A Reflection on Juneteenth

Crimes unimaginable

Sins unfathomable

Wrongs not righted

With an apology,

A soft word,

Or the stroke of a pen.

Pain to the deepest parts

Of the heart and soul,

The very fiber of one’s being,

A wound that doesn’t heal,

But rather cuts deeper

With every smile,

Every handshake,

On every pay day,

Every trip to the grocery store,

Every night at mealtime,

When they look at their children,

When they look at ours.

Privilege continues

Despite the lip service,

Despite the promises,

Amidst the meager gifts,

The dregs of easy charity

From the tatters of a bursting purse,

The guilt trip laid on thick

To the middle class and even

The working poor.

Those that lack for food,

Clothing or shelter,

Living barely day to day,

Not knowing where one’s next

Meal will come from.

And at the church the preacher

Says try harder, pray more,

Save your dollars

So you can send your little ones

To a good college,

Make them study,

Keep them out of trouble,

Tell them you love them,

That you’re proud of them

For that report card.

What do you say

When the white kid

Calls them the n-word?

What do you say

When you don’t have a job

Because you refused

To kiss your supervisor’s butt

When he would talk to you

Like you were nothin’,

Just a cog in his machine,

A disposable, replaceable,

Optional, neglectable,

Insultable, disrespected,

Used, abused, tossed out

To the street

Like so much garbage,

Black man?

Power

Wrong meets right.

The fight is strong.

Laugh, they will.

Cry out, they must.

Shout, at the top of their lungs—

Justice must prevail.

So many innocent lives

Have been crushed by the fist

Of the oppressor!

So many suffer

Because of the greed

And the arrogance

Of the powerful.

The powerful?

Who is powerful?

What is power?

Don’t you know that

The wind has changed course

On this hot, dry day.

The wind! The water!

The earth! The animals!

The birds! The insects!

The trees! Yes, even the trees!

Look at an old oak tree,

And tell me about power!

Look at a rushing stream,

And tell me about power!

Watch a lion kill its prey,

And tell me about power!

Is a gun, power?

In the hands of a six year old, a gun is just as powerful as in the hands of a grown man!

A gun is just a tool.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it useful.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it powerful.

And when a thousand voices scream,

That’s power!

When the people speak as one,

That’s power!

Don’t be afraid.

Be excited!

Be joyful!

Be glad!

For power has come to the people,

And they will not be denied this moment.

They have prayed,

And they have worked,

And they have suffered

For this moment.

Listen to the wind blow

Through the trees!

Justice has come like a mighty rush of wind,

And anything that’s old, anything that’s weak,

Anything that’s not tied down tight,

Is gonna blow away!

Those old tricks, old ways,

Cowardly words, weak attitudes,

Straw men beware!

The wind of justice has come to blow you…

Away!

Getting Older

Growing up is a fateful journey,

Full of both joy and despair,

With yearning for a sense of completeness

And sometimes a wish for escape.

I wish I could spend more time

With my family and friends, but

Somehow life seems to get in the way.

Everything from irritable bowels to

A toilet overflowing and flooding several rooms—

From a new job as an administrative assistant

To my wife taking classes at the local community college—

It’s always something.

But as time passes,

I will grab that opportunity to touch base,

Even if just with a note or a phone call.

As I get older, and especially,

As my nieces and nephews get older,

Time seems to fly by and becomes

Much more precious.

Decisions become a challenge, sometimes,

And dates and times seem to crowd in

From every angle.

Oh, if I could only go back!

What I would do differently.

Mercy

Alone, but not alone.

God waits behind the curtain–

Or is it I that wait on God?

We wait on each other, then,

In a sort of waltz together,

Taking one step forward,

And one step back,

Rotating in circles,

Never completely meeting.

Oh, how my heart yearns

To connect to the holy one!

Like a child yearns

To be held by its mother,

So I crave the loving arms

Of my Creator.

My prayers of desperation

Fall down into the abyss.

My prostrate body

Aches with loneliness and pain

Of rejection and betrayal.

I must continue

To remain faithful,

But my soul is so weary.

How my enemies mock me,

Lord of All, please,

Be merciful.

Connections

Did you, too?

Have you been there?

Do you, really?

Thank you.

I’m glad you’re here.

I’m glad I’M here.

This is work.

I want to get better.

I wish I could sleep.

I sleep too much.

I’m ready to commit to that.

I’m ready to quit.

I trust you.

Thank you for being there for me.

Perseverance

Headed Down

Flying in circles,

Spiraling down,

Headed straight

For the barren ground.

Screaming for my god

To save me today.

If only have mercy,

A bit of grace.

I see the red flags

Following me.

Everyone knows

My mind tends to flee.

Can you see the remnant

Of my failing try?

Can you see me fall

From up on high?

I’m headed down

To the barren ground,

To dig me a hole

And never come out.

Bend Your Knees!

Do you wonder how I feel?

I want to curl up in a ball.

Go to sleep and never wake up,

Except I don’t live in a vacuum.

There are family and friends,

My wife, of course,

At the top of the list.

If I left the state of things

Would be grim, full of sin,

And everything.

You look so thin!

You look so nothing,

So drab, so flat.

You look like you’re losing

All your fat!

You are mine and I am yours.

Made for each other

In heaven, by George.

We’ll go out together

Or maybe you first.

That’s the way you want it,

On earth.

I don’t know what I’d do

With myself.

Wrestle dust balls from the shelf.

There’s much to look forward to

In this life.

But I can’t remember

Any but strife.

There’s much to hope for,

Much to dream,

But all I want to do

Is scream.

We’ll make it.

Don’t you worry.

There’ll be lots of fun and flurry.

We will gather all around.

We won’t stop for any sound.

Come with me to the holy gate.

Promise I won’t be irate.

We’ll enjoy your company.

We’ll be sure to bend our knees,

Jumping off the side of the boat,

In the castle’s shallow moat.

Closing In

Crawling under, torn asunder.

Beloved stolen, booming thunder.

Please excuse the mighty cry.

Nothing proven, when you died.

Angels gliding through the air.

I won’t suffer. I don’t care.

Vivid memories closing in.

Wasting away, growing thin.

What’s the difference if I go?

What’s the point of to and fro?

I just want a soothing moment.

I just want a second chance.

Only we can see the answer.

Only you can keep the balance.

Trial Size

Sloping down and then back up, like a speeding truck, I am searching for your love. Transubstantiate, lift then push, then go all out, a mystery solved, doubts soothed, memories calmed, nightmares called what they are. Do you dream at night? I do. I fly through the sky on my back, steering with my feet. Trial size.