End War

​Will you take me to the river?

Will you take me there today?

Will you wash away the blood?

Will you join with me and pray?
Pray for peace among the suff’ring

Pray for tragedy to end

Pray for their sweet comforting

Pray for love till world’s end.
Will you join me at the river?

Will you meet me there today?

Will you help me cleanse the blood?

Will you meet with me to pray?

Keep the Heart Fire burning

The moldy crust of forgiveness lay on your counter forgotten.

When I first baked it, brought it to your table, broke bread with you

We ate with greedy abandon. The suggestion of freedom beamed

like a hearth fire we’d built together, but you abandoned our haven

Though guilt didn’t lay a head on my pillow, nor did shame,

I wonder if you ever wonder about whatever we became

I built my oven with encouragement towards success

You kept blowing out the embers, dumping water on the heat

Leaving my bread unleavened, flat, and eventually, I also left.

I eat my dinner, more than bread, at the table of successful abundance

I hope, someday, you will understand what I gave to you

in that warmly baked, love filled loaf of doughy comfort food.

Curtis C.

I felt it before I heard or saw it.
A wave of hostility colored in anger
darkness creeping over hearts
while the warm sun kissed the peaceful.
“He’s white!” I hear her scream.
The grandson, after exchanging
the pungent presence of racism
committed to his violence
flailing at the seat-belted man
Releasing his hatred through his fists.
“STOP! STOP!” I yell at the assault
I bring the confused woman and her beau
water in plastic pink cups
The sun should be clouded over
with the bitterness of repulsion, but it isn’t.
 
The moving van waits
The ministry van drives away
The cops come, take names
forget it even happened.
 
My stomach is repulsed by the waves
still emanating from the gathered group
still aching from the pride fallen dead
in the gutter littered with foul words.

Ghost Town of the Last Bouquet

of the lost bouquet

of the lost bouquet

It all happened so fast. Shortly before I died, a friend of mine said, “Why don’t you have a wake to see what it would be like when you’re gone?” I thought about it sincerely. I was only inspired to ask the question because several people I knew had passed from the breathing life. It’s not like I was inviting death to visit or anything. I was just curious as I watched people of all walks come to give honor to the deceased.

I’d considered mortality before when I look at the life I lead without children, without anyone to which I could pass my traditions and stories into the future. It took me several weeks before I concluded that I didn’t want to know what people thought of me. I officially opted out because nobody really wants to know how much they’ll be missed unless they didn’t plan on coming back, right?

A week later, I got sick. I went to sleep for a while. I’m not even sure what happened. I was, then I wasn’t. I tried to communicate with my husband but he couldn’t hear me. I didn’t understand. I spoke. I screamed. I tried to write to him. I watched as my friends showed up on my doorstep. I knew some of my beloveds were upset, but they buckled down to work as if their own lives depended on it.When I woke up, people I loved dearly were milling about my house. Many of them were packing up my personal belongings. Some of them were picking through my things, selecting items as mementos, while I stood in the middle of each room spinning in circles crying with grief.

There were times of visitation with my friends whom spoke tender words of compassion to my surviving spouse while hovering behind weeping eyes and choked words. I wanted to take away their pain. I wanted to wrap them into my arms, to offer them comfort as they’d done for me so often. But I couldn’t reach far enough out of myself. I was trapped in a place between planes.

While I witnessed the parade, I saw that people brought gifts, food, donations of all different kinds. I watched the place I lived become an empty shell. No decorations, no dinners cooking, no shower gel scenting the entire upstairs. I slept on the floor of my studio curled up in a small blanket-less cold ball on a smelly carpet. I tried to get comfortable, but there is no way when my life rejected me.

The next day all I could feel were spirits moving near me, but I paid them only enough notice to acknowledge they were there. I could hear the hushed tones of neighbors outside my window. I looked but I couldn’t see them. Everything took on a gray light as if gauze were filtering everything into uncomfortable dullness. I felt the press of others but I resisted their call. I wasn’t ready to leave. I wanted to make sure my beloved was well.

People I didn’t know walked into my house and started commenting about the bare walls. They expressed how they were going to change everything around to suit their taste. It was then I realized my beloved was no longer there.

With a tug that dropped me back from the window, I turned to face a tall man that looked familiar to me. He reached out his fingers beckoning me to follow. He smiled reassuringly but I held on to the breathing life. I looked out the window once more, turned back to the tall man, with a burst of courage, I took his hand. Then I wasn’t.

Cost of Living

Candle of Hope

How much am I worth to you?

Another theater, another school?

Another place where people gather

Out in public, or doesn’t it matter?

How much can I pay you for

your children’s blood on classroom floors?

How much is the fiance’ worth

if she’s wedding before the baby’s birth?

Tell me, because I don’t want your guns

you can keep them, I’m wanting none.

If you collect or if you hunt

I have no interest in killing your fun.

But any sane person should agree

that these “daily” mass killings are a spree

With romanticized violence the law of the land,

as responsible owners, please take a stand.

Show them what it means to be smart

Give us something, someplace to start

 

I don’t want to be afraid to go to the store

become another pawn in this domestic war

If it happens to one it’s a tragedy

but if it happens to more, a statistic you’ll be

Terrorism doesn’t have the brown skin like we’re told

It’s the murderer’s body count, sin chillingly cold.

To live or not to live…

You confessed that death equals love

pain equals love. You are alone.

Alone.

Suffering solitary confinement for life

with shadows of who you dreamed of being

reflected in the mirrors of their burgeoning souls

warming your icy skin with alien affection

you won’t afford to give yourself.

As you stare at the distortion created by the bottle,

that screams generations of return,

understand that love does not equal pain

or loss or abandonment or unnecessary sacrifice

or lies, deception, theft, loss of integrity

or tears of begged forgiveness forgotten immediately

when the other “Lady” comes knocking

with sharp shaved heads, steaming lips,

and nothing but broken promises.

You select the path. You get to choose now.

It will not be long before it will no longer be your choice.

It will be out of your hands. Choose now.

Choose.

The 46 and 1,600

Face Palm

Face Palm

Did you hear my brothers and sisters crying?

Why didn’t you help them when they were dying?

Why did you hand your loyalty to the master?

Why did you close your eyes so much faster?

You are saddened by the forty-six which I get,

But 1,600, abused by power, doesn’t bother you yet?

You carry a weapon, a gun to protect and serve,

I respect that, understand that it’s life you try to preserve.

I do not hate you. I do not wish that misconstrued.

I’m not even angry with you when you don your black and blue.

Did you hear your brothers and sisters crying?

Can you turn your back on unarmed humans dying?

Are you still willing to obey that Master?

Or are you awaiting orders during confrontational disasters?

I am saddened by the forty-six deaths legit,

But I’m more disturbed that 1,600 doesn’t bother you yet.

You carry a weapon, to protect your brothers in blue

I thought it was to protect civilians, people like me, too.

I respect the courage it takes to head out into the streets

Never knowing if your loved ones again you’ll ever meet.

I do not hate you. I do not wish this misconstrued.

I just wish you’d seen my human siblings, like your brothers in the blue.