Poem | |
I think of how it was ten years ago
just after you departed.
All your close friends spoke
of your "complexity"
and we knew what it meant.
I look far back to childhood when
those small-town midwest Methodists
would call you "Revrund." Well they knew
of turned-on tears
so common in the meeting hall;
but did they know about
the "turned-on" ladies
when you came to call?
I know. You needed time with them.
Two small churches took so much
with little left for us; I still recall
the single three hour evening
when you took me out of town alone
--to still another church!
There came a time for change;
as a chaplain in the army,
far away from mother, there
you quickly found the antidote
for loneliness...and yet again,
and again, again...
And then so late in life,
about to lose your second wife
through age and frailty,
you saw another, caught her
waiting in the wings, you thought.
All through those years you toiled
(if not quite single-mindedly)
in dedicated sacrifice for God
(if not for family).
How you were loved!
Clay footed, to be sure,
yet everything you did
you wept and prayed
and laughed and played,
presiding to the end.
Complex, you were, indeed, my father,
the record clear and true
and I for one, will judge you not.
for I am much like you!
Poem | |
Two lifetimes I have seen since yours began
and still I am not free, though haunted by
your words, blood-coated with your passion,
seeped into a history of marching feet.
The cadence of the years still cannot stand
their purity, and you, baton still high,
drum major for a righteousness you saw
that lived in dreams--
still march...and I cannot.
It's best you died, perhaps, for you
would not abide another line of voters
kept out in the rain,
their voices slain by fraud and perfidy,
their backs still open to the lash of scorn,
and scarce remembering the wounds
that you received when all you asked for
was to love.
That loving didn't get much easier
around this shrinking ball, disfigured from
a restless floor beneath the sea, and for
a while the human heart was stirred,
but more had died from restless greed
and naked power when love was set aside.
There's not much zeal for marching now
along the streets of Washington,
and bigotry is steeped inside.
We need to hear your dream again,
to have you sing with us once more,
to promise us that we shall overcome
Poem | |
the last breath which speaks to no one
though others may be present
others may be in the room or on the street when/where it happens
it dissipates into the surrounding air
as if its point of origin had never actually
a few too many drinks before a car ride on a night with a bit of
a curiosity concerning a drug one has never tried, with no frame of reference besides the snide smile offering
a moment too long of cabin fever brand depression in a house alone with a stocked gun cabinet
a spouse cheating on their significant other who has just stirred up a fatal cocktail to offer them
a sickness eating from within which bears no signs on the face or the exterior until it is too late
a lover whose passion cannot stand another in the mix finding out how to correctly operate a pistol with a silencer
and blood fills the world
as the breaths subtract themselves away