Respecting the awesome power of words!

inspiration

Revolution

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So often I have longed
 and looked for her
  to arrive on stately steed,
   impenetrable coat of mail,
    shield, sword, and spear
  to multiply the fear, 
 as I sit idly by, 
enjoying the show.

      When she appears,
     demurely standing beside
    all whose necks bear
   the boot print of power,
  all who’re on the menu,
 steadily waving
the flag of resistance,
 I look right past her,
  blinded by the irony
    of a privilege that’s unable
      to recognize anything but
       the love of power,
         impervious to
          the power of love.

Still, she refuses
 to throw me under the bus,
 declines to send me
to a seat in the rear.

   “Sing with us.” she invites.
  “The revolution will uproot
 fear and hatred,
not with looking glass’
 shield and retribution,
  but by the resonance
  of neighbor and
   the restoration of love.”

That's when the fire 
 in my bones is stoked, 
  and I can more clearly see 
    where my own words and actions 
  can add to the dismantling 
 of the leaning tower, and 
lay a foundation for hope.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Sing Our Faith

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Can we sing our faith;
let our instruments
accompany us along a journey
through the valleys
of pain, loss, and despair?

The beat and rhythm
of percussion and keyboard,
the synthesis of two hands
and their family of fingers
sliding and gliding
across the frets and strings,
pressing and plucking out
deep, heartfelt connections
to soulful gashes that refuse
to succumb to the grief
and chaos that have
crashed their way
into our bones and lives;

these are what give
power and energy to voices
wailing the dissonance
of our suffering,
their courageous tremolo and vibrato,
conjuring hope ex nihilo.

Without music’s smoldering fire,
creation’s dream of love
would surely be extinguished.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

The Message

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(Ode to Eugene)

I saw and heard you, 
years ago, in Chicago. 

You’re among a handful 
of folks, including 
Buechner, Brueggemann, 
Duck and Tirabassi, Harris, 
whose deeply grounded 
creative tether shined a light 
into the cave of imagination 
and allegory, inviting, 
if not pulling me toward 
a rich heritage far beyond 
the shadowed puppets 
of my youth. 

You were among those 
who gave me courage 
and hope 
to unleash the muse -- 
Calliope, as she has self-identified --  
into this particular place 
and time. 

Horatio extends the summons, 
“Goodnight sweet prince, 
and flights of angels 
sing thee to thy rest.”

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Violation

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Your courage is inspiring.
Never underestimate
or forget that.

  I feel a fire.
  At first I believe
  it is yours only;
  the coals of anger
  and rage, fueled
  by violations
  and their attempts
  to dehumanize you.

    After I stand uncomfortably
    near the heat
    for a while,
    my bare feet blistered
    from its remnants,
    I realize that I do not
    want it to be yours alone.

  I want — I need —
  for it to be mine;
  not because doing so
  will reveal the depth
  of your ache in ways
  I can fully comprehend;

but because a candle
flickers in my dreams,
dawning on me,
like the sun rising
across distant mountains,

  casting both light and shadows
  on my own identity,
  revealing a painting
  of worth and healing
  that is inextricably woven
  into this inferno.

    In morning’s light,
    I realize that we
    must have worth together,
    or we will have
    no worth at all.

  I know that my tears
  will not cool, much less
  extinguish the blaze,

but I also know
that their flow
is the path
that connects us,
not only to one another,
but also to the selves
of dignity and respect
for which we were created.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Sweet Spot

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When the sun hits
a sweet spot,
  either waxing or waning,
  trees spell out
    sacred truths
    against sky's parchment.

Those who are paying attention
get to participate
  in the universe's high-five.

The rest of us plod along,
scarcely cognizant
  of light marvelously displayed,
  completely oblivious
    to symphonies unfolding above.

Handwriting is
in the heavens.
  Look up, dear one,
  look up!

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Dry Sockets

IMG_7537Photo by Dan Tice

 

When the tears don’t fall,
yet you feel their weight inside,
pressing like the weight
of additional atmospheres,
yearning to find
the equilibrium of release,
I wonder if they’ll create
an alternate route of escape.

Might they rise
through the vocal chords,
their savory blend
evoking tender words
of compassion for others
who are hurting?

Could they escape
through fingertips,
forming stories of hope
and courage for those
on and beyond the margins?

What if they caused muscles
and ingredients to merge,
so that comfort food
was prepared and shared
with people neck-deep
in their own grief?

Where else have you
felt them leaking grace
into the world?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Inked Blood

IMG_7269Photo by Danny Kelly

 

When a certain voice speaks
   from within us,
   breathing grace
   beyond our fathoms,

and pouring