As The World Burns is available via all good book stores in Kindle and softback NOW. It is an incredible collection of writers, many of whom are from WordPress and are in our writing groups, writing some of our favorite work. We hope you will support them and our efforts to spread awareness of socially vital subjects. If you have felt frustrated with politics, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Homophobia or any of the things happening ‘as the world burns’ this is the collection for you.
I am excited about this anthology as I have been looking forward to holding my copies (one for myself, one for my mom, and one for my best friend) in my hands since I purchased them online via Amazon. I have two poems featured in this masterpiece among many other WordPress writers and I would be delighted if you gave this work of art a chance. Creatives create: we find a way to push what’s locked inside us out and we do so using various methods/mediums of art. Mine just so happens to be writing.
Or will we mask our ugliness again and place it back in hiding?
The United States of America has a new President-Elect and Vice President-Elect. The news was announced by way of several prestigious media outlets on Saturday, November 07, 2020, after a grueling week of counting ballots and watching electoral votes. If you have been as anxious and fear-ridden as I have, then that moment created an emotional sigh of relief for you. But what does this mean for America?
We are tired. We are worn thin. We have had enough of the evil that exists in the White House for the last four years. We all just want to move on with no further trauma caused by a man who holds the highest seat in the land.
There are those devoted to him — many are heartbroken. For them, their brief coming out and reveal of deep-seated hatred while given the floor to flaunt it has ended. Who will give them the green light to be who they are? Will they go back to being subtle in their actions or will the removal of their king give them the ammunition they crave to act on their core beliefs and continue their lawless behavior?
We are tired. We are worn thin. We have had enough of the evil that exists in the White House for the last four years.
Let’s get ready to do the work, America.
There is so much work that needs to be done in this country before anyone who is marginalized, oppressed, and at an incredible disadvantage can feel safe again. A list of important key factors were my concerns when I went to my local Board of Elections to drop off my ballot. They are: eradicating the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, implementing plans to end police brutality, recognizing that Black lives matter, climate control, and addressing the ever-present and undying elephant-in-the-room, systemic racism.
The shoes of the American president will be too big to fill this term. President-elect Joseph R. Biden will have to step up, stand tall, and prepare himself for a rocky and tumultuous ride in the face of a completely divided nation. Both he and Madame Vice President-elect Kamala Harris must be firm in their presence and forthcoming on their promises.
This will not be easy.
We are drenched in the scent of racism and cultural hierarchies, and the potency of the smell is getting stronger. What we have seen these last four years, and it is unfortunate to say, is the depth of what America looks like in her naked state. She has revealed herself to the world, and centuries of buried lies boiled to the top. The foam of our past will need much more than a spoon to scoop it from the pot. We need a complete overhaul and that will take more than the allotted four-year term.
Both he and Madame Vice President-elect Kamala Harris must be firm in their presence and forthcoming on their promises.
The damage is done.
The world watched us as we shook off our façade and they stood in total disbelief. But we knew — many of us have known for generations based on our ancestry and the history of this nation who America really is. So what will we do now to rectify this damage?
The optimist in me knows we will have to come together as one to make change happen. It should not be an US versus WE thing, it needs to be an ALL-IN approach and sadly, all of us will not agree with this. What will that do? It will keep America painted in its finest makeup for her public appearances while we continue to rot from the inside out.
Are we able to shift the hearts of our fellow inhabitants who have nothing but disdain and hatred for those different from them or will this wound deep within our hearts fester? The work necessary to bond a nation that has been torn in two will have to come from the core of every human being, and many will not be open to losing who they have been for decades to embrace who they should be for the greater good.
Are we ready for this kind of change?
The challenges that lie ahead for our newly appointed White House duo are many. How they operate to flesh out the parasites eating away at their hosts will be the determining factor of what and who we will be four years from now.
The optimist in me knows we will have to come together as one to make change happen.
Can America put aside its blatant arrogance, create long-lasting & authentic allyship, and move forward as one? Or will the vast majority of its children wear their masks until it’s safe for them to come out again?
