Growing older (National Poetry Month)

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unsplash-logoDylan McLeod

It’s 12:20 in the morning
I trace my tongue over a broken tooth
my back hurts from too much work
and my eyes are grainy and tired
I’ve turned another year older
a few more laugh lines around my eyes
a few more frown lines upon my brow

and yet, I am not the only one
I can see the age in my husband’s face
the sharper look of a man in his thirties
the youthful fat now melted away
leaving a refined brow
and sharper eyes

New questions parade in my mind
things I used to never think of
am I aging gracefully?
What does that mean?
Am I living a good life?
What does THAT mean?

I shall close my eyes soon
and sleep the rest of the night away
and know that in younger days I could stay up til dawn
caffeine and nicotine and a pretty face

Yet, I think those days are gone
and my beauty, and my mind, and my body
need their rest
for I am one year older than last year
but I really feel this year
deep in my bones

 

Silence and the rest of you life (Poem)

I took yesterday (4/4) off from National Poetry month to observe the anniversary of the passing of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the birthday of the late, great, Doctor Maya Angelou who would have been 90 years old.

So, I would like to continue today with a poem request from a friend of mine about the end of a relationship. I hope you like it. And if there has been anyone out there who’s been a fool for love, trust me, I feel your pain.

 

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unsplash-logoKinga Cichewicz

I have scraped myself off the floor
of reality so brutally honest
I have doused myself with holy water
to wash away the tears I’ve shed
I’ve born the weight of this family
the results are a little bottle of pills
I take daily
I’ve changed my name
my jeans size
my hair color
I’ve changed my habits
and my country
I’ve held your fevered head in my lap
I’ve held your sex
your tear stained cheeks
I’ve rocked and cradled and cooed and died

But out of all of this passion
I have born one single truth
I did these things
yes
I did these things
for you
with you
to you
and I can undo them just the same

My name is Gloriana
I am a queen in my own right
I am tempest waters raging
I am daytime and I am the night
so if this love is over
let it be over and let it be done
let me return to my country of origin
of my native people
my native tongue

For I am the ground you tread upon
I am the rocking chair where you sit
I am the memories you’ll carry with you
I am the rock, the awning, your bed

So when I go, I go swiftly
soft as the sighing of the trees
and all the pleasures I have given you
I will pack up and take with me
there will be no more tumble
no more fire in your hearth
All that will remain will be silence
and the rest of your life to live

 

Real Love (National Poetry Month)

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unsplash-logoKevin Grieve

Real Love

Water left on the bathroom floor
toothpaste in the sink
morning breath kisses
and aching backs
grey hair at the temples
and date nights on the couch

Bill folds
walk the dog
separate the clothes
and walk them to the laundromat
fevers, nightmares,
three a.m. dash to the bathroom
Are you alright?
Yeah, I’m fine
wait half awake for him to return

Throw this ratty old shirt out
or make it into a dusting rag
pay the bills, chase the cat
Christmas Trees
and flowers in vases
can you pass the gravy?

I’m getting older
you’re getting older
where the rubber meets the road
dishes in the sink
off to work you go
it’s another day in the life
of real love

 

Enough Gold To Hoard

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How did that happen?
Where was the tipping point?
I must have missed the exit sign
on the freeway of my feelings
and kept driving

Did I have the radio on too loud
was I caught up in the music?
Did I allow my mind to wander?
I have awareness but did I use it?

Or did I want to keep going?
Did I choose to pass the off ramp
and see what another stretch of freeway looked like?
It’s still blacktop, white stripes, my hands are on the wheel
but now I don’t know what to do.

Caught in the once familiar
I stood and looked at myself in the mirror
and heard the words spoken in my ear
I smiled and felt sexy
with new clothes and my prowess
now I am dressed to the nines
waiting for the phone to ring

I’m annoyed
that’s always a dangerous feeling
needle pricks inside my brain
that has me wondering and feeling foolish
I can taste copper inside my mouth
as I bite down on angry words
now the dragon’s been bothered

I hate when people do this
speak the truth and call the shadow what it is
make clear roads in, identify the moment
and the vanish as a sort of punishment
with whiplash-like ferocity
leaving me asking, “What the fuck did *I* do?”

