Saturday, November 27, 2021

Jesus and Anger


Surrounded by a plague
you surrendered your vices
one by one
Gave up cigarettes and sugar
Supposed to let go of coffee and soda
Eventually, swearing and sanity went out the window too

The only addictions
that never left 
were Jesus and anger
The sage of rage 
is the righteous christ's
right hand man

How else were you gonna put
the fear of god
into your drunk husband
and protect your children
without a praise the lord chokehold
and a hallelujah backhand

You fed me rootbeer candy
under the table
I would disappear into your hugs
when I was tiny
You lost your teeth before I came
so I never felt your bite

Before I lived a dozen years
you made it very clear
If I didnt drink the saviors juice
I would be welcomed
into the handbasket
and you would not wave goodbye

I never told you 
who I was
but I loved to make you laugh
To visit was to bare the burden
and learn the lesson 
of bittersweet

I made it my mission
to give you permission
to cease the wringing of fingers
Serve up some merciful laughter
along with the illusion 
of who you thought me to be 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Seeds of Optimism

  

I was raised

by a self proclaimed 

black sheep 

who was raised 

by a self proclaimed 

black sheep 

Now, I never saw

the color of the sheep 

that came before them

but I am told 

they were shorn

too shortly to tell 

anyway

Identity butchered 

by Mennonite preachers 

rumored descendants 

of Huguenot exodus 

Seasoned with myths

of Yiddish tradition 

A boiled dinner history 

stuffed into the pressure cooker 

of German nationalism 


That’s enough to drive anyone 

to the immigration boat

Flight from fascism 

left everything behind 

except for the fight

turned us into 

aetheistic mystics

We named our children Gypsy

Became agnostic rabbi storytellers 

protest songwriters 

and rebel school teachers 

Hope was blackened 

by the charcoal pits of 

fire and brimstone incinerators

Ironic that after a few generations

cremated constitution

makes for 

fertile soil in which to dig

Makes for 

childhood memories

of eating sweet peas

out of my grandmothers garden. 


So, if we dig up the ground we stand on

aren’t we supposed to plant new things?

