Ever seen a catfish or a carp flopping on the water-less grass.
Huffing and puffing for air for the water to be purified through
Their gills into their lungs.
Some men are like the catfish and the carp. Flopping in earthly zones
Beyond their reach.
Yet trying to lie on a fruitless surface made of stone and soil.
Constricted by their own failure to swim in waters far from the snares
Of the fisherman's hook.
As the hook tears into their mouth and holding on tight with only two
Ways to freedom. One by the hand of a gifted man. And the other by
Tearing the flesh and breaking free with excruciating pain.
Diving back into the water into freedom from the hook of man.
But- so many end up in a place of not returning to their former life's
Trail of their destiny.
(c) 2020 “Ever Seen A Catfish or Carp” by Paul S. Hickman - All Rights Reserved
Worrisome days pass
As do troublesome nights
Like fallen autumn leaves
And hungry birds in flight
The ducks will always find
A safe place to nest
While shoppers with masks
Rush on their way to rest
The water flows gently
The dike full of walkers
That stumble along nimbly
Amidst the cheerful talkers
The north wind blows
The ships all lie still
Dusk falls with no warning
As I slowly bike downhill
I see an old man staring
At some park’s gravestones
Appearing somehow pensive
Looking so all alone
I think about the winter
And remember last fall
Another day almost over
Yet I worry not at all
Still glad to be alive
To enjoy another day
To reflect again the seasons
And bike a new pathway
Camille Elaine Thomas
December 17, 2020
I took a breath today.
I realize I haven’t done that lately
Not in quite the same way
I took a breath.
Today, hope replaced dread
Anticipation replaced anxiety
A sense of progress replaced the surety of the usual daily briefing
Today I breathed.
I sighed relief for all the work we’ve all put in
And thought with pride
Of who all placed their skin
In the game of democracy
We tried the system
We tested it
And we won
So I took a breath.
And momentarily mourned
All the relationships I lost
Once truth became too much
All the anger I’ve held in my back
All the sorrow of friend after breathless friend
Victims of hubris, of freedom that overstepped
All the lines people crossed in their boldness
Lines in the sand
Lines water couldn’t wash clean
And I sighed
And welcomed back all that can start again
Now that it’s over
I’ll sit in this breath
Just for a little while
Before we inhale collectively
And exhale through the labor of
But not today
Today I danced
Today I smiled
Today I laughed
Today I pondered
Today I reveled
Today I rested
I took a breath today.
November 7, 2020Read more
Walk with me, if you will
Five years back
When an unlikely announced
He’d run to become commander-in-chief and
People scoffed in amusement
“No, no, no,” they said
“It can’t happen.” “It won’t happen.”
“Americans won’t let that happen.”
And then it did
And then we felt our hearts dropkick our
Because even before we knew what exactly,
We knew what
Four years of him could do
And that’s just what it did
And every week we watched in horrific
What he might say or do or steal or repeal
And every time we thought it couldn’t get worse
And then three years rolled by
And sparked some hope as hopefuls said they
Could do better
And we picked our favorites
And cast our ballots
And mostly watched our picks fall by the wayside
But one was left standing. And he’s the guy.
Now maybe you’re tickled pink with the blue ticket
And can’t wait to watch the ticker
Click in our favor in 43 days
Or maybe you’re not feeling gung-ho
It’s possible that you think taking a stand
Against just two parties is dutiful
Her death could have been avoided
If someone had listened to her cries
Someone left their trainers on the porch
Then muddied the house mat
They called their names in villages
And marches around the world
But the circus revolves
And the clowns keep prancing
The videos of despair continue
But weariness has sluggishly settled in
While pessimism weaves pathways
Behind the invasion of frolicking trolls
The choices are paltry
But the steps need taking
For when the mockingbird sings
Scavenger crows return home to rest
For when need is stronger than desire
And torment incites lingering disgust
Then the time for fall sowing
Comes before the spring reaping
While the chants are still being sung
With self-righteous fervor
Yet, the rhythm must be woven anew
To still the tide of pending disaster
Camille Elaine Thomas
September 20, 2020
In the Fall of Corona
If you have three apples
And I have none
Wouldn’t it be fair
To give me one?
If you have a house
And mine is gone
Would you sit and ponder
Where the fire came from?
If my husband was killed
And yours still lives
Is there some support
That you could give?
If my land was in war
And I had to run away
Would you give me space
a safe place to stay?
If my child lies crying
face down on the ground
four police on his neck
no justice to be found
Well, what should I do?
What if we changed places
And you were me
And I was you?
Camille Elaine Thomas
September 15, 2020
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I came home from work and instead of the usual puddle of piss in my doorway, there was a dead rat. It was the size of a cat and laid in state on a white paper plate; a message from the dealers, steerers, and lookouts who sat on stoops and lounged in tenement doorways on First Street; a drug supermarket where cars with Jersey plates and dudes in ragged sneakers came to cop. It was the eighties.
There were drugs on the block when I moved there five years before after serving every day of a three-year sentence at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary for the minor crime of passing bad checks and the major crime of being a smart-ass New York ni****r. Drugs on the block did not matter. What mattered was my ground floor loft, a former hippie belt factory more than twice the size of the railroad apartments upstairs. The rent was two-fifty a month and there was no heat, electricity, or plumbing when I moved in. A broken toilet in the middle of the floor was all that remained. With my overtime, I could make it a dream apartment. My arrogance had gotten me a job at a bigtime Wall Street law firm, where I worked sixty, seventy, sometimes eighty hours a week on deals worth billions. Every day I locked horns with biggety Harvard and Yale lawyers who decided I was a revolutionary.
After five years I knew my neighbors well enough to nod hello. My front door opened to the sidewalk and I did not have to enter the building with the weekend one-night stands from gay bars in the West Village.Read more