Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Girl, five or six, will hop
Skip jump
Fling her arms straight out
Move her lithe limbs up down
She’ll lift her hands
Push them through hair
Except she’ll do it differently
She’ll grab hold of the hair
On either side of her face
And lift and hold it out
Sideways like wings
She’ll hold it stiffly
She’ll drift from the path on which her adult is walking
She’ll find her own path
Unclaimed through the bushes
She’ll stop and lean against a tree
She’ll be detained by the most novel surprise in her world
An ant’s nest a spider web
She’ll stop to watch and see
A whole world passes before
Her eyes and ears bear enthralled witness
Her cousins…

Adam Toledo. Illustration by Thumy Phan

What does suffering taste like?

Is it
a call at 2 pm in the afternoon
to tell you your one boy is gone

A video broadcast a thousand
times on TV and Internet
looped and replayed
till all the amateur detectives the worldwide neighborhood sleuths
have satiated themselves on his downfall

When he raises his hands
in the air
are his palms empty
is there a shadow just there
suggesting his thin bony limbs
framing the body of a boy
a skeleton with skin
sticking out of loose loopy
half sleeved shirts
are automatic weapons
capable of spraying…

A pale ghost-like figure — of unidentified gender — enshrouded in a transparent fabric, a gauzy curtain like a scrim used in theater productions. The figure’s face is not visible. Its body is hidden, wrapped up, almost trapped and entangled in this thin film-like curtain; only its rather large left hand is out and it is bent at the elbow, hand up almost in a dance movement or supplication, palm facing inward, index finger lightly touching chin.
Photo by Guilherme Caetano on Unsplash

When GOD sleeps
men do wild things
things not even animals
are capable of imagining
But then animals never
visited disaster upon the land
Tigers might rip
the limbs from the antelope
shred the gazelle’s throat
with their teeth
But have they ever dropped
a bomb
Have they ever dared or thought
to dare to spray a crowd of
hundreds with a Russian Kalashnikov
an updated AK-47 with a magazine
that empties 600 rounds in under
60 seconds
The black bear can be vicious
so can the python
But have they ever stoked a coal
black oven…

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

My friend lies sleeping six feet underground
or perhaps deeper
I do not have the answer for how far down
in the earth the grave digger runs his plow
or perhaps he digs the earth by shovel
hand trowel it seems so much more intimate
dirt dug dark earth plucked by the shining
metallic lip of the shovel
the earth falling over the grave digger’s
mud-stained steel-toed work boot
it scatters but not like leaves
falls heavy and wet against the shoe
dull thud clumps full and laden
I wonder if she turns in her dreams…

Mohammed_Hassan (Pixabay)

Mother sits in her big chair
on the grass the sun overhead
casting daytime shadows
I stand by her side in my blue and white
pinafore dress with the peter pan collar,
You stand on her lap, your baby toes
gripping her dress tight, like a gecko
holding on to the wall, trying
to keep your balance
You are laughing baby fingers
trying to sneak its way into your mouth
Mother holds you one-armed,
your back braced against her arm
She is smiling, a smile like a bubble
of ice cream sunshine and satisfaction burst on her lips,
a laugh. Her eyes dancing across your face
in these moments are timeless.
Her gaze transfixed by your…

Fascinating stuff. Impressive and frightening at the same time. You want to applaud ingenuity and the positives that can/will come from some of this stuff, but the flip side is the loss of privacy, the over-surveillance, the tracking of every and all. It's a vastly and rapidly expanding new world. Much of it is happening under our noses, without our overt consent--though we do go along, or are led along, and accept much without question or complaint. The question is: are we ready; and in the end run will we like the endpoint of this journey we've decided to go…

Absolutely true. You look at Bateman and think, 'radical beauty,' and it's insane that what's natural is what's considered courageous and radical. The pressure to 'choose,' how we'll age is a real thing. Each boils down to personal choice, but it's the fact that no matter which you choose, there's choosing to be done. Rarely are we allowed--do we allow ourselves--to 'ease' into aging. We're always conscious of it. Society makes us conscious of it. The mirror makes us conscious of it. We are forced to make a decision about 'how,' we'll approach it. I know that, in thinking about…

I am sorry to hear about P.S. I Love You. They were one of the first publications, if not the first, to give me a shot; and they were open and supportive of their writers. I wish them well and hope they will find a way to continue to publish on the platform. As to the rest of it, I've been off Medium for the past year, and am curious as to how all these changes will pan out. It would be great to see good writing elevated, and even better if writers of skill and substance could find a…

Microaggression as social control

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash (Barbican Centre, London, United Kingdom)

What is a microaggression really? I looked up the definition because I wanted to be sure I was clear. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is: a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).

In thinking about it, I couldn’t come up with any extraordinary examples. And maybe that’s the point: the everyday nature of microaggressions. How they seep into conversation and under skin.

a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a…

Max Smith

Motivated by social justice, equality, humanity. Using words to shed light, build bridges & narrow gaps. |

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store