Ten Poems


Peace starts with me and the people that I talk to

Love is as old as the hills that I walk through

Freedom is expensive and you’re gonna have to argue

Justice only shows its head when life has double-crossed you

The lessons come with patience and a price that’s unexpected

But happiness is with me every second

We’re connected. 


I stand in the wind both arms in the air

hands to the sky, chin high unaware

One being, flesh & bone seeing life in his eyes

sunlight be the whole key invited to rise

like sight to the blind or light to the sightless

vision to the young women, men & the righteous

now we gonna light this torch with the passion

fire on the rise these hands gonna pass it

head in the clouds how long has it lasted

face in the past both hands unmask it

step out the race break away unfastened

chill for a minute with your legs on the hassett

speak til you’ve lost all blood in your cheek

fight for the weak, life’s bleek for the meek

try’n to plug these leaks going week after week

my hunger for love gon’ flood these streets

I’ll keep to the script, tight lipped with the secret

frequent the sequence known to defeat shit

freak with sinking ships thinking I’m deep

    thinking I’mma walk both sides of the street

my wise poetry hides potency openly

speaking real words til the world starts noticing

dig with a pen, these seeds grow hope

just feed what you want and starve what you don’t

break bread with your best friend, breath with your brethren –

listen to the lessons – they’ve been referenced

next in the line, you’re destined to rise

this light gon’ shine

    my life in the sky

draw heat from your whole heart, march to the beat

compete with yourself to clean what you think

speak to your weakness, get your holes filled in

give to the children what you been building

love your brothers, all race and all colors

no hope in the world if we don’t love others


The day we die we’ll realize how silly we were

Until that day we’ll think but never be sure

We’ll remember our roots that stretch through and through

That we have the same baseline, heart rhythm too

We’ll see how fast the years passed by and wonder if 

we lived it to the fullest or did we blunder it

We won’t be concerned about money

We’ll be thinking about our family

We’ll be smiling at our friends

transcending gravity

The day we all die and say bye to the world

we’ll realize how silly we were

for sure.


You’re the light in my eyes

You’re the sight in my life

You’re a blinding surprise until I close them at night

You’re my wheel on the runway

landing at home

Where the cardinals chirp

to the beat of this poem


I remember holding a pen-cil
getting started back in kindergarten it was intense still 
I’d sit ’til I mastered the print while my friends studied the sten-cil
My lines got nice as I worked it
from block letters to cursive
my classmates copied off the wordsmith
but grades were not the purpose 
A’s were just my service
the days would pass I’m sure it’s
how a hobby starts to surface
Then I turned up the ways
I could turn out a phrase 
My knowledge grew on college ruled I could fit more words on a page
this amateur walked from pencils to Manitowac Bic pens
It instilled some big grins
I’d read what I’d write share it with kids and get friends
While some sat limp in their chair like a test dummy
I felt I had an outlet that let out the best of me
I read more and saw Dr. Seuss as truth
the places I’d go if I grew my roots
and I loved The Grinch it’s
a mastery of balancing Halloween with Christmas
the green monster sponsored me to write some stories
with some children’s poetry that I expect was boring
But I wasn’t up for recognition fame or exhibition
just a game to stretch the little thoughts envisioned into diction
I’d hit the pages with the best imagination
writing nonsense in a way that would last from days to decades
still thoughts flipped fast to pass as animation
ink for the script but lead for the test page
I knew the best ways to skewer essays
get the best grades and start the next phase
I make change in the wake plus make what’s in front of me
I try to stand tall to get these words from under me


She’s my angel out of thin air. She carries thoughts of contentment from which the smell of Spring receives its sweetness. The dew drops fall more thickly from the petals that surround. The clouds roll as oceanic ripples from her heartbeat. She is epic. 


