Bud is Bummin’
Bud’s buttressing his building,
same as yesterday and forever.
Paper cup kept jingling:
The classic ask.
I’m boy I’m embarrassingly I’m
so damned late,
I buzz by him without blinking;
must rumble through
the crowded sidewalk,
Almost to the conference door.
My heart screams;
conscience bubbles through my bloodstream,
hits my medulla “obligata.”
Turning tail to the nearest café.
Two large coffees, a cup of milk,
a banana (potassium) and bran muffin.
Sugar, yellow, pink, blue packets.
I don’t take sweet, but he might.
Back at the bastion,
Bud’s taking a break, huddled under a blanket
I offer him the tray;
he looks up and mumbles, “What’s this?”
“All for you, sir, except the second cup.”
I blush, grab my portion, bend to share a hug.
I run off.
Dependence is a two-way street.
If we want to connect with them,
let’s show respect for them
Let’s interrupt our previously scheduled lives
for a moment of grace.
Skin Like a Cloak
“The truth is,” said the professor,
“we wear our skin, each one of us,
like a cloak. Some feel fervently
that the color of the cover matters
greatly; others see only history.
“The residue of the bad old days,
‘black’ and ‘white.’ Vessels swept
into the harbor, offloading human
cargo. For these battered souls,
no breeze could refresh their sad
brokenness. Scores of years later,
for the Confederate flagged and
South Will Rise Againers, these stories
are muted, revised, considered
best stored in a trunk, hidden away.
“But we,” she continued, “can get to
the heart of injustice by unlocking
that attic door, dusting off the trunk,
prying loose its locks, and delving into
its heart of shame, of inhuman cruelty.
“Whites start by remembering.”
“By humbling ourselves to the truth.”
“By understanding the depths to which
‘entitled’ Anglos can sink when led by
minds filled with ignorance, greed, and
“Only by recognizing the signs of such
wretchedness taking root in the American
mainstream and fighting it… only then
can we ensure it won’t happen again.”
© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil