while early white and pink
that which we
can grasp, control,
when things of import
more often resemble
the feeling the first time you
held a baby — fragile, unsure —
or attempts to embrace wisps of smoke,
or reaching for a hand no longer there.
an etheree for dVerse
We live in a world where poets
are still executed for their words.
There is not much to be found
in the way of details —
we do not know
if the sun was shining and kissed
his face before he died,
or if it was done indoors
where he could see no light,
or if he was defiant to the end,
reciting verse with his last breath,
or if he cried and begged for mercy,
we do not know if there was a sympathetic witness,
or only stoic (or perhaps mocking) guards and executioner —
no, all we know for sure was that he was hanged.
If this was expertly done he would have fallen
a sufficient distance to cause the cervical vertebrae to fracture,
somewhat lessening the discomfort of the experience.
A less proficient, or perhaps sadistic, hangman could have
created a situation where he strangled to death,
dangling, aware, for twenty seconds to a minute,
waiting for the blood flow from his carotid arteries
to his brain to be cut off and consciousness to cease…
Twenty seconds does not seem so very long.
Have you ever held you breath for 20 seconds, or more?
We do know, with a degree of certainty, that his death
was ordered by an Iranian Mullah, found guilty
of waging war on God, spreading corruption on earth,
and questioning the principle of walayat al-faqih.
He is not the first Iranian poet to die at the hands
of his government and the mullahs, not by far…some were shot,
others hanged, one had his veins cut and was left
to bleed in his cell. More than eighty, intellectuals and poets,
were executed from 1997 – 2005.
But, we are not to speak of this, not to judge
those who ordered these acts of justice.
This is their way, and we are to be tolerant of that which
we do not understand.
The mantra of the politically correct.
Do we speak out? Do we march? Do we write ’till our fingers bleed
with the passion of our convictions and the right of any human being
to raise his voice in verse and protest?
Or do we hang our heads and shake them sadly,
mourning the loss of another voice
while being thankful it could never happen to us.
Such an atrocity would never be allowed in the land of the free…
Then one day…an all Muslim city council is elected,
and Sharia law comes to your neighborhood.
But we are not to speak of that, it would be insensitive,
and intolerant, and ridiculously conspiratorial.
I remember taking my oldest daughter
to the beach,
slathering her in sunscreen
and securing the frilly, floppy hat
over her red curls.
The rest of the day was spent
walking behind her, picking up the hat
and replacing it on her head.
Worst sunburn I’ve ever had.
I remember my toddler son chasing seagulls
across the sand,
arms outstretched, Gilligan hat on his head,
always on his tiptoes,
heals never touching the sand.
He would turn back to look at us,
point at the skittering birds
and laugh as a carefree child
ought to laugh.
I remember my youngest daughter’s
first time at the beach, still too young to walk.
We would hold her by her hands
and lower her to the sand,
the lower she got the higher she would raise
Not once did she touch sand without crying,
perfectly content to explore
to the edge of the blanket,
and no further.
Somehow, I thought they would always
be that age,
but I do often wonder,
whether it is they,
who I have allowed
to get so old.
I am struggling to find sympathy,
anger and frustration lead
the emotional assault.
There is empathy, to be sure,
the proverbial trite heart
for the families of those who bled.
But, anger, yes,
it is anger which rules my thoughts.
Anger at men who insist
you believe as they, and submit,
or die for the sin of disagreement.
Anger at the apologists who refuse
to condemn these men,
or go so far as to justify their actions,
attempting to transfer blame,
or merely being silent.
Anger at leaders who are anything but,
who refuse to so much as name
the obvious enemy,
much less fight them,
or strive for their defeat.
Soon, there will be blood in more streets:
L.A, London, Tokyo, Atlanta, Stockholm…
your streets, my streets.
Sympathy and platitudes will not stop it,
a symbolic overlay of a picture
will not change it,
well wishes and “standing together”
will not alter fates.
Anger, perhaps, also may not provide
the needed answers,
but failing to act, failing to acknowledge
the enemy — or even that there is one —
is the surest path to more innocent
She always said she
had her mother’s hands —
bony, good for backhands,
veins, easy for a nurse to find —
they have not moved in days,
except by others,
They are not old enough
for this bed.
I have to go now,
gotta take care of those kids.
It is time for you to rest,
and to let him rest.
The next night,
my sister called.
Written for Margo’s prompt
we lost our way.
Amidst the joy, tears,
redemption and salvation
we seem to have forgotten
the meaning of the words
and the value of works.
I have read the Bible (Well, to be honest, all of the New. the Pentateuch, Job and a smattering of the rest of the Old) and I do not recall the basis for some of the current practices. These ‘modern’ non-denominational Christian churches are all the rage. Teaching at a surface level, pop music, casual dress all in a shopping mall atmosphere. I know, it is all designed to make everyone feel comfortable, welcome, so that a new believer will not be intimidated. I am just not sure if the message of commitment, sacrifice and dedication is coming across. I also do not see how coffee shops and bookstores in the lobby are any different than money changers in the temple courts.
I am not sure when the first mega-church was built; around Constantine probably, shortly before or after. I am sure it was justified then much as it is now, allowing for larger congregations and more souls saved. However, I do not recall where Jesus spoke of building monuments or making them bigger, higher and more beautiful. Were they built, then and now, as a testament to the power and glory of God, or to satisfy the vanity and ego of those that reside within?
Do not misunderstand, I am Christian and I believe in tithing and giving of my time, treasure and talents. I believe that we are instructed to give and not be concerned about what is done with the gift. I know there are churches that do phenomenal things in their communities; feeding the poor, providing clothing and shelter, serving at soup kitchens and so much more. And I believe these are the majority of the churches. But when I see the monoliths to worship I do have to wonder how many could have been fed with the cost of construction.
I come to this place often,
late at night, with no one around,
and marvel at the majesty
of the construction.
There is confusion
and contradiction contained
in the arches and stained glass.
I read of humility and sacrifice
but see none in these stones.
I search the spires, the statues
and the carvings looking for what
to believe, while inside, there is an altar
to the efficacy of man.
I think I shall find more enlightenment
in the glow of this lonely streetlight.
Well, no one else is going to do it. 🙂
So, I have published a chapbook.
As it says in the title, it is not a ‘feel good’ book: don’t expect a love poem. It is a collection focused primarily on current events and the current political climate, most of the poems been seen on this site at one time or another.
I would be honored for you to have a copy (just click the picture) and to receive any feedback you would be willing to give. It is currently only available on Kindle (I will apologize for some formatting issues; converting poetry to Kindle is…unpredictable). If there is demand I will put out some print copies as well.
Thank you to those who follow this blog, and most especially to those who are willing to offer a comment now and then.