Choices

Choices

Had I but kept
my wits
about me
in junior high school

and  taken the

Intro To Kissing
elective

instead of Algebra I

(as the system insisted),

and then, a year later,

(when summer ended),

in my sophomore season,

opted for the

Advanced Kissing 
elective

(as the hormones demanded)

in place of Geometry 1

I certainly would have
notched a better G.P.A.

and 

perhaps gained greater

status with the girls.

Ready Or Not

Ready Or Not

Despite a thousand warnings
from people who make it their
business to know,

the weather--
no matter the season--

is worse than

Gramma can ever remember,

and she,

(God bless her gentle heart)

has no business except to
remember her childhood,

a pleasant time when children
played simple games like

hide and seek.

Her eyes, closed tightly against
the bark of a shade tree in the
front yard, she counted slowly--

". . . 98, 99, 100. Here I come,
ready or not!"--

so that others, forewarned,
hiding amid silent giggles--

until, muscles taut, ready for 
the race back to the maple--
erupt like cheetahs

from behind the

neighbor's gate.

American Appetite

American Appetite

Slender are the
          Base Paths
          Our
          Children
          Race
          Around.
Slender are the
          Willows
          That
          Shade
          Our
          Gurgling
          Creeks.
Slender is our
          Forgiveness
          For
          Apologies
          Unmade.
Slender is the
          Tightrope
          Our
          Health
          Balances
          Upon.
Slender is our
          Patience
          For
         Hindrance
          In
          Commutes.
And Slender are the
          Catwalks
          Our
          Models
          Slink
          Along.
But Wide as the Mississippi at flood is our
          Capacity
          For
          Kindness,
          Generosity,
          And
          Pie.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Handshake

Can you see a narrow path, just wide enough for one
 where two men chanced upon each other a long time ago? 
In the morning glory, witnessed by a wary sun— 
did they stop and stare, and wonder, friend or foe? 

Can you hear the roaring silence of unbridled fear, 
louder than the wails of most destructive storm? 
When men came face-to-face, blood pounding in the ear— 
eyes wild for escape, sensing death’s true form?  

Can you feel the breath of danger cold upon your face, 
and hair upon your neck bristling to attention? 
Were two molded statues, crafted from God’s race— 
rooted as the oak or maple, actions still undone?    

Can you see the younger of the two, stalwart as could be,  
his empty palms extended, no killing blade secret there? 
Was hatred harbored in his heart, more difficult to see— 
or reflected in his eyes as youthful courage rare?  

Can you hear the other man, older yes, tall and lean, 
notch mute arrow and string his deadly bow? 
Was language infant then, the world still raw and mean— 
that no words passed between them, oh so long ago? 

Can you feel a seething warmth lick across your skin,  
a glistening swath where death simmers hot and near? 
Were words so few that mere actions cradled sin— 
and in your throat you stifle the choking grip of fear? 

Can you see a selfish path where brave men often kill, 
and must in desperate haste decide another’s fate? 
Do you see a fiery blacksmith’s forge, hearts upon the anvil— 
shaping threatened lives, facing heaven’s yawning gate? 

Can you feel survival's strain, amid death’s insistent call, 
when the one with most to lose, smiled and stepped aside? 
Can you feel the forest’s breath release a sigh for all—   
where two men chose civility over instinct to abide?  

Can you see a narrow path where many came to walk, 
and a pleasant widening grew, and many pause to talk? 
Where empty hands were grasped to show no harm was meant— 
and where a wordless truce between two men was heaven sent?

Childhood Remedy

Childhood Remedy

To be young and unfettered

with the burdens
and troubles
of life

is a most precious slice
of fleeting time.

The clock is ticking!

A cloud's nimbleness!
A flower's innocence!
Curiosity on fire!

The need and desire to

climb towering trees,
dive into summer lakes,
build warrior forts,
chase older brothers,
mimic freckled sisters,
and giggles without cause,

are the enterprise of children.

Leave them be.
Celebrate them.
Forgive them.

Time will cure them

soon enough.
Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com

Tree Talk

Tree Talk

"But soft," whispered one tree to another,
"Sometwo come this way."

"If  woodsmen," asked his brother,
"Will this be our final day?"

"They carry no weapons, chainsaw or axe,
perhaps young lovers, come to play."

"If so, they intend no harm upon our backs,
and are most welcome to linger stay."

"Like boats to safe harbor let them steer,
and make gentle love among us if they may."

"We counsel them to lay aside any fear,
 and enjoy only boundless joy, we pray.

Photo by chepté cormani on Pexels.com

A Racist Bone

A Racist Bone

I don't have one.
I don't buy none.
I don't borrow none.
I don't crave none.

No!

I don't want a single one
them racist bones,

not underside my ribs,
'tectin' my heart—

not overtop my skull,
shieldin' my brain— 

not round my back,
bulwarkin' my spine.

No!

Day I's born,
doctor don't slap  me up my backside
with one them

racist bones,

and Mother don't feed me up my hunger
with no gnawing on those

racist bones,

and my school don't teach me up wrong 
with no 'lectual books readin' on

racist bones,

and my church don't hymn me
with no musical 

racist bones,

and my friends don't pal me up
with "we in this together"

racist bones.

No!

But just a second young man— 
now I been thinkin' 'bout it
long time—
goodly while—
indeed, mosta my life—

despite I lovin' LeBron
roarin' up court,
full steam ahead,
"outta my way!"

and marvel that Stephen Curry pest,
shootin' anywhere on court,
swishin' 'em like
nobody's business—

why do I keep hopin'

yeah, why I be hopin'

quietly,
so nobody notice me,
nobody hear me,
nobody know me,

and if I don't have no racist bone

nowhere in my body
growing inside me,

secret in my mind somewheres,
crouched down my heart chambers,
camouflaged in my soul,

all invisible like,

then,

why,
I'm asking you why,

do I keep hopin' some skinny
white kid come along,

someone like

Cousy, Bird, Pistol Pete,

all rolled up in one human concoction
like one them Thai spring rolls
all mixed up vegetables,

come along,

and throw a barricade up on LeBron,
shuttin' him down all good an' proper,

and hold Mr. Curry to 18 measly,

all the while putting up
a grand 42 and 12 unselfish shares

himself

on any given Saturday night?

If I sincere got no racist bone,
then why I be thinkin' that way?

Somethin' not quite right here.

Could it be possible I got 'fected somehow
with one them racist viruses,
and it be festerin' my marrow?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com