Lonely Places

Once offering solace
a place to contemplate

Now an ominous reminder
of solitude imposed.

(For Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: benches)

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #98: no words

From my place of privilege, I sit and watch George Floyd beg for breath, call out for his mama, and know that I can never truly understand the plight of another, and that I, by virtue of my whiteness, am part of the problem. I have no words adequate enough to express what I am feeling.

I tried. I sent out an expression of disbelief, of horror, and the response came back: This the best you got, white woman.

The author is correct. The comment deserved. I can turn off the TV and the issue moves into the background of my suburban, peaceful life. And no matter how much that image, and his voice haunts me, I am still safely distanced. Such is the nature of my sin. I am guilty of turning a blind eye; pretending.

Racial profiling doesn’t just happen somewhere else. It happens to young men in my neighbourhood – pulled over every time they go out, because we whitey’s are suspicious. It happens the moment we turn on our screens and watch a crime drama where the perpetrators are men of colour.

And it will continue to happen as long as we are willing to look away.

Today, I feel helpless. Inadequate. Guilty.

Today, I have no words.


This week’s focus is inspired by the events unfolding in the news, but is not limited in its scope. There is much in life that leaves us speechless – both tragic and awe-inspiring. This week, think about the moments that leave you searching for words. Responses can be written, photographic, artistic, or musical. I look forward to your input.

To the Man-Boy Who Publicly Declares He Is Not Afraid of Death

And what will you feel
when death,
as you proclaim,
passes you by

a beloved aunt,
an elderly neighbour,
a nephew with asthma

Will you pause
to ponder your part
express regret
for misplaced pride

Or preoccupied
with your own rights
sporting chest protruding blinders
will you deny accountability?

“The president doesn’t wear a mask”
you pronounce the words as gospel
too young to recognize that choices
have consequences, irreversible

Risks, by nature, require careful consideration
recklessness an unworthy motivator
Reward is in the conquering – fear, doubt
No treasure gained when tragedy ensues.


Life is risk, and always there is consequence, and sometimes reward. Risk-reward has been the focus this week and I thank all for participating. My risk is putting out a challenge each week, and the reward is you!

Please check out these wonderful contributors:

Hansel & Gretel – Part 2, I Write Her
Not Yet, MMA Storytime
Memories From Afar, POETRYPALETTE
The woods are lovely dark and deep…, Heart to Heart
Tall Trees, Sgeoil
The Moth, parallax
Volunteering, THE BAG LADY
Patience, one letter UP
Presence Missed, Stuff and what if…

See you tomorrow with a new challenge!

Delicately Opening

Closed signs turn cautiously
trepidation persists –
are openings wise at this time?

Spring ignores man’s conflicts
delicately asserts her voice
delivers a message of renewal

A reminder to all hearts to set aside worry
open anew to the wonders around us –
all else will fall in place in its own time.

(For A Photo A Week Challenge: opening; and Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: delicate colours.)

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #97: risk-reward

Ric is taking advantage of warm weather and stripping the deck. I am inside, fighting an insomnia induced hangover, trying to complete tasks with two ranting dogs underfoot. They want to be outside; I want to be in bed. Ric just wants to get the job done. In the background, Andrew Cuomo is telling people to be tough, keep going. I thank him for the encouragement.

Such interesting times. Shops in town opened this week. I feel the urge to go, and then catch myself, weighing the risk. Nothing has changed really. There is still no vaccination or cure, and my chronic illness persists.

“My neighbours have different people over every night,” my daughter tells me. “They are sitting outside, but still.”

Like us, she is being highly vigilant. She’s had the virus and knows the potential harm. She’s waiting on the science.

“Risk, reward,” Cuomo is saying. “The judgment is yours, but weigh the risk-reward.”

The pressure washer now drowns him out. The dogs have settled down. I turn my thoughts to my stomach. There’s homemade soup in the fridge and leftover pizza in the freezer. The pizza appeals, but the soup would be better for me. Sigh.



Looking forward to your responses this week. Using the the prompt words is not required, as long as you demonstrate the concept of risk-reward. Be creative. Post a response on your site and link back here.