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they say:

– Martin was a true philanderer – Bob and Marvin, too

– Bayard was know to dilly-dangle bits of sons (& not just men)

– Gil stitched needles like Trane when American lies were too much

– Ntozake & Michelle W. drank away the vitriol over their truths

– Billie would have said that’s how she softened the lies

– Josephine and Nina left America to survive the lies

– Phyllis and Toni Cade sought to escape life and its lies

– Malcolm lied to hide lovers in testosterone from his wife

– Angela lied to hide the same in estrogen from her mama

they say.


as God is their witness

my sins can not judge their lives

only their legacies

which, sanitized, would spoil as myth

angels might fall into screaming heat

saviors might turn to powdery mist

but these are human souls

imperfect beings with aspects that rise above

isn’t that what makes them heroes,



heroes (h’irohs) n. plural:

heroes are beings who have manifested

excellence in an aspect of their lives; have

reaped of courage, passion and inspiration to

overcome, for miraculous moments,

erstwhile limitations which had shackled them,

straining, to humanity.


some merely hop in hero cloaks

pinned to earth by ego

too landed in themselves to soar

they thud

on those that surround

imprinting damage       casting shadows

that hopeful green shoots

must strain toward the sun

to overcome.


yet, true heroes are always fallible

they aren’t gods

the essence which defines them


is that even the petty/the flawed/the guilty

can leap into the breach

spin pirouettes

and rise against gravity

that even the weak

can soar into the light

and, before falling again to earth,

tenderly kiss God.


heroes don’t release us       they remind

our struggles are not excuses

we, too, in any unlikely moment

can strap on slippers

spin atop butterfly wings

and flirt with the universe.