Leaves Love

Something new, inspired by and dedicated to a very good friend. However, it will no doubt speak to anyone who has been there.p1015-19b

Leaves Love

Some day’s a wake; we reminisce.
So much at stake; to love like this.

Our sadness climbs; relentlessly.
From joyful times; oh, family tree.

A photograph; of rings gone by.
A tortured laugh; as we ask why.

The dinner’s set; an empty chair.
Our tears though wet; cannot repair.

This fucking life; it seems so wrong.
Where dirge is rite; and love the song.

If one could take such pain away.
Though hearts will break, we choose to stay.

In pain right now; intensely felt.
To honor bow; we tensely knelt.

Today our grief must own the day.
As fallen leaf returns to clay.

The one who leaves, knows only joy.
To love we cleave; learned as a boy.

Yea, one who’s gone knows perfect peace.
Who’s heart beats on; let love increase.
Whose heart beats on, let love increase.


A Silent Rock

My love for the music [poetry] of Simon & Garfunkel began with their album The Sounds of Silence. Back in the 60s and 70s, we had 45s and record players. I could stack up to about 10 45s on the player and it would automatically play each one from bottom to top… my mechanical playlist. To put a song on repeat, I would prop the arm up, tricking the record player into thinking many 45s were there to drop. I had these particular songs on repeat while [hiding] in my room. I am only now beginning to appreciate why as I break the silence and disturb the slumber of feelings that had died. Of course, grown-ups know feelings don’t die, we just bury them for a while.

I am a Rock

A winters day
in a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
gazing from my window to the streets below
on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock, I am an island.

I’ve built walls,
a fortress steep and mighty,
that none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
Its laughter and its loving I disdain.
I am a rock, I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
well I’ve heard the words before…
its sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock, I am an island.

I have my books
and my poetry to protect me.
I am shielded in my armor,
hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

The Sound of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
because a vision softly creeping
left its seeds while I was sleeping
and the vision that was planted in my brain
still remains
within the sound of silence…

Unsettling Fear, a poem about the pain of racism

I decided to write about racism a couple of weeks ago when I heard an open mic was going to be focusing on Black History. I suppose the safer route would be to read a poem by an African-American or write a poem about Martin Luther King, Jr. However, I have had this tugging on my heart to write about this particular memory of events for some time now and I could no long ignore it Him.

I retain memory fragments from the events of sixties as a young child. In 1968 I would have been 8. I remember events like Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, the Nixon/Wallace/Humphrey presidential race, and Neil Armstrong. I do not have any memory of Martin Luther King Jr’s life or assassination from those years. I think these memories and lack of memories reflect “white” America at that time. In my 100% white neighborhood and 100% white public elementary school we learned about “good, wholesome, American stuff.” What I know about Black History during the prior century, I have taught myself after becoming an adult. Many younger people are privileged to only read about and come to know about the pain inflicted on everyone by state-sanctioned racist policies such as “separate but equal.”

Unsettling Fear is a poem inspired by some events taking place in our quiet and peaceful home. Though the characters are all real, I do not remember details like sequence, names, or faces. The story describes a blurry scene sketched from my 8 year old memories. Memories that match up all too well with all that I’ve learned through my self-study.

One final and very important caveat: I use the n-word in my poem. In the written form it serves the topic accurately by painting it as the ugly and evil word it is. In other words, it is sadly, all too accurate. When I read Unsettling Fear aloud, I am substituting the word negro and letting everyone there know this ahead of time. When sharing this poem with others, please respect this distinction between the written word and the spoken word.

Unsettling Fear
by ric booth

It was the sixties. Our world was a mess.
In need of His Love; we settled for less.

Growing up in a boarding house town
for college coeds no boys were allowed
That would be my life age 5 to 11
Cool you think huh, a young boy’s heaven
yeah but…

My parents you know, well you might have guessed
were whiter than snow, a colorless nest.
The coeds all knew our quaint neighborhood
no color would do, they each understood.

