GEMS: BOOK TALK OVERVIEW
     It is a difficult task to publish a book during a global pandemic, especially one of poetry.  This book is a personal reflection on my feelings about experiences I've had, or witnessed.  During the pandemic, I felt so anxious, and writing tremendously helped me. 
'      I hated having that feeling of the unknown: what would happen next?  The American president, during the year 2020, made circumstances even more difficult to withstand when he decided to not be more forthcoming about the reality and truth concerning Covid-19. 
     Writing was the only way that I knew how to cope during a pandemic.  When I published this poetry book in 2020, my heart was aching over the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.  Then I heard about the death of Ahmaud Arbery!  There were marches for social justice in the streets throughout the entire year!  
     The trucks of dead bodies.  The hospitals overflowing with coronavirus victims.  Not knowing who had it.  Not knowing if I could get it. 
     Angry people who still refuse to wear masks.  Angry people who still refuse to be vaccinated.  They shout:  "My body. My rights!"  There seems to be no end. 
     As I write this, there have been countless protests in the streets by New York City municipal workers and first responders who would rather risk losing a paycheck during the upcoming holiday season, or being fired altogether, rather than get vaccinated.
     Even some parents, who now have the ability to get their children vaccinated, also protest.  
      The science and evidence point to a positive outcome.  Well, I'm not a doctor or a scientist, and I guess if I had a debilitating illness, I probably would not want more drugs in my body, either! 
     But I'm not sure if I would risk a paycheck or decide to leave my job.
     In this book, I was all in my feelings.  I even went as far back as writing a poem dedicated to what came to be known as The Central Park Five during the 80s.  They were the young African American teenagers who became men in prison, recently exonerated for a crime they did not commit, after serving time that ate up their childhood and the free-flowing years of their 20s. 
     I write about such subjects as homelessness, sex and self-respect, nature, the beauty of the Earth, finding good men, my childhood, and the ink of haiku and spoken words related to the African American Slave Trade and experience. 
     The book cover itself helps bring forth the main message: that there is a bright ray of hope for Africa, a continent that gave us a world of gemstones.  Aren't we gemstones who must shine and show off our beauty and gifts as human beings?
     I spent this time soaking up as much joy as I could at such places as The Tenement Museum, The Brooklyn Promenade, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Governor's Island, reading my work at The New York City Poetry Festival, and enjoying an immersive Van Gogh experience, as well as writing, cooking, and lots of eating.