The Silence for 100 years



Paul's daughter Irene Melina Hickman reads his poem:


The history of a country can be known by its music.
You think you know how it feels to watch without
The ability to stop it.

As the structures collapse. As the fire maneuvers its
Way through the halls-windows and beams. Weakened
By the fire, the structures fall into ashes.

The laboring pain of the creators gone up in smoke
Caused by the vile deed of a false report.

That was 100 years ago

There they stood gazing into the empty streets with
The piles of burnt wood-melting steel and smoldering
Papers- pictures family heirlooms gone into the
Ashes of the wood from whence they came.

The Silence for 100 years

As they trod on the footsteps left by those whose hands
-Blood-sweat and tears labored to build a street
Envied by many.

They- the emancipated heirs of the former enslaved builders
Stand on their paths. Now the aftermath - just remnants
Of ashes and dust as far as their eyes could see.

The Silence for 100 years

And they have stood stoically patience waiting for
That which will not -rightfully come.

And that was 100 years ago- to this day!


Copyright © 2021 Paul S Hickman All Rights Reserved


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My Mother



Oh mother, mother, my dearest mother. As
I sit here. Remembering, your wisdom
And words of compassion. I surely do miss.
The consolation, of your gentle words. I
Surely do miss. The guiding wisdom of
Your yesteryear. I surely do miss.
The righteous, scolding from the depths of
Your knowledge. I surely do miss. The
Misunderstandings, because of my youth and
Lack of wisdom. I do acknowledge.
The failure, to hear your words, and my
Vile deeds. I do acknowledge. The failure
To fully exploit my talents and gifts. I
Do acknowledge.
And, oh mother, mother, my dearest mother.
The days and nights, will never go by, with –
Out thinking of you. Nor shall the years pass,
Without a loving thought of you.
And when I die, the last words I shall utter will
Be, I love you – my dearest mother.


Copyright © 1995 Paul S Hickman All Rights Reserved


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Family Matters

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She was an obedient child
Born of hard-working parents
Strictly raised morals ingrained
She was given a new assignment
From her third-grade teacher
To draw a picture family tree
Of her extended family
She poured through the crayon box
Looking for the right colors
Grandma’s cedar neck
Uncle James from Louisiana
His toothless pecan grin
Aunt Mabel from Kentucky
Her face like a shiny penny
Great Uncle Joe from Maryland
Gnarled like an old hickory tree
Her Georgia and South Carolina roots
Mama’s long peanut fingers
The burnt umber in her father’s skin
Her sister’s bushy chestnut hair
Her brother's smokey topaz eyes
She checked once again
But to no avail
Her school crayola box
With the built-in eraser
Had only one brown.


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Camille Elaine Thomas
May 04, 2021


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Kneeling to Stand

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They told him he was disrespectful.
That he had nothing to complain about.
His protest made people uncomfortable.
They targeted him, they blackballed him, they tried to diminish him.
Because he was kneeling for us.

They said he was innocent.
“If that man hadn’t resisted arrest, that man would still be alive.”
They said he was just defending himself.
They made excuses for him, they defend him, they respect him.
Because he was kneeling on us.

They told him; he was didn’t deserve his job.
They demanded he put his money where his mouth is.
They took his career for being obstinate.
Yet he kept kneeling, in silent, lawful protest.
Because he was kneeling for us.

The defense put the dead, on trial.
They claimed the victim’s death was his own doing.
Apparently, the officer had no other choice.
They said it was the victim’s fault.
Because he was kneeling on us

Several years ago, he tried to explain.
People laid down in streets, malls, and stores.
They silently, peaceful asked for equality.
Nothing more- just the desire to be treated the same.
Because they were kneeling for us

Yet the brutality continued.
The death toll kept rising.
Black men, women, and children kept dying.
There was no justice, so there could be no peace.
Because they were kneeling on us.

We’ve been less than cattle, 3/5 a person, and one drop too much.
We’ve given our sons and daughters to causes that don’t represent us.
We’ve watched our youth go from school to prison in the blink of an eye.
We, the people…We are people… We always have been.
But they were kneeling on us.

As long as prisons are for profit,
As long as black men are seen as threats,
As long as the laws protect some and not all,
This cycle will continue- it was designed that way.
Because it was made to kneel on us

I wish I could say that we now stand at a crossroads.
I wish I had more faith in this country's desire to deliver on its promises.
I wish I believed that justice was truly served.
But I’ve read this story before- I’ve witnessed this section before- I know this position well,
Because they are still kneeling on us.

Men, women, and children have sacrificed.
We have protested “the correct way.”
We have recorded violence and mourned the loss of our young.
We have petitioned, boycotted, and screamed-
Because we were kneeling for peace.

As a nation we must do better.
As country we need to choose to respect and honor each other’s experiences.
We have the power to create the future Dr. King saw.
The first step is for them to take their knees off us.
Because we are kneeling to stand.


