Portland Heroes


“Shocking, un-Portland-like,” a friend says.
But the tragedy is a perfect
portrait of Portland where skinheads killed
an Ethiopian student in
1988; where next door in
2000 an all-white jury
found a Black man was partially
responsible for being attacked
by skinheads; where police routinely
kill Black folk; where just last year a white
supremacist ran down and killed a
young Black man with his vehicle just
outside the city. But in Portland
not one, not two, but three men risked their
lives to help two teens harassed by a
fascist for being Black, for wearing
a hijab. Two died heroes, one a
veteran who survived Iraq and
Afghanistan only to lose his life
to a terrorist at home. But they
did not bleed out alone. Because in
Portland people stopped to help, saving
the life of a third. And three men chased
the murderer, helped police capture
him, ignored the bloody knife he thrust
at them, determined he would not harm
anyone else. Oregon is a
racist state, founded with prohibitions
against Blacks living here enshrined in
the constitution. It’s home to gangs
of skinheads, white supremacists, and
fascists. But Portland is also a
place where people care, where they took to
the streets to protest the killings and
honor the heroes, where sometimes you
see more white faces than black at Black
Lives Matter marches because so few
Blacks live in this city and this state.






Everyone makes assumptions.
Assumptions make it easy
to pass for straight, to pretend.

When you only marry men,
when you never find the right
woman to share your life with . . . .

When you only marry a
woman, when you never find
the right man to share life with . . . .

No one welcomes those of us
who are bi. Not the straights or
the gays. We do not belong.

We must be confused, we must
be greedy, we must be sluts,
we can’t possibly exist.

I’ve never hidden who/what
I am. But I also don’t
proclaim orientation.

I advocate for QUILTBAG
rights without claiming my place
on the LGB spectrum.

So today, I leave you with
no doubts. I am and always
have been a bisexual.




True Colors and False Flags


Millions of Black men imprisoned.
Thousands murdered by the police.
Entire neighborhoods under siege.

Black life in America means
underemployment, poverty,
endless, unwarranted traffic
stops, other acts of harassment.

The Black Lives Matter rallies have
attracted white supporters both
online and in real life. Millions
denounce the abuse, rail against
militarized police forces.

But, when Blacks started shooting back,
even progressive advocates
could have second thoughts, finding
it easier to stay away,
keep quiet, and lament only
the loss of law enforcement lives.

What if someone is recruiting
the shooters? Ex-military,
radicalized, suffering from
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
and racial profiling. Easy
targets for anyone who wants
to instigate a race war.

A war to justify further
escalation of violent
responses to peaceful protests;
rationalize expansion of
online government surveillance;
validate increasing budgets.

Innocuous statements freely
misconstrued, resulting in jail
for guiltless civilians.
Innocent people will bleed; too
many more will needlessly die.

So simple to maintain power
by turning citizens against
each other, using differences
to keep everyone divided.

Millions of Black men imprisoned.
Thousands murdered by the police.
Entire neighborhoods under siege.





As a reporter, editor, business writer, and marketing communications consultant, F.I. Goldhaber produced news stories, feature articles, essays, editorial columns, and reviews for newspapers, corporations, governments, and non-profits in five states. Now her poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews appear in paper, electronic, and audio magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, anthologies, and street signs. Her fourth collection, Food*Family*Friends explores how those three things send us feasting, flinching, and/or frolicking through life. You can find her website at http://www.goldhaber.net/.