Prayer

our Father I do love to walk
down to the shore at dawn
while the ground is cold
and there sprinkle my cells
to smashed ocean radios
I dream that I was born
with no tongue and that
I can neither ask nor
answer nor understand
questions about where
I come from that the waves
are my clapping sisters
so many dark swallowed
ships my deleted thoughts
cannon and coin pulp
my new body and that any
one of a million canyons
trembling with the psalms
of stones is my easily
remembered mother who
easily remembers me

–By ​Nathan Parker

Why You Do It

The artist’s role is to raise the consciousness of the people. To make them understand life, the world and themselves more completely. That’s how I see it. Otherwise, I don’t know why you do it.

–Amiri Baraka

A Poem Can Be

a poem

can hurt or hate, can feel abandon…and reckless

it can joke

and lie

and speak

and whisper all the things you want them to hear

a poem

can have secrets

when the soul is too heavy to carry them

it can live

in the bruised skin on your knuckles

and just beneath the ducts in your eyes

can hold you

feed you

miss your voice as its reading

it can be

a listening friend when everyone else

ignores the screaming

A Hero

A hero’s armor is supposed to shine.

Yeah, only the ones who have never dared to save anyone.

Mine is dented, bruised, a quiet dullness beginning to take over. Maybe once, when I was in my prime, I had that rare super hero form. I would ride through the ashes of some recent mayhem; feel the soot stain my face, the debris sting my eyes, and ride faster, growing more determined with each stride of the stallion beneath me. Draw the sword. Smite those belligerent beasts with precision. I was an amazing acrobat and archer. I can hardly recount the times I out ran a dragon’s breath without even breaking a sweat.

Fire, it seems, has lost its luster and I care not for being burned. History books won’t write what heroes lose. Time has whittled my kindness down to a mere dollop wallowing in the cold shadow of paranoia. The thrill of racing into the blaze, sword drawn, for my beloved’s rescue. Now, I can barely lift a pen to parchment to document my brave feats. Try as I might, this word is a hot coal that singed my skin with a fiery love that burns like a thousand blood thirsty torches. I resort to chipping icicles just to numb the pain of not living up to that title.

I haven’t loved anything as much as they loved me.

To think, I have fought the monsters that slip into children’s rooms at night against their will. Pulled away from men’s pleasures. Never once faltering into villainy. Saved men from themselves when their vices began to take hold. I’ve even freed a distressed damsel when others were too cowardly to acknowledge her screams. Strength, pride, beauty, moral fortitude. Those were my claim to fame, but really, it was indifference that allowed me to do those things. I didn’t run into the fire recover the person on the other side. I just could no longer feel the flames scalding my flesh.

Not for honor or justice or nobility. I used to wait, in heat, for life’s cruel, sadistic murmur to throw me another conflict to prevail. Another foe to foil. Yet, I have grown weary opting instead for a nice, silent retreat. Friends and family search for my helping hands through the smoldering wreckage, incessantly calling me to do their bidding; but, I have hung my cloak and put down my sword.

A hero no more.

I will reclaim my time. Maybe rekindle my passion and write until the frost surrounding my heart is shaken off by the feverish beating of content.

I Know My Soul

I plucked my soul out of its secret place,

And held it to the mirror of my eye,

To see it like a star against the sky,

A twitching body quivering in space,

A spark of passion shining on my face.

And I explored it to determine why

This awful key to my infinity

Conspires to rob me of sweet joy and grace.

And if the sign may not be fully read,

If I can comprehend but not control,

I need not gloom my days with futile dread,

Because I see a part and not the whole.

Contemplating the strange, I’m comforted

By this narcotic thought: I know my soul.

–Claude McKay

 

Don’t Forget Me

No one will ever replace you inside

no one will ever erase you from my side

as the dawn breaks into light

i promise not to hide from your sight

as you turn, walk away

i can hear something say

don’t forget me

i won’t forget you

even though the distance in my heart

just pushes us apart

if you love let it go

need this time to grow

but this feeling i’ve never known

and the further you go

i can hear my heart scream

don’t give up on me

i can’t let go

even though we’ve been led down this road

because of the hardness your heart holds

 

maybe in another life

you and i can

make it right

right?