I Love You

When I held you

fresh from birth’s

liberating cut

I never knew the pain we

would cause each other

each time I tried to bind you in control

each time you

wrestled to be free.

I did not know then

that people are not ships to be steered

but clay to be molded.

 

So much in life is this

ying yang of pain

a strike of venom

that tastes of love

but poisons our thoughts with

self protection.

 

Please never leave that moment

when you were smaller than my forearm and

I was older than your life and we were bound in a love without

conditions.

Final Exam

Final Exam

 

This is your final assignment.

You must complete each lesson before you move on to the next.

You will need a number 2 pencil, a lighter, and four sheets of paper.

 

Lesson 1

 

Turn your first piece of paper horizontally so that it is in landscape position.

Fold the left side so that it meets the middle.

Fold the right side so that it meets the middle.

The two folds should create three distinct areas.

All areas are part of the paper, but each area is created by the folds.

Notice the similarities between the folded piece of paper and the

body, soul, and spirit of a human being.

Examine how each area blends in to the next.

Take a moment and note how the creases make a three-in-one creation.

Each section affects the section next to it, but each section remains distinct.

Set the paper to the side and refer to it as needed throughout the assignment.

 

Lesson 2

 

Fold your second piece of paper into an airplane.

There is no one way to do this.

You may choose to be as creative as you wish.

Throw the paper into the air in an attempt to make it fly.

Notice how far the paper navigates the air.

Examine the trajectory of the paper as it lands.

This is caused by the limited time the paper has in the air dependent on the structure of the plane.

Notice how the paper is much like the dreams of a human being

in the way that it soars, but eventually falls dependent on the structure of the dreams.

Set the paper to the side.  You may modify it later, but never, never crumple it and throw it away.

It is too precious.

 

Lesson 3

 

Using the number two pencil, write on the third piece of paper

all the people who have offended you—the adulterous

gossipers, mouths filled with lies,

anxiously managing their business from towers of control,

those who have borne false witness against you sending you into exile, whispering

without confrontation.

You may use both sides of the paper.

Please adjust your print size to the number of times you are recalling.

Notice how your chest feels when you recall each incident.

Examine what may have caused each violation of trust.

Light the paper with the lighter.

Note how quickly the paper burns in contrast to the conflicts recalled.

The only product of this lesson should be ashes.

Do not keep them.

Let them fly away like so many hungry vultures.

Notice how light you feel.

 

These are the three lessons you must learn.

Do not be concerned if you do not remember them.

You will repeat them moment by moment

Year after year

and teach them to your children.

 

On the fourth piece of paper,

write my number.

Call me if you find an easier way.

 

 

When a Tree Decides to Bloom

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

 

Having waited so long,

keeping the core of who they are secret

beneath the layers of hardened bark,

some trees take the risk to bloom.

Other trees never bloom; the process is too frightening for them.

Those trees decide to stay with the color they know best:

safe green.

 

When a tree decides to bloom,

it must wait

for the right season,

unsure of what combination of elements will provide

the coaxing of color.

There is the vigil for the birth pangs

that encourage the release of truth,

the intimidating moment that the tree has dreamed of and dreaded for many rings.

 

When a tree decides to bloom,

it must forget the blooms of other trees.

It must not focus on which people will judge its flowers to be lovely,

which blooms will grow to fruit,

or which limbs will be pruned

because these are the thoughts that make trees barren,

and blooming requires all thought and feeling

when a tree decides to bloom.

 

When a tree decides to bloom,

it must be certain its roots are firmly

planted in what was

and that its arms are strong and stretched out in praise to what will be,

knowing that the wind could blow every petal to futile memory.

There must be something to root into,

something to nourish.

And most of all, there must be Light.

 

 

 

 

Chapbook

product_thumbnailI have just self-published a chapbook of poetry containing all of the poems I have written for Dominion Christian Schools’ seniors over the last nineteen years.  Because I’m not so keen on the whole self-publishing thing, I’ve also thrown some in that have been published by real literary journals so you don’t feel ripped off.  It’s just $7.00 and all money made goes to the school’s Fine Arts Department.  It’s worth it for that reason alone.