i weigh the sun rise as mourning for the day that came before it

and take exception to the soul that might ignore it as expected

the honor in the moment when the night is pushed to margins

is the heart of all beginnings when a dream is resurrected

i’ve seen it many times respected double takes and second glances

bring advances to the spectrum known to limit my perception

engulfed, adrift in memories of unprotected yesterday

the lessons play a stringing web of tangible connection

we dance between the hours where the moments seem to carry on

the mechanized occurence of this atmospheric marathon

if the warmth that i embrace can only settle on me briefly

i’ll pay the movements to the music for the heat that never leaves me

trade winds with breath blessings for the melodies created, scale the measures of tomorrow in the timing once balanced

rise to the tunes plucked on latitude arrangements and represent the harmony erupting unchallenged

if destiny can strike a chord elusive to progression few could hesitate to bring the message from the swirling currents

but expectedly the rhythms scintillate with hurling purpose

and can dignify occurence of the moments we perfected


the rain

like tiny drops of heavens

falling down to all of us

tapping my shoulders

wetting my head with love

feeding the soil and my soul


fire flies

fidgeting flights of twilight

jittery whimsical sights 

flashing signals of life

a quick glimpse for tired eyes

flittering fluttery heights

shining slowly 

flashing hiding

flying glowing

making their rounds at nights

tiny invaders

silent indicators

rising with flare

riders on an invisible carousel of air

quietly drifting

calmly shifting

at dusk we all come here


I’ve learned

it’s easy to make life look normal

it’s easy to make life look fun

it’s easy to make life look.

I’ve learned

it’s possible to go far

it’s possible to change course

it’s possible to.

I’ve learned

we all are on our way

we all are important

we all are.

I’ve learned

there’s a way for you

there’s a way for them

there’s a way.

I’ve learned

you have to sing

you have to try

you have to.

People Of The World.

We Are People Of The World.

We feel each other’s presence in this global whirlpool

where spirits travel on trade winds

and pheromones of foreign bodies infuse the space around them.

We exist with one another like ancient tribal families

who dance around the same fire and share cave space

with equal protection from rain and wind.

We feel each other’s pain when an appendage of

our communal body is mistreated or damaged.

We share in the unifying joy of accomplishment

as when the gravity around one individual is weakened

we all rise with them.

We Are People Of The World and our village is vast.

Our hearts are joined with brick and mortar

so no wedge can separate our unified bodies.

No idea can interfere in our cohesion.

No person can interrupt our harmony.

We dance like a constellation across the heavens

moving to the natural oscillation of our soul winds.

Our vision is gifted from celestial knowledge

guided by timeless wisdom renewed daily with the rise of the sun

as its life-giving glow breaks the crevice of the horizon.

Our pulse is part of a collective rhythm

growing increasingly perfect with each measure.

We Are People Of The World

and despite the tectonic shifts that move our planet

and spread the seafloor there is no separating our family.

We walk the same Earth and share the same warmth

nutrifying all bodies with the same energy.

We are one existence.

We eat different meals at different times

but we give the same thanks.

We share the same gratitude for another day of life

and hug our families with the same ferocity.

We cannot be turned against one another.

We support each other beyond any claims laid by nations.

We come together and appear homogenous

despite the various shades of skin reflecting from our faces.

There is no religion can that divide us.

We Are People Of The World and our identity is one.

Though some of us have never met

we stand with our spiritual arms linked

in a chain of humanistic unity

signifying the goodness inherent between brothers and sisters.

We are the family through which existence continues.

We are the life that prevails despite the evil that brings death.

We are the natural spirit that aligns all people

amidst the deceptions peddled

by those set to benefit from our conflict.

We are love without fail.

We are achievement without effort.

Our destiny is a timeless renewal of hope and progress.

We live on time with today.

We are the promise that brings a more beautiful tomorrow.

We Are People Of The World with no reason to hide.

We have a global network of caring faces.

We are there for our friends when they find themselves trapped.

We reach out our hands to pick each other up from the ground.

We speak up for each other and speak well of each other.

There’s no division amongst our ranks.

There’s no hierarchy between our members.

We are the natural order that cannot be compromised by politics

or religion.

We carry each other’s flags and wave them

because they are our own.

We represent the freedom to live that is inherent in all places.

Our shine cannot become dull as long as there is breath in our lungs.

Our eyes are collectively radiant.

We are the world in all its magic and majesty.

We are the love between all things.


