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!

The Usual

I’m sitting in a waiting room of an office building. I spend a good chunk of my life in waiting rooms, and in office buildings. So far, two people have asked if they could help me, and I’ve told them both that I have an appointment at 9:30. It’s 9:00 now. I hear men outside the door loading trucks. Not sure what they’re loading. There’s sounds of banging of metal. I hear a woman’s voice, and a man’s voice, inside the office. I hear men talking and laughing outside. I hear a television, perhaps an informational or instructional video.

There’s a sign on the front glass door, and another copy of the sign on the sign-in table, warning those with colds to stay away, so that staff are not exposed. The corona virus is in the news all the time, day and night with updates on new cases and quarantines. People are terrified of getting sick. I’m not sick, so I stay seated and wait for my appointment. I do use the hand sanitizer. You never know.

Days seem to fly by, but I agonize with moments where I have to wait—wait on doctors, wait on traffic lights, wait to pick up my wife from work, wait on dinner to cook, wait on bible study to start, wait on bedtime to give our pets their snacks. We have eight pets: a yellow lab, my wife’s guide dog; a brown chihuahua; a small, but chubby, orange cat; a fuzzy, but thin, orange cat; a black and white tuxedo cat; two grey cockatiels, and a green parakeet.

Our pets take up a lot of our time, attention, and energy. They keep us in a routine, and they keep us from moving around too much, as they like to lay in our laps. When one or both of our laps are occupied, we say, I need to do such and such, but so and so is in my lap. This excuse sometimes keeps us from getting up to get a snack, or it just might keep us from doing a chore, or doing a favor. The pets are the owners, we’re just staff, as they say.

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.

A Boy and His Boat, Ch. 2

The little boy, whose name is Jack, went back to his house and went into the kitchen to see if his mother was there. She was, and Jack asked her, “Mommy, when will Daddy be home?” His mother smiled, answering, “Your father will be home in just a few minutes. He should be on his way home from work right now. Do you need something?” “I need help to build a boat,” Jack said. “Well, I’m sure your Daddy will help you, but you might have to wait until Saturday.” “Okay,” Jack said. “I can wait.” When his father drove his car into the driveway, Jack ran out to him. “Daddy,” he said. “Can you help me build a boat?” “Sure, Jack,” he said. “We’ll do that on Saturday. How big a boat do you want?” “Just big enough for me to sit down in,” said Jack. “Okay, son. We’ll do it, I promise.” Jack was excited! He couldn’t wait for Saturday to come. “What day is today, Daddy?” he asked. “Today is Tuesday,” his Daddy said. “You’ll have to wait four days.” “Okay, thanks, Daddy,” Jack said. “We’ll go to the hardware store together on Saturday morning to buy supplies,” said his Daddy. “Sounds great, Daddy!” Jack said. Jack would count the days until Saturday.

Make A Difference

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A Day with You

Serenely sleeping on the pillow, in the morning;

Cracking a smile while getting ready for work;

Laughing in the car on the way to work;

A kiss and a smile goodbye, and “have a good day”;

Joking around in text messages;

Tips, lists and instructions;

Picking you up after a hard day at work;

Chatting over dinner;

Discussing the world while watching the news;

Jamming to music while we do the dishes;

Playing with the pets at treat time;

Back into bed for a good night’s rest.

You Bless Me

You bless me

With a mind that understands

The ways I think and act,

The ways I try to be

A better husband,

And the ways I fall short,

When I am weak.

You bless me

In the ways you help me,

The ways you care for me,

The ways you love me.

You bless me

With your curiosity,

Your insightfulness,

Your intelligence.

You bless me

With your generosity,

Your humility,

Your persistence.

You bless me,

And I am privileged to be

Your loving husband.

Where Are You?

Where are you can I come there let’s come back together and sing a song of joy for all to hear I remember the good times we spent in each other’s company it was a happy time except when we would argue and fight but that is all behind us now I want to be your friend and we can talk about the craziness of life and all the crazy people in it.