Hearth of the Matter

My poetry went missing,

The selected words

Blended in the white noise

Of yule mules and

Their sleigh bells a bouncing.

Commerce over Christmas,

The ever present threat

Of package over presence.

 

Infuse our giving with life,

Let not our hearts inflate

On front lawns of light.

Guide our hearts to

The hearth of the matter.

Warm us by the fire

Of Your reality,

And give us more than

Peace on earth,

Grant us a piece of

Your heart.

 

Amen.

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When God Speaks Love. Listen to this.

Just because of all the rain lately.

Gerald the Writer

The memory of a cold, windy, raining day resurfaced today.

She said in her blog God doesn’t always speak to us in a booming voice. It seems in these times God would only be heard in such a tone. It’s loud down here with all the news networks, overloaded stadiums, earthquakes, wars, scandals, overzealous weather, and the body politic. Can God get in a word edgewise?

Then there is the religious banter. A mixture of clanging cymbals and pundits with orchestral wands trying to direct every butt splintered pew sitter. There are thousands of good willed religious folk though, speaking truth through the cracks of the cacophony of mass market manipulation. Mustard seeds are handed out on an individual basis.

Am I talking too loud? Booming?

Ahem, back to the cold rainy day… It was about a decade ago when I had breakfast with a mentor. I questioned him about…

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Equanimity

Under mind,

bump stocked

and fire branded.

A cool glass of water,

clear as a monk’s

prayer before sunrise

is sipped and spilt.

Be anxious for nothing

is an easy task…

It’s when we’re anxious

about something,

everything,

that our equanimity

is bent by a category

five, and we kneel

when we should stand,

and stand when we

should kneel.

The Porch

The house stood at the dead end of Grand Avenue. “For Sale,” It said. I didn’t want the house necessarily. I wanted the memories of the childhood more than the malformed nuances of adulthood. Ignorance was bliss and that bliss faded into the backdrop of life away from home. My driveling reminiscence stood hoping for a sensory flashback. Scuffed Red Ball Jets shoes and ham-burg gravy I suppose.

My daughters climbed the stairs with me and we became momentary voyeurs of the place where I learned to walk, ride, and drive. We cased it like burglars. We peered over the window sills. We walked its perimeter. I started pouring out stories like a coffee pot.

I told them how I used to ride and ride my stingray around the house until the roots of the maple trees rose like varicose veins. The path allowed only the hardiest dandelions to survive. Now there was actually green grass circling this “used to be” home. How my mother would have liked to have something to mow back then.

I got on a knee to peer under the wooden overlay of the cement stoop in front. It was under there, crumbling still. Instead of five smooth stones there were five rough steps with bookend brick walls. Those walls held, for a while, the stories of our lives.

In the spring ten children fell out of our winter barracks and sat at ease on those steps. The porch was the place to hang out and watch the world go by…even on a dead end street. It was never dead; more like a holding yard for the neighborhood kids.

My sister Mary sat on the wall and wander around guitar chords. I remember her playing the intro to the Beatle’s Blackbird. Now I hear my son playing it and his fingers pick and point me back to front porch days…

Back when it was a safe zone for tag or home base for hide and seek. Back when my mom blew the police whistle from that porch to call us home for dinner or baths or a head count. Back, when in early August, it was an excellent place to watch lightning bugs and listen to the cicadas sing. Back when neighborhood kids showed up for senseless banter and storytelling from its podium. Back when cigarette butts were flicked into the sidewalk cracks. Back when the porch served as a barricade from water balloons and squirt gun fire and pitches of the little pearly berries from the shrubs out back. Back when it was the backdrop for graduation pictures. Back when tears of sadness, frustration, anger, and happiness had freckled its grainy mortar. Back where hellos and goodbyes were handed out.

It reminded me of my mom. Actually, it was for her I wrote these words down. That porch was like the house’s lap. We crawled up on it to relax and be ourselves. There was a comfort of simply sitting there. Sit and be. Let the wind blow our hair back like she did when she checked for fevers. First the back of her hand against our cheek, then a cool palm on our forehead, then the brushing back of our hair and her pursed lips just above our eyebrows.

Then to climb up on her lap…the best easy chair ever there was. It supported our weighty little bodies. We sat and waited for her strength to be transferred to us. A short visit there lent us security. I know now that her strength and security was often waning. Only God and she knew how many times her cup was empty and yet a little drop of love managed to fall on us… and that was all we needed.

Now that porch is laminated in painted wood, make-up that covers its inner beauty and foundational strength. I feel like I need to go back in cover of darkness to pry up the cover up. Then I could sit on the pitted remembrance of who I was becoming. I imagined all my siblings stuffed on that porch sharing the steps and the one lap we all had in common.

Low Grade Depression

He knows and gets it.

Gerald the Writer

Jesus’ hand pressed on my chest.

I woke and made eye contact.

Sweat saturated my neck and shoulders.

He performed CPR.

The breath of life at all angles.

“Listen, are you listening?”

I nodded.

“You aren’t dying.

Your heart is strong.

This deep press on your heart

is waiting for a response.

I am acquainted with grief.

I am a man of sorrows.”

I could feel heat in my eyes.

“I wept

over Jerusalem

over Lazarus.”

I blinked tears that burned down.

“Things do get complicated

and the sorting out and attempts

of nailing those things down wearies you.”

I looked away.

“They tried to nail me down too.

I was too complicated.

I still Am to many.

Even you try to secure Me with nails.”

Eye contact.

“Yes, even now you try to manage Me.

You aren’t the only one.

But you are the one I am talking to…

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Seasonings

When summer yawns,

a day break wedges

my thoughts between

the sun’s direct light

and its slanting

toward winter’s solstice.

As time wraps and warps

around my puny

gut feelings, a

prayer wends its

way through the

waning season

toward the bending Light,

an amen rolls

on toward equinox.