Nothing. I didn’t do anything.
You made you feel those things.
Fantasize those things.
Dream those things.
Just like I did.
My guilt is mine.
Keep yours.
I have enough gold to hoard.

The Collective Unconcious (Poem)

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unsplash-logoRedd Angelo

The wind is howling
at seven thirty in the morning
a bitter wind
shoves it’s way down from the north
I’ve walked the dog, 
dressed in Corpus Christi Coture
which consisted of work out shorts
a hoodie, and a robe
before dashing back inside
and now with a cup of Earl Grey
my dog asleep in the corner
the cat asleep on a chair
I come to the altar of humanity once more
to bear my soul
and write my song
as if I didn’t know the dangers
of being naked
to the bitter winds of the world

Lately, my mind
has not been my own
my body
has been in pain
and I’ve spent countless hours
my arms splayed out at my sides
grasping realities
trying desperately to hold myself together
but the reality of my situation is
that I am in the most danger
when I cannot give myself away
when I cannot imbue a part of my soul
in a book, in a story, in a poem
and set it to sail among the many souls
adrift in the collective unconscious

No children, have I, at my age
that fate wasn’t written on my heart
due in part to a hijacked mind
but I do have family among those
who kneel at the water’s edge with me
and murmur their truth to the stars above
that family, no one could take away
not even death
their truth lives on in stories they told
when they in a living way
took time to kneel beside the ever-flowing river
speaking their truth to the firmament
when they bowed their heads to pray.

 

Fall from Grace (poem)

 

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all at once I was fifteen feet below
kicking, flailing, lungs on fire
I was dropped in the middle of the ocean
after I fell to my humanity from heaven
lead weights of betrayal around my ankles
black water all around me
I could see the sunlight just beyond the surface
turning the water above my head green

Deals with God, please don’t let me die
Deals with Devil, please don’t send me back
I found pockets of oxygen
in the beds of other men, begging them
please don’t send me away
then, I would depart on my walk of shame
down their driveway
kicking my way up

I’d used my youth, and my youth was used
and my face, and my dreams, and my body
as I discovered the truth about me
I was needy, and hungry, and lonely
and terribly insecure
I accepted these things
and the shackles one by one, broke

I kicked hard, to the surface
black spots dancing before my eyes
brain screaming at me to take a lungful
of water
the familiar taste of salt from the sea
my heart beat, thumped, railed, against
it’s steel cage – a lone drummer’s insurrection

freedom was inches from my face
until finally I crashed through that membrane
and all at once, I was free
sweet air, lungfuls, belly breaths
til all at once i came back to me
there I was floating on my back
face skyward – all alone on the sea

Street Preacher (poem)

 

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Alex Hockett

 

I am the street preacher
saint and sinner
dancing along that fine line
and eternal circle
of life and repentance 
When I dare speak in exclamation points

Loving the in between
like grass that grows in busted concrete
pushing upward to heaven
flat broke, I feel like a million bucks
when it rains upon my brow

There are no pamphlets
no special prayer to yank you out of the world
but there is a dirty hand
that points you to where the food is
where the hope is
where eternity is

Touched in the head
touched on the heart
I stumble around just as blind
as the rest of the self appointed saints
and maybe I am a fool for thinking so
but radical equality is the song i sing

Amazing Grace
has a history as sordid as those it saves
and church can be a canopy of stars
as I open my shirt to show you my scars
that make me bitter and afraid and hopeful
knowing you can’t be found unless you’re willing
to get real good and lost

Damnation is only reserved for empire
and cruelty, and hate
and for those who need to be punished
for crimes, for failings,
for the inability to forgive and be forgiven
those flames also familiar to me

But I wander and wonder
and stare at the magnolia tree
and the big fat bees that bumble along
flower to flower with impossibly large bodies
and no sense of urgency

With a shot of whiskey in my system
and a grin upon my face
a hurt in my heart
and a little room where I lay my head at night
with a penchant for storytelling
I wander
a preacher of the streets
professing a gospel of life

 

Banged up old car (Poem)

