I Woke this Morning

I woke up this morning to a new America

a place that I never knew existed

a place full of anger and fear,

people marching in the streets

people being beaten for who they are

the cries of the innocent seeking justice

faces contorted in anger, fingers pointing.

My own heart feels heavy

I cannot fathom how we got here,

how these people all free in America

could become so mean to one another

in this place where I can speak freely

worship the God of love in peace.

Yet we watch as the gods of greed and power

of fear and wealth crucify once more

the one who came offering the kingdom

to the poor, the neglected, to us all

Unexpected

“You’re not what we expected,”

Her eyes boring through

like a heat ray melting outer layers,

seeking to find what was lost

in her own mind, as I stood there.

I looked at her tense body 

as she hurled her stones

against the imagined Great Wall

she had already constructed,

when she first came to see me

only to find it wasn’t what she expected

not hardened stone or rock

but flesh and bone and full of doubt

yet, unexpectedly, not flinching

before the assault

Thoughts on Inauguration Day

I’m not sure how I feel

I never felt afraid,

I never felt deprived,

I have love in my life,

I have a home,

I have food,

I have freedom to worship,

I have freedom not to do so,

I can drive cross country.

Yet I’m told it’s a lie

that all is not well

there are forces underneath

seeking to take it away.

Now we’ve taken it back

and all will be put right,

so I’m told

and still I feel no fear

and still I have love

and still I’m not deprived

and still I’m free.

At least for now

First Letter

I watch you

sitting there

reading a book

late afternoon sunlight

shining in your hair

thinking about that letter

written so long ago

on a whim 

to a girl I never met

a warm tropical night

on top of a mountain

as the war wore on

in the distance 

the crack of weapons

choppers flying the wounded

to the hospital below

and all you could smell was 

shit and diesel fuel burning 

and there I was

sitting in my hootch

a small light burning

shadows dancing on walls

looking at that picture

of you with dark rimmed glasses

hair shoulder length

smiling for the photo

I take pen in hand

on that cheap writing paper

the crinkly kind

designed for airmail

and I write

a stammering, stuttering

less than poetic letter

that I’m sure you’ll hate

when a few weeks later

there was an answer

and the beginning of it all

baring our dreams and hopes

in letters across the sea

that brings us to this day

as I look upon your face

and the love we share

all from a letter written long ago

City Snow Day

The poem starts with gently falling snow

that blankets the world outside

and all is subdued and quiet

while in the house a cozy fire burns

and someone is looking out the window

to describe the fairy tale scene

then there’s the reality of the city

where the snow bottles up traffic 

people cursing stepping into slush

the snow plows going up and down 

their blades creating sparks on the streets

trying to keep ahead of the storm

while on the television reporters drone on

one out by the ocean

standing in the wind with sleet stinging 

giving us a live report of the devastation 

while inside the kids are ramped up

unable to burn off any energy

yes, it is beautiful but the next day its clean up

out in the cold, blustery day to move the snow

what was a wonderful, scenic calm day

now turns into a long day of recovery

followed by Ben-Gay and ibuprofen

so that one can return to work

and the kids can get back to school

while you look at the calendar

counting how many days until spring.