The drunk lady up the block slips me $20.00 to get her some Newports and a case of Budweiser. The stink on her lips follows me. I fan the stench with my right hand but it still lingers. I enter the corner store, tell Javier what I need, and ask for two Chick-O-Sticks, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, and an Arizona Tea — Peach.
He moves like molasses leaving a mason jar. I summon a quicker pace from him that lets him know the drunk lady is waiting. Her money is good here. She’s a faithful customer. Everything she buys is killing her, but Javier doesn’t care. He’s got six mouths to feed.
These products have warning labels. He’s not responsible for what people do and don’t read.
“That’ll be $17.89.” He shouts at me. Spittle forms on his lips. Little white globes of foam huddle in the corners of his mouth.
I give him the $20.00, collect the change, and get back to the drunk lady on my stoop waiting for her daily vices. She is paper-thin.
Her hair is wiry wisps of auburn that doesn’t move.
She coughs and her chest rattles. She begins ranting about our rights. Her speech is slurred but I understand every word.
“He ain’t no leader. You see what he’s doing?! He’s taking everything he can from us. I haven’t seen someone try so hard to suppress the vote in all my years. This year is the first of many I refused to let slide by without my say. I registered to vote on Thursday. I gotta voice, you know. I wanna be heard.”
It’s Saturday and I hear her. Mama — on her deathbed, told me to listen to the rants of the drunkards. They’re deep within their moments of truth. So, I tolerate her. I listen. She tells me about her son who has been locked up since 2007 — a drug charge. Weed possession and over $5,000 in the side panels of his car doors.
I haven’t seen someone try so hard to suppress the vote in all my years.
“He was seventeen when they got him. Come through my backdoor, busted it down. All I could hear were shouts of ‘Freeze’ and ‘Get Down!’ Men in blue shuffled their way throughout my home. I used to tell him to stay off them corners. Corners in the hood are trouble. But he saw fast money and brotherhood. I couldn’t give him anything else. All I had was love for him. Love and heartache and tears and fear. The streets had everything else. Twenty-five years ago, I studied law. Passed the bar. Met this fly guy who promised me an escape from the slums. Tell me, why am I back here?”
Night falls. She raises her rattling body off the stoop, clutches her bag of goodies close to her, and waves goodbye. I ask her for her name. Months had passed and I never once asked, but tonight, it seems important that I do. She’s still talking about voting, inept leadership, and racist bastards, and how she meant to change the world as she wobbles down the steps.
She shouts it back to me. I catch it. I tuck it in my jeans’ pocket to reveal later. I watch her zig-zag slowly up the block. Her hair clings to her head. She pats her pockets, searches for her keys — finds them, she quickens her pace.
There is a burning in my chest as I watch Lorraine. I breathe slowly. Inhale. Exhale. I calm myself with a meditation method I learned from my boyfriend. He’s zen-like, a D-list Gandhi. I breathe and fire stings my lips.
I am swallowing the heat of this nation and Lorraine, formerly known as the drunk lady, is the only person I can think of at this moment.
Speak of the devil and he will appear. He will have anything you want and will fight you at every turn to get you to take it. “Be smart. Don’t take anyone’s shit. Everyone is a bullshitter if they try hard enough.” Mama had so many words of wisdom.
I remember them now . . . Right at this moment of my burning chest and fiery mouth. I can’t stop the burning. I can’t stop the pain. I gulp down my Arizona Tea, peach flavor sticks to my insides.
I belch out the cries of a dying nation.
Speak of the devil and he will appear.
I feel better, but it doesn’t last. The burning, it’ll come again. It always does. Black people stand in pits of fire — not merely of our own doing. Some of us are thrown there. Others are planted there at birth and expected to find our way to safety unscathed while more obstacles pop up at every turn. Lorraine was planted there. She’s still scraping. Still attempting to reach the top. Still struggling to find her way out. I owe it to her to listen. I owe it to her to fan the flames away from her direction. But even after all of this . . .
The burning will never stop and no one can put out the fire.