servitude…

the brown bag prophet
stopped me
and
asked
where’d
you go
to
high school
i
said
a small town
in
ohio
he laughed
so
i suppose
you never heard
of
martina arroyo
who
the opera singer
world-famous
got
her own
foundation
and
such
to help
others
in the arts
his look
turned serious
as
he said
some chains
are
invisible
the
hiding
of
information
that
provides
the soul
with
pride
is
a starvation
that
forms links
of
bondage
stronger
than
steel
he handed me
a black history calendar
and
walked away

picking dandelion greens…

aunt bea
has a patch
of grass
in the front
of her home
on
saturdays
i go over
to her house
and
tend to the lawn
last week
i went
to spray
the dandelions
as
i started
aunt bea
said
you never did like
dandelions
i recall when mom
would send you
and
your cousin tommy
out to the fields
to pick
dandelion greens
for
dinner
it was never one
of
your favorite chores
but
you two found
some reprieve
in the task
since there were
wild strawberries
growing in the field
and
for some reason
you were never
too hungry
after returning home
seems
like doing
an unpleasant task
can have some
hidden rewards
now
if only
the congress
could figure that out

 

hypothesis on redundancy…

each night
the same prayers
were said
before
meals
and
bed
the child wondered
in his head
whether or not
god
had a hearing problem
and so
like with his grandmother
things needed
to be
repeated
or
whether god
was like
uncle joe
terribly forgetful
needing
to be reminded
daily
of the chores
assigned to him
by grandfather
perhaps
neither
of those
were true
perhaps
god was
an obstinate child
refusing to respond
to requests in prayers
unless
the number of requests
equaled
the critical breaking point
of his parents’ patience
that
breaking point
just before
unwarranted punishment
that
seemed to be
the most logical conclusion
and
indeed
one
he could
identify with

quick draw contest…

quick-draw-contest

Modified Image: Image Source: http://www.historyisnowmagazine.com

aunt bea
pulled out an old photo
of me
all decked out
as a cowboy
complete with
a genuine cowhide
double holster
holding white
simulated
pearl
handled pistols
she
said
as i recall
you
and
your cousins
were into
tv westerns
gun smoke
hopalong cassidy
and
such
you boys
would stand out front
practicing your quick draws
producing enough noise
from those cap guns
to send
the neighborhood dogs
into a barking
frenzy
back then
you didn’t
consider
the real consequences
of carrying out
a quick draw contest
with others
how death
was the real winner
seems like
the new administration
hasn’t quite
realized
that yet
or
doesn’t care

a circle unto itself…

a-circle-unto-itself

we struggled to walk
as a child seeking freedom
so too as we age

so too as we age
midlife battles rage like when
we struggled to walk

we struggled to walk
life’s path for so many years
so too as we age

the funeral awakes…

the-funeral-awakes

each
of
the tears
that press
tight
against
your skin
is
a memory
of the life
we now
mourn
some
like youth
move quickly
from eye
to chin
others
like
a first kiss
slowly
move
from eye
to lips
salty
but
sweet
others
like
random memories
move without
true course
to the ground
falling without
a single sound
and there
they
stay
like all
who leave
the womb