Magic Charm

That third night was a charm.
Walking with you
arm in arm
along Eighth Avenue
or maybe it was Seventh?
I can’t tell because
I’ve been under a spell
since that third night.

One thing is sure,
what I felt was pure.
Enchanted by each word
I’m certain I heard
my soul’s echo in your voice.
Through incantation and my
you opened a portal
and led me into the
Try as I might,
I’ve lost all sight
of life before —
those three nights.

Through calm assurance,
patience and endurance,
you discovered the lover in me.
Solo navigation would never reach this elevation.
Together we achieved
what I’d hardly conceived;
we made love real
and the possibilities are still–
bringing me to my knees.

Simple pleasure
beyond measure–
your touch, your scent,
your time
and the way you penetrated my
I left a trail of blood
on Eighth Avenue
or maybe it was Seventh?
proof I died that day.

Our souls connected
I was resurrected–
through the gift of sight.
On sunny days,
this charm glistens,
shines so bright,
it hurts my eyes.
I’m surprised I’m not blind
or maybe I am?
On dark days
(not to mention the nights),
my mind plays
tricks and
I see glimmers of light
no one else can see and when
darkness hangs
on me
like a blanket of lead
–on these very darkest of nights–
I hold my charm tightly
but it doesn’t shine
brightly, so
I rub it in my hands,
press it to my lips
and feel its soft glow.
I see what I feel
and because I feel, I know–
that third night was a charm.

If you are cold,
this charm will make you warm.
If you are in darkness,
it’ll give you light.
It’s tarnished, you say?
that’s only because
you can’t see
as deeply as me.
My reply?
Open your third eye.

That third night was a charm.
Walking with me
arm in arm
along Eighth Avenue–
or maybe it was Seventh?
Re-member the magic
in that moment.

–JJModeste, 1/4/2018


January 10th

January 10th


Let this day rain on you

hard and heavy with big,

fat drops that fall like

Gabriel’s tears and

deliver unto you

a message of hope.

Let a wild wind rip away

the mud-caked dust of despair

and leave you raw,

so sunlight can

singe all that hurts and

let new growth begin.

Let quiet calm halt time

and keep March away, for now.


Here in this moment,

rage within but

stand still.

Fearless protector,

listen deeply and be comforted

as the universe echoes

the sound of your soul and whispers

these words from the vast beyond–

I am well.

—JJModeste, 1/10/2018

Love in a time of violence

We are living in violent times. Our current political theatre has me in knots. I’ve read enough about emerging markets, governance, and foreign relations to know – democracies fail. Is our experiment in democracy failing us now? Did our particular type of democracy, capitalist democracy, hasten our demise and so now threaten to upend the Republic?

Political violence is ripping our nation apart. I am traumatized, daily, by 45 and his administration. Policies, orders, administrative and judicial appointments are setting our nation back more than 50 years. State violence – police brutality, in particular – has me deeply troubled. Too many view State violence as a partisan issue. Black Lives Matter, they say, ignores the risk police officers take every day, ignores the good cops who honor their oath to ‘serve and protect.’ People seek exceptions that allow them to deny what their eyes tell them is real. This psychological and emotional disconnect perpetuates violence and sacrifices human kindness. Blaming dead people for their deaths is inhumane and breeds outrage. And so I wonder… how does political, emotional, physical and psychological violence shape our daily interactions? How does violence shape the way we love?

The violence seems most acute in communities under siege. So, this poem, “Love in a time of violence” is an effort to re-commit to love.

Love in a time of violence 


There is a beautiful fierceness

inherent in Black Love.

It means — I desire you, insatiably,

and will protect you, heroically,

and in the space between desire and protection,

I will love you

romantically, tenderly, and erotically—

History has made Black Love


it is always open season

on Black bodies. 

Black women are angry 

at Black men and

Black men are suspicious

of Black women.

History is a heavy load to bear.

We wonder– 

can love overcome 

anger and violence and mistrust and

centuries of hurt?

There is historic rage in my love for you.

Yet, that rage breeds a passion

whose fire burns eternally,

and a loyalty encoded in my DNA. 

I know you,


You are mine, for all time. 

It matters not what becomes of

“You & I.”

To love you is to have always loved you.

Deep like the ocean,

long like the Nile — 

Big, like the sky,

Still, like a mountain,

My love is always.

— Jackie Modeste, 1 August 2017