Boots

boots 3

 

This is about boots

Literal and metaphoric

Modern and historic

Like the ones you wear on your evenings out

Walking happily arm in arm to a nice dinner

Together with the one you love

Your boots, comfortable from years of wear

So soft, so warm, so rich, so you

Supple and shining with the polish of countless dreams fulfilled

But they pale in comparison to hers

Brown fringe flirting with every dancing step

Bedazzled with diamonds – only the best will do! — sparkling

In the streetlamp’s glow

Miniature moons splitting the chilly night

Lighting the path one step at a time

Toward my shadowy suffering

I pull newspapers around me

praying the ink is as warm now as the words once were

The merciless night mist dampening

My cardboard couch – the only thing between me

And concrete pneumonia

I watch your boots walk by, only raising my eyes

To silently meet your sneer

The blinding glare of your shimmering hypocrisy

Swallowed by the black hole of my reality

Of course, you are right

I should “Pull myself up by my bootstraps”

As (you insist) you did alone, no help from

Anyone! Anywhere! Anytime!

I swear by everything red, white and blue

If I could, I would —

After all, as the song says,

some boots are made for walking

Then I’d spend my evenings just like you

Stomping on and over and around

Everyone who is not Me

Yes sir, Mister Man, I absolutely would —

If only I could afford a pair of boots

December 7, 2018

Advertisements

Apologies

Apologies 1

So, you ask,

Which is worse?

Filling the sky with lies so thick that

The very air turns to concrete,

Cutting hearts still beating from their chests

With mocking words sharp as shrapnel,

Dousing dignity with graceless shame

Until it hides in the shadows,

Pounding truth as if on an anvil

To fit the twisted shape of your greed?

Or

Ignoring the stabbing pain that comes

With breaking hearts, minds and spirits,

Refusing to lift the burden caused

 by pathetic, selfish failings,

Denying a few small words that could

Reflect the error of your ways

And prove the humanity

Deep beneath the shallow surface?

How can we

Be clear when

Bullying, once a black mark on

A cowardly, pitiful soul

Is now celebrated, held as

The golden hammer of the gods,

Bludgeoning decency, until

Life’s road glistens red with its blood

As so many look away, the

Cost of their conscience paid-in-full.

To be sure

It’s hard to

know which is worse in a world where hatred

Is hailed, pain is policy and

Ignorance, hubris and apathy mean

Never having to say, “I am sorry.”

October 2018

God Bless America

God bless

GOD BLESS AMERICA

We measure ourselves

With decimals and dollar signs

Yet we’re surprised

That everything is worth nothing

We take love out of Love

“Hooking up” masked as connection

Then get mad that

Condoms sit next to cough syrup

We slice Belief from

The greatest mysteries of life

But can’t understand

When faith sits in an empty pew

We scream I, Me, Mine!

Spitting on the very notion

Of owing something

More Than to they who are not us

We water down thought

Waving ignorance like a flag

 Then wonder why some

Don’t sing God Bless America

                                                                                                                                    July 2018

 

Mea Culpa…

lineI learned this week that I had added to a grieving friend’s burden — not through intentional malice, but worse, unintentional absence.

I had simply “moved on” with my life and forgot to look over my shoulder to see if my friend was keeping up. 

She wasn’t. 

I was crestfallen. Embarrassed. Guilty.

This poem is my small apology to a friend who deserves so much more. 

A LINE

No, of course, I don’t know your pain

How could I, standing on my side

Of this divide — invisible, yet as solid

As your concrete and steel sorrow

Certainly, I can never

Understand much less

Explain the dark clouds

Raining grief on your spirit

I admit, because I am human

That I moved on, moved ahead

To claim otherwise is to lie

But I never meant to move away

In hindsight, I see that my failing

However unintended, was

Another knife shredding the thin

Sheet of solace that time had bought

The truth is, I cannot know

What I have not known

Your heart is not my heart

Yet my heart is always open to yours

Sadly now, we see each other

Across an unfamiliar distance

You, grieving your loss; me, lost in your grief

Still, it is just a line between us, not a wall

Honestly, I pray never to be on your side

Yet I am always here on mine

Reach over any time

I will forever reach back

                                                                                 May 2018

 

And The Door Shall Be Opened

i-am-e1480292532425-1024x353I started this blog in March 2016 with an Easter poem, so this is something of a tradition now…

This one, written years ago (available in my second book, “Abundance — a collection”) for me boils Easter down to its essence.

Happy Easter!

AND THE DOOR SHALL BE OPENED

I am knocking

On your heart

Your mind

Your soul

Do you hear me?

Do you feel me?

Do you know me?

I am knocking

Do you know

the sound of love?