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Instagram.com/igorovsyannykov/

 

I’m banged to shit
the wrong kind of gay for you
but i’m still here
like a car that has a bald tire
busted tail lights and a broken air conditioner
still gets you from A to B
I still cruise the night with the radio blasting

sure I may be not as attractive as the benz
you’re riding in
but my backseat lays it down just the same
maybe even better

and my engine may not be as quiet
but I liked it loud and verbal when the peddle is put down
as rubber burns the asphalt
why I even growl “mooooooooore” as i disappear into the night

unlike you’re uber
you know when you’ve ridden with me
like an infection I get under your skin one way
or another
your fingers find the impressions I make
and despite your sensibilities
it always makes you smile
now, whether you like that you smile – well, that’s you’re business

I may require a trigger warning
I may cuss when I’m not happy and I may break down
and I’m sure guaranteed to offend
the BMWs and limousine riders
and my ride might not be as smooth
but I am not here for smooth
I’m here for those who like it rough

Sure, the valet is gonna raise a brow
at the ancient upholstery and smoke tinged glass
but he doesn’t know what you know
and he doesn’t know what I can’t explain
and he can’t articulate the miles on the odometer
but you can – you know – at least part of the story

The Lighthouse (poem)

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In the midst of tempest raging
When the wind and waves crash constant
And the night is filled with flashing lights and rolls of thunder
When the rain lashes a thousand needles agaisnt the skin
A proud lighthouse stands in the midst of it all
Even when the world trembles
From the celestial cannon fire sounding
And the periods between electric light are as dark and deep as the ocean
And the sailor has lost his way
A proud lighthouse stands in the midst of it all
With yellow lights beaming, round and round it’s promise goes
Warning sailors of imminent danger while at the same time guiding them home
Though the waves may hide jagged rocks jutting upward
Ready to take apart ship and limb and life
The steady knowledge of someone watching, always vigilant , always ready
Encouraged the sailor to keep on fighting till the wind gives up the ghost
That’s how I felt the day I found you and i knew to come and speak to you
When life’s cruel waves did force me from a life id always known
And as that cannon fire through the night did rumble
Blinded by the lightnings angry forked limitations
Though hot as the sun’s surface, was too brief to guide me home
But those days tempest tossed are far behind me
And even though the wind and waves grow higher
The fear of going under or dashing against the unyielding rocky shore
Isnt Much of a worry for me these days
For I’ve given up my ship, now Harbored just inside the bay
And now I bathe in the glow of the lighthouse which has now become my home

The Peculiar Timing of the Nashville Statement by The Southern Baptist Convention

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Pana Vasquez

I’ve been watching the news of the absolute devastation that has taken place in our country over the last week or so.

Houston, Texas, along with many other smaller communities along the Texas gulf coast was slammed hard by a massive Hurricane.

Yet in the midst of the wind and the rain, the destruction of homes by wind gusts topping 140 miles per hour, the wiping away of family homes and business, the upending of lives in an area so large it would cover Michigan from end to end, in the midst of turmoil and death, evangelical leaders decided at that particular moment to hold Houston’s head underneath the water.

150 ministers from the S.B.C gathered in Nashville to build and ratify a manifesto that takes aim homosexuality and trans-gendered folks. The language is divisive, it’s old age fundamentalist rhetoric, with debatable versus thrown in for good measure.

To a lot of people, including the Mayor of Nashville, found not only the statement appalling and not reflective of Nashville’s values, but people really questioned the timing giving what has transpired over the course of this past week as well as the ruining of many people’s lives, lively-hood, childhood homes, as well as the death of people caught in this terrible tropical storm.

I, however, am not looking at that.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed to push back against the wave of northern Baptists’ vocal dislike over the institution of slavery years and years ago. It was created in Virginia on May 10, 1845, oddly enough, the very same state where the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights once prophesied that, “A national sin will cause a nation calamity.”

The sin: Slavery

The calamity: The Civil War

Do you ever sit back and wonder why the Civil War was so bad. Why so many people died? Why Jim Crow was so bad? Why the KKK was so powerful during the lynching years of the 1920s? You ever wonder why race is still, 17 years into the 21st century still such a hot topic of debate?

