Systemic (A few drops from a Memoir)

(A few drops from a Memoir)

I wore the uniform.
I swore to protect and serve.
I pulled over a vehicle driven erratically.
I explained to the driver why he was stopped.
The auto was filled with the aroma of alcohol.
I performed standard tests before
asking the driver to step out of the vehicle.
He could barely stand.
My backup and I helped him 
stay on his feet.
He was placed under arrest,
and I took him to the department
for booking.
In a matter of moments, the PD was
inundated with fire fighters
—the driver of the vehicle
one of theirs
—he drove the firetruck.
This arrest would scar his future.
I was asked not to pursue the charges—
I followed through with the arrest.
Blue began to fade.

an open forum.  Brothers in blue gathered round.
I was harassed.  The remarks rendered heard,
and the sergeant came to my side.
It lasted a moment.
I did not wish any action to be taken, yet I 
wanted the ‘issue’ addressed.
In the end, I was found ‘guilty’ of being
an oversensitive female by the administrative investigative team.
The Blue diminished.

This was not the ONLY system
within which I dwelt.
I wore a pastoral garment.  I served as a Chaplain
in a hospital.
The call came…
Emergency in the ER.
The patient—critical.
Family lined up in the hallway—‘waiting.’
The clergy, sporting his collar reported to 
the family, ‘I gave him the sacrament,
he’s all set.’  Then, he tapped my head
and told the family, ‘This little girl will
take care of you.’  He left.
The Doctor came out into the hallway
and broke the news.
I held the broken hearted
—the raw grief
—the tears.
At the bedside, we gathered
—we prayed
—the sacrament ALIVE.

I reread these words,
and they appear trivial.
But, again, I’m beside an 80+ year old
woman, a teacher her entire life,
a faith filled church goer, single,
filled with light.
In the nursing home, she was ‘touched’/fondled
inappropriately by a clergy person
in residence. I was called to be at
the ‘side’ of both.
She ‘wept.”
I held her hand.
She cried out to God…
I wept with her.
His community offered to pay for her
Health Care if she did not go to the papers.

I went to his room.
He had nothing to share
except that he’d been to confession
—he was forgiven.
I wept again and left the room.

Now, Tyre.
   Now, Tyre.
      NOW, Tyre.

I want the mother’s faith.
His mother believes Tyre’s life’s purpose fulfilled.
His assignment here—complete.
Her purpose to make all things GOOD—
To evolve from death.
New life, a new way of being to be made visible.

How can anyone plead
NOT guilty…How?
Let’s look at the systems.
Let’s address the systemic imbalance
within this blessed creation wherein we dwell.

“WE’—black, white, yellow, red,
male, female, gay, straight, transgender,
Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist…

There really is only One way
when we all see each other as One…
and recognize our differences
as the uniqueness of 
adding to the multiplicity of a 
Universe designed to see each ‘star’
meant to shine their own brilliance.

‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but 
I’m not the only One…’


I pray your sunset
gives rise
to images and photographic
making life—
making all things NEW.

In memory of Tyre Nichols
(June 5, 1993- January 10, 2023)

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