Oh, to be Out and About Again      

by on May 14, 2020 · 4 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray                                      

Oh, I want so

to be out and about again,

to just grab a hold

of my children and grandchildren

and great-grandchildren

and friends

and hug them

for eternity,

or at least

until my arms fall limp.

I can’t wait for such an embrace.

And I have a need

to run into a brotha

on the street

and give him

one of those

“Five on the Black Hand Side”


with the bumping

and thumping

and slapping

and tapping

we call

“The Dap,”

something we created

in the 60’s

when we got serious

when it came to

“What’s the haps?”

I’m itching like

Lassie with fleas

to tap back into that,

reestablish my roots

and stuff like that,

get back into African rhythms:

plop my old ass down

in my barber’s chair

and listen

to every topic known to man

get broken down

by a homie or two who,

in such moments,

could steal the show

at the Apollo,

“talking more trash,”

as we used to say,

than a radio”…

Such levity is necessary

for the nourishing of my soul,

something I’ve been

wishing for

since I was

81 years old.

In some moments

I wonder if and when

I’ll ever

sit at a concert again

or a movie or a play or

take in a ballgame

on a nice sunny day

or sleep under the moon

and the stars

for a couple of days.

Will a day come

when I

won’t have to ask

somebody to wear a mask

or when I won’t have to devote

so much energy

to keeping on my toes

as I grapple with

how to keep my ducks in a row

to survive in a world

that’s whirling out of control

like a tornado

given a running start

by a hurricane,

a world gone insane,

driven out of its wits

bit by bit,

a world where now,

when I stroll down the street,

trying to keep a nice stride,

I have to keep a distance

of at least six feet wide

from other folks,

a world where

there are no live audiences

to laugh at the jokes

on the late night shows,

no classrooms

where I can expose

children to

poetry and prose,

no cafes

where I can take myself

out to lunch

with a good book

to read

in my repose.


But, hopefully,

I suppose,

somewhere down the road,

a road leading

to where,

nobody knows,

as that’s just

the way it goes,

a path

will open

to us not having to live apart

from each other

and I can resume

trying to make the world better

with my family

and friends:

the main reason,

if the truth be told,

I want to get out

and about again.


Ahead, though,

is when the real

work begins.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Druck May 16, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Epic poems like these are what makes Ernie McCray, Ernie McCray. I join all of you who also feel blessed to have his words, heart, voice and poems light up my smile, consciousness and life.


Dennis Doyle May 16, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Yes, exactly!


Marie Johnson May 16, 2020 at 7:22 pm

Ernie expresses our feelings better than most of us can. He comes from different directions to make us dance (sadly alone, of course, these days) to his rhythms and melodies describing the many things in our everyday lives that give us joy–the importance of touch for our bonding, our humanity.


Thomas Gayton May 17, 2020 at 4:04 pm

RIGHT ON BRO. I too want to be released from corona induced solitary confinement and resume a life with my friends in these dire times of neo-fascism.


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