Creative Intentions in progress

Over the last few weeks I’ve been in full creative mode. I’ve been writing poems, working on book manuscripts and creating visual art. The last part is the most surprising to me. I’ve never been one to draw. My creative outlet has usually been through speaking and creating and non fiction writing so creating the art you see was worth celebrating for me. I’ve actually painted five pieces over the last nine months. Though these pieces may never be in high end art galleries, they’ll hang somewhere in my home or office as a talking point for my creative ego self.

Observing National Gun Violence Survivors Week

If you were not aware, I am a survivor of gun violence. In 1980, I lost my 25 year old mother Sharon Neal to an act of domestic violence that involved a gun and in 2016, my 18 year old nephew Kevin Neal, Jr was killed in a senseless act of gun violence. This week is National Survivors of Gun Violence week an as a Senior Fellow with the Everytown for Gun Safety Survivor Network, I share my story of how my family has been impacted by gun violence with the hopes of helping others and effecting change so that no more lives will be lost to acts of gun violence. Read my latest Op-Ed piece that helps to empower others to share their stories to prevent and eventually end gun violence in our country.

https://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/2021/01/31/national-gun-violence-survivors-week-jackson-pastor-shares-story/4315775001/

Black man rage: A Poem

I’ve been experiencing much grief following the death of George Floyd and the looting and rioting that has plagued cities across this country. I could only find one way to express that grief through my writing. I wrote this poem as a reflection piece to help me articulate what I was seeing and feeling.

Two black boys playing with the trash thrown out of the house

Taking apart a broken chair saying, “Hulk Smash!”

Young black boy playing on the porch with his dogs

While music in the car next to him blasts Nipsey Hussle

Three black children on the playground across the town

Running and screaming not fearing anything or anyone around

One black man on the ground telling his captors I can’t breathe

barely making a sound

More black men gathering around enjoying life in quarantine’s vault

Fearing nothing now until cops roll up and everything comes to a halt.

One elderly black man tending the garden in the yard of the home he’s lived in for years

Raised his children in community without fear

Now seeing scorned earth for blocks where life was once good

Hope all gone has deflated the neighborhood

Streets torn apart not by cops but by black brothers and sisters with ricocheting gun shots

One black man walking his dog in the neighborhood

Vexing less melanated citizens fearing he’s up to no good

His presence evokes fear and threats to others simply

Though he makes no noise or scene he is simply being seen

They avoid him like the flu desperately trying to get away

But he resolves that for his children’s future, it’s a price he’s willing to pay

Yes, people say Black Lives Matter

 but we’re seeing in real time how quickly that black life can shatter

Into a million pieces of brokenness and breaking hope of generations past

Black man forced to be silent

Because he knows if he speaks too loud or too bold he’ll incite a riot

Too many black men and women caged in a cell

Cause a systemically unjust society condemned them to hell

With the same blindness of justice refusing them bail

Let them rot cause they’re better safe where they are

which makes us safe from them

The existential quarantine against the man whose blackness forces him to shelter in place

To stay in his lane and not run the race of freedom..don’t breathe just lie in state

Breathe or not its their own fault some say

The pain he sees and feels replacing the pleasure of a life promised to be lived

Being a black man in a fair-weather world

Trying to make a dollar every day makes you wanna holler

Rage against the machine as its raging against you

Copyright June 2, 2020  Lorenzo T. Neal