It was morning, edge of consciousness  
between the dreamtime 
when problems exist only solved and 
a barely wakened state of potential solutions 
from my perspective.  
My eyes were damp, unremembered if from 
agony or joy. I saw before I slept this summer month, 
full moon risen near apparently touching planets Venus, Jupiter 
making trine from earth’s perspective. 
Online chatter had interpreted this celestial sight, said  
light that superbrightly doubled planetary bodies made 
might be the cyclic star they saw for Jesus’ birth on earth. 
Upon these simultaneously routine & unique united 
points in sky I wish to write of being 
white when — yet again — so many 
black churches across the South seem to be catching fire. 
Seven as of yesterday. 
Not certain — it is said — if this is arson, won’t know for weeks 
if acts of god, like lightning strikes, or if acts 
of self-appointed gods struck four of seven holy places. 
Torching of three edifices is confirmed.  
Affirmation, someone’s manhood threatened, 
he/they mean to cure own flagging feelings of supremacy,  
desired way of life attacking holy places  
pious black folks worship God, same God 
the only One from soul’s perspective.  
From my perspective, all we are one. 
What misanthropic scriptures make desirable to kill another? 
What God would give commands to set His homes ablaze? 
Not mine. Nor theirs, though prideful whites display 
such repercussions of belief. 
We see what could be very Star of Bethlehem  
timed for second coming, yet  
love your neighbor as yourself 
withers under siege 
when violent conflagrations 
usher us toward unforgiving grief.
Catherine Lee founded/ran for 13 years Studio Red Top, a loft space where she produced concerts, jam sessions, and readings. In that adult playpen in 1978, Lee began exploring poetry as a percussive voice with jazz musicians. Today, Lee reads solo or sits in “on poem” with improvised music. Lee handmade several limited edition chapbooks available at Etsy (@JazzOvationInn), and blogs about jazz poetry on Facebook (Jazz Ovation Inn).

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