Thoughts From the Soul of the Tucson Kid

Follow Ernie McCray as he writes about his life as an educator, a father, a husband and a civil rights activist. We are blessed to have him here and find inspiration in him and his words.

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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End of an Era for Bill and Me

August 1, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I finished reading
the U-T
and thought I would
watch a little TV
to see what was going on
in the world that might interest me
and before I knew it
soft tears were rolling
from my eyes
after hearing that
Bill Russell
had died,

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The ‘Get Out the Vote’ by Black Folks (The Truth Hidden by the Big Lie)

July 29, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I have to roll my eyes
every time
I hear a reference
to the “Big Lie,”
that compilation
of fabrications
about how an election
was stolen,
how signatures had been forged
along with votes being rigged,
and ballots dropped from the rolls

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Brittney – Still on My Mind

July 22, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

My mind stays
with thoughts
of Brittney Grinder spending her days
in a Russian prison faraway
and it breaks my heart
that so many folks are fixated
on how, on her part,
having a weed product
in her traveling bag
wasn’t very smart
which is true
but what good does it do
to throw shade

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We Should Never Give Up the Quest for Setting Brittney Free

July 12, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Brittney Grinder.
WNBA superstar.
Sits in a Russian lockup far
from where she displays
her hoops wizardry
on the court with the Phoenix Mercury,
and to her predicament her coach says
“If this was LeBron James
he’d be home, right?”
to which I say
“Not likely,”
not with all that’s going on
in these moments in time,
a war of a kind,
between two arch enemies,

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Women Will Never Abandon Their Dream of Equality

July 6, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Women have
lost the right
to protect the wellbeing
of their very being
but their struggle
will go on
because they know that
America’s promise of
“liberty and justice for all,”
as it is for dark skinned citizens,
is but a dream,
a dream that is forever sought
because they’ve fought for it
for centuries,

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A Shameful Supreme Court That’s a Menace to Society

June 30, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

We’ve got a court
that’s considered “Supreme,”
yet, it has trampled on women’s
hopes and dreams,
taking away their right
to have autonomy regarding
their health and their bodies
that go back to the previous century,
leaving their
granddaughters
and great-granddaughters
to face a reality
where they, might, someday,
serve time in the penitentiary
for bringing an end to a pregnancy,

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No More Homophobia: What a World That Would Be                   

June 22, 2022 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

As an educator,
I can’t imagine
a more hateful idea
than banning the use of the word gay
in schools,
as there can be no better world
if children don’t have a basic understanding
of the world they’re presently in,
what it’s like
and how it became what it is.

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Coming to Love Our Children More Than Guns

June 16, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I can think of no better sentiment
than
“Love Our Children
More Than Guns”
and I can think of no better way
to display that love
than by enacting
a few rules and regulations
that protect them from guns.

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Trying to Keep the Spirit of the Harlem Renaissance Alive

June 13, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ve lived a life
trying to keep the spirit
of the Harlem Renaissance,
the Golden Age
of Black intellectual
and ethnic revival,
alive,motivated by parents who were infused
with the likes of Richard Wright
and Langston Hughes
and their world views,
growing up in a home
in tune with Black culture,

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Tired of Calling on Music to Ease My Troubled Mind

June 9, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

My goodness.
Evil people slaughter
our children
and all we do is pray
and send loving thoughts
the survivors’ way
and TV punditry
airs it out
this way and that way
and the folks
we vote in
to protect us from such tragedies
suck up to the NRA

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A Swinging Day

June 1, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Duke Ellington wrote
the melody to
and Ella Fitzgerald sang
the words to
“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”
And that has always
been my thing,
giving in to
the swing of things.
Like the other day
while my family

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Having a Good Cry with Nanci

May 26, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Oh, what a world.
A world, that, too often,
seems like a nightmarish dream.
Makes me want to scream.
But there came a moment
when I turned my television on
and there, before me, stood Nanci Griffith
|singing “From a Distance,”
forever one of my favorite songs.

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Dancing for a Better Humanity

May 20, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I sat
the other day
as a dancer,
a Black woman,
moved her body and feet
to African rhythms and beats,
giving honor
to how Black arts
have enriched humanity
since near the dawning
of our species.

As she danced
a young aspiring White supremacist,

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Our Children Need Us to Bring the Truth to Light

May 13, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

It sometimes seems like our country is overwhelmed by lies, a mixture of little white lies and innocent lies, all the way up to the infamous “Big Lie!”

Now the Supreme Court has joined in, acting as though their plot to deprive women of the right to terminate a pregnancy, is protecting children, children yet born, by the way.

The lie here, another big one, is the implication that we, as a society, hold children dear while millions of them live among us in despair:

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Feeling Joy on Stage – Reflections on a Performance in Behalf of The Preuss School

May 4, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I don’t know if there is anything like the joy of being on stage.

Such were my thoughts after the last time I was on one, doing “Still, We Rise,” a Poetry and Jazz Show, at the Conrad Prebys Music Center at UC San Diego, with some amazingly talented people the world should know.

Cecil Lytle, a concert jazz pianist of renown and professor emeritus at UCSD, produced and performed in the show. The Rob Thorsen Quartet and jazz vocalist, Steph Johnson, did most of the music for the show.

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Happy 75th Birthday to a Fellow Sonoran

April 29, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

A friend,
Mary Castleberry,
a desert being,
a Sonoran, like me,
celebrates
her 75th birthday
and I would be remiss
if I didn’t say
she’s one of the most
down to earth people
I know.

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Thoughts of Peace and Love on My 84th Birthday

April 18, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I appeared on the scene
on April 18
in 1938,
and when I reflect
on my 84 years
of aging
I can plainly see
a world today
that’s very much like yesterday.

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An Almost 84-Year-Old’s Dream of a Nation Joining Hands

April 12, 2022 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Days away
from my
84th birthday
I still dream
a fantasy
where people
join hands
to bring hopeful changes
to a troubled land.

This wish has persisted
|because we’ve
come a long way
as a nation
in the spirit of this mission,
but too often it’s been
in a one step forward
two steps backwards fashion

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Hoping an Image Goes Away

March 31, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Oh, I hope
that the image
of seeing a Black-on-Black Crime
that came out of nowhere
right in front of me
on my big screen TV
will someday escape my mind.

It was such an ugly sight to see,
the vision of a man,
Will Smith,
whom I associate with laughter and glee,

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How a Rebounding Frame of Mind Has Shaped My Life Over Time

March 30, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I can’t remember who the player was
in all the March Madness
the other day
but he
grabbed a rebound
with such power and grace
it etched a “Wow” in the expression on my face
and he had a look on his face
that I used to have when I played,

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How We Treat Different Refugees Exposes Our Racist Tendencies

March 23, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I see
two
displaced groups of refugees
seeking asylum in
the Land of the Free.

One group hails from Ukraine.
The other from Haiti.
The Ukrainians are
running frantically
from the ravages of war,
bombings and such,
into our country’s open arms,

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Putting an End to a Tyrant’s Rule with Truths

March 22, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Vladimir Putin
pursues his lifelong dream
of reigning over all
the land
and air
and sea
in his proximity,
singling out Ukrainians to take the brunt of his
inhuman atrocities:
bombing and storming them,
looting their wealth and shooting them,
rolling his tanks down their avenues and streets…

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Giving Props to an Amazing Arizona Basketball Team

March 16, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Oh, how about those Wildcats,
the way they get after it,
winning both the
Pac-12 regular season
and the Pac-12 Tournament
basketball championships
looking, to me, better
than any Arizona team I’ve ever seen

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Grampy and Marley’s Breakthrough Conversation in the Park

March 14, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’m wallowing in the good feeling I was left with after spending time in a park with Marley, my six-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter.

I keep thinking how just a very few years ago we wouldn’t have survived an hour or two together, alone.

Because of what you might say: communication problems. I could hardly understand what Marley was saying when she was a bit younger

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An Age of Knowledge, With No Love for Books?

March 8, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

It’s said that this century is the Age of Knowledge,
but how can that be
with the banning of books
and hints in the air
that we don’t really
love to read?

I ask such a question
as one who needs a good read
as much as my lungs need oxygen to breathe
as much as Count Dracula needs
a victim’s neck to bleed.

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Banning Books Won’t Allow Us to Become our Better Selves

March 2, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

When I see various “banned books” lists
I can only sigh
a “My, my, my”
because

I see,
for one,
Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”
and I remember
the journey of Pecola, the mysterious protagonist
in this brilliantly crafted spin,
who suffers the deep stabbing pains of “less-than-ness”
due to the color of her skin.
Everyone should know that such as this
can exist

I see
Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

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Dorothy Smith – a Woman Who Epitomized the Rising of a People

February 23, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Dorothy Smith,
a friend
and hero of mine
passed away the other day,
leaving me wishing,
in my sadness,
that she could have seen
“Still, We Rise,”
a poetry and jazz show
featuring Yolanda Franklin
a brilliant local thespian,
and I
reading our poems
and those of
Amanda Gorman
who mesmerized a nation

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