Monday, January 24


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I feel like I’m on fire and dead inside at the same time.
My nervous system is on edge.
Hyper vigilance.
My shoulders are at my neck.

I’m smiling at the computer.
Engaged in my millionth conversation today.
And I can’t.
I. Can’t. Stop.

I wrote my feet move slow
To try and explain how the days after
The last shooting…
The last altercation…
The last lynching…

It’s a large hell.
There is room for a nation.
Black bodies.
Black souls.

The facts don’t matter much anymore.
We have all the books and research and essays
On racism.
On discrimination.
On othering.
We still argue about how we got to this…

White hand on trigger
Black body on pavement.
The videos bring awareness.
But I’m not watching no more black bodies
End up lifeless on this here app.

I promise you,
I don’t wonder about what they did to escalate it…


Not execution style.
Not like this.

I suppress my rage to make it through days.
Make it through interactions.
Keep smiles amongst well-intended folx.
I give some time to educate.

My capacity is waning.
I can’t keep speaking life to someone who
Doesn’t want to see.
Refuses to hear.
Resists and argues at every turn.

I see you all running.
I can’t bring myself to go outside today.
I see you all posting.
I knew I had to say something before I combusted.

The truth is I’m feeling everything.
Regardless of my emotion, it reads as anger.
Cause I AM angry.
I’m frustrated.
I’m hurt.
I’m sad.

No greater hell than the mind.
How do you find your place in a place
That never wanted you?
They say go back home.
But what is home but an idea of safety
Of belonging that we as black bodies have yet to see?

I’m mourning.
Constantly mourning.
For the next one.
For the ones who already have gone.

White supremacy soils the roots of all this mess.
And some will disagree.
That’s where the sadness comes in.
Cause the argument is an argument.
And it shouldn’t be.

About Author

Karen Marie is committed to doing the work of building connection, belonging, and community. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Karen is currently a resident of Columbus, Ohio. Ze is a non-negotiable stand for the most marginalized and the dignity and value of every human life. Her professional reach is vast and includes competency and expertise in Human Resources, Executive Leadership Coaching, Anti-Racism Facilitation, Poetry, Writing, Music, Comedy, and overall performance. Karen is seen as a necessary contribution at various community tables and conversations and is both celebrated and respected for her ability to be strategic in navigating difficult and nuanced conversations and barriers in a brave and productive way. Karen is also a published author, creative, and musician. Ze is a 2020 recipient of the Create Columbus Visionary Award, a 2021 Cohort Poet in Scott Woods’ Rhapsody and Refrain, and an ensemble member in Counterfeit Madison’s Aretha Franklin Tribute; which performed in front of a sold out Lincoln Theatre in February 2020. In 2019, Karen self- published hir first book of poetry, "Grounded"; and is excited to release "Fire: Poetic Memoirs of a Movement" in Autumn 2021. Currently, Karen is the Associate Director for Leadership Columbus and also a facilitator and curator with K Hewitt Consulting. Karen is also the co-founder of The Ohio REST Collective. The Ohio REST Collective (Restorative Equity through Sustainable Transformation) was founded to create space for individual and collective restoration.

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