Mint Julep

It is just enough
to break open a midwest summer
just add
gossiping insects
sultry walks
embarrassingly disobedient hair
and
“The Ohio”
 
I sink into a cool night
with a slight breeze of cricket-song ~~~
 
I swish white sugar and water
in the bottom of a glass
muddle some mint
plop ice
then bourbon and
bring on the guitar!
 
It takes little,
really,
to be happy:
 
home grown mint,
a place to call safe
and a voluptuous summer night  
 
Today I could kneel on the ground
in praise
Posted in crickets, God, Poetry, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Juxtaposition

parallel-lines

how close together are the tracks

of good and evil

intentions and proof cannot contain them

a choice made for healing

wounds someone else

empties out in a bowl of tears

fiercer than a Kentucky rainfall

~~~

you may have lived years

doing what is right

for someone else and even for you.

only to

find yourself

straddling the universes

of resentment and hope

like waterskies

with your weak legs and a choppy lake

~~~

I am distraught

I am angrier than chaos

I am hopeful and relieved and expectant

~~~

And isn’t that life

unforgiving and principled

resistant to change

and bound for it

which is just fine in theory

and so bone-piercing

when it

comes.

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unlock your heart

unlock your heart
so love can fall in it
no reason to shutter
the door
 
is it so big
so hard
so scary
to let yourself love and be loved
 
do you think you are so special
to live behind
a gate peeking out
at me and
the world
 
what about
the sunsets
you say you enjoy
are they any different
than the waitress
the barber
the old woman on the bus
who needs
help getting her bag 
up the stairs?
 
are you really
so precious
so fragile
so complete
 
to not fall in love
every day?
 
 
Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Let me cry

smokey mountain1I can’t get the stench
out of my hair
and my clothes
the rubberish burn
composting bananas
and soup bones
and lettuce
and feces
 
the man tearing off
labels of 
plastic bottles
to sell
 
 
the wet naked babies
cleaned with dirty water
who have never known anything else
 
the wedged in shacks
made of boards, mesh and plastic
the mamas and papas
smiling at my
smiling at their childrensmokey mountain naked boy
 
the slow motion cats
too gaunt to play
and the blue sky
in octagons and slivers
through 
corrugated metal 
remnants
 
3000 families
live in this dump
scavenging to survive
another day
no birth proof
no education
no healthcare
 
reed-thin bodies
and herds of children
Smokey mountain 2running
through 
the pop cans
glass shards
and my junk
 
Forgive me
for shelter
for Starbucks
for my fat belly
 
for not knowing
my privilege
 
Forgive me
for washing machines
and 3 meals a day
 
Forgive me for 
my unwillingness
to quit buying
and tossing
for praying
for an end to the cold
 
for not knowing
for not seeing
for thinking the world was 
about “mine”
in the millions of choices I make
 
Let me cry
don’t comfort me
-not now-
let my broken heart
stay in pieces
 
it would be
wrong
any other way
 
Smokey mountain 4 boys
 
*Smokey Mountain II is home to 3000 families on the outskirts of Manila. Most of them are undocumented, uneducated, and are migrants. I am working on connecting to a org there that helps these families. Send me a note if you’d like to know more. 
Posted in Poetry, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In The Underbelly

thailand girlsin the underbelly of Chiang Mai
I met a shoeshine boy, maybe 8 
midnight eyes
pleading face
 
he vanished
into the lady-boys
and 
fat old white men
groping Asian girls
 
I almost gasped when
I couldn’t find him
 
instead
there was
a baby sleeping
on a tottering
wood table
no sentinel
no arms
no soft bed
 
she could have rolled off any time
or be swept into
someone’s backpack
and disappeared
in a heartbeat
thailand kids 
around the corner
a dozen school-aged kids 
4s, 6s, 10s,
divvying up teams
as if it they were at a
park
or
someone’s back yard
or a little league
practice
 
but it was 11pm
in the hazy red light
a karaoke bar
“come upstairs for the show!”
a dozen meagerly clad girls
curtains
and hourly rates
bar on bar on bar
 
I’ve never known
desperation 
like this
an empty belly for days 
the fatigue that comes from
survival
parents
wanting me to
take care of 
them
at 40
 
I’ve never lived
in a hut
or a shack
or in a drug zone
 
I’ve never walked
30 miles 
carrying my wife
or child
for medical care
 
or
been seduced by a job
as a waitress in another
country
with the promise of
more than enough
 
thrilled that I
could be the one!
 
the one to tip the scales
in favor of enough
and maybe even
an education
 
I cannot judge
only sit here
on my back porch
with the doves
and my morning coffee
 
and wonder
 
What if it had been me?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
in the red light district
 
Posted in justice, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

iPhone

you sent me a photograph

i zoomed it up close

on my phone

and then instinctively

pulled your face to my cheek

~

you are so beautiful

so tender

so courageous

I can hardly keep from crying

~

Do you know

I can see your heart through your eyes?

world thru eyes

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An Easter question

What it will take to roll the stone away

from the grave where I have laid

my soul?

resurrection power
Posted in Reflections, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment