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.

Walmart Pariah

A woman stands at the entrance

With a shopping cart full

Of her cherished belongings,

Waiting patiently on the generosity,

Or, rather, pity, or worse, guilt,

Of the passerby, to convict,

To shame, or maybe, on the rare instance,

To inspire, to give a gift.

Aren’t we all like her,

Dragging our materials

From house to house,

Packing them away

For that rainy or cold day,

That is sure to come?

Aren’t we petitioners

To passing angels or demons,

Or a god that plays favorites,

To have mercy or just indulge us,

One more time,

So we can get our fix,

Spoiled children of a wealthy parent,

Taken a few wrong turns on the streets,

The pariah or prodigal reduced to

Yearning after the feed of pigs,

Coming out of Walmart with

Their baskets full?

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.

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.

Make A Difference

Give create assist dedicate forgive educate care play believe sponsor mentor free tell sing preach pray read live dramatize dance communicate write recite fix build clean construct maintain mow plant prune clip sew crochet paste cut glue paint draw shape sculpt heal medicate shelter house feed love drink commune discuss share reveal change

We Are One

I waited for you

On top of the mountain,

But you didn’t show.

I went down

Into the valley,

But I didn’t see you there.

I sailed on the ocean,

Hoping to catch

A glimpse of you at sunrise,

But I was disappointed.

I prayed to you

To appear to me,

And I looked at my reflection

In a pool of water.

It was then that I realized–

You were always with me,

For you are a part of me.

We can never be separated,

You and I.

We are One.