The college’s colorful crowd
Little boy unaware,
like I could care…
…lessly playing all cute for the girls
they loved me you know cuz of my curls.
One day I was out an playin’ around
choked on a red-hot and fell to the ground.
Turnin’ cool blue I could not scream out
Leslie grabbed me an’ started to shout
Coughin’ and wheezin’ she thought I would die
first air then the tears we started to cry
I think she just failed her math test that day
I never said thanks. I think I was eight.

The girls had no boyfriends- that’s what I thought
its me an’ my curls that all of ‘em sought
till one day…

Dad yells at Leslie … a boyfriend upstairs
Dad said he saw him they had it out there
The other girls must be saints or all gay
only poor Leslie caught hell in the day.
“I’m sorry!” she cries while dad yells “No more!”
Please say it aint so God, what is a whore?

It was the sixties. Our world was a mess.
In need of His Love; we settled for less.

The very next day got home from my school,
heard my dad shout “Do you think I’m a fool?”
A scary black man caught tryin’ to leave
an’ Leslie right there attached to his sleeve.
I ran to my room. She screamed, “That’s not fair!”
God, what’s a nigger an why do we care…
…Leslie gone now. I’ve not seen her since then.
Wonder if she knows I still call her friend?

It was the sixties. Our world was a mess.
In need of His love we settle for less.

For much of this life I feared the black man
Irrational strife; all settled in sand.
But then oh my God, He got in my face
addressed the young boy amidst his disgrace.

Ricky my love I’ll take all of those fears,
the shouts and the screams and every last tear.
Leslie, I got her. So let her go too –
An’ dad an’ boyfriend… that’s too much for you.

As our tears subside, He takes on this shame.
His screams echo by, awash with our pain.

Leslie turns sixty. Our world is a mess.
In need of His Love don’t settle for less.

My Friend

My Friend

by ric booth

so my friend and i existed completely aparti was talking with my best friend just the other day
here’s what He told me to speak up and say

in the beginning, was Him and… well, nothing.
then He spoke! man… that was something
oh sure i can copy, reproduce and even clone
but when it comes to creating, my friend stands alone

in the beginning, there were three in the One
but i had not yet met the counselor nor the Son.
still, everything was mine; He even walked with us
bathed in love, no one knew what a tear was

it was heaven on earth for me in Adam and Eve
but then i fell hard and He told me to leave
like a parent who catches His child in some crime
painfully, He knew i must now suffer time

and so my friend and i existed… completely… apart.
and i found new pain in the nothing left in my heart
i started to struggled to rebuild my eden
if i could only do that, i would not need Him

so i turn to my brother and took all that he had
and as his life ended, i said aw, too bad!
covered with the mud and the blood of this war
i just beat my chest harder and cried out more! more!

with an ocean of tears He heard my cries
and filled all my needs despite all my lies
as i fought from my tomb not yet alive
i realized from this battle i would not survive

i screamed, are you going to just watch while i die?
what He would do next, well no one knows why…
you see my friend knew i was lost and alone
so He came to my pit to show the way home

but i would not see Him; i refused to hear
it had been too long since i’d felt Him near
rather, i wondered; really, it could not be
He would not come down here just for me?

filled with anger; i would not submit.
why did He leave me down in this pit?
so i ran up and hit Him! i threw Him in chains!
i spit and i cursed Him! all in His name.

then i got in His face and i shouted real loud,
if you’re truly my friend then prove it right now!
as He turned to look up, love rained from His face
He said, Father, forgive him. I am taking his place.

shocked i stood speechless; stained hands at my side
helplessly watching as my best friend died.
crushed and ashamed i fell to my knees
i’m sorry, come back! i’m begging you please!

then what happened next, i cannot explain
but that nothing inside me, the source of my pain…
i could not believe it! He’s creating again!
where once there was nothing, i found my friend.

…I have called you friends. –John15:15
© 2004-2008

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