The Crowning Glory of Atwater’s Heirs

The Crowning Glory of Atwater’s Heirs We used to call it compassion. Empathy. Regard for the lived experiences of others—especially others who differ from us.             Now, the heirs to Lee Atwater have twisted compassion and made it into something ugly. Kindness, consideration, and curiosity about other people have become, in their political lexicon, somethingContinue reading “The Crowning Glory of Atwater’s Heirs”

A Mother’s Plea

Readers: I submitted the following poem to JAXNEXT100, in celebration of Jacksonville’s bicentennial birthday. A winter version may be found on this blog. This is the summer version. A Mother’s Plea (Or, The Springfield statue speaks) You. Down there. Yes, You. Will you please help me off this perch, and bring my children with me?Continue reading “A Mother’s Plea”

The NRA’s evil endgame?

June 9, 2022 In our guts, it still feels like yesterday. On May 24, a gunman obliterated the lives of nineteen fourth graders and two adults at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. He used an AR-15 he bought legally on his eighteenth birthday. As the nation waits to hear whether the Senate will approveContinue reading “The NRA’s evil endgame?”

A Mother’s Plea

Note to readers: the following is the winter version of this poem. What if the statue in Springfield Park could speak to us now? A Mother’s Plea Help me down from this pedestal, would you? And bring my children with me. Toss away this old book and let me trade my granite perch for aContinue reading “A Mother’s Plea”

Reading in Black and White

            As an author, I hesitate to share why I wrote my novel, Seen.             As my longtime writing mentor and friend, John Boles, has taught me, “It doesn’t matter what you intend; what matters is what people get from the page.” His workshops have helped me get my pages much closer to what IContinue reading “Reading in Black and White”

Of Ax Handles and Olive Branches

In Springfield Park in Jacksonville, there is a statue. Known as a “Monument to the Women of the Confederacy,” it depicts a white woman and her two children. Like many confederate memorials erected in the post-Reconstruction era, like many schools named for confederate generals in the Jim Crow era, sculptor Allen G. Newman’s Springfield remnantContinue reading “Of Ax Handles and Olive Branches”

Thus far on the way

            I’m no expert on being “woke.” I’m still working on my anti-racism. But I’ve been on this earth for 56 years and I know one thing: nothing’s going to “cancel” me. As white people stumble forward in our conversations about race, we depend on our friends—Black people, indigenous people, people of color—to get usContinue reading “Thus far on the way”

An Epiphany that will live in infamy?

January 18, 2021 There’s nothing bluer than a clear, January sky in Jacksonville, Florida—I imagine it a sapphire background upon which the season’s liturgy is etched. Catholics and Episcopalians (like me) observe the day of Epiphany twelve days after Christmas, on January 6. It’s also known as “Three Kings Day,” as it memorializes the Magi’sContinue reading “An Epiphany that will live in infamy?”

Star-Spangled Healing

November 16, 2020 No matter whom you voted for, there’s enough anger, frustration, and exhaustion to go around. Voters who cast their ballots against Biden–those who couldn’t digest the left chanting, “Defund the police,” for example–are keeping their eyes on the Crackerjack prize. Talk to many of 45’s voters and they’ll tell you: They’re wellContinue reading “Star-Spangled Healing”