask what we should be fighting for next. Excuse me? One vile, hateful human was held accountable for a crime — and it remains to be seen what kind of sentence will define that accountability. One man couldn’t lie his way out of guilt. That doesn’t dismantle a system that is still very much in place, still very much functioning exactly as it was designed. While that verdict was being read out, police in Columbus, Ohio were shooting to death a Black child who had called for their assistance and protection.

I’m glad Chauvin has been found guilty on three counts — one of those counts should have been first-degree murder, but we were never going to get that charge, so okay. I’m glad he’s been found guilty. I cannot kid myself that the battle is won. This was a step, and may turn out to be an important one. It is, still, just a step.

That arc, the one of the moral universe, it may have bent just a tiny bit today. I’ll take it. And I’ll be glad for it. And then I’ll demand more.

The source text for tonight’s Golden Shovel is, once again, Lucille Clifton’s anthem of a poem, “won’t you celebrate with me.”

All by Myself

There are so many who won't
see, won't accept, won't want you
to find reason to celebrate
this small gift, even as it comes with
strings attached. But me --
I'm here to take what
is given. I see what the universe did
and see what I
will have to do in response. You see,
it's clear that some folks want to
take even the smallest pieces, can't let me be
hopeful, even in the smallest way. Except ...
I need no leave. I can raise this fist all by myself.

National Poetry Month 2021: the Golden Shovel

As I’ve done for the last forever, I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April. I don’t always succeed, but I always give it my best shot. The “Golden Shovel” was created by Terrance Hayes in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. I learned about it from my friend Sonia (aka Red Emma). I’ll be using Lucille Clifton’s poems as my starting point this month. Here are the rules:

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as the end word for each line in your poem.
  • Keep the end words in order.
  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

Should be interesting!

6 thoughts on “Bending

  1. This is a small step. Many more need to be taken. We must demand more and keep on demanding that change occur even when it seems like nothing is moving forward. Change will happen if we all demand it send fight for it.


  2. My morning paper has this smaller headline under “A Day of Reckoning” – “Olympia: Bill requiring officers to stop other cops’ excessive force passes.” Hard to understand why we needed this bill. But we must continue to hope, to stand together, and step forward. Your golden shovel captures this moment.


  3. Lainie Levin

    “That arc, the one of the moral universe, it may have bent just a tiny bit today. I’ll take it. And I’ll be glad for it. And then I’ll demand more.” Yes. This. One tiny bend in the arc. Celebrate. Enjoy. And then we can get back to pulling.


  4. >That arc, the one of the moral universe, it may have bent just a tiny bit today. I’ll take it. And I’ll be glad for it. And then I’ll demand more.<

    We can only hope the bending continues, the pulling continues, and that we do better.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


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