Hell in a Handbasket, but There’s Still Time for Autumn

One of the last trees to still sport its autumn leaves. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

This nation, as I see it, is going to Hell in a handbasket. It will be carried by the same naysayers who believe the all-knowing and loving God is for their hypocritical ways and do not oppose their actions. The God you serve is not the God I serve. My God is more than likely weeping as he watches His children carry on like fools, senselessly taking the lives of others, running amok without fair cause, and denying human beings basic rights.

You are playing a flute that holds no sound, yet you want me to listen. Where is your melody? How does it benefit me? When will it actually do something worthwhile?

We elected a president who, when it all falls down, has sided with a judicial system that purposes a select few. He has said out of his mouth, to respect the system, to acknowledge what has been done peacefully. For real? Like, for real . . . real? Acknowledge a system that has NEVER worked in anyone of color’s favor? Acknowledge a system and respect it that could not bring forth a verdict that actually makes sense?

It is 2021, yet we are reliving days of Antebellum. There is no escaping this. This is what they want. And to get to where they intend to seek refuge, they will continue to whittle us down like pieces of wood.

I’m so tired of people making excuses for America. America has ALWAYS been this way. She isn’t changing. Her ways are not so distant from the 1800s–they’re only slightly different.

I walked through my neighborhood today, still seething in anger from an unjust system. I tried to remain calm. I tried to look to Jernee for some semblance of peace. But I found it . . . in the last leaves of autumn.


**I don’t intend to argue or go back and forth with anyone about my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I know what I’ve lived, witnessed, been forced to do, and experienced. Racism is still alive and well. I don’t need anyone to tell me what is and isn’t.

But–Had He Been A Man of Color . . .

this dated system
works for melanin-challenged
liars on the stand

there is no justice
for the black man or woman
there never will be

it’s easy when you
have what they are looking for
you get off scot-free


The American “criminal” justice system is an effing joke. How one can be absolved of all wrong-doing when it’s clearly present and lives have been lost because of it is a constant mind-blowing thing to me. But, really . . . I’m not shocked. Re: The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

Bottled Anger Has No Home

Masked and staring into the great beyond? Photo touched up with Comica. ©2021 Tremaine L. Loadholt

A free verse poem

there are no ways of explaining
I want the bigots of the world
to feel something other than stacks
of money lining their pockets or
fantasies of distasteful uprisings 
at their command

I want them to feel . . .

I have lived for forty-one years in
skin that makes authoritative figures
overuse power — in a body that gravitates 
toward both men and women — 
and of a gender that loses every inch
of reward as the years pile on

I’m three-times hated by the bulk
of this nation and we want to talk
about anger — the type of anger I have is
bottled up, stored for the perfect
moment — you get used to saving
your energy when you’re living
the way I’m living — you know, merely
existing, trying not to die at the
hands of a racist misogynist
gone rogue — trying not to
lose a sense of hope . . .

a sense of pride

I used to believe that if I loved
another human being hard enough
that intensity of love would be
shared with another, then another, 
and again in strings of blissful
divination, but times are harder
now and love isn’t flowing freely
as it once did for me

now, I rage silently, afflicted by
a nation that would rather stake
my body to a tree and call the
hounds — feed my fragile flesh to
their young — tell them, “She wasn’t
what God wanted anyway,” and
they’ll believe it
they’ll even pass down those
tongued lies to their children and
another generation of putrid souls
would roam this earth

black. woman. bisexual . . . three
strikes before one foot leaves my
bed every single morning
you may think, “How does one
live every day afraid to be
who she is?” and I would say,
“I have been afraid of living since
the womb let me go.”

the eternally oppressed know of
no other way

we are damned in the beginning
and further damned as time
presses forward
anger? no . . . what I have in
me for what this world is
cannot be described as anger
there is no word for it
there never will be


We are all substantially flawed, wounded, angry, hurt, here on Earth. But this human condition, so painful to us, and in some ways shameful — because we feel we are weak when the reality of ourselves is exposed — is made much more bearable when it is shared, face to face, in words that have expressive human eyes behind them. — Alice Walker


Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.

Turn My Body Loose

Abbott Birth by Victor Garcia. Used with permission.

A poetic rant

We, women . . . we cling to our bodies
our sense of self wrapped up in them
and warped to nothingness by the
White men who use their minds to
belittle and belie our truths at every
corner — at every junction. 
How are we to live in a nation
full of vultures?

How are we to cope?

A balking group of people has
made it their life’s work to
strip the woman of the one
thing we had total control over — the body.
And what next? What will they 
search and seize and lasso into
their slimy possession that 
belongs to us?

We are yclept weaker or lesser 
yet they use laws to silence us — to push
us into the closets of their making.
Is it fear? Is it egotistical? Is it bullying?
What can we say about the men 
who have no desire to protect us?
What can we say about the women
who support them?

Turn my body loose. You have
no reign here — it is mine. I carry it,
I nurture it — grow it into the massive
mountain you wish you could climb.
Tread lightly, though, I can shake it
and rattle you at my will. 
I can crush you if ever I feel the need to.

Were these your reasons? Is this your why?

Could you no longer take the 
strength and representation within
something built of atoms and flesh and blood
that is not solely yours?
It boggles my mind how senseless
human beings have become 
but even more so, how drunk with 
power many men are.

If it were up to me, I’d rally
the world around us to bury
your tongues in the potholes meant 
for them and turn the sun’s rays
up higher — burn, motherfucker, burn.
We’d stand by, fan the flames, and 
call Lucifer to your collective side.

We’d let him have his way with you,
just as you’ve had yours with us.


Originally published in my new publication, soliloque, via Medium.

The Burning Never Stops

We can’t put out the fire

Art by Victor Garcia as “happytunacreative” via Instagram. Used with is permission.

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.

“Lorraine!”

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.


Originally published via Medium.

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