Brothers

I never thought we’d come to this place—

You and me on opposing sides, in a race

Against time, against each other, against freedom.

Never thought I’d be fighting a brother in the kingdom.

Sometimes, I get confused about all the issues.

Hold it now, I need a box of tissues.

Life has taught me to be true to those

Close to me, who’d give me the clothes off their back.

Maybe if we try to make this moment count,

Dig in, and give it all we’ve got.

Can you see the light coming at you now?

Don’t leave me here to just fester and rot!

You mean a lot to me, I wish you could

Accept that simple truth as a fact.

Let’s do the right thing, like eating your favorite food.

It feels good, even to be caught in the act.

Everything we learned yesterday doesn’t come

To mean a thing without love.

Every heart we’ve broke just feels like some

Kind of putting our head in a stove.

But you and me, we’ve been around the block.

We know the rules, and the pain, there’s no going back.

It’s not too late to correct yourself.

Just put those lies on the back shelf.

Hear me say, it’s not the same thing

As going on the first date.

Going steady makes me irate.

Take off like a big spring

That’s all I got, so take it or leave it!

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Life is Relative

And it’s not just an alienation from language, or communication. It’s rejection of the individual, lack of acceptance, judgment. Words are empty when trying to express the grief and sorrow that results from this situation, a hopeless condition.

Lack of connection. No community. No friends. No religion. No god. Just a meaningless existence with no purpose, no focus, no hope. Everything social is either scripted or random. There is nothing real out there, or in here.

And there is only the chance to connect based on a common existence or perceived state of loneliness, ennui, loss of meaning, relativity. Everything depends on everything else. Nothing is certain. Life is one absurd action, thought or event after another.

Far Away

There are no words

That come to mind,

Seeing things pass by—

Another day is gone.

My sweet is far away.

I hear her voice,

But she won’t stay.

She has other things to do today.

Many moons will rise and fall

Before she comes back to me.

Many lonely days will pass

Until her face I see.

When she returns,

She will find me

Exceedingly happy,

Joyful, thankfully.

Gone

Stilled.

The breath and the blood,

Slowing to a stop.

Where is the smile?

The laugh?

Or even the cry?

Seconds tick by…

No movement.

No voice calling.

What happened

To the thrill

Of living life

To its fullest?

What of risk,

Rides and rough-housing?

What of playing games,

Teasing and pranks?

What of kisses,

Hugs, and holding hands?

Life.

Gone!

Starting Over

Leave your heart

At the door,

Slammed shut,

With a thud.

Cover your eyes.

I don’t want you to see

How thin I’ve become,

Wasting away,

In loneliness.

And how I’ve hurt

On this special day.

How I wanted to say

Something cute,

Something caring,

Something happy;

But all that came out was,

“That’s nice.”

All I cared about

Was hiding my fear,

Not starting a fight again,

Over something stupid.

I want to start over.

I want to be closer.

I want to embrace your

Wilting body.

Let’s go down

To the river,

To drown our sin,

And come up again,

And bask in the sun.

Let’s hold each other again,

Like we once did,

When God smiled on us,

And we had not

A care in the world!

Fine

I’ll be fine.

Just give me a chance

To fill my prescriptions,

Snack on those potato chips,

Make a Walmart run,

Fill up the tank

Of my gas-guzzling SUV,

Smoke my cigarette,

Drink a couple of beers,

Go hunting with my pals,

Take my dog to the park,

Take a ride in my boat,

Zoom around on my motorcycle,

Take a hit of acid,

Chew a bite of snuff,

Go to worship at my church,

Feed the homeless in my community,

Read a book,

Lay out on the beach,

Jog for a couple miles,

Sleep in a few extra hours,

Have a cup of coffee,

Get laid,

Collect my paycheck,

Say a prayer.

Yeah, I’ll be fine.

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.