Alexandra Smith


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I Remember You



I remember you, when we went swimming in dad's pond.
I was not mud crawling!

I remember you, when you drove the wagon wheel over,
Jo's arm after she fell out of it.

I remember you when you threw my red fire truck out,
Of our burning house.

I remember you, when someone let the 1936 Plymouth roll down,
The hill into the frozen pond -two mules pulled it out.

I remember you and Rudy playing one on one basketball.
I remember you always beat him, and how you two,
Put that small tennis ball through the hoop,
Of an empty tin can-nothing , but net!

I remember you and the Monarch bicycle you bought,
After Rudy had bought a Schwinn bike.

I remember you calling out got a “carp” as you came from,
Fishing at the lake crawling with venomous snakes.

I remember you and the bricks you threw at the venomous snake,
That had climbed up the tree next to the house.
When you got home from school -he almost bit me as,
I was playing self catch in the Yard.

I remember you and the blue and white 1955 Ford,
With its broken drive shaft that you repaired.

I remember you and your beautiful bride named Sadie,
Whom you brought to Muskogee to meet us.

I remember you and your beautiful daughter Brenda,
Whom you sent us a picture of her at birth.

I remember you and how proud you were of Tim,
Joann's husband And how smart you said he was -
Truly he is. But, Joann is smarter and better looking.

I remember you and your IBM computer that sparkled my,
Children' interest in computers -that I have been,
Paying for every since.

I remember seeing you at the Mayo Clinic, and you,
Gave me the grand tour of the facility in your wheel,
Chair-thinking nothing phases this guy!

I remember you, I remember you my brother, I remember,
You are my mentor and hero! You did so much in spite of it all.
I never heard one word of “self-pity”!

Enjoy Heaven! My brother -you have earned it!


Copyright (c) 2007, Paul S Hickman, All Rights Reserved


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Once Upon A Concrete Jungle

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Adjusted to seclusion
As the roar of tragedy
Struck our cities in rage
A deluge of gloom
Descended upon our hopes
Slowly embodied our grief
Into whimpers at dusk
Clandestine closets shattered
Complexities multiplied
Crowds watched in horror
As armed illiterates
drummed up rancor
mocked our foundation
with dirty complot flags
vilified our sanctuary
smote down our honor
hung dung on our trust
relentless knee on a neck
a massacre in parlors
gates opened to egotists
the bible held by a demon
we drew our slingshots
congregated in protest
cast our voices in hope
while a pandemic slew
molesting unmarked caskets
we scrutinized babies
lying naked in grime
cages of demolition
waiting for auction
hearts in calamity
marching tin soldiers
charging ruptured borders
lilies of the fields
crying for sustenance
while polluted rivers
sprout from fracking fields
requiring a funeral anthem
for a disoriented continent
Meantime the eagle sways
to a divergent cadence


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Camille Elaine Thomas
April 07, 2021


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Into the Realm of Discourse



Finally, off on the long journey to a familiar land.
Fearful, yet unafraid of the long wait to see her.
As I remember, surely not the same as I left, but will
Still caress the spirit with renewed freshness.
To see souls wondering, lost in a morass of ideas.
Seeking, a solution for the pain, that follows.
The poor judgments, grasping for answers from other
Lands. While looking far way, will not provide
The answer, nor the good life again.
Life passes, without clear thoughts or dreams
To shed light for ideas, as we trod into a
New epoch. As the cosmos rushes to
Escape that which is not to be escaped
And the windows slowly close....


Copyright (c) 2012 Paul S Hickman, All Right Reserved


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A PTSD Nightmare

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A dream last night
40 Vietnam warriors
Sitting stoned
Around a fire
In Central Park
With the bombs
Still exploding
Inside their bowels
While seagulls jeered
Along the dead seacoast
A blackbird named Jonathan
Rose with a catfish
In its hungry mouth
I had a dream last night
A little black boy
Singing inside a burnt-out Chevrolet
Where have all the flowers gone
While the bar next door
Blasted the mantra
Let it Be


[email protected] All rights reserved
Camille Elaine Thomas
April 03, 2021


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A Bad Day



The police chief said the shooter was having a bad day
A bad day?

That day a man, with rage in his heart and lust in his loins
Lashed out.
Unable to control himself, unable to restrain his desires
He let them loose-
He murdered you.
A bad day?

That man lives, breaths, eats, survives
While you live on in memories and stories.
He eliminated people because of his own failings, his lackings
Yet the police chief said the shooter was having a bad day
A bad day?

That man decided that his desires were stronger,
More important than your Right to
to exist
A bad day?

He tried to erase that longing, erase you
But he won’t succeed
You will not fade into the past because we will remember you.
You were mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends
You were loved. You are loved.
You deserved more
You deserved longer
You deserved better
A bad day?

We will remember you for who you were,
Your loved ones will carry you in their hearts
You will live on as a piece of all of us.
We will keep you alive
Because you ARE so much more than some man’s
Bad day.


Alexandra Smith


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