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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Heirlooms in a Broken Family

Dripping poison,

Those little words,

Snarled,

Under the breath,

Then pushed out

With the stomach.

You passed on your mother’s china

To me, the first grandson to marry,

But you wanted to keep a teapot.

My wife wanted the entire set,

So, I said no.

That’s when you got nasty.

I don’t care what you do, you said.

Just sell it!

I had no intention of selling it.

Now that we’ve had it for a while,

We think we’ll pass it on

To your grandchildren.

Isn’t that what you would want?

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.

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!

Spirals

Drifting through despair,

The emptiness tingles.

My soul quivers

At the tickling breeze

Of meandering routine,

The repetition of work,

And the high-pitched whistling

Of idle conversation.

The circular motion

Of a life without purpose,

A mind without focus,

And feet without direction,

All come together for an

Absurd account of a life lived

Without meaning.

Freedom comes with its own

Heavy chains,

And a weight that is a

Painful, woe-some

Burden to bare.

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!

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.

Courageous Relationships (link to video)

www.saintpaulsumc.org/sermon/new-places-for-new-people-courageous-relationships/

Click on the above link to view a sermon by Rev. Dr. Kandace Brooks in which she challenges her congregation to step out of their comfort zones and reach out to others, to ask for help or to be of help, specifically to the mentally ill, suicidal, etc.