When I Was Ten

I was already wondering

why do we live the way we do

in a society where everyone,

anyone we encounter,

will have needs,

will want to feel the value

as anyone else who might want

the same things.

 

I kept hearing about love and flowers,

while watching the names scroll

across the evening news,

and then MLK and Bobby were dead.

I’m not really sure where the time

has gone so that today,

I stand here wondering if we have

made any changes to our lives at all.

 

We still know how to hate one another,

to load a burden of shame upon each

principled confession of humanity

we encounter on a given afternoon of days.

I sit among everyone that I have known,

there are simple avenues of memory,

and we each know the value of remembering

just when it was we began to feel fear.

 

I’m listening to Joan Baez in the background,

maybe Judy Collins later on, or Emmy Lou,

there’s a voice from my distant past reminds me

of that love thing we all seemed to grasp,

but only when tragedy spoke to our hearts

it was only then when we ripped apart our eyes,

and settled into a new way of thinking,

one that no longer contained the love of time.

 

Love of time rather than knowing the right time,

the moments that arise in our lives that compel

our souls to acknowledge the humanity of truth,

we are that lost beacon in the night extinguished.

Until the renovation, until the unearthing, until

somewhere in a time capsule we can see reality,

and once again, to know love is to feel our hearts

are an organic spokesperson for the beauty of love.

Yesterday’s Lives

war

Once,

I recall

a crisp morning

listening to the radio

describe Bobby Kennedy’s iron lung

By the end of the day

I was listening to music again.

Yesterday, and probably later on today lives

will be lost at the hands of war

all of which are names we don’t know.

~

Yet, in the blogs and commentaries

the incessant threads that expose our world,

in news reports and cocktail hour chats

the name ISIS will become familiar,

Kurdish, Gaza, Ukraine, Israeli, Shiite,

Crips, Bloods, Disciples, Latin Kings,

Jihad, Taliban …

White, Black, Hispanic, Russian, Somali, Asian,

Native American

~

Some names we know,

they live nearby,

walk the same streets as you and I

on any given night,

we read about their activities,

still far across the city,

distant identities across the world,

seemingly wanting the same

still not walking in stride,

yet.

~

We are a talented animal,

with our flaws and successes,

we conveniently forget

matters of hurt.

Wherever our world exists

we must always respond

to the reality around us.

In my own backyard,

I worry  about flowers and trees,

while in a nearby war zone,

families cry for each other’s lives.

We must never forget

yesterday’s lives.