Never had trouble with the plant before, the north
held enough light for its vine led flowers on porch
or tree its potted green foliage blew blooms to scorch
my tracing fingers. But summer could not bring forth
a single replacement after the florist shop’s shorn
to the ground limp reds that cooled their torch.
Draped maples had spread spared no shadow scored
each tendrilled leaf with unkindled umbrage, southern
sun playing favorites among the other baskets.
Water and fertilizer were of no effect. I moved
it next to its fecund twin and I asked it
to learn the theorems the other had proved
with such cones dangling that I want my casket
to trail them saying I loved and in return was loved.
the thole pin
Christ’s death was not the summer solstice
but just a few days shy of it on my side in bed at four
my legs are crossed to admit the executioner’s nail
while the light leaks through an ash I should take down
before it halves as the father and his son said
who could fell it for say nine hundred dollars
into my respective neighbors’ yards
Tom said he could die after he’d painted
the crucifixion which he gave to a friend
who lost it in a stack of newspapers
his agonies of Jesus hang on my walls
one morning at his camp Tom’s speech turned
chthonic until he shook a seizure a local quake
a thunder that finally rumbled into sleep
he’s long overboard who pulled the oar with me
still on the Odyssey’s bench of rowers
parsing the Greek he helped me with in college
reading his heavily underlined Beethoven biographies
his Harvard collection of Biblical commentaries
without his wind I’d be whipped until I died
"Let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide" ~ Rep John Lewis
It is not that often that we find ourselves in a period of history where a confluence of factors so powerful are at work that they can change the course of history. Today, the perfect storm of COVID-19, The rise of authoritarianism and BLM have created a certain kind of crucible. We will either come out of this period whole or fractured ... and the outcome depends on what we do. What John Lewis called "good trouble."
I've been thinking about this since John Lewis passed away. Thinking if I have been in enough "good trouble." Thinking what other kinds of "good trouble" I might get into. Lewis was jailed 40 times. I was only jailed once. Have I done enough?
"Enough" seems like a loaded word. What is enough? Who gets to say what's enough? Is enough based on what is convenient for me or what is required to bring about social justice? There is a part of me that wants to kick back, put up my feet and say "I've done my part, let someone else take up the cause" and when I hear myself think those words it definitely sounds like not enough.
The internal place of that motivation though cannot be from lack or obligation. If John Lewis speaks to me -- what rings true is that the inner spring of motivation to bring about change has to be love and peace if it is to succeed. A deeply centered spiritual place.
So I look deeply within and I have to ask myself the tough questions:
There is much to see and much to do. Let us seek the clearness to discern what "good trouble" is for each of us.
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