Time Has No Alibi

          Elegy to the memory of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd—


Fugitive in flight, recognize
for once time has no alibi.
At a loss for tribes, how can you
identify with others when
no one else’s life requires they
survive the way you must? Faced with
so much prejudice, is this fight
worth the risk of hitting pavement


before bullets rip through your heart
past what truths move you to do what
you do to improve this world? Or
is it you who needs to bleed to
get these things off your chest, for faith
to prove itself when there are no
more mountains left to ascend since
oceans’ depths have been rising to


swallow them? Hold off on bending
rules, following its beatings has
been going with the flow of your
feelings, even if it takes from
you the benefit of their heads’
changing opinions. That heart of
yours, how it ticks, racing against
the grain when everything so


insane gets to the point somehow
of becoming so commonplace.
Routine, now, this killing of babes,
the slaughtering of innocents
in the streets making saints, it seems,
almost everyday. Raping
selling papers, taking of lives
like taking pictures, going live


guaranteeing an increase in
ratings, inflating followers
and the relevance of other
irrelevant figures, reward
them all when lynching takes over
primetime television, breaking
the Internet with what was once
indecent, how these incidents


escalate instantly into
volatile, more profitable
situations, this voyeurism
much less natural than it is
national, perpetuating
crisis circumstances no one
wants to change, not even when their
crimes’ damages reach high into


the millions. No medium or
middle ground, only infinite
channels, a confusion of too
many mixed messages, panic
repressing pent-up emotions.
Citizens of this republic
have a senseless taste for blood, for
being numbed, an addiction to


increasing the influence of
their capital. People become
expendable. Media needs
its victims to feed its machines’
algorithms. The payoff is that
there throbs a rhythm, a sure pulse
hidden like a pure river deep
under the indecision of


greedy politicians far too
ignorant to listen or take
action, yes-men indifferent
to an invisible ribbon
of existence which, when threatened,
strengthens hard the bond of those long
separated by hate’s wrongful
partitions. Borders open in


the breast of this disgraced nation,
within which chests whose ribs are bars
riveted with pinpoints blame twists
when pressuring them to give in,
heaven sends knives of refreshing
breath, lightning that rekindles its
treasury’s neglected flame of
exasperated choristers,


warmth embraces togetherness.
Lungs fill with this thread no hatred
can tug on for too long until
its pluck quickens to song the strings
of their hearts, muscles the plight of
their plot thickens, kindling in those
whose hurts we have watched with horror
torture to tears our world fear has


torn apart, a fresh start. Strangers
take on another’s as their own
mission, the more rewarding kind
of conviction. Since time goes on
and on, races and never stops,
everywhere and nowhere all
at once, the significance of
a moment is that it is not


the only one of which we are
made. Though time changes us and we
cannot change time, strange how all of
this occurs to remind us when
it is time to change this. Let us
pray for resilience in the face
of this chaos, taking from it
what sparks the torches of our cause.