2016 Wrap Up

During the final hours of 2015 I was thinking about how the more I got back to what is real in my life, the more life felt like an epic dream. In 2016 the dream continued. Nothing has ever been more rewarding than focusing on what’s real, wiping away all the fuzz, slowing down, thinking positively, appreciating the small moments, living quietly and in appreciation, striving for mindfulness, trying to make actions more deliberate, and trying to see more clearly whenever possible. Marrying a bright, thoughtful ray of starlight only added to the luxury of being alive.
Our friends grew in number this year, adding several new people and families to the small but quality list of people who are there to share a laugh or help you up when you’re down. Our friends Hans and Jessie we met back in the spring time and went on to become family. Over the course of the year we met nearly weekly to cook dinner and play Catan until the wee hours of the morning. We celebrated birthdays and became Godparents to their youngest, Evyn. I think they have been one of the largest contributors to the past year.
We went to Taiwan and celebrated our marriage in a traditional reception with all my wife’s friends and family who poured in from all corners of the country to welcome me and smile and sing the praises of my wife. We celebrated our 1-year anniversary about the same time.
We had a great summer planting a little garden again. We went tubing down the James and celebrated my wife’s birthday with the most excellent dinner at Acacia. We went to the Lebanese, Greek, and Italian Food Festivals, Broad Appetit, and MakersFest at the Science Museum. I finally saw Aesop Rock, one of my favorite artists, for the first time and had the great pleasure of seeing Sharon Jones for the 3rd time before passing away a month ago. She was a woman who really affected her listeners and audience. I have no idea how some people do this but she made you feel like you knew her personally. She was accessible to her fans and there was an emotional connection between her and us. She went from corrections officer to the almighty Queen of Soul, not recording or releasing an album until much later in life but sky rocketing to the top of the genre with much love and support from her band The Dapp Kings. She battled cancer headfirst and was very open about her experience and attitude towards life all along the way. She talked to us all as an audience during her concert this summer about how she had been beaten down but was never going to let herself stay down. “I have cancer”, she’d say. “But I told Cancer – you don’t have me!” Later I read about how after she returned to the stage how it was never the same for her. Her shows were full of such soul, and impromptu acts of music. She would dance every soul and funk dance I’ve ever heard of. “Now I’mma do the wop” she’d say going dance after dance through song after song. She went through her same routines with her new and freshly short cut hair and things seemed nearly the same, but she said it took so much more energy now. It was great to see her in-person, before and especially after her battle. It hit me like a ton of bricks with NPR emailed me the headline “Sharon Jones dies of cancer.” Cancer killed her body, but it never touched her soul.
My wife had a surgery this summer that let her be relieved of pain. As tough as she actually is, it had really grown intolerable and I felt bad for her to have to live with such discomfort. Her surgery gave us a cancer scare but in the end it gave me the opportunity to take extra care of her, allowed our friends to come over and show how much they care, and it introduced us to a very good surgeon with whom we really enjoyed working but hope we don’t have to see ever again. Things slowed down for a while during her recovery but she was on her feet faster than one might expect.
We were blessed that my wife found gainful employment this year also. First was working with my sister part-time and later she came upon a part-time job working for the state of Virginia that could actually offer her full-time hours until the end of the year. She returned to work quickly after her surgery and even started interviewing for other full-time permanent positions since the one she had was contractual and time-limited. Her boss at the state ended up becoming a friend and part of the family as well. We’ve been to her house several times and she has been to ours. We’ve met her husband, had cookouts, traded gifts and food, and tried to help each other out wherever possible. We’re all quite lucky for all of this really.
This Fall we had loads of fun with Halloween. We decorated the whole house and dressed up together for the first time. We went to Howl-O-Scream at King’s Dominion, Sleepy Hollow Hayride/Woods, and the Ashland Berry Farm for our annual scare-fest with our friends. We also caught Halloween on Hanover Avenue for the second time though this year my wife officially trick-or-treated for the first time. In November we had our first weekend away with just the two of us spending 3 days and 2 nights in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. We went to Natural Bridge and stayed at the historic Natural Bridge Hotel. We went to Lexington to have a nice walk and visited Al and Ernestine Hockaday’s separate boutiques. We saw VMI and left the next day to check in at the Peaks of Otter Lodge before heading down to Blacksburg. We walked around VA Tech for the first time and went to one of my favorite restaurants that I wish would open a location somewhere near Richmond. Peaks of Otter was a beautiful, wonderful stay. I’m sure we’ll probably repeat this weekend again over the winter of spring.
Thanksgiving was a special time because we had our friend Jessie and her children with us this year for what will be a series of endearing memories for years to come. They spent the night with us on Wednesday night, we had hotpot for dinner and watched Home Alone before going to bed and heading up to Ashland for Thanksgiving Day. We came back that night stuffed and tired but they stayed and visited for a while nonetheless. I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas with the kids while Jessie and my wife talked at the table for a while.
This December we went back to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens which was the first time with our family. I think everyone it enjoyed it and it was good to do something like that with my parents who don’t usually get out for things like that. We’re going back in another week with our friends in what I’m sure will be a really fun time. We’ve decorated our new Christmas tree and put up lights wherever we can fit them. We’ve watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Love Actually, and The Holiday and I’m sure we’ll get to our other favorite Christmas movies in due time before we leave for Key West with my parents later this month. Christmas and New Years in the Keys should be another great time and something to remember forever. I haven’t been to Key West in a long time and my wife and I can’t wait to go together.
There’s so many more good times and memories from this year but there’s no need to go into extreme detail. My cousin moved to Florida this year and my sister was diagnosed with, and later beat, lymphoma. I learned enough Mandarin language from my wife to say I’m officially starting to learn some Chinese. It’s mostly random things with about half the phonetic alphabet and numbers 1-10, but it’s a fun start.
We had a great year for music. De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest release their first albums in many, many years. Blackalicious had a great release after a long hiatus. Atmosphere, Common, DJ Shadow, Wax Tailor, Norah Jones and had a good year bringing new music to our ears as well. Roots Manuva’s new album transcended the definition of art it was so creative.  I listened to a lot of Morcheeba, Ozomatli, A Tribe Called Quest, and Redman especially. I made a mix and had an obsession with the vocalists from Thievery Corporation as well as Nickodemus. I also went through a major Pork Records phase, both collecting old releases and listening to them each evening. I made a contact to someone representing the label on Discogs who ended up sending me a free Tetris album after a couple communications.
My wife took a picture with Santa for the second time and many other totally really awesome things happened. My wife at Christmas time is one of my favorite things this year. We had some medical bills and all sort of things this year that enhance our ability to communicate and work as a team as well as loads of other small challenges that are good to conquer and from which to move on. Our friends have been blessed with expecting their first or second children this year and all of them are healthy and well.
Open your arms to life.
Ponder the clouds.
Feel the sea.
See the people.
Hear the notes.
Relish the food.
Smell the memories.
Find your place and balance
– and live.

