All posts filed under: Poetry

Your Jesus (who dons a red cap)

Your Jesus who dons a red cap and brandishes the American flag on the steps of an earthen fortress to demand the restoration of God’s nation is not my Jesus. Your Jesus cover boy of your eleventh hour attempt to wake sleepers dead to the demise of God’s chosen democracy is not my Jesus. Your megaphone message on the public square forcing repentance lest we be damned by our own folly banned forever from that apocalyptic dance in the blood-soaked valley called God’s Revenge or, as in some modern translations, God’s Promised Land is not my Jesus. I tune out revolution chaos to meditate on the outcast sowing slow-growth seeds which yield love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self-control He is unarmed, waiting on the dawn-cool fields of a buzzing harvest to show you a better way on roads unseen through a country not yet born.

3. Montgomery, Alabama is Haunted

Montgomery, Alabama is haunted.  By lonesome whippoorwills among the whisperings and the camellias and the pines.  Steepled shadows on Dexter Avenue and the cold bronze likeness of the little woman who started it all.  On her corner she stands  no tired bone in her body,  demurely resistant. Hank by the Riverboat emulates the blue spirit which haunts the depot  the auction block of the Slave Trade amid tourists and businessmen and businesswomen of international proportions who sip sweet tea and observe  segregated water fountains old as their parents now housed in museums,  unused yet the Alabama River pushes past port city,  its emptied cottonfields, storied hillsides of buried legends,  stray musket balls,  the green-copper fountain  which cries out in living color: Black Lives Matter A city haunted by a hundred more icons than we care to see or spirits like witch’s hair unbothered to fuss about their connection  to the Cradle of the Confederacy, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.  Images: Izaak on our last evening in MGM; view from the “Hank and Audrey …

Tin Man Heart

1961 Thanksgiving Eve an untimely tragedy left my father fatherless and you the only grandpa I ever knew.   Model airplanes on wire, Posters of cars, Hawaii. Jam jars of nails and screws. Drill press Band saw Pine planks Light bulb glow on sawdust drifts. Miniature engine parts, boxed beside piles and piles of Popular Mechanic.   1966 Chevelle. Three on the tree. Dueled exhaust. Cherry-bomb mufflers. Your apple-red beauty, polished to mirror gentle hands, oil-black and coarse.   1956 The girl from Iowa chose Spokane and you.   One daughter, a wealth of sons to pass along your lessons on the mechanics of life and love. A generation old enough to tell of your mischief and kindness. Babies too young to remember your hazel eyes, but small enough to wrap tiny fingers around your thumb.   1995 Frantic surgery. Aortic-valve. You almost died. Then, tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick a Tin Man heart.   Years and years and years, mercy-filled and overflowing. Moments of fragility, Brokenness.   Your heart clocked a lot of mileage. More than …

Time is a Gift

When I am an old woman, the vivid image of your gray-blue eyes may flicker and the way she scolded you for crying. The sound of your whimper recalled only by recordings. That funny look that made her laugh, only a photo. One afternoon, the last ten miles home, you cried. She cried, too. Weary of the road, missing her YaYa. We were a family of four on our own for the first time, and the car filled with the kind of desperation that dissipates only when the engine dies. Your week old voice crescendoed. She matched your volume. I would have felt helpless except for your dad, who smiled back at me. Time slowed. I took in the June sun on summer kudzoo; the gray asphalt snaking through farmland, lush, even in drought; the unison of your distraught cries; the hand holding mine. I memorized the moment for myself for tomorrow, next week, next year. For the days when I am an old woman and unable to remember. Remember tough times. Sweet times. I …