Folded Hands Unfolding Hopes

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Fill me with Your love
That I may see
With Your eyes.
Give me Your hope
That I may salve
Their anguished hearts.
Saturate my thoughts
With sweet mercies anew
Each glittering day
That I might learn to see
The truth behind
My faults and fears.
Move me to compassion!
Please wash me
In Your empathy
That my innocence
May be marred
In purposeful grief
For those in pain.
Cover me in Your grace
That I might walk with
Dignity and poise — dressed
In Your love’s perfected
Adornments — unashamed
And glowing in the majesty
Of Your holiness.

If Love Is…Then I Am

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If “love is a credulous thing”

And “cannot be cured by herbs”

Then gentle Wisdom, help me sing

Of the folly in your proverbs.

If “beauty is truth, truth beauty”

And that is all I need to know,

Then I shall sift through the acuity

Of love’s stuttering staccato.

If “hope is the thing with feathers”

And love knows no bounds

Then I willingly keep the tethers

Of your soulful words and sounds.

Poetic Tendencies in Paragraphed Pondering

half clockThe sleepiness of today is marked by my affinity to stare placidly at nothing in particular—including but not limited to the computer screen, my soft black boots, the whited walls of my inferiority, and the hopeless wonder of my future. Life becomes a series of musts and nevers—a pendulum of yes and no. The ticking of my clock sways with each heaving sigh. A spatula in the road forked by life’s quizzical infinities—it’s never as simple as the compass pointing due north toward the shredded wheat that we are told never to eat. So, my eyes look to the sun marring the horizon line of my heart. The glow of its wonder leaves my mind to turn over your words again and again—in a Ferris wheel of possibilities—life’s sweet stomach-churning, butterflied mess that I never want to tidy up. Instead, I let it clutter the surfaces of my heart and mind, which arguably are one in the same. The mind, the center of a man or woman, is the lodging of both logic and love; there is time and space enough for each to make its residencies permanent. So, I let the slicing pendulum slow its whetted pace to a dull passing. The austere dichotomies of monochromatic love engender the maladies of my conundrum’d heart. Black. White. Tis not so simple, for I “doth protest too much” as Gertrude insists is annoying, and I tend to agree with the good woman. But still…as Hamlet reassures his mother, “she’ll keep her word.” And so, I do—I keep my word locked away in life’s endless timepiece where there is plenty of space. There is room enough for variants of grey in the black and white world of my sleepy youth. There is room enough for a clock that no longer ticks or tocks. There is room enough for reason and passion. There is room enough—

 
 
 

Words Like Daggers

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Sticks and stones
Thrown into hope’s
Dwindling fire —
My broken heart!
Scattered tipis
Of bones and ash
Hurling love’s insult
To my added injury —
The sharpness
Of your envenomed
Affection
And your words —
Like pointed daggers —
Bleed the fire
From my lips
Dripping with sin.
Spread the compost
On piety’s
Dying embers,
And watch it
Blossom into
Violence.

Collecting Dust

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Love’s harkening uncertainty

Covers me like a cobwebbed-

Attic – things kept in

Moldy boxes – just in case…

 

One day

Someday

Never.

 

I am the old prom dress –

Ripped, tattered, torn –

I am those tarnished trophies,

Broken, blemished, worn.

I am the captured memories

Lost, forgotten, forlorn.

Hewn

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Can you
Tell me
Where
I’m going?
I just need
A sign.
Please hold
Me —
Tell me
All will be
Fine.

Soft tethered
Forces
Sweetly rage
Entwined —
My song’s
Evolving
Declension
My sullen,
Sordid mind.

Can you say
Just what
I need to hear?
Please love
Away
My fettered
Flaunting
Fear.

Strings untied,
Undone –
My heart
Wagging in
The wind.
Love me
Darkness
Shine words
Undimmed.

Empty volumes
Of hope’s
Feathered
Form —
Sunrise
My love;
Seek me
In the
Storm.

Sever my
Heart,
Let the
Emotions
Freely drip.
Cauterize
My love:
Bleeding
Hope’s
Slipping
Grip.

Extra! Extra!

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Newpaper’d finger-
tips. Smudges
on my heart.
Columnist
and critics
questioning
my art.

Love in lessons,
front page
news —
Words in flavors,
hatred’s subtle
ruse.

Black and
white and
read
all over —
Bleeding
your thoughts,
I’ve lost all
composure.

 

 

 

I Am That I Am.

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I am Mara.
I am the bitterness you taste
In each sip of your morning
Coffee.

I am Rahab.
I am the lust burning in your eyes.
I am the harlot of disquieted imaginings.
I give and you take. You give
And I crawl into my dreams.

I am Sarah.
I am unbelief. I am mistrust.
I am the joy leaving your lips
In your sweet, soft laughter.

I am Mary.
I am the sainted wonder
of His fire. I am the bearer
of life and splendor.

I am Martha.
I am the dishrag hanging
From the hooks of your heart.
I clean. I scrub as you keep tracking
Mud into the waxed floors of my mind.

I am beauty —
I am hate —
I am strength —
I am frailty –
I am…
I am Redeemed.

I am more than my name.
I am more than the labels I give myself —
I am more than the stickers and gold stars
Of approval from other broken
Maras, Marys, and Sarahs.
I am who I am because He is
Who He is – the great and mighty
I AM.

Ready? Begin…

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I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

I say this pledge every morning. In unison with my students, we stand with our hands over our hearts in respect and reverence for the things we are to remember. I wonder if they are fully aware of the profundity of this pledge of this allegiance that tethers us together as Americans — as citizens of the great United States. I think not. They are roboting their voices in unison – monotoned, droned, Novocained to the impervious nature of these paramount utterances. By saying these things, does that make you any more or less American if you actually mean it when you say it? Sometimes I try to recite it as if it were the first time or as if my voice wasn’t metallic and inky, but the struggle with that is timing – pacing – uniformity. We MUST stick together or this whole thing falls apart. Is that really true? Who am I to say in earnest or even in true honesty because I, myself, am a fluxing flowing void of psyche and obligation. One MUST say this pledge. One MUST stand with hand over heart and RECITE from memory – from five years of age until you no longer bleed blue. Well, I bleed red, white, and blue; but I don’t like saying the pledge. Does that make me a bad person? No, of course not; but I can’t help thinking that it is a slap in the face to those who have fought for my rights for my un -, sub -, or under-appreciated freedom – it’s nothing to sneeze at, but these poppies keep pollenating my sinuses. God bless you! No, let’s leave Him out of this, shall we? Can we? Is that at all possible? I think not. What if I lived like I truly believed in this pledge? What would my day look like? Would I do things, say things, appreciate things differently? Or would I continue to robot my way through the unsatisfactory endeavor to achieve what Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman couldn’t? That elusive, slippery little lie – the great American Dream of happiness and contentment…I haven’t found it from saying things, from mere recitation. Perhaps, I must put my money where my mouth is…but the casting shadow of Lady Liberty is long and wide in the sunset of my dreams. So, I will continue to perform in the most allegiant of efforts to entertain, sustain, maintain the proclivity and profundity of that Star Spangled Wonder hanging in the corner of my classroom and my heart.