Open Mic at Art6 Gallery

Open Mic at Art6 Gallery

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Santa Got Shot

The man,
dressed as Santa Claus
walking in Southeast DC,
saw three babies
peering at him from a window.
Pumped with holiday cheer,
he did what any Santa would do.
He turned and waved, ready
to shout the traditional
festive greeting.
He said, “Merry…
but before he could say
“Christmas”, a sharp pain
cut through his upper back,
hit with a pellet gun blast.
The wound was minor,
the treatment was quick,
and the whole scene was
caught on video, Santa
saying, “Somebody shot me.”
The police first thought
it was Scrooge and then
the Grinch, but neither had
anything to do with
the shooting of Santa.
Residents came out to give
Santa hugs and well wishes,
hoping some little bad child
wouldn’t damper everyone’s
holiday spirit and keep him
from coming back next year. 
Santa told them not to worry,
he would be back to bring
good tidings and wish everyone
a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

I erased all of my
online dating profiles.
Some were looking for
immediate fun and some
for long lasting relationships.
But I found all of them
reaching for something
that didn’t quite exist.
I became nothing more than
another item in a lineup of
flattened personalities hoping
to be picked out and
found attractive by someone
and hopefully escape.
But these places don’t care
about people or personalities,
just subscriptions and traffic.
So I dropped them all
and decided to roam free,
a full person with quirks and qualities,
taking my chances out in the open
instead of inside a box.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Office Space

They call it maximizing space.
An old supply room
turned into a new office
and all I got was an e-mail
informing me that I will be
the lucky one to move there.
Office realignment
does not mean putting people
in storage.  It doesn’t matter
that the walls have new paint
and  the floors have new carpet,
it’s still an old supply room
and people are not supplies.
Supplies are kept under wraps
until needed and some are
needed more than others.
Am I now becoming a supply
to be put away in a room
out of sight until needed?



Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Bittersweet Holiday (In Memory of Shann Palmer)

By now the holiday season is over for everyone. People have spent this time with family and friends, opening up Christmas presents, and ringing in the New Year. Fun and joyous times were had by all.

But honestly, my holiday has been a bittersweet one. Sure, I had a nice time with my parents during Christmas and New Year’s Day. I got a chance to talk to my aunt and uncle in Florida via my Mom’s IPhone. I watched plenty of good bowl games and took in the NFL playoffs.

But why bittersweet?

I lost a very dear friend of mine over the holiday. Without her, I wouldn’t be the writer and the person that I am today. I can truly say that if I hadn’t had met her there is no way I would have considered taking the course that I have gone on. There would’ve been no poetry, no essays, no short stories, no novel, and no blogging.

Shann Palmer was more that just a writer. She was a presence that couldn’t be ignored. She could brighten up a room with her energy and her wicked sense of humor. But what was great about her was that she was always welcoming to anyone who had written anything. It didn’t matter how good or how bad the work was or how much or how long the person had written, Shann encouraged that person to share what they had.

I was one of those people she encouraged. I met her in 1996 when all I had were a bunch of words and no idea what to do with them. She welcomed me to Open Mic events with open arms and gave me the support I needed to share with people what was on my mind. She always had kind words to say to me about what I was doing and what I needed to improve on. She always told me about writers’ groups that could help me as well as many writing events going on around town.

Shann was quite the busybody. She not only put in efforts to write and publish her own works but also to promote and grow the poetry scene in the Richmond, Virginia area where we lived. She read anywhere and everywhere and often encouraged the rest of us to join her. I was still a little hesitant about venturing out to other venues but Shann was great with me, treating me like I belonged at every place I attended.

That’s the biggest thing I remember about Shann. She made everyone feel that they belonged. We were all a family of writers and it didn’t matter how much or how little anyone had written.

Shann passed away right before Christmas this year. It was sudden and shocking to many, including myself. I’ve spent this entire holiday thinking about her and that I won’t be able to see her again. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to writing no matter how hard I’ve tried. I found out today that many of my friends have been feeling the same way. She meant so much to so many and it’s been hard to try to come to grips with the loss.

We have said our goodbyes and celebrated her life, all knowing that we have to carry on. The last thing that Shann would want any of us to do is stop writing because she’s not here with us. Her light and her energy shine within each one of us and we can keep our writings going not only here in Richmond but wherever we go.

As for me, I’m getting back into my writing starting with this very piece. I love her and miss her dearly but I owe it to her to keep going, to keep my pad full of thoughts and ideas, to write and fill up my blogs, and to have my works published and share with the world. But the most important thing is to be open and caring just like Shann because there’s someone out there who is in the same position I was in so many years ago and they just need a little encouragement.