Columns

We Have to Put and End to ‘Here We Go Again’ (In Memory of Tyre)

February 6, 2023 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

All that physical torture
that Tyre Nichols went through,
to me,
was way too much
déjà vu,
in the form of
“Here we go again,”
created by roguish so-called “peace officers”
committing sins against Black humanity,
stomping and punching
and tazing and spraying
and kicking
and then watching their victim
as he lay dying,
justifying
their brutality
shucking and jiving
and lying
about Tyre having done some reckless driving
as though driving aggressively
is a capital crime
that requires
no adjudication
or a trial by jury,

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It’s a Joy Seeing My Hometown Tucson’s Appreciation of its Diversity

February 2, 2023 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Oh, I’m practically overflowing
with joy
having my name
living on in perpetuity
as a
University of Arizona
Basketball Ring of Honor honoree,
mostly for the reason that it highlights
just how far Tucson, my hometown,
has come
since my growing up days,
as I was the second Black basketball player
to perform at the U of A
and now there are

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Remarks for My Ring of Honor Induction – After Arizona v. UCLA Game

January 24, 2023 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Back when I was playing
in the old Bear Down Gym
doing my “Easy Ernie” thing,
draining 2’s
and what today|
would be 3’s
and snatching rebounds
like I was taking back
something that had been stolen from me,
I couldn’t have dreamed
that all that balling
would someday
result in my name hanging from a rafter
in the University of Arizona’s
Basketball Ring of Honor,

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Keepers of Martin Luther King’s Spirit of Love

January 20, 2023 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Two people kept Martin Luther King’s
spirit of love
breathing
for me
on MLK Day,
Steve Phillips,”
writer and founder of Democracy in Color,
and Grammy Award winning jazz trumpeter
and film score composer,
Terence Blanchard.

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One Sees a Lot in a Lifetime

January 18, 2023 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

You live long enough
you see a lot of things,
both good and bad
and in-between
in a lifetime
and I find myself
from time to time
remembering things I’ve seen
over my more than
three-quarters of a century
of being alive and breathing,

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Looks like a Lot of Same Old Same Old (Reflections on the Speaker of the House Vote Fiasco)

January 11, 2023 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

America today is a bit
whacky
and almost
out of control,
when we should be reaching
down deep in our souls
to make our nation
at least not a country
where one turns on his TV
to CNN or MSBNC
to a scene
where one US Congressman
is being restrained by a fellow Congressman
to prevent him
from going upside the head
of another Congressman

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Loving Ideas About How We Can Live — from Black Lives Matter

January 4, 2023 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I just put down
a wonderful read
titled
“How We Can Live”
which was written to give
young people,|
our children,
a few loving
principles to abide by
during these times.

The book’s ideas
come from
“Black Lives Matter’s”
efforts to encourage society
to change its ways,

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Kwanzaa: For Peace and Good-Will Beyond the Holidays

December 24, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

So much is said of Peace and Good-Will
during this time of year
and wouldn’t it be wonderful
if we adhered
to such
in our
everyday lives?

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Musing of a Dad

December 16, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Had so much fun
the other day
with my offspring
at a nice café,
with one brief
moment
when I had to
wipe a couple
of tears away,
as I shared a story
about one of my two
children who passed away

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Our Country Can’t Survive if We Can’t Think in Ways That Are Wise

December 12, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

A silly
lie spewing Black man who
would rather be
a werewolf
than a vampire
lost a
|frighteningly and ridiculously
close Senate race
to a dignified Black man
who was born to inspire,

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Feeling Joy for Brittney’s Return Home

December 9, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Woke up this morning
after a nice sleep
last night
and turned on the news
to a scene
that had me
brimming with delight,
the incredibly beautiful sight
of Brittney Griner
boarding a flight,

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What Thanksgiving Has Meant to Me for a Very Long Time (Thoughts After the Holiday)

November 29, 2022 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

I’ve always taken
Thanksgiving Day
literally
as a time to be thankful,
to be grateful
for just being,
having nothing to do
with colonizing Pilgrims
breaking bread with Indians
or any such thing
and as I look back at my memories
of Thanksgiving
with my family

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Loving Blair and Kimberly

November 14, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I was just thinking
about Blair and Kimberly,
two people very dear to me,
thinking how
unbelievable it is
that it’s been
some 50 years
since we met
when I was the principal
at John Muir Alternative School
and they were among a population
of students

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Community Colleges Improving Lives of Families on Broadway

November 7, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Just got back from
New York City,
still feeling the electricity
that wonderful town
always vibrates through me,
as I’ve never ended a trip there
without thinking
of better ways
for people to live
and this visit
was no different.