I See You

I remember my dad mixing cement. Something he could do himself.

I remember him building our garage. A few times I remember some of his friends coming over to spend the day and help, but we never hired anybody to do things. My dad could do it all. Almost anything.

As a kid I didn’t realize until later that some families just call somebody and pay them to fix or build or repair.

Just like any person, it is interesting to watch your father change as they go through the ages.

When we were young he worked from the morning until the afternoon, and sometimes into the evening or night. Whatever time he was finished with work, he would come home and keep working. As was the life of having a family, and kids, and a house in the woods. Things always needed to be done. My mother and he divided and conquered.

We were a young family with a single bread-winner. He worked on the weekend. He brought home used equipment to remove the copper pipes that had cash value. He didn’t fail to make an effort. He and my mother did what they could to make money or save money.

Due to their combined efforts over the years we reached a certain prosperity, enjoyed greater comforts and sometimes even small luxuries.

I hope nowadays my father is seeing things start to slow. I hope he’s finding more time for enjoyment.

He loves his family and gives them so much. He lives his life being a good friend to friends and good family to family.

His parents were my last remaining grandparents for my adult life. My mother’s parents passed away some years ago now. It has only been a few years and a couple Christmases where we had to celebrate the memory of them instead of celebrating with them. I know at times it has been hard for him.

The more time that passes the more I want things to be easier for him. He deserves it.

A life well-lived warrants a life complete with rewards and enjoyment, especially as you move away from your youth into your later years.

He’s not old. Not by mind, not by body.

But he probably feels old sometimes. I know I do.

His family loves him. I know I do.

He has been the greatest father-in-law to my wife that I could have ever hoped. She is as lovable a person as I have ever known. She’s open and caring and I think he is always as happy to see her and she is to see and spend time with him. She loves him too.

We both think about him and talk about him when he isn’t there.

He is good.

When I look at him I see him.

