A Poem for John Lewis




(Written after Trump tweeted that the Congressman was all talk, no action…)


We don’t have many heroes here
It’s not that people aren’t great but not that many fight so hard
Martin Luther King Jr went to jail 30 times for acts of civil disobedience and
John Lewis 45 times…
30, 45 times inside of a jail cell for what they believed in

We have small heroes, everyday heroes, but the big looming ones don’t come around that often and I wonder what makes a hard-fighting hero, one who takes the risk of being beaten and jailed for what they believe in


My personal heroes are often writers,

writers like Jennifer Weiner because she writes about big women and

that makes me feel good because I grew up as a fat kid
Or writers like Maya Angelou because she was never racist no matter what
Or writers like Erica Jong because she advocates for women’s sexuality,

makes me feel that it’s okay to be unapologetically sexual
Or writers like May Sarton because she wrote about living alone and

enjoying her own company. Imagine!
Or writers like Janet Mock because she eloquently explained what it was like to

be born a boy when you’re really a girl
Or writers like Anne Lamott because she finds spirituality in just about any situation
Or Sylvia Plath who put words to mental illness
Or Toni Morrison who introduced me to Sula and writes about friendship
Or Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre who forgave those who hurt her
All these writers in some way made me feel I existed


I am an everyday hero

I am addicted to sugar and haven’t touched it for over 15 years

Kenji is an everyday hero

He’s getting off Klonopin after being on it for 30 years,

living through that nightmare and he will make it

Becky is an everyday hero

She won’t say anything bad about anyone we know even when I try to get her to

Deborah is an everyday hero

She is bouncing back and finding love after a nasty divorce

My students are everyday heroes

The autistic girl who wanders on the playground

The autistic boy who wanders down the hall

The special ed students who try so hard

The students who can’t speak English and ask for help

The students who help each other

The girl who told the acting-out boy to stop it because she wanted to get her education.

The kindergartner who was suspended and asked if it would be okay if she danced for me

The teenage girl who reported to the class that she had found her G spot and it was a really great thing


Dear John Lewis,

Thank you for your heroism

It’s a big heroism

It touches us all

Thank you for saying that you don’t regard T•••p as a

legitimate president because of allegations
of the Russians interfering with the election

Thank you for your fight for black voting rights

Thank you for your brutally hard work during the Civil Rights Movement

Thank you for your work in Congress

Thank you for putting T•••p in his place

And thank you for showing us that someone can still be going strong at 76 years old


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