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Middle School

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I would like a day of wonder,
a minute of joy,
an instant of yes

when that kid with the lopsided grin
(sitting in the back of the class
muttering under his breath)
suddenly appreciates the beauty and balance
in an algebraic equation

when the girl with the curly hair
(who only wants it straight
and despairs over the latest blemish)
is blown away
seeing herself in relation to the entire universe

when the boy who never volunteers
(for fear that he’ll stammer
and everyone will laugh)
writes a story so brilliant
it stuns the class to silence

when students, hanging on every word,
(thrilled with the composition we call earth,
in awe of how intricately all the pieces fit together)
forget themselves
(for a brief moment in time)
and start singing with the stars.

I would like a celebratory second,
but I worry
that wonder died in fourth grade.

Somehow hope keeps me coming back
(wading through miry angst)
searching for the spark
that will ignite a fire.

I would like a day of wonder,
a minute of joy,
an instant of yes.

Today

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Today yielded
fences sliced open top to bottom like skinned rabbits,
windows smashed,
rooms pillaged and raped.

Today yielded
words slammed against used-to-be friends,
fists raised in raging wrath,
noses bloodied.

Today yielded
motives challenged,
insinuations levelled,
promises broken,
futures questioned.

Today yielded
a hangnail.

And that’s when I cried.

(brave) (new) world

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The world has become such a confusing place.
Up is now down.  Right is now left.
Rules are changing faster than they can be recorded.
I stand and stare.
I don’t know what to think.
Half of me sees merit.  The other half sees doom.
Rome is burning
and
everyone is posting the event
from their own unique perspective.

How carefree, this new generation,
with no gravity to hold them down!
They will soar, they tell us,
to amazing new heights,
because they are not afraid
and everything is possible.

I try to warn them
about what is beyond the atmosphere,
but they shake their heads
and smile
as if to say,
You just don’t understand, Gogo.
and continue to rise until they top the trees
then disappear into water vapour.

Some do not make it.
I have seen their bodies strewn along the footpaths
muttering to themselves about laws and limitations.

But we clap for everyone.
Everyone is a champion.
No one is wrong.
No one is wrong.

And another bomb goes off in Beirut.

Fatally Flawed

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We’re sick unto death.
Born broken,
we spend our short-wick lives
trying to fix it.

But it’s inoperable
and we’re doomed before we start.

Only grace can redeem us.
And there is no recognition of grace
until there is concession of weakness.

Falling on mercy
we have hope.

Still Waiting

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It’s hammering against my ribs again.
I take a deep, slow breath —
an attempt to put it to sleep —
but it won’t lie down.
Pacing now it wears a path between my ears.
“I don’t have time!” I shout.
It sings louder, drowning me out.
With resignation I open my journal,
sharpen a pencil
and sit.
Suddenly the storm is still.
I wait.

Scattered

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There are pieces of me scattered over the planet.
There’s a decent sized chunk of my heart in San Francisco.
My arms are in Grahamstown, my feet in the Rockies.
A wedge of my wonder is in the Grand Canyon
and a slab of my stomach I left in L.A.
A portion of courage resides now in Ålborg.
A slice of my childhood inhabits Ulm.
In D.C. there’s a shard of compassion
and in Atlanta there’s a section of my gratitude.
I’ll never be whole till the parts come together
but I am quite loath to summon them here
for while they are sprinkled all over this vast orb
I may consider the entire Earth my home.

The Rich Man

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A heart is required.
You gave a stone.
Sons are called.
You chose to be judge.

With the witness of Pharisees
and by the Word you call divine,
(of your own making)
you are thoroughly screwed,

Here they are before you:
each man you ran down,
every woman you molested.
And the children cry out:
“Damned!”

How surprised you look.
Not genuine, I’m sure.
“But,” you cry,
“I washed many times.”
And you point at the first
glue-sniffing thief
“Not like him! I’m not like him!”

Exactly.” pronounces the Father.

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