A Moment in Time, Nov 2016

There’s a certain type of sadness that runs so deep that it fills every inch of space on the inside of your body. It starts in your head and then creates a lump in your chest and goes on to rush out to the tips of your toes and down your arms to the ends of your fingers. When I’m depressed or sad for myself or my own situation, more than ever those feelings feel shallow, like they’re limited in some way from reaching total infiltration and no matter how down I may be feeling for myself I know it’s not that bad. The sun will come out tomorrow and probably by the time I go to sleep tonight I’ll have found a different perspective to latch on to and brighten my soul again.

This most penetrating type of sadness though can only be felt for other people during their low moments in their life. I feel overwhelmed by friends and family who are sitting, cross-legged in the dirt drawing a circle over and over with their finger and trying to hold back tears.

More than ever do I know and have people in my life from other places and many of them are feeling crushed over the slap in the face that actually is America. It’s not a story, it’s actual lives of people who thought America was actually one of the greatest countries, because of our diversity. Because we have people from all over the world who come here and can not only be successful but be treated with respect and dignity – icons of acceptance. The American Dream was something that brought people here from all corners of the Earth.
I feel pain for the people who have changed their lives so much to come to this country to find it isn’t what they’ve been told. To learn that people here are so unknowledgeable and unable to relate to people from other cultures that they can only put them down, or make jokes about their differences, or treat them as lesser people is a hard spoon to swallow and for good reason. The people I know who have said “If we can go… we should go” breaks my heart.
America The Despicable. America The Narrow. Where white people cling for their final hopes to isolate themselves from the rest of the world and strive to inherit status and positions above everyone else – but for what reason? To what purpose, or end, should white people be allowed and supported to act in this way? To treat our neighbors like strangers and not brothers. To claim to be a Christian nation yet act nothing like it. To claim to have freedoms while encroaching on the rest of the people’s around us. The problem with minority groups, identifying them and imposing the idea that they are somehow different or lesser is a mentality that only works for the majority. Unless you are white everyone is a minority. And that doesn’t make you anything lesser. To identify as a minority is a self-defeating lesson. It’s not a competition. If there is any purpose to identify any group as being the majority then the only purpose in doing so is to assign which group should be the sole protector over those with smaller percentage of population, or representation. We should all be winning except the majority seems to be on a tangent focused on oppression. Of weakness and of fear.
The real people I know feeling they are the target of this real-world turning of the table, the turning back of time breaks my heart. Whoever thinks they won something this week have no idea what they’re losing – and that’s often the case.
As a country, if we can’t act respectful we will lose respect.
If we can’t continue to include, we will be excluded.
If we don’t continue to help, we will not be helped.
If we continue to hate, we will be hated.
If we build walls for others, people will build them for us.
If we don’t help the poor then one day we will be poor.
If we want to boast about our greatness we must first prove that we are great. The second doesn’t come before the first. If we are going to protect ourselves it doesn’t have to be at the cost of everyone else. To be bold in every endeavor is a fool’s strategy. There is a time when water needs to be ice, and a time when it needs to be soft and flow gracefully into all things. To show you are strong at all times shows you have a great weakness in being weak. A hero can stand quietly and listen. A strong leader takes the back of the line knowing they will eat last. A leader refrains from accepting every praise and instead directs it to those who helped make it to the goal. There’s a wisdom that has escaped us at this point in time. One that isn’t only a figurative entity but something real people around me are feeling. Their concern is my worry. Their grief is my pain. Their unacceptance is my demise.
There’s a sadness that is so deeply channeled that it can only be felt for others. Humans, as we developed into sentient beings who feel love and empathy for our family creatures of our own species, born in a communal image to work with one another for an easier, better life than if we were alone and by ourselves. I was made to build a fire so when you grow the food we can both eat. I grew taller so I could reach the things you cannot. You taught yourself to be smarter so you can watch out for me when I cannot watch out for myself. We are such a connected species that it is unnatural to behave in such separatist ways. We are created so equally that it is painful to see the effort some take to try to hoist themselves above the rest.
It could be such a bright, brilliant, beautiful world if we could take the time to realize it. We create divisions where we all lose instead of creating unities where we all win. Is this naïve? Maybe a little. But this way of thinking doesn’t make people feel the way I know many are feeling right now. The actual majority of people are not white. That shouldn’t be scary to anybody. If you spend your life building bridges you’ll be happy when people come across them to join you. If you spend your life building prisons you’ll fear for your life when people escape them.
After a moment in time these feelings will subside, but I’ll remember them even after they go away. So will the people I love who are feeling at such a loss of support and feeling of oppression right now. Their pain will diminish, but knowing American can be this way is something they won’t soon forget.


