Rapidly fired at the head, the soul, the heart

Each hitting its mark

Penetrating deep and deeper until they explode, sending fragments throughout the being

Leaving their target to bleed out… or bleed in… or simply scar over in preparation for the next battle, when it will arrive less whole, but stronger, less fearful, but deeply wounded

After battle upon battle upon battle, though painful still, the words have lost their power

The head and soul and heart come armored


Not to fight, but to stand, to take back, to forge on, to live out

Tori Burris Inkley

July 2022


I sit here this morning shaking and shaken. Tears flowing uncontrollably…

Call me emotional, overly sensitive, dramatic. Call me a libtard, a snowflake, a Demonrat, or any of those other “clever” names that have been trending since 2015. But while you’re labeling me, you damn well also better be calling me a MOTHER, a GRANDMOTHER, a WOMAN, an EDUCATOR, an ACTIVIST, a FEMINIST, an AMERICAN, and a HUMAN.

The conversation on my drive to drop my teenager at high school today consisted of us discussing an incident yesterday where racial hate graffiti was found on a classroom desk at her school. The third or fourth incident recently that we’ve been made aware of. My daughter doesn’t get it… doesn’t understand how people can be so mean and hateful to others because of skin color. My daughter doesn’t get it… and neither do I.

As we approached the school drop-off line, the traffic was significantly worse than normal… and I immediately noticed why. Uniformed officers in cars and on the sidewalk, monitoring the students as they entered the building. The tears immediately began to flow, as I suddenly stopped talking and became deafeningly quiet. My daughter, my child, my baby sits next to me and notices the shift. She pats my arm and says, “It’ll be okay mom. They’ll find the person who wrote that on the desk.” This amazing human next to me, completely unaware of the massacre in Texas yesterday, thinks I’m still upset about the racial graffiti. My heart won’t let me explain the real reason I’m crying. I suck back the tears as we near the drop-off point. She tells me she’s nervous about walking past the officers, and I assure her they’re just there to keep her safe… all the while praying that there’s nothing to be “kept safe” from. She masks up… her choice to continue to do so… and nervously exits the car. I tell her I love her more than a few times as she gets out… she tells me the same, while rolling her eyes of embarrassment. That’s okay… I’m good at lovingly embarrassing my children in their teen years. The moment she closes the door… I fall apart.

I drive the short distance back home. Tears flowing freely. Knowing that I just left a huge chunk of my heart on the sidewalk of the high school. I return home to begin my work day… payroll, emails, phone calls, the usual insanity. Head and heart aren’t in it. They’re in an art class at the high school, in a playroom in Tennessee, in an apartment in Brooklyn. My children are still here on this earth… and I am overjoyed. And yet I sit here, shaking and shaken. And so damn angry that this has happened again.

No more thoughts and prayers. Only action will change this. Our living, breathing, beautiful, innocent children deserve better…

Rant Day

This is a rant day.

A day when, at not even 9:00 in the morning, I want to rant about EVERYTHING!

I’m not happy with the world
Not happy with the weather
Not happy with the uncleanliness of my house
Not happy that I have to work today
Or that I have to make phone calls to solve problems that shouldn’t be

I just need, or rather want, to rant.

I want to scream at everyone I see or hear
Even those closest to me

I feel the tension and the anger bubbling up
And I check the clock…
Nope… still not even 9:00AM

I meditate
I breathe
I read
I close my eyes

Still there

This desire to go off like a firecracker
One of the big ones that explodes high and loud and then showers those directly beneath it

It’s definitely a rant day

And so I rant…
In my head
In my gut
In my heart
In my whole body…

But only there

Let it eat me up
Take me prisoner
Steal this day

At least I’ll keep the others safe

Tori Burris Inkley

Here Again

Will we be here again?
Down the road

Will we share a meal,
A bottle,
A laugh or two?

Will we be here again?
Down the road

Will we have stories to tell,
Memories to make,
Adventures to go on?

Will we be here again?
Down the road

Will we feel the other’s calm,
Delight in the other’s joy,
Hurt with the other’s pain?

Will we be here again?

Tori Burris Inkley

She is my daughter
Yes she is my mother too
Took years to find her

Tori Burris Inkley

Your Seat

So you’ll just sit there, then?

At the edge of injustice?

On the brink of choosing right over wrong?

Tell me…
Are those the best seats?
With the best view of the world around you?

Are they comfortable?
And removed just enough from reality,
That the truth is easy to overlook?

Are they expensive, those seats?
Do they all come with blinders and a bible?
Or do you pay extra for that?

When someone gets lost and ends up in your row,
Are you quick to call security?
Pointing out the reasons why he or she or they don’t belong…

Do you stay quiet when you see the abuse or the inequality?
Because it doesn’t directly impact you…
Or maybe take a bite of your burger or a sip of your beer and pretend you didn’t see?

Do the colors make you nervous?
All the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black…
Or is it the clothes?
Skirts too short or on the wrong person.
Bra straps or braless.
Hoodies or hats.
Too tight, too loose, too not you…

Tell me what it is that causes you to remain in your seat.
Your nice comfy seat surrounded by like-minded beings…

Do you truly not see, hear, or feel the cries, the hurt, the fear… the love?

Leaving that seat won’t end you, my friend…
It might actually make you human

Tori Burris Inkley

It just comes and goes
Creeps into my soul announced
Forcing me to feel

Tori Burris Inkley

The time is fleeting
Must stretch these days long and wide
Goodbye will come soon

Tori Burris Inkley

Fix It

The lights twinkle as the rain falls, and I breathe.

The unknown circles my head like a cyclone
Only feeding me glimpses of “what ifs”

I take another sip
And as the warmth runs from my lips to my toes,
I do my best to let go

As much as I try
I cannot control it all
The joy
The sadness
The right
The wrong

So I sit
And I breathe
And I say a silent prayer to the universe

“Fix it,” I pray.
Make it all right.
Take away the pain and the sorrow and the wrong at every corner.

Fix it, dammit!

Another sip and I laugh.
Amused at my foolish hope of some grand being,
Some power that magically makes wrong right,
That makes bad good,
That heals the broken-hearted,
Or brings back to life the living, breathing dead among us.

The rain stops
And a ray of sunlight surges through the window
And possibly… unwanted

If I believed in signs, then maybe…

But today… I don’t

Today, I’ve sunk to that place that I don’t often visit.

That place where my face remains neutral,
While my soul is a tangled mess.
Where my heart remains hopeful,
But my head knows better.

Fix it, dammit!!

And the sun taunts me.
It dances now around the room,
And has the nerve to touch my face.

I miss the rain.
Today… I miss the rain.

Fix it, dammit!

Tori Burris Inkley

Not Yet

As I breathe
And as I sigh
And as I wish it all away…
It whispers, “Not yet. Not yet.”

As I mourn
And as I cry
And as I curse the powers that be…
It whispers, “One day. One day.”

As I yell
And as I scream
And as I question the whos and whys…
It whispers, “Let go. Let go.”

And as I run
And as I search
And as I feel alone and lost…
It whispers, “You can. You can.”

“You can. You can.”

Tori Burris Inkley

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