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.

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,

Read the full article → 4 comments

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…

Read the full article → 0 comments

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

Read the full article → 1 comment

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

Read the full article → 11 comments

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.

Read the full article → 2 comments

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”

Read the full article → 6 comments

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

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Winds of Change Will Still Blow

February 11, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Here we stand today.
Black folks in the USA.
Still dealing with the same old same old.
Everyday.
It’s like a form of employment,
a job with very little pay.

But the winds of change will still blow.

Even with such as
the “N” word episodes
on a popular podcast show,
the winds of change will still blow.

Read the full article → 2 comments

‘Swish’: The Sweetest Sound to a Hoopster’s Ears

February 7, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

There’s no single sound
in basketball
sweeter to this old hoopster’s
ear than the sound of “Swish,”
the ball
hitting nothing but net.
It’s a sound
that’s enabled
me to forget
things that have had me down,
like
“Swish”
and Sister Mary Benedict
swatting my knuckles
to Kingdom Come,

Read the full article → 0 comments

What I Would Say to My Twenty-Year-Old Self

February 2, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I saw something the other day
about what would you say
to your twenty-year-old self
as advice.

I’ve thought about it
once or twice
and what I would say to my
twenty-year-old self is:

“You’re on the right track, Jack!”

Read the full article → 2 comments

In a Tucson Frame of Mind

January 27, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I was just reminiscing
in my mind
how on many
a day
I would curse
the blazing Tucson
summer sun
at noon
and then
kneel in awe
at its beauty
when it set,
and then marvel
at the rising
of a
bright Sonoran moon.

Read the full article → 1 comment

A Letter to Sister Fannie Lou Hamer (My Voting Rights Hero)

January 24, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Dear Fannie Lou.

You don’t know me.
But I know you.
You’ve been a hero of mine
for a mighty-long time.

I couldn’t help but think of you the other day, after a clown in the Senate tried to make it sound like voting was easy in the USA, that Blacks voted as much as “Americans.”

He laid that nonsense down, knowing full well, being from Kentucky, that voting in America for Black folks and other dark folks has been hell ever since the 15th Amendment gave us the right to vote.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Living in Harmony Is But a Dream

January 17, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Living in harmony is but a dream.
A beautiful
life-affirming dream
that we’ve denied ourselves
because of the innerworkings
of how we treat each other
in the scheme of things.

Like here’s what I mean.

Read the full article → 6 comments

‘I Think We’ve Got that Sucker Now’

January 6, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I look back at January of last year and I can’t help but think: “Damn, I hope I don’t experience anything like that ever again.”

Referring, of course to the scene, in the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021: a vision of huffing and puffing and blowing your house down mentality dialed up a billion degrees, treason in the form of pushing and shoving and smashing and pummeling, a tearing of the fabric of our democracy.

Led by the president of the country where this melee takes place.

In our face.

And this man is still dancing in the street, talking smack about this and smack about that, doing as he pleases, held to no rules, in fact.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Joan and Betty: Sweet Loving Memories

January 4, 2022 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Joan Didion.

Betty White.

Both touched my life.

After hearing that Joan had died, I suddenly remembered how she helped me when my wife passed on, leaving me trapped in heart-rending sorrow and grief beyond belief, feeling as though I would die, too, with all the pain I was going through.

But as days and weeks and months passed the intensity of my suffering eased a tad – and I read Joan’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” her account of losing her husband and daughter within a couple of years of each other.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Hope Is What I Hope the New Year Brings

December 30, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

2021.
Whew! What a year.
Makes you entertain hopes for what the New Year might bring.

And there could be a variety of hopes.
Know what I mean?

And I have hopes for the New Year.

Based on this past year, a year I suspected would be a bit crazy, considering all the sadness and madness we had to tolerate during the previous four years or so, I would hope we never experience anything so bizarre and frightening ever again.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Holiday Wishes with the Unvaccinated in Mind

December 22, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

So tired
of people on my TV,
especially during the holidays,
going on and on
about why they
“ain’t getting no damn vaccine
for no damn Covid-19!

