Langston Hughes’s “Salvation”

Yesterday I published a piece called “Choosing My Religion.” My friend, Luri read it on Facebook and asked if I’d ever read “Salvation” by Langston Hughes. I hadn’t, but rectified that mistake immediately. Mr. Hughes has always been one of my favorite poets, this piece I’ve linked to just makes him more so.

http://www.spiritwatch.org/firelangsave.htm

Here are some more of my favorite pieces by Langston Hughes. His words are as timely as ever.

This first one’s my favorite:

The next one needs a fervent “amen!”

A Little Beach Music

“Besides,” she said, out of the blue, “We have nothing to gain now, yet nothing more to lose.

So take my hand, no, this one. Hoist me up from my place in the sand.”

Together they eyed the waves, sidelong glances at one another

Wedged between sighs masquerading as cogent thoughts. Neither had the means,

Nor the answers. “Will you love me still once this is done?” He asked.

“What makes you think I love you now?” She replied, as the gulls wheeled over head.

https://youtu.be/hu-bXvuPm7c

Unpeaceable Kingdom

Peaceable Kingdom Revisited

I woke from a dream, soft gathers of light, distilled spirits at the edges, last vestiges of night

Wandered in from the wastelands, shining city on a hill; I’d visited before, when the illusion held still.

Slept with the lions; lunched with the lambs, before this peaceable kingdom came tumbling down

Now the eagle has landed, poached, plucked, and sautéed; the bear lies in waiting, his meal already made.

The Peaceable Kingdom–Edward Hicks

Midnight Thoughts

From the border lands

We feel the children weeping

Lord, please hear their cries

Agents cold as ICE

Breaking families apart

Following orders

What would Jesus do?

We don’t have to speculate

Lord, hear our prayer

Matthew 19:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Prescient

I created something there on stone strewn grounds

Scattered the remains across the fields

Shook my fist at an orange sky

My works crumbled in the making

Two figures approached

Appraising, frowning, drowning

I tried to explain how the piece should look

My entreaties were not sufficient for the cause

Melting words in a melting world

Pompeii

Pompeii

What Kind of Traveler Are You?

Do you go where the pavement leads, facing sternly forward, the periphery merely, well, peripheral? Or is your

Head on a swivel, a series of exclamations perching just atop your tongue? Look there! Did you see that? Oh! That cardinal!

Those colors! The gypsy in me sees the forest, the hidden pathways, the possibilities in every turn and untaken road.

Murmurations of starlings, point no way and all ways, unlike the Canada geese who arrow forth, eyes forward, honking

Relentlessly. Following the curves I discover a stand of firs, surprise a doe and her fawns, utter a cry of delight.

For today this poem was wishful thinking. I am traveling, but I have no time to dally on my way to the airport in Panama City Beach. My flight leaves at 9:45 a.m. and should arrive in Austin, Texas, at 3:15.

Refuge

Sometimes it’s difficult to see the shore. The waves block out the sun, confuse the sailor. His compass tossed overboard.

He fights the ocean. Struggles with his sails, steering away from rocks and pilings. His strength flags.

Then from nowhere a cove is revealed, a place of refuge, feeling like an old friend, offering sanctuary. He is safe for now.

Be someone’s refuge today. We are all in need.

A World With Guns Poetry Readings

Occasionally I write poetry, and when the spirit moves me these poems deal with the horrors of gun violence. When I came across a piece on Facebook about a series of poetry reading events across Florida to keep the conversation surrounding gun deaths front and center, I thought to myself, “Oh, I’d do this if an event was scheduled for Tallahassee.”

Scrolling down the list I read:

Oh. I see there is one here. Deep breath. Myself isn’t feeling all that cocky right now.

The thing is, I don’t know if any of my pieces are good enough to present. I’ve only ever read my own works in front of an audience once or twice, and then I shook so hard my teeth rattled.

What say you, friends? Is this one of those things I should allow to fall by the wayside, or should I jump in with both feet? Awaiting the wisdoms of my readers, especially the poets among you. Please be honest. I’d rather not make a fool of myself at this event.

Here’s one for your consideration:

Guns in Church

Will we take our guns to church now?

Jesus take the wheel, but leave me my pistol

Dylan Roof opened fire in a South Carolina prayer meeting

Now more dead occupy the pews in Texas

Just wondering which firearm goes best with Psalms.

Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil,

For I am armed with an automatic weapon.

No doubt lawmakers will offer meaningless thoughts and prayers

Their mantra sounding weaker by the hour

Who will answer for these deaths?

And here is another:

Guns and Thorns

the fetishists have cried,

“leave our guns alone!”

when no one has called

for their removal.

paranoid fools who fail

to see or care, cry time

and time again that any

move breeds futility

while still more innocents

die and we offer up only

thoughts and prayers.

Peace, people.