Even if it takes a few seasons

Whether it is an intentional bulb

that comes back year after year

full of blooming potential 

or a wild seed in the wind

that sprouts from the accidental act

of slipping into the concrete cracks

it plants... something... every time

My grandparents planted seeds of optimism

within me throughout my life

and they always seem to sprout

just when I need them to

My parents still wrestle with 

the ancestral weeds of pessimism

that perennially persist

But on a good day

if I remember to look at them 

in a loving way

it looks like old growth forest 

and European wildflowers


I would like to be a gardener too

at least on the inside 

I don't think we are supposed to 

watch the weeds grow so thick

that they choke the plants that bare fruit

Nor are we supposed to mow it all down

only to watch it start again from scratch

But we cannot cut the dandelions

that feed the bees

if we really love honey

Now, I don't like to get stung

but I really love honey

and dandelions

and fruit

and sowing seeds

and warm sweaters

knit from the wool

of self actualized 

black sheep

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Agreement

Hello Dad

It is my belief that in this life

one of the only real points of it

is to get to know each other


To come to agreement 

is unrealistic 

and rarely ever achieved

even amongst the deepest connection


There have been a few souls in this life

that I so desperately wanted to know 

forever

But those were not the cards that were dealt


Those souls I did not have agreements with

but knowing them 

was so fulfilling, so ecstatic, so much better 

than agreement


So when you tell me

that maybe there are

certain things

that I don’t want to hear


It doesn’t allow me 

the privilege 

of possibly 

getting to know you better


It doesn’t extend an invitation

to share certain things

that I think

maybe you don’t want to hear


We don’t have to have agreement

to talk to each other

in fact, as you are surely aware 

we rarely ever do


Think of how much more we could hear

Think of how much more we could say

How much more could we laugh

How much more could we cry


I am tired of feeling tired

I think its possible to peacefully disagree

Everyone is right and everyone is wrong

It would be nice to try something new



Thursday, July 15, 2021

Brooklyn



I am as white as the moon

Really, I glow

Like alpen snow 

or a toasted marshmallow center 

Like the highlight of a pearl

or a sunshine filled sail

I was told to stay pure

Learned to be stark

Worked to be brilliant 

Grown to be harsh

Centuries of aggression 

White washing might as right 


She 

could easily 

eliminate me

but Instead she chooses to

illuminate me

Her shoulders are as strong as any man

from a genetic history of

sugar cane harvest 

cotton picking

and Brooklyn brownstones 

Even though her life has been 

as rough as 

hurricane winds 

to butterfly wings


She 

remains 

as sweet as

puppy kisses and birthday wishes

Sweeter than the sugar 

from whence she came

She is as soft as top soil 

to those freshly planted fields of cane

Rich and warm 

like burnished mahogany 

Full and deep 

like Nat King Coles

Stardust Melody


I am as white as the moon 

She could easily 

eliminate me

instead she chooses to 

illuminate me

And now I know 

we don't have to spend 

our restless nights

alone


Gold


This life will wack you on the head 

like a spoon to an egg 

and your yolk will run 

out of all the cracks


Even as you scramble 

to put yourself back together again 

Sticky gold is everywhere 

and your shell is irreparable


Gather up the venom and violence 

that you have been given 

and turn it into violets and virtue 

because you are an alchemist


What magic sleeps under your tongue? 

Be a philanthropist 

The gold you make of yourself  

is the gift you give to us 

Bear


It’s amazing how 

a giant bear

can sleep inside for years

More silent than 

a tiny mouse

you never knew 

was there


Trained

by circus men 

lion tamers

and gypsy violins

A chain around her neck

and a tasseled red cap 

upon her head


All the years of being trapped

living in captivity

Her docile calm proclivity 

obedient passivity 

was just sophisticated 

well maintained 

stockholm syndrome 


Treats of candied apples

are fine and dandy 

Applause for tricks are trade

but sooner than later 

love will fade

with one too many jerks

upon the chain


Nature made those claws and teeth

They were not meant for your parade

If she can’t roam 

and find a home 

all on her own

Her spine will stand up straight and tall

And her paws will reach out and snap yours


A roar will drown out all your screams

standing on two legs

Her shadow will block out the sun

and when shes done 

those claws and teeth

will become

a wreathe around your neck 


Skeleton


I remember once

I was obsessed with painting trees

but only in the winter

When they were bare and naked

stripped of all their leaves 

Only their skeletons remained

Nothing to hide

Light from the sky shining through


I would almost drive off the road

Looking for them

Looking for the special ones

that spoke to me

I would make myself dizzy

and you would offer to drive

Suggesting that maybe I should not look 

unless I was a passenger


Later as our time was coming to an end

you would often ask me

why I couldn’t see the beauty of nature

As you marveled at falling golden leaves

and frozen waterfalls

and rolling hills of green

that we would drive through 

We blinked at each other

from our prospective seats

Silent and dumbfounded 

by the windshields of misunderstanding 

that were pressed against our foreheads


I wear my heart on my sleeve

You said

Why can’t you give me all of yours

I sighed as I wrapped my arms 

around your shoulders

Feeling your hair against my cheek

I looked out the window 

at the leaves falling off the trees 

and you leaned against my skeleton 



.
.
.
.
.
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Key 


I remember when I gave you my key

Mi casa su casa, I said

Every night 

I would come home

walk past the bedroom door 

and pause

Turn my head 

catch my heart

and soldier on

one combat boot

in front of the other 

And then, one day

you gave me back my key


It landed in my hand

right next to my heart

From then on

I was the only one responsible for it

No one could come in

to my house 

unless I opened the door

Fate became a decision 

in an instant

It probably always was

I have not made a decision 

without keyhole precision 

ever since