Flower Child. A Poem. A Prayer.

Our eyes connected in isle seven.
“You have something on your face.”
She smiled and so did her mother.
A rose grew and opened on a cheekbone.
A glittered face paint brushed on big.

A five year old in a leotard
danced of innocence.
She woke my joy and worry.
One day a tear will travel the stem,
Past the thorns. A rivulet of emotion.
Life rolling down.
A girl growing up.

What is it about the little ones?
I tell my girls not to grow up.
They don’t listen.
I grab a brush.

“Hold still.”

How do I paint a prayer
like a blossom to
catch the drops?

And Monday Follows Sunday

“Stop following me.”

“I’m sorry, but I look up to you. You are my role model.”

“Really? How so?”

“You show me time and again how to slow down and look up, even when Tuesday through Saturday  seems to drag behind me like a ball and chain.”

“Well, I suppose it makes sense. The word “sun” is in my name. What’s not to look up to, eh?”

“Exactly.”

 

“Again.” What this child says to his God

One more book,
one more song,
one more walk
of the spirit to see
One who swallows me.

The search continues for
Someone I have already found.
This quest of authenticity
resurrects dead poets,
theologians, and sages.

“The heavens’ embroidered cloths”
lie as dreams under Your feet.
I will tread softly on Your dreams.

You said it was all straw
yet I will gather the stalks
you left lie.

I will see the invisible fecundity
in the visible things
set in the dimmed light.

I shadow
contemporary
searchers of light.

Neil Diamond was lost
between two shores
to find out who he was.

Bruce Cockburn’s dance
with the everywhere truth
and the grace to lay it bare.

Michael W. Smith points to
the flesh and blood
of the I Am Love.

A book,
a song,
a walk
in the cool of the day
and You show up.

Emotional Condensation. A poem about forgiving.

 
Repress and ignore feelings,
and false ignorance frosts.

Set them cold on the windowsill
and unlock.

Pry the pane and pray
breath brushes the opening.

The mold on the ceiling
testify against the you and me
of us. Not today.

A rise of beads down the wall,
frost transformed and tepid like tears.

We lean against the condensation
of forgiveness.

 

Check Your Drawers. Clutter. Chaos.

(No, this isn’t my desk.)

What do you call the gold thing you put through two paper holes to attach them? First you thread it through and then you bend two ends in opposite directions to secure the papers. Cotter pin for paper? Anyway I found one of these when clearing my desk turned into a mid summers night clean. Every drawer, every tray in every drawer was rifled through like a detective. A million thousand receipts were thrown in the circular file. Copies of the same bill after months of ignoring or misplacing a creditors edict were torn and tossed.

Found were pictures and cards, pictures in cards, and the last two dollar bill I received on my birthday this year. Christmas family photos from friends were underneath the pencil tray. Sorry. Gold and silver Years-of-Service lapel pins still in the box pinned to foam. (I have only two lapels on which to place them when I go to a wedding or a funeral.)

One drawer filled with reading glasses and cases would gain me a lapel pin from the Lions club for a record donation gift.

Another drawer held pipe tobacco and incense. The smell of unlit bags of burl brought up an array of memories all jumbled together. Fond memories. I wondered if they make a candle aroma of North Sea flavored pipe tobacco.

The pencil drawer was a poster child of junk drawers. There were pencils and pens and fat markers filling the multiple trays. Dust in every corner. Shavings and shards of notes. A plethora of note pads and sticky florescent squares. More receipts, and business cards for Mariachi bands, and mail-order fudge Indiana, and a slew of insurance agents. The plastic disks from the toy gun I got for Christmas, one red and one yellow.

I got it done and sat for a moment and enjoyed a clean working space. Do you know the feeling? I know it like a straightened sock and underwear drawer every three months or so.

I wonder how many drawers of my mind need de-cluttering? Thoughts strewn like so many receipts give me cranial paper cuts.

Dropped. A Poem

I stumbled across a dropped call today.
I picked it up and wondered what dangling
conversation hung on its edges.
Upon scanning the area along the side of Almena Road,
I saw hundreds of fallen voices lying there.
I had stepped all over them
like so many worms on a rain-soaked day.

The flattened phrases lay dead,
some hoping for a resurrection,
and some wishing they had never been said.
Idled utterances.

Loving expressions with their passion subtracted.

Crouching down, I started picking them up
like loose change from car mats.
I began to pile them in my left palm.
They became a pyramid of nouns,
verbs, and adjectives grouted
together by prepositions.

Oh, to throw these on a refrigerator
so I can order them like a shell game.
Maybe there’s a chance I can put the sentences back together.
Maybe there’s hope to text the best words
with the purest of intentions to the expecting phones.

Maybe I can stand in the gap
where the cell towers wandered
too far away from each other.
I do hate to see words lying beside the road.

Name Calling: When the Writing Ignited

The group of men I was hanging with at the time was encouraged to ask God a question.   From there the stories dribbled out over the next days and weeks as God answered the question:  What is your nickname for me God?

I was afraid to ask.  The last nickname attached to me was cry baby.  I cried every time it hung on my ears like a peer fulfilling prophecy.  The reason behind asking was that “Our Father who is in heaven” desires to bestow a blessing on his sons with a term of endearment.   Well, that was a hard swallow only because “my father who was on earth” rarely said boo to me. Why would the Father beyond the “by and by” take time out of eternity to speak to me?

The men started sharing the answer to the destiny packed question.  Names like William Wallace and Maximus and Rocky Balboa started dropping from the sky and landing like testosterone helmets.  I began seeing middle aged men sniffing like Barney Fife and tucking in their shirts.  They didn’t care what hung over their belts, which made me even more hesitant to pop the question to Pops.

That direct of a question was like asking the President if I could borrow a dollar.  What if the answer was a non answer, crickets rubbing their legs together in the void as it were? What if Abba said to me,”Give me a minute, nothing’s coming to mind at the moment, and can I get back to you?”  My low expectations would have been met if such an answer whispered to me through the pines.

Well, I did finally ask.  I was stepping into my car and it came out of my mouth like a burp.  “Do you have a name for me?”

“John-boy”

I shut the door, turned the key, and fastened my seat belt.  The car idled in beat with my thoughts.  Nah.  Seriously?  Not Spidey?  Not Clark Kent?  Not Captain Kirk? Not even Mighty Mouse?  I pulled away, leaving those thoughts in the handicapped spot.

It was a while before I returned to this “answer”.  I had looked several times in the mirror for a mole and round reading lenses.  There was a temptation to ask again to see if Abba might have an additional name like when I was confirmed in second grade.  James was my confirmation name chosen by my parents.  Maybe God was catholic and I was not yet confirmed by him.   The name Gerald Allen James John-boy Barrett sounded a little “under” the top instead of over it.  I think what wrinkled my brain was the “boy” part.  It had associations.  Like a black slave being called “boy”.  Like in the movie The Man From Snowy River when Jim Craig brought the herd of wild horses into the fold single handedly.   Hence, the last line of the film…”He’s a man.  The man from Snowy River.”   A coming of age story doesn’t end with a baritone voice squeaking into a soprano.

My mother raised me and I was outnumbered by six sisters.  Hen pecked was my appropriate tag line.  I can show you the pock marks on my ego.  “My name is Jerry, and I’m a momma’s boy.”  It’s a good attribute in my estimation and does aid in my understanding of “Venus’s.”  But I was longing for an add-on.  I was hoping for a hormonal hinge from which to swing.  In high school I played football hoping that jocks and their straps would make a strapping young man out of me.  I didn’t even like to hit which reduced me to bench sitting, one butt cheek away from “water-boy.”

Well, I kept hanging around these men for a while.  I saw some good changes in the diary-of-a-wimpy-church-male screen play of which I was type cast.  They ordered swords to hang above their mantles.  They draped golden gloves over the roll bar in their Jeep Wranglers.  They grunted to one another and fist pounded and chest bumped at man-cave-like meetings.  They wore their nick-names like leather Harley-Davidson jackets.  They found their pubescent rebirth of sorts, together, while “John-boy” sat and observed it all…  He did? He did! I did!

Honestly, the realization didn’t pound me quite like an exclamation point.  It was more like Morse code; dot dot dash dot dash over all long period of dot dot dot.  I looked over my shoulder to find evidence lying like bread crumbs.  It was a trail that led back to a large family on the dead end of Grand Avenue.  2020 Grand Avenue.  20/20 vision focused when I set my reading glasses down and closed my eyes.  I grew up in a family only to grow out of it.  Oh, I was still in the family yet as calendars filled the recycling bin I found myself standing outside of it more and more with pen in hand.  Little vignettes and poems began showing up for special occasions.

See that picture on the side up there? Draw a mole on that face.