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Poet Commentaries

Repentance

I write this in response to Road Rage, not a specific “cause”.  My point quite simply is to remind people of the underlying expectation that exists in every act of violence; the expectation of repentance from someone else.  The strange thing about pride is it makes it easy to demand apologies and difficult to give them.

The poem “Jump” below was written in response to the race riots in the States and the recent senseless acts of violence perpetrated in so many communities.  Scary as this all was for everybody it somehow was able to be packaged up as a cause, and the arguments for equity were strong.  

Not so with Road Rage.  It is just pride gone wrong.  It is senseless.  Many like me will find this new reality completely incredulous until we run into someone whose only response is rage.  We will think that a few social skills and some deft maneuvering will get us out of a situation but I do not believe this is the case.

Perhaps we have faith that somehow this will not happen to us and that is why I chose my second poem “Beached”.  

The other inspiration for this write was this article (longish too).

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-07-28-making-waves.-big-ones.-coming-your-way-soon./#.WXsfh8sXbqA

This was a good article but dark.  It does not deal with personal repentance so may seem like an easier read. It should though for even it points out there is such a thing as a butterfly effect.  It was the picture that truly inspired, I could not help thinking what the people in the boat were feeling.

One last word.  There is in this write no definition or description of what personal repentance looks like but it is needed.  Strange that I cannot document a course of action “‘cause I kinda know”.  I do know that even a thief will find higher ground when there is a tsunami.

Jump

Where I lack bones
and sinew,
a quietness.
God is not quiet.

He is not heard though
over the bandwagons’ roar,
circling ever faster and faster.
He stands alone.
Barely seen in the midst,
clouded by kicked up dust.
Barely heard over the racket
of our rickety wheels.

(the rein holders pull;
SCREAM whoa.
Too late to stop
the vortex of chaos)

You think He is quiet
’cause he does not boil
as loud as you,
in defense of you;
your sauce spitting
through the cracks
of a clanging lid.

He too detests the officer’s act
and also the sniper’s.
He mourns for
all the lost son’s
and the sons of them
who will live
in a vortex.
But He does not spit
or sputter.
Yet.

I am sheep
trembling, trebling
such that the wool
is shaken off
so I see.

Why do I tremble?
Because I am not as bad
as him
I am not as hurt
as her
I do not live
with them.
I do not yet cringe
at the crack of a gun
or the feedback
from a demonstrators mic.

I tremble
out of pity.

My forgiving
takes but a band aid
not life support.
My forgiveness
cost me but a cloak
not a son or daughter;
If I cannot do it,
how can they?

The poem ends here.
Years ago I jumped
from the bandwagon cult.

JUMP.

 

Beached

tsunami
on the beach
a lone sand bag
tucked beneath
this poem


1

I played at the edge,
on hard packed sand,
bare feet and shovels
under a warm sun.
I raised up cities
of castles and motes
and watched them
razed by tide and time.

I wrestled the waves.
Teased them
pierced them.
Sunk below;
mesmerized by the sound
of them breaking
above and beyond me.

Wave wombs,
rythmic and nurturing.
Few truly experience
a rest atop embryonic
that can wash…
away and to…

2

The air mattress sturdy
and unholey.
The lake languid.
The rhythm, the pull
and that warm sun
more languider.
With my feet crossed
and hands clasped behind my head
I let go.

Two hours went by.
I refused to look
at the old shore
or dip my feet.
Not yet.
Then with the Son and I
at one.
I turned and looked
at colourful wee umbrellas
and ants marching.

I slid off and plunged
into the cold deep.
I pulled way down
hand over hand
along an anchor rope
of a fisherman’s buoy.
I then rocketed up,
bursting through the surface
Hungry I headed to the camp
anchored at the shore.

3

Stalking the undertow,
fleeing the wave;
always dry.
Twelve feet out
and twelve in
I chased the tail end
of summer
and then….
there was no wave.
The undertow withdrew
with me in pursuit.
Sand turned to silt
so from rock to rock
I leapt;
feet just keeping pace.

Of course I knew.
Twelve out
is twelve in
and four high;
my mind stumbled
on ergo,
nine miles out
nine miles back
by too high.
Yet I ran,
my mind racing
with what ifs.

I would leap just right
just so
landing on the crest
before it broiled and rolled.
I would dive
and grab hold of a rope
reaching hand over hand,
going so deep,
letting the wave pass.
I thought of not coming up
of not getting air
but I was young
full of faith,
and immortality;
I could breath under water.

What I could not do
is ride the wave back
to all those beached people
who watched me chase the undertow.

4

I love playing on the shore
where the god particle laps.
Kicking sand and water,
watching the frolickers
emerge with a shekinah;
shaking and brushing off.
Watching the breakwaters
smash against stone
harder than granite;
impervious.
One gets a feel for the rhythm,
The undertow pulling
smiles, hopes and inspiration,
the new waves bringing
smiles, hope and exaltation.
Breathing through us,
twelve out
and twelve in.

5

I chased the inspiring
and ran from the exaltation;
always dry and comfortable.
Then that long long
intake of breath.
I did not see the line
that I chased.
…Not really…
One can see exaltation.
The steamed breath
traceable in the air.
The smell of it,
the feel of it on neck hairs.
Chasing the inspiration
felt crazy though.
Me running past churches
and businesses,
waving at neighbours.
An unholy air mattress
drifting down main street.
And yet,
I followed the deflating,
chasing receding Higgs Bosons.

I considered what ifs,
imagined pulling myself deep
grasping hand over hand
on locks of His hair.
Futility I know
against a black hole
fully inspired
ready to exhale.
But I do know this
the poet prefers poetry
to the job of historian
riding the breath back
to the old shore.

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