Listen closely

I am knocking

Love is knocking

Love is…

I Am…

This Single Act

Riley 032318

I wrote this years ago for the birth of a friend’s first child. I’ve shared it with several new moms over the years.

Now, I share it with my daughter and son-in-law, Emma and Jake Williams, on the occasion of the birth of their first child, Riley Jean, on March 23, 2018.

Words are truly too small to capture or convey my joy, pride and hope in this moment. 

Riley, my lovely girl, Papa loves you…

THIS SINGLE ACT

God touches us in many ways.

But perhaps He is most with us in our child’s first breath.

For, in this single act, which, for too many, has lost much of its

awesome mystery to the

cynicism of time and science, the Lord of All confirms His

presence in us, continues

His love for us and confers His powers on us.

In this single Act, God brings together all the majesty of nature,

the love of humanity,

the joy and hope that He controls.

In this single act, there is magic enough to bring reverence for

the power of Heaven.

In this single act, the hand of the Spirit – that part of Himself that

God grants every person – opens the door of our heart to show us the

Way to Truth.

For in this single act, God gives us another chance to redeem ourselves

by teaching this new creation

to find happiness, foster peace and rejoice in

His glory.

Humanity cannot ask for nor expect a greater gift, for

In this single act, God proves His existence and grace,

His image mirrored in the eyes

of our own.

In this single act, we find our way back to God, whose love

brings us to the world and shields us

from its pain

In this single act we can truly justify God’s unending faith

in the ultimate goodness of the

human spirit.

 

Disappointment

disappointment

In January, my daughter, Olivia and I visited the Holocaust Museum in Skokie. We are both history and World War II buffs. The tickets were her very thoughtful Christmas gift to me.

Seeing my Facebook post as we waited for the museum to open, a friend directed, “Give me your thoughts.”

Here they are:

The God of the Judeo-Christian tradition created humanity in His/Her/Its image. I believe in that God, whose faith in us has traditionally and theologically far outstripped our faith in Him/Her/It.

However, as I walked through the Holocaust museum, struggling to hold back tears over example after horrific example of the worst kind of inhumanity (thankfully, darkness enshrouds many of the displays), the thought occurred:

Having made such a life-giving, loving, humble gesture, God must be terribly disappointed in us.

To be clear: the historical “Holocaust” — Nazi Germany’s systemic extermination of millions of Jews, Poles, Gypsies and others who did not fit their social/cultural/genetic/political ideal — inspired this poem.

However, it is written in the present tense because the same impulses that fueled the Holocaust of the 20th century are not new and, worse, seem to continue today.

***PLEASE NOTE: I wrote this several weeks before last week’s school shooting in Parklands, Florida. But, if the poem fits…

HOLOCAUST

Am I angry?

How can you even ask when

I see walls painted black with hatred

Brick upon brick built to separate

Cemented with ignorance

Turned out by factories of arrogance

Chimneys that once belched ashen souls

Again spewing red death, choking

Everyone who would try to breathe free

I hear profiteers selling prosperity

At all cost (as long as it isn’t theirs)

Preaching false fantasies of glittering gold

Willing to ransom their souls for much less

Than thirty pieces of silver

I gave everyone a spark of the Divine

A sliver of the holy Soul

Yet you willingly, gladly

Bind yourself to the anchor of rotting flesh

Happily trading Eternity

For a second of passing pleasure

You choose to allow this to be

None of this –

Fear

Suspicion

Bigotry

Genocide

Despair

Division

Self-interest

Greed

Would happen otherwise

You all say Yes!

Or, at least, you don’t say No

You pretend like it will never happen again

Then stand by and look away when it happens again

You are all guilty — if not by decree

Then by complicity

You do all of it in my name

The gall! The hubris!

How dare you claim

To know anything about me

When you ignore

My heart

My tears

My blood

My love

You have monetized and weaponized

Pain and darkness and shame and guilt

Using each to draw apprehensive lines

Creating “Them”

Where only “We”

Existed before

I made it so easy

All you had to do was

Just accept

Just welcome

Just protect

Just care for

Each other

Instead you inflate your ego

Writing my words – then rejecting anyone who doesn’t speak like you

Building my house – then locking out anyone with a different key

Clothing me – then stripping anyone with newer threads

Claiming me – then silencing anyone who dares try to share

Yes! I am angry

How can I not be when

My heart is broken over and over

By the reality of a dream

smashed among the stars

You are not what I hoped for

When I sighed into the heavens

You are not me, nor do you even try to be

Rather, you sing phony Hosannas and

Wave insipid credentials in my face

Too cowardly to look me in the eye

And wipe the tear from my cheek