Respecting the awesome power of words!

Wordsmithing

Here's a place where ordinary words attempt to reveal the extraordinary grace of life as we live it. Consume the words; breathe in the blank spaces; travel to the places they take you; enjoy the journey, and the people and places you meet along the way. In these relationships, may the meaning and purpose of your life become more clear.

Latest

Tanked

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I've had my life
         flash before my eyes
          on rare occasions.

Far more frequent
   and disturbing,
               though much more subtle,
                however, are the ways
                      life slowly evaporates,
                day by day,

like water in
       an open cistern
            in an arid clime.

I have this inner conviction
       that there are people somewhere,
  maybe even everywhere,
who are hoping
                   to have their souls quenched,
                     and our lives could be part
                      of what fills their cups,
                 if only we don’t
                           dry up and drift away.

Maybe it's just me,
        but silence, wilderness,
           reflection, and writing
                are what fuels the rain
                           that keeps my reservoir full,

and I need them all
       more often these days.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Savoring

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Sometimes I think
punctuation should be
electrically charged,
to shock us
into slowing down,
when we race through
its intersections
with nary a glance
to either side,
our toes firmly curled
‘round the accelerator.

I’d put a 12 volt battery
on my commas,
just to help you
ingest each phrase,
before wolfing down
the next one.

We read like
we’re starving for words,
but our true hunger
is for meaning,
which only appears
when we savor the text.

Mmmmmmmm!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Flow

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What is it about the thirst
for retaliatory blood flow
that blinds us
to the immutable truth
that no life –

  neither the first
  nor the second 
  nor the last taken –  
  can be conjured
  to return by violence?

    This river always empties
    into the oceans,
    where the only blood type
    becomes the universal commingling
    with salt water,
    which is the gathered sea
    of divine tears.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Control

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    We crave it,
  whether we admit it
or not;

      especially when
    we’ve lost it
  for too much
of our lives.

          Love is about
        risking the relinquishment of it
      to someone we hope
    will set aside self
  long enough to unlock
the mystery of relationship

        in ways that allow us
      to rise above
    self-condemnation
  toward the mysterious
whisper of grace.

    Once this feline’s murmur
  has been unleashed,
all bets are off.

    This is the only neighborhood
  in which we can learn
to relax and let go.

      We pray, O Lord,
    to find even
  a small place available;
a fixer-upper will do;

        where we can begin
      the gentle task
    of allowing ourselves
  to be rehabilitated
by grace and forgiveness,

      into a dwelling capable
    of reflecting light
  into the dark corners
of both self and others.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 

Wall

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Into a salty sea,
precisely mitered
and mortared blocks
dutifully extend the tail
of their serpentine behemoth,

its harsh rigidity
under gentle
but continuous assault
by the shape-shifting swirl
of the moon-pulled tide.

Day in and day out,
the lunar dance’s fluidity
wears the beast down.

Whatever barrier
was once intended,
ocean will emerge victorious,
not so much
to destroy the wall
as to open the door.

“Behold, I stand
at the door
and knock...”
(Revelation 3:20)

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Breathless

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     He goes to the meeting
     like it’s any other meeting,
   because he’s the one
   who’s supposed to be in charge,
maybe even the one to whom
some people look for answers.

     He knows he has to tell them,
   and he has to do it quickly,
but he doesn’t know how.

     So he opens the meeting with a story;
   not the once-upon-a-time kind,
but a story nonetheless.

     Using third person pronouns,
he distances himself from reality.

     It’s a painful story about a family
     who looks, on the outside,
   like they have it all together;
   but, inside the walls,
things are crumbling
more than anyone else knows.

     A teenage child has drifted away,
     raging on the inside,
   yet also indicating
a willingness to end it all.

     Having been in a lockdown
     adolescent psych unit
     for therapeutic intervention
   for several days now,
   tonight is the first time
   their child will have the privilege
to call home;
but there’s no guarantee.

It’s up to the child.

     For the story’s painfully
     twisted ending, he says,
   “This is a story about me.
   I am going home
   to be with my wife
and sit by the phone,
hoping it will ring.”

     He gets up and walks out,
   feeling as if
   he’s fighting his way
out of a vacuum,
gasping for breath.

     That’s the day a church  
   became acutely aware
   of its need to minister
to its pastor and his family.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

No Pockets in a Shroud

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By the time
  your garb is a shroud,
    your final wardrobe,
      if not your final answer,
      the cargo pants,
    with all their
  treasure-holding capacity,
will be long gone.

Neither the gold bullion
  nor any other
    gaudy bling
  will have a resting place
in your great beyond.

The only thing
  you can fill
    are the pockets
  of hearts,
yours and others’.

Pour into them memories
of practicing the three
 most valuable gifts
of Life:

Loving
  Listening
Laughing

Invest in this trio
  every chance you get,
  and the whole world
 will benefit greatly.

You’re part
  of the whole world,
so you’ll also be richer.    

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Blood Money

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Money, money, money,
money; money!

At some point
it becomes blood.

You don’t get
to decide
when and where.

That’s a weight borne
by those who pay
for the cemetery plots,
caskets, and embalming.

If you decide
to attend a visitation,
don’t you dare attempt
to excuse yourself
with either a disclaimer
or the cliches
of infotainment.

All you get to do
is listen and feel;
hear the wailing laments,
and sense the rage,
anguish, and grief.

Let death’s pallor
wash over you.
Take it all in
and then
take it home
and sit with it.

When it has run
its course
through your innards,
then you’ll be
allowed to speak,
to act, to enact.

For God’s sake,
find the chutzpah
to act!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Santa Fe

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      Words, words, 
   more words; 
and for what? 

      Bodies, bodies, 
   more bodies; 
and for what? 

            Bow to the 2nd, 
         blame it 
      on mental illness, 
   and brace yourself 
for the next one. 

         What will you say 
      to the grieving; 
   parents, friends, 
relatives, siblings? 

   Keep your thoughts 
and prayers to yourself. 

            Come back 
         when you’re ready 
      to DO something; 
   not something symbolic,
something substantive. 

         Until then, 
      stay home, 
   stay off the air, 
just stay. 

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Race

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    It's really just a contest
    to see who can arrive faster
    or with more support;

  so when we shoehorn it
  into biology, we're often
  escalating the competition,
  by declaring superiority
  of one group over another.

Suffixing imaginary genetic match
with "ism" isn't always about
old fashioned hate spewed
in the light of day.

  Sometimes it's much more subtle:
  an unspoken framework
  for socioeconomic and cultural mores
  tilting everything in favor
  of predetermined medalists.

    We don't have to ask for it
    or even recognize it
    to be complicit.

  All we have to do
  is deny or ignore it.

It will march on,
grinding unchosen ones
into dust, while anesthetizing
the rest to seductive
and powerful privilege.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins