. I Grieve Bleak Streets I grieve bleak streets where handguns reign in terror Daring inner-city residents To duck and cover. Life used to be fairer Years ago, when mayors and presidents, Police, and everybody else refused To tolerate a minor misdemeanor, And those who broke the law were not excused From prosecution. Neighborhoods were cleaner Then, and safer. Children rode their bikes At night, played stickball and most likely knew The folks next door by name. Now no one likes The way things are today—with men in blue Defunded and considered out of fashion; While perps and thugs are treated with compassion. . . We Shall Overcome Systemic racism is nothing new With slavery, Jim Crow, and Tuskegee, Internment camps, the “Protocols,” the “Jew,” The “Yellow Peril,” “Wetbacks,” Wounded Knee. As well as anti-immigration rules Towards Irish and Italian immigrants With urban ghettos, segregated schools, And project housing, slums and tenements. Both BLM and CRT suggest Our racist past will never go away, And true enough, though we have done our best, Such attitudes still live with us today. Yet neither movement points us where to go; Indeed, so far they’ve made the problem worse. And though it’s tempting to embrace the show In place of blessing, each invokes a curse. Instead, with MLK, we have a dream That love and justice triumph in the end. That from God’s mountain-top a rolling stream Of righteousness at long-last will descend. As long as racist hate pollutes the air Unalienable rights are worth the fight. Impassioned hope is stronger than despair And by God’s grace, someday we’ll get it right. . . Derricka Patrick 29-Years Old---RIP January 12, 2022 Derricka Patrick was shot and killed last Wednesday night While sitting in her car, parked on a South-Side street In Englewood. There didn’t seem to be a fight, Just two men in a car who turned her into meat. Surveillance video showed they just walked up to her With handguns drawn and calmly shot her “multiple times Throughout her body,” the Medical Examiner Explained. Her death just one of many routine crimes That plague Chicago every day throughout the year— Including last year’s seven hundred ninety-seven Homicides. Will anybody shed a tear For Derricka who died in hell this side of heaven? When Martin Luther King was shot folks everywhere Shed tears of grief while singing, “We shall overcome.” When Derrickas are shot, does anybody really care? Or do we simply write them off as inner-city scum? . . James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.