Lot’s Wife

I am the pillar of salt,

The remains of one who turned too soon to mourn.

I was not proud of my emigration.

Forced to exile by my husband,

I had no pride there.

 

But I was not entranced by the lights of the city behind me,

But by the people

Who did not come with me—the people

Whose guilt I bear.

 

At least I have the hope that in my death

I will season the air before the destruction.

1987

“I am old,” she said.

“Far too old for you.

Maybe not mother old,

but definitely babysitter material.”

That was seven minutes before

Eighteenth Century British Poetry and Prose—

with Dr. Raymond—started.

I don’t remember what I had said,

or what she said after that,

but I do remember my smile

and the heat of a Georgia sun.

131

Today my heart is not lifted up.

Sometimes I lift my eyes unto the hills.

Today my eyes count the grains of sand.

Sometimes I sing until my throat is sore.

Today I am silent.

I am calm and quiet

like a little boy

reaching up to his mother’s hand

like a little boy

silent and waiting

with a mother

who has nothing to say

but stares ahead.

Search No. 532

If there is meaning

beyond these words;

if peace is the slab on which

Babel is built;

if there is a clear gravel path behind

the gates of suffering,

manicured land between the weeds;

then take me there

to the place of meaning

where logos supersedes

jot and tittle,

and a swing rocks back and forth

with the breeze.

Senior Poem 2015: Love

Looking back over all of the advice passed on to me—

that I wore like unwanted ill-fitting hand-me-downs—

the only one tailored just for me  was “Love.”

As she held my hand,

each wrinkle mapping the battlefield on which she fought,

her brown eyes a mixture red clay and sand,

she said it hoarsely,

a paper thin word dog-eared between my mind and soul.

“Love.”

One word.

Love when you are the last in line

and the cashier is new.

Love like a ray of light

In a prison room.

Love with the pain of a mother in labor,

anxious to hold joy.

Love like the innocence of a child

who still believes.

Love like a curmudgeon

whose every grumble shows his heart is tender.

Love like a teenager’s curfew.

Love like a passenger,

not a driver.

Love like profanity

sanded out of a bathroom stall.

Love the hand that pays your bills

and the one that hurts your child.

Love when the award is given, not to you, but to

the owner of the foot prints on your back.

Love as if there is only one person left to love.

Love with a love that is pounded like gold,

thin so that it covers the gap between two people through time and space.

Love as if each act were a nugget of gold

Presented to a homeless wanderer.

Love like a mother whose dying

word was “Love.”

Love, knowing that hope looks ahead,

Faith looks within,

And Love looks without.

Knowing that love is more beautiful than the songs of angels.

Knowing that God is love.

Wisdom shouts in the streets and calls young men to her,

But Love reaches in quietly and pours from within,

so love

as if it is the foyer of Heaven

as if it is an action

as if it is.

Present Tense

When they are old,

you hold their hands—the shaking leather glove hands

of wisdom—

and you hear the things you spent a childhood knowing,

the things too obvious to say.

The things you want your children to hold,

but can’t tell them now

because kids can’t reach them.

Yet.

When they are old,

the common place is precious,

and the thunder

fades to a pale tinkling of glass.

The eyes are small Bethesda pools

of hope.

When they are old,

they home school you

on lessons like

“the shortest distance between two points”

is the heart,

and “love is an action verb”

that also links.

That “time is relative,”

but we give it least to relatives.

When they are old,

you understand yesterday

more than today.

But there are no words that fit

but “show grace to me.”

Because when they are old,

you realize that we never

learn.  None of us.

Ever.

But now you are young

with embers of dreams

that can be fanned

or extinguished.

Now you look both

ways before crossing from one stage

of life to another.

Now you wonder who you are behind the

awkward smile of the selfie.

But when they are old,

you find yourself poised between parent earth and child sky,

and you hear them say,

“Take what you can from

Me as fertile soil.

Toughen to be hard,

but not so much to not be tender.”