Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Thaw

i am the leaf frozen in ice
i am the bird shivering on a wire
i am the temptress that doth entice
i am the slow burn of desire

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Another Winter Without Snow

The scrape of a leaf outside my door

is a lonely sound I have heard before

from a latent memory of long ago

and another winter without snow.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Sometimes It Seems All Of The Days Are Gray

sometimes it seems
all of the days are gray
and the doors closed
without a glimpse of the one
who steps across the threshold
you are the one who walks in the rain past the curious stares of dry children in their after school program coloring within
and further along past the empty storefronts waiting for new tenants
you smile at the woman smoking beneath the dripping eaves
the open sign flashing red behind her

inside at home it is warm
the lights cast off the chill
but you know that you can
never ever leave the gray behind

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Ohayō gozaimasu, Kakure Kirishitan

Good morning,
Hidden Christian.
Now is not the time to be afraid
for you have been made
in the image of the Christ.

Rise up,
Hanare Kirishitan!
Be not dismayed
though it seems your Faith has been betrayed,
hijacked in some ugly heist.

Come forth,
Mukashi Kirishitan!
Like Lazarus out of your grave,
kamikaze from Elijah’s cave,
rejoin the ancient Zeitgeist.

Reference: (https://goo.gl/TDME3p )

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Success (n.)

to not seek to possess

to be a man of largesse

to be capable of caress

to help others in distress

to not seek to impress

to be willing to confess

to offer redress

when i have transgressed

to not suppress

the need to express

to take time to process

and to decompress

to find the courage to profess

that i am a work in progress

to be steady in faithfulness

to bless

to resist unkindness

this then is my definition of success

more or less

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

A Little Less Vanilla

When one bakes with diversity,

add 3 cups of humility,

and take a long taste of Chocolate City.

Listen to some go-go.

Watch a young man dance before the coffin of his grandma in a love show.

Hear the song of joy and grief.

Add 3 tablespoons of the river Anacostia.

The change in your pallette may very well cost ya

and there could be some heart burn

as you listen and re-learn

to really breathe

because trying to mute DC is a form of hypoxia.

What you been cooking up doesn’t make much sense.

It’s time to use some different ingredients.

Maybe a little less salt.

And a lot more pepper.

More chocolate.

Less vanilla.

Because this is more than grabbing a chili dog from Ben’s Chili Bowl.

What good is soul food if you’ve lost your soul?

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Ode to M. Alcofribas

Though I am not as wise as Solomon,
when I think of a certain Friar John
whose abbey was made most Gargantuan,
I see a misreading of Immanuel Kant.

A church born from a babe in Bethlehem
is now most like the Abbey of Thélème
for it has cast off its royal diadem
to follow the mantra, “Do What You Want.”

(see this article for more info)

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Salvation From The Depths

There is a bridge in Washington DC that is named after an unlikely hero, a man who quite literally gave his life to save others.

Thirty-eight years ago, on January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 Boeing 737-200 crashed onto the 14th Street Bridge and into an icy Potomac River, killing all 73 passengers and crew. Four passengers and one flight attendant were the only survivors.

At least four of those people owed their lives to the “sixth passenger” as he became known.

After the plane crashed and began to sink into the ice-strewn river, six people could be seen clinging to the plane’s tail fin. A US Park Police helicopter arrived on the scene and immediately began trying to rescue the survivors. The helicopter rescued one person and then returned to the tail.

Arland D. Williams Jr. caught the rescue line and instead of wrapping it around himself, he passed it to flight attendant Kelly Duncan. When the helicopter returned to the wreckage a third time, it dropped two lines because the crew feared that the remaining survivors would succumb to hypothermia very soon. Williams caught one of the lines and passed it on to a severely injured Joe Stiley, who also grabbed Priscilla Tirado. Patricia Felch took the other line and was towed to safety along with the others.

When the helicopter returned, Williams and the tail section of the plane were gone. After the bodies from the crash were recovered, the coroner determined that Williams was the only passenger to die by drowning therefore he had been the “sixth passenger,” the one who gave his life for others.

Ninety-one years ago today a man was born who would give his life to rescue his people from the dark depths of racial segregation and discrimination. Fifty-two years after his death, the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored and acknowledged through his monument on the National Mall.

I will probably never have a bridge named after me, but I want to be a bridge between people. I may never have to pass a rescue line to another, but I want to daily live my life in service to others who may need a helping hand.

I will probably never have a monument highlighting my deeds, but I can make my life a monument that honors an ordinary hero like Williams and the extraordinary life of Dr. King.

Perhaps I can be the one who keeps someone from slipping beneath the surface into the cold depths of despair.

Originally posted January 15, 2012, dates updated to reflect present.

Posted in Prayers and the Sacred

Leviathan’s TWomb (a reluctant prophet’s song in four parts)

face pressed
against foreign sand
reeking of fish spume

soul cast
by divine’s demand
to where my enemies loom

body risen
in a strange land
birthed from whale’s womb

voice shouts
a jagged command
be freed from leviathan’s tomb!