"Spires at Dusk", oil on canvas by Tom McGregor/mcgregorart.com.

Her 80th birthday—“Surprise!”

She smiles from the party photo, her last...

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A Mother's Hope

Cinco de Mayo dancer. (Photo: Tony Ernst/gamelaner on Flickr)

Proud back with a chest high in the air
Swaying with desire
Never knowing when to bend
Afraid to break
Walking into the wind...

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(Photo: Mike Hazard/thecie.org)

Fool that I was with my scissors...

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The Day Marvin Gaye Died

Emmanuel Ortiz performing spoken word at a January 2013 Lowertown Reading Jam. (Illustration: Ta-coumba Aiken/Ta-coumbaAiken.com)

Every generation has its historical moments
Of collective grief and disbelief
Moments we forever remember
Exactly where we were when . . .

The deaths of Kennedy, King, Clemente
The space shuttle Challenger explosion
When the planes hit the towers on 9/11...

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It’s spring! DerFrühling! Printemps!

Ring bells! Play the sackbut and shawm!

Excel. Rise and shine...

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My Name Is Hmoob: Call Me Freedom

(Photo: Patience Zalanga)

My name is not “Exotic . . .”
My name is Freedom
My people are worth more than eye
candy and shallow praise,
My people have no home, no country
We are from stolen territory...

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City Trees, Coffee Shop, Spring

Nina’s Coffee Café. (Illustration: Ken Avidor/AvidorStudios.com)

Some days trees are all I see.

Today they’re getting fringed in leaves

at the crown. Underneath

there’s a huge ball of root

that nobody sees except my son...

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Bald-headed Men and Sundays

Exhibit A. (Photo: Tony Ernst/gamelaner on Flickr)

My boys viewed their mid-1980s births
in the old Midway Hospital on University
between Porky’s and Ax-Man
as an embarrassment, a slight
their Saint Paul mom had designed to punish them
by withholding the polished corridors
of HCMC in their own hometown...

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Skeleton of a Nation

(Painting: Tom McGregor/mcgregorart.com)

jagged rocks dusted red

bleed rose water from ancient springs

who was baptized here

saved and sustained by sacrificial land...

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