I was going to Not Review a book today but then the guy that killed Eric Garner in Staten Island was not charged with killing him because, I suppose, he’s a policeman. And maybe because he’s white. And very possibly because Eric Garner isn’t.

The message is crystal clear: white policemen in America may kill whoever they damn well want, even if that person happens to be doing nothing more nefarious than selling untaxed cigarettes. And especially if they happen to be black. They may kill such persons by choking them on the street even while the dying person is informing them that they can’t breathe. I mean, he’s being killed right there on the street and what he does is inform the killer that he can’t breathe… as if, even in that moment he, Eric Garner, gave the policeman the benefit of the doubt that he, the policeman, would care to know that detail. It was a reasonable assumption… that if the policeman were aware that he was killing Eric Garner, he, the policeman would stop.

This is what I can’t breathe means.

It means Eric Garner was human and he made the mistake of thinking the policeman was too.


I can’t Not Review a book today when this comes on the heels of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

And the child that was shot for pointing a toy gun.

And. And.

Nor can I write about the beach or the moon or the sky or the amazing serendipity of life sometimes and the way so very much is beautiful, the way people can be beautiful. It’s all out there, it is… and mostly I’m drawn to finding it. It’s not that hard really. I think it’s important to share.

But today I’m thinking about injustice and hatred and the why of it all. Is there a why??  I’m thinking about the way it might feel to lose someone in this unspeakable way… the shock, sadness, frustration, fear, anger, despair, and how those emotions will add yet another ugly layer to society’s increasingly unattractive skin. I’m thinking why we allow the unattractiveness to grow, why it is we don’t improve, why we allow injustice, vote for it even. I’m thinking how tomorrow is the twenty fifth anniversary of the murder of fourteen women in Montreal and what we have learned in all that time… have we learned anything?

So, no, I can’t write about books today. Or even beauty…

Not today.







12 thoughts on “today…

  1. What I keep coming back to is this: In the face of ugliness, of “society’s increasingly unattractive skin” (such a potent phrase, that) all we can do is bear witness, call bullshit as required, and then go out and proliferate beauty, magnify the good. Thank you for doing all of these. Leslie

  2. I agree with most of what you feel . This man in New York made me want to shake the T V . He was a bully cop ,who probably did this before . He looked like he had to show how strong he was . The one in green . Funny thing is the same Man Mayor De Blasio is the one who made it a law to arrest anyone selling those cigs . Why because it takes away from the TAX that they get . CIG TAX . Has nothing to do with Black . All about Money for the State and ONE BIG BAD COP ,who they should throw the book at . So, So Sad . I know if I where there I would have been arrested for Abstracting justice . Peaceful march fine . Now Ferguson I have other feelings about . Don’t let this spoil your beautiful thoughts . There are lots of many good officers out there and many good people . Just the bad things get the news , over and over again till we don’t see the beauty of things any longer . This world is beautiful and you always show me every time I hear from you or see you . You and others must carry on the beautiful things in this world . The bad things will end and you and I will make it a better place to live in . In any way we can . Keep your smile and read something nice . It will get better again .

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