Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Stuck with Some Bad Company

i am sure my neighbors
get annoyed
but it’s one way i
shout i am alive
i will not
give in to the
fear

the first thing i do
once i get in the
truck is roll down the
windows and crank up the
stereo with some
bad company

i leave for work
electric guitars
screaming
drums banging
bass thumping
waking the neighborhood
with what has become
my rocking prayer

i can’t get
enough of your
love

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Giving Up Air

i wonder if i could be so gracious
if i could stare without fear into the unknown as my lungs cry out for oxygen
like my friend on the phone
who says if he was sick
he would let another have the ventilator
and move on into that other place
where there is no shortage
of breath

such are the choices that may
loom just over the horizon
while some discuss compensation
and the guns they possess
and others make soup and bread to share with those on the edge
i think of my loved ones who may not be with me in the coming days
the sadness that may await on the morrows

and yet i know that the spirit
blows where ere it will
the tops of the budding trees
gently sway before the
brightening sky
and now this morning at least
i feel a sense of peace
my heart expanding
like opening lungs
as the one who holds this
groaning world in her hands
breathes new life
and a love for all
into me

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Writing on the Apocalypse

there is a comfort that comes
with the scratching of the pen
the slow refinishing of a church altar
the precociousness of a child
who blissfully does not fully realize
the fearful nature of these times

my writing takes me into the day
old wood grain shines like new in the morning sun
the laughter of children playing greets me as I step outside

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

The Comfort of Sparrows

with my eyes
closed
i turn towards the
eastern window
to see the
shadow
of a bird in
flight
across the
sky
of my
eyelids

in these days
of
waiting
i will not
live
in fear
eyes
wide open
or
shut
the sun
rises
the crocus
emerges
from her
winter
sleep
the birds
still
take
wing
like
a
morning
prayer

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Depression 1.4 – An Unkindness of Ravens

I do not begrudge those who have been healed.

I too attempted the natural way.

I too prayed.

I did (and do) so every day.

I tried to shoo Elegiac away. It simply returned with more of its kin. They gathered along my shoulders and the length of my arms, an overwhelming unkindness of ravens.

Suddenly, they had flown away with me until I hung like a broken marionette, dangling over the abyss.

Suspended, staring down, it was not something I wished to ever see again.

It was then I realized that sometimes healing comes in the shape of a jagged little pill.

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Freedom and the Fear of Death: Words from Dr. King

Dr. King once said “Until you conquer the fear of death, you don’t know what freedom is!”

I must admit that I am not free and have not been free for a long while. I have allowed Death to keep its sting. On this anniversary of the assassination of this great man, I am reminded that there is still a long way to go in this country and the world before we achieve the Dream. On this day with this faith I commit myself to change beginning with myself and with my fear of death. In other words, in a paraphrase from Gypsy Smith, “If you want to have revival, draw a circle around yourself and have revival in that circle.”

So I am drawing a circle around myself. I am stepping out of my comfort zone beyond talk into places and experiences that make me uncomfortable into an engagement with people different from me. I am not expecting people to come to me. I am not expecting change to knock on my door. I am going to change. I am opening the door to difference and walking out. I am going to face my own mortality and cease to be afraid of what might happen if my changing causes others to change, to be uncomfortable, and so strike back against that change and me.

Who am I to think that I must not suffer when I do anyway if one person in this world is suffering? Who am I to think that I must not hurt when I do anyway because one person in this world is hurting? Who am I to think that I must ignore death when my brothers and sisters the world over are giving their lives day in and day out because they cannot live as I do?

I do not know where this path will take me, but I do know this:
I am not alone and
I will not be afraid.

January 21, 2008

Posted in Peace Quotes

Beware Of Turning Into The Enemy You Most Fear

(torn from the side of a paper cup)

Beware of turning into the enemy you most fear.
All it takes is to lash out violently at someone who
has done you grievous harm, proclaiming that only
your pain matters in this world.

More than against that person’s body, you will then, at that moment, be committing a crime against your own imagination.

—-Ariel Dorfman (novelist, playwright, essayist)

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

This Place Called We

I watch you dreaming,
strive to read the REM beneath your eyelids,
see the hands you hold in sleep,
the fields where your feet run.

Strange to believe that already how so much of who I am and
who I will be is contained in your body.
Strange to think how fragile is the vessel which holds this
thing called love.

The fear of losing you,
of losing you in me,
of losing me in you,
wakes me up in the early morning hours
when I am away from you.

I am torn between the beliefs that I am whole
alone and yet am not fully complete without you.

These thoughts live together,
rest side by side,
gather themselves around
my heart like a comforter and
give me peace.

Somehow someway there is truth here in this dichotomy.
Such is the paradox of love.
Such is this place called we.

October 24, 2001 

Originally posted here June 2012

Posted in Longreads and Essays

The Not So Wicked Bible (or the Worship of Prince Baalberith)

A MIDWEEK ESSAY

In 1611, Barker and Lucas, the royal printers in London, published what was meant to be a reprint of the King James Bible. There was one major omission. In one of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:14 which should have read “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” the not was omitted. The printed passage read “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Needless to say the printers got into big trouble and most copies of the Bible were destroyed.

I find the story ironic in two ways. Based on current statistics, it seems that the mistaken commandment in the Wicked Bible is the one that is being followed. Polygamy is still being practiced, only now it is done so in secretive and illicit affairs. Pornography, sex trafficking, and prostitution continue to feed insatiable lusts. The Church continues to be so obsessed with sex that other principles are not emphasized with equal importance.

Which brings me to my second point. Would there have been as big an uproar if the printers had omitted not from verse 13 so that it would have read “Thou shalt kill?” I don’t know. But for all practical purposes in this day and age we act as though the “not” does not exist.

We continue to glorify killing through incessant media broadcasts of tragedy that feed our insatiable appetite for such. We justify killing through our continuous need to be engaged in one “Holy War” after another. The two are not unrelated. For when we approve of killing in any form we create an opening for that spirit to be present in our society. The murders and violent tragedies so prevalent among us are a direct result of our justification of killing through war and other “accepted” means. There are those among us who have more compassion for the unborn than for those birthed and living.

My friends, this must not be so. Thou shalt not kill. Period. We must close the portal that allows such things to invade our society. We must defeat the Red Horseman, Prince Baalberith, and his legions.

We can do so only through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Originally posted October 21, 2011