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Ron Sparks Jan 2019
Send me nudes, you said
I sent you my naked
truths instead -
An unfiltered and unapologetic
glimpse into my heart
my innermost self
That part of me that so
rarely sees the light
of day much less the
judgement
of another soul
In the end, staring at my
demons, at my fears, and
my weakness you
failed to see
my strengths, my beauty,
or my integrity
You looked into the
abyss of me and
blinked
Ron Sparks Jan 2019
Bravery
I thought I was brave
with the scars to prove it.
My legacy -
   broken bones,  split knuckles,
   black eyes and loose teeth.
   Adulation and respect.
I fought  both man and isms
Never backed down.
But a black man, driving
an Uber taught me the truth of
true bravery.
Harassed, insulted, threatened by
a low-life passenger,
  white racism covered in a cheap suit and tie,
he refused to take the bait.
He denied himself the pleasure of
      justified violence.
He told me his story -
and anger for him, righteous indignation,
crashed over me in furious waves.
I admonished him for not
confronting that mans ignorance
   with a closed and determined fist.
Never back down, right?
Gently, he spoke the truth of
   black men in America.
His eyes caught mine in the rearview mirror.
You, he said, are innocent until proven guilty.
Protected by a system that
oppresses me.
I am guilty - period - and would be lucky
to be arrested, not killed,
  in a confrontation with that bigot.
So he did nothing, let the swine in a tie
off at his destination,
and drove on - leaving that pig to
wallow in his hate.
His bravery earned him nothing.
No adulation. No respect. No recognition.
Nothing except another day of life.
Another day with his family.
In contrast - my lifetime of bravery.
A pale reflection, when set beside his truth.
He was brave, not I.
My self-styled bravery, forever
tainted
by my privilege.
Ron Sparks May 2018
l stand in awe and
   disgust
as l watch evangelical
Christians subject themselves to
moral gymnastics
trying to
  reconcile their faith with their
fear and hatred.
They place the teachings of Christ
on a virtuous scale alongside
the words,
    the actions, and
           the deeds
of the politician they elected and
somehow
they find a way to proclaim
balance.
That kind of
     tortured calculus
is as impressive as it is
repugnant.
Ron Sparks May 2018
Someone put an
     asterisk
in the Constitution and the
Declaration of Independence
when we weren't looking.
They added terms and conditions,
the ones nobody bothers to read
until they're ****** by them.

We live in the 'Land of the Free', asterisk.
We have the right to free speech, asterisk.
We can practice any religion, or none, asterisk.
We have the right of Life and Liberty, asterisk.

Rich, white, men know that the asterisk means
'for me, but not for thee," as they smile and
waggle their eyebrows at one another.

We live our lives surrounded by asterisks.
Truth lives in the asterisks.
Ron Sparks May 2018
The best men and women
in this life are not the
holy
or the righteous. They
are not
found in the
church or temple.
We live in a world
where religious
virtue
is conflated with
bigotry, racism,
and hatred.
Only the godless are truly
good.
Ron Sparks Dec 2017
A man and his child were
gunned down In my
neighborhood today.
My community did nothing -
leaving the blood-soaked street
as the only reminder of
mankind’s capacity for violence.
l did nothing except
gnash my teeth at the
****** of a small child and
wonder if l lived in the
wrong neighborhood.
l look at myself-
the silence in the mirror
reflects my face
but not my
hypocrisy nor the
agony of my
screaming heart.
Ron Sparks Dec 2017
Another ****** died today,
his blood steaming, cooling, in
Pittsburgh's winter streets.
The pale, blue, afternoon sky,
moving too soon into night,
settled darkness on the day,
and on the junkies life.
This all-too-common narrative,
the background noise of our lives,
fails to stir our outrage.
Crawling on top of the man,
as he gasps his last,
his seven-year old son.
They die together, son cradled
in father's embrace.
Both riddled with bullets.
And still, the community fails
to find the outrage.
A black man's death means
nothing to a society conditioned
to judge his worth by his vice.
The death of his son means
even less.
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