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Thoughts Born from My Granddaughter’s Drawing

October 26, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Looking at my
seven-year-old granddaughter
Marley’s drawing
of the smiling faces
of her family,
her mom,
her dad,
and her grandma and me
and her brother and her
and Whiskey and Baby,
cats of long standing
in the family,
well, the portrait
soothes me,
like a breath
of needed fresh air,

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Grooving With Hank to Ease My Troubled Mind

October 24, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Stretched out,
kicked back
in an easy chair,
alone, at home,
I asked my boo, “Alexa,”
to play me some
Hank Crawford songs,
making such a request,
from time to time,
to ease my mind
during these troubling times,

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What Black Joy Means to Me

October 17, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Black Lives Matter
recently asked
what Black joy means to me.
Well, Black joy just happens to be
in my DNA.
Passed along
through the ages
from Africa
as a way for us
in the diaspora,
to survive in a world
that would just as soon
do without us,

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We Have to Enjoy Life’s Little Things — (As an Approach to Taking on Life’s Big Challenges)

October 10, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

In the
winter of my existence
I feel gratitude
for being given
so many years of life,
life that’s been lived out
in a universe
that consistently
lays before us
an array of circumstances
over which we have little to
no control,

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We Have to Do More Than Just Weather the Storms

October 3, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

The devastation and human pain
Hurricane Ian
has left in its wake,
is so depressing
and disheartening
especially since we’re to blame
for its overwhelming intensity,
as we’ve essentially
turned our backs
to more life sustaining sources of energy
like the wind and the sun,
insisting on feeding Mother Nature
fossil-fuel-fed
greenhouse gas emissions

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We Have to Collectively Save Our Democracy

September 26, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

This democracy
of ours
is seen
as an experiment,
one where every citizen,
more or less possesses
the right to life and liberty
in a pursuit for happiness.
But one would be negligent
not mentioning that this experiment
has lacked a hypothesis
by which
America could test
probabilities for success,
this neglect
leaving some people,
from the beginning,
behind the rest

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Ron DeSantis, Pimp in Disguise

September 19, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Ron DeSantis,
the governor of the
state of Florida,
has recently been referred to,
because of something he
put some Venezuelans through,
as a “prankster,”
but I see him for what he is,
a gangster,
a human trafficker,
a pimp in disguise

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Making Students Aware Could Get Me in Trouble in a Classroom Today

September 14, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I might be in trouble
if I were in a classroom today,
approaching learning
as I did in the early 60’s,
trying to hip my students
to what was happening in their world,
first, letting them know who their teacher was
as a living breathing human being,
by telling them of my upbringing
as a Black boy
in a city

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Trump’s Sorry Ass Should Be in Jail

September 7, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I was just thinking
if I had stolen
a bunch of classified
U.S. documents
and hid them in my basement
and the FBI had to come and get them,
and I had the nerve
to ask for a
“Special Master Review”
of some kind

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Presidents During My Lifetime

September 6, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

15 presidents have served our country
during my lifetime,
all of them affecting me
in some way,
beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
FDR,
a man who gave me a sense,
even in my childhood innocence
that a president
was kind of important
as I listened to grownups rave
about the role he played

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Sounds From My First Home

August 31, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

My mind wanders to my first home,
in Tucson,
the home in which
I spent the first twelve years of my life,
a duplex adobe apartment
I’m recollecting
through sounds,
the sounds of my granddaddy and I
harmonizing gospel songs,|
or the sounds of Arthur Godfrey
plunking a Ukulele on the radio
before I headed off to school,

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Remembering Martin and the FBI

August 25, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

A traitor
whines, and spins lies
about his “problems” with the FBI,
claiming they’re harassing him
when he had stolen from the government
boxes upon boxes of
classified information,
secrets about nuclear bombs, and shit,
serious gossip
about other governments,
and I just want to slap this fool
upside the head,
with all that complaining about harassment
when his real problem
should be arrestment,

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Keeping on Pushing in Memory of the Freedom Riders

August 23, 2022 by Ernie McCray

(Opening Poem for the “Buses Are Coming” Exhibit)

by Ernie McCray

Back in 1961
the buses the Freedom Riders road
began to roll,
questioning America’s soul,
bringing to light the Southern United States’ role
in keeping Black folks
and White folks
segregated in bus terminals,
complete with “Whites Only”
cafeterias and restroom facilities,

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Brittney Needs Our Love More Than Our Ridicule

August 12, 2022 by Ernie McCray

This is the third in a series on Brittney Griner by Ernie. (Here’s No. 1 and No. 2)

by Ernie McCray

Seems, at times,
that our nation
has trouble loving,
caring,
as evidenced
by so many
people finding joy
in Brittney Griner’s
9-year sentence
for weed possession
in a Russian prison,

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A Good Time to Question the Militarization of Students in Our Schools

August 8, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

So sad
that law makers,
U.S. Senators,
with all the power
in their possession
to do wonderful things,
knowing
that there are ex-servicemen and women
who have fallen ill
from breathing in poisonous air
in the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan,
chose, instead of lending them a hand,
to play games,

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All Men Are ‘Real’

August 4, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

“Gay Black men
are not ‘real’ men”
I heard a brother say
and all I know about him
is he’s ensnared in naivete
because some of the “realist” people I know
happened to be gay,
as there’s nothing
more “real”
than Langston Hughes’ poetry
in opposition
to the injustice and oppression
of Africans trapped in America,

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