It’s understanding planning one step
and mastering the running
it’s refining what you’re writing til the rhapsody is stunning.
It’s practicing a skill til your hands worn withered
then it’s keeping your health balanced and your inner-self centered.
It’s to go against gravity and demand your elevation
it’s the time that duty called and didn’t have a reservation.
It’s the morning after midnight, the time you missed your calling
it’s the crying, it’s the balling, it’s digesting what’s appalling.
It’s practicing the action of what you’ve been saying
it’s the houses that you built while perfecting brick laying.
It’s the sedentary life that I’ve become so well accustomed
it’s the diamonds in the rough that’ll cut you if you touch em.
It’s your turf and now it’s mine, it’s Nikes on the power lines
it’s how to find the brighter side and hold it during sour times.
It’s making the most of lemons and deciding how to do it
it’s calling it a night when you’re under the influence.
It’s living life for joy and loving living with your princess
it’s sharpening a blade and putting edges on your skill set.
It’s faith love and empathy surviving through the misery
it’s smiling whether or not you’ve had the benefits of dentistry.
It’s sweating til you’ve rid yourself of any ounce of water
then it’s filling up your cup and later working even harder.
It’s the pen and how it always knows exactly what you’re thinking
it’s the nausea on your conscious when you see that you were sleeping.
It’s the million ways to die and only one that’s going to come to us
it’s listening to nature even when the sound is thunderous.
It’s life in such variety from many different views
it’s the times we pick & choose and get enthused to walk in different shoes
It’s life and how you shape it in the time that you were given.
it’s arriving at the finish line and knowing you were driven.

My Sorrow, My Sparrow

It makes perch upon my shoulder and digs its needles through my skin.

Sinks beneath my being silently to let it in.

Beacons to the shadows growing strong with dim light.

Scarcity of nutrient, cloaking darkness over sight.

Its gaze can see in front of me, its eyes aside my own.

It knows the past behind us. Hollow as its bones.

It walks along my stanzas unknown to ever rest.

It plays me like an instrument with reeds that know me best.

It’s silent on my arm except when pecking at my soul.

Its claws are born to ridicule and turn a body cold.

My sparrow soars through wind and flesh and digs between the seems.

It lays its eggs at night to haunt tomorrow from my dreams.

It’s light as half a drop of rain but perches like a rock.

Its pupils soak in glory stole from time, it bleeds my clock.

It holds the present captive weighed in stone and built from ice

And stands upon my body never interested in flight.

My sparrow’s healthy as a sunrise with its warmth to glow and spread

But it’s dark as night in color wound eternal is its thread.

It feeds and breathes and grows its grip and sinks its toes persistent

It leads from its tumultuous heart unknown to be repentant.

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My True Joy, My Blue Jay

It rests upon my shoulder and holds tightly to my skin. 

Sets deep into my being quietly to let it in. 

It casts away the shadows growing stronger from the light. 

Abundance of enjoyment, taking darkness from my sight. 

It flies through sun and glory and offers it to be my own. 

It’s weight beyond existence light as feathers to the bone. 

It sings along to stanzas unknown to take a breath. 

It plays me like an instrument with reeds that know me best. 

It’s welcome on my arm with songs that illuminate my soul. 

Its feet are warm and radiant that turn me from the cold. 

My blue jay soars through summer breeze and nests along the stream. 

Its eggs in morning slumber rest at night to feed my dreams. 

It’s light as half a drop of rain with veins as strong as rock. 

Its pupils show me past events hung sweetly on the clock. 

Its back as soft as cotton holding colors blue as ice

and stands upon my body while it’s resting from its flight. 

My blue jay holds a miracle that’s bound to glow and spread

with loving mercy drenched in color strung across our thread. 

It feeds and breathes and grows its grip and sinks its kiss persistent.

It leads from its abundant heart displaying life’s incentive.