Look  no further that the Southern Baptist Convention. In short: These people used the Bible, the Holy Word of God, not to cover up the sin of owning, beating, selling, mutilating, raping, and murdering human beings, but to justify it. The ministers preached it out of the pulpits using some pretty impressive mental gymnastics and the ‘Sin of Ham’.

Heck it was southern ministers like Oral Roberts and Bob Jones Sr along with Jerry Falwell who, being furious over Brown v Board of Education, sued the government to be allowed to open whites only Christian schools using their 501c3.

They lost 8 -1

However, just a day or so ago, The S.B.C reached back into it’s utterly ungodly past and just like their predecessors raised the devil of bigotry and divisiveness once more.

This time, however, their beef wasn’t with the Northern Baptists and their sudden revulsion of the inhumane treatment of slaves that threated rich landowners. No. It was directed, purposefully, at a southern city in one of the proudest states this union has ever known. Houston.

Houston, Texas is the 3rd largest city in the United States. I believe it boasts the 13th largest G.D.P in the entire country. With a population of about 6 million people inside Houston proper and it’s outlying areas, the great city of Houston is a proud, beautiful, and diverse part of the gorgeous lady that calls her name Texas. A name derived from a Native American name Tejas meaning ‘Friend’ or ‘Ally’.

I hypothesis, leaning hard on ‘knowing’ because I was once a nut job fundi, that this storm provided a perfect time to condemn Houston for recently having an out, married, lesbian mayor Annise Parker who served her city for six years.

While the debate of Climate Change rages through the country, and through the world, these S.B.C ministers in their desire to cling to power, didn’t just pass condemnation of gay people and people who were trans-gendered. They decided to release this statement as a counter argument that God brought destruction to the Gulf Coast for Houston’s political decision in electing Mrs. Parker.

Alas, in the past 72 hours, when pastors like Joel Olsteen of Houston couldn’t be bothered to open the doors of his massive mega church to those in need, Texans did as Texans often do in these situations. They didn’t wait for help to arrive, they didn’t sit idly by while neighbors suffered, they didn’t blame people for their suffering, they didn’t do things for political reasons, although the Southern Baptist Convention surely did.

They became like Christ.

Even in their limited capacity as human beings to be perfect, political ideology died, racism died, divisions about sexual orientation died, gender, culture, heritage, all the things that serve to divide mankind into camps of ‘Us’ vs ‘ Them’ things that were nailed to the cross of human suffering  2,000 years ago and in this great hour of need mercy, charity, forbearance, benevolence, and the complex and fickle and hard to kill human spirit stepped in.

In the days and weeks ahead, there is going to be a lot of discussion over what happened in Houston. There is going to be a lot of money required to put these people’s lives back together. There will be homes needing to be rebuilt. There will be schools needing to be cleaned out and repaired. There will be churches that will need the same. And, as tragic as it is, there will be people needing to  be laid to rest and families will gather to mourn.

In the divisiveness of this past year, in the chaos of the world, Houston Texas and it’s outlying areas came together to show people in this country who we really are. We are America. We will survive. We will not only survive but we will thrive. And we will thrive because American’s of all walks of life, all religious backgrounds, all faith backgrounds, all cultural, ethnic, and orientations – have a promise woven into their hearts. A promise hard fought and although sometimes having lost it’s way, the ties that bind are as strong now as they ever were.

That promise is:

We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights and that among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And an even older promise than that,

For God so loved the World that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever beleiveth in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life. John 3:16

For God so loved the World, SBC

Not some of it. Not some of them. Not just white ones. Not just republican ones. Not just Straight ones. Not just Male and Female ones. Not Southern Baptists, alone. All of it.

You were wrong then, you’re wrong, now.  The statement made by S.B.C and it’s signatories ought to be seen for what it was, shameful, a low blow, and a sin.

She deserved better than that. We deserve better than that. God deserves better than that.

I hope Houston, once she get’s her cowboy hat on again,  responds accordingly.

Sources:

http://www.baptisthistory.org/baptistorigins/southernbaptistbeginnings.html

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133