Read the full article → 3 comments

Taking a Fun Moment with the Colbert Questionert

December 17, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Just for fun, on a kickback lazy kind of day, I responded to the 15 questions Stephen Colbert, of the Late Show, likes to ask his guests.

Like what’s the best sandwich? And the answer to that, of course, is a BLT.

Exercise worth it? Yes-siree.

What number is Stephen thinking of? I have no guess because numbers are from zero to infinity.

Apples or oranges? I like both but I’m partial to fruit that sounds crunchy when I take a bite – generally.

Read the full article → 4 comments

How Can We Weather the Storms of Climate Change If We Don’t Change?

December 13, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Oh, the weather.
Winds and snows
and tornadoes
wreaking unspeakable harm,
while, at the same time,
we pray for the rains to fall
to protect us from
firestorms
that transform
our woodlands
into acres of
charred terrain,
its flames
leaving towns
as darkened
burnt-out memories.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Remembering Baby

December 8, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Baby
came into our lives
near the turn of the century
about eighteen years ago,
out of nowhere,
it seems,
a kitten
tramping through
our yard
and hanging out
on our front porch,
perhaps sensing
that she was at the right place

Read the full article → 5 comments

Que Vivan Las Mujeres!

December 3, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

As I listened to
my friend and hero,
Berenice Badillo,
talk about her art
in Chicano Park
a few days ago,
her mural,
“No Human Being is Illegal,”
that was born in her soul,
I hadn’t expected to
hear about
the plight of women
in the Chicano movement

Read the full article → 4 comments

We’ve Got a Long Haul, If We Really Want Liberty and Justice for All

November 30, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

“Liberty and Justice for All.”
That just might be America’s biggest lie
of all.
I mean
a young man,
a White teen,
with a rifle
that looks like
an AR-15,
appears on a scene
where people,
in spite
of some folks
acting crazy and obscene,
were peacefully
chanting and singing,

Read the full article → 2 comments

Showing Love for the Children Down Mexico Way

November 22, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Oh, I love
what the county
of San Diego
did on
a beautiful Southern California
day,
matching such beauty
by tending to the needs of children
who live south
of the border
down Mexico way,
providing them
with their first shot
of a vaccine

Read the full article → 2 comments

We All Need to Get Back to Our African Roots

November 16, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I sometimes think of Africa.
Where we humans began.
In the beginning
dark of skin.
Existing back then
like kin,
sisters and brothers
depending on each other
for survival,
gathering seeds together,
dining on fruits
and nuts,
flowers, bark, insects
and leaves together,
becoming hunters

Read the full article → 6 comments

It’s More About Us and the Children Than Mark Z

November 8, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

When I look at this situation with Mark Zuckerberg hosting harmful bits of misinformation on his social media brands, Facebook and Tik Tok and Instagram, I think of the children who’re watching us, “We the People,” pretty much leave this problem up to him.

And, yeah, this non-caring billionaire should do something to alleviate this state of affairs but I don’t like the picture our children are seeing of us not doing much about these circumstances ourselves – since the PCs, through which we receive so much news that deceives, also allow us to get the skinny about things: the facts.

Read the full article → 5 comments

A Video Regarding the Direction I’d Like to See the World Go

October 25, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

The other day,
in my backyard
on my patio,
I got to read a poem,
and say a few things
on a video,
regarding the direction
I’d like to see the world go.
Young folks,
my favorite folks,
were in the back of my mind
as I spoke,

Read the full article → 0 comments

A Dream Like My Daydreams

October 14, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I had such a lovely dream the other night.

A dream where I sat amongst beauty during a sunset.

When the sun slowly drifted over the horizon the visions began, the first one featuring a young Black man.

He was about 18 and he moved down the street, bopping and nodding to a beat coming from his earpiece, with White people all around him paying no more attention to him than anybody else on the street.

I mean everybody is perfectly at ease, no grabbing of purses like he might be a thief; nobody at the ready to call the police.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Dunbar: A Grand Old School Was She

October 12, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I just ran across an article about an old friend from when I was growing up in Tucson.

Among so many things I found interesting in the piece was something he said about a place I hold dear:

Dunbar. The “Colored” school.

He said: “I’m sorry I didn’t get a good education.”

Read the full article → 6 comments