I Woke Up Sad and Angry Today

Subtitle: A Coda to I Woke Up Black Today (May 26, 2020)

Sub-subtitle: Black Lives Matter. Do They?


Trayvon Martin
Miriam Carey
Yvette Smith
Eric Garner
Michael Brown
Ezell Ford
Tanisha Anderson
Tamir Rice
Walter Scott
Sandra Bland
Alton Sterling
Philando Castile
Freddie Gray
Cariann Hithon
Ahmaud Arbery
Breonna Taylor
George Floyd

The Incomplete (and, unless and until things change, unfinished) List


Sadness and anger,
hurdles over which I bound,
save when built high on yet another body lain low,
slain for being black or brown.

Sadness and anger,
then, when fired by fear,
become barriers, hard for me to leap,
difficult for me to escape.
For I am imprisoned by an ageless, undying despair.

© 2020 PRA

Categories personal reflection, poetry, race

3 thoughts on “I Woke Up Sad and Angry Today

  1. Truly haunting but heartfelt words Paul!! Thank you!!

    This is True despair!!!! If only I could stop crying and unsee that video!

    Lord help us!!

    Much love!!


  2. Thanks, Loretta.

    Usually, I know the emotion of anger more than sadness. (Perhaps it is that I have conditioned myself, over the years, to move to anger when I’m hurt or sad, for anger feels better in the sense of its outward movement toward a person or thing that caused the hurt or sadness. Sadness, for me, is wholly inward, thus, most discomfiting.) However, I have found myself sitting in my sadness, indeed, becoming awash with tears, spontaneously, repeatedly. This poem arose from this place of bouncing, bashing back and forth between sadness and anger.

    As for the video, yes, I wish I could un-see it. What sticks with me are (1) Officer Chauvin, as it appears to me, rocking his knee back and forth on the back of George Floyd’s neck, which, doubtless, increased the pressure and, what we now know, murderous pressure and (2) the three other officers did nothing.

    Lord, help us, indeed and amen!

    Love you


  3. Paul- I am stuck by and sitting with the raw pain and truth of your words … even as I so desperately wanted there to be a third stanza that opened with …”and yet …” but not yet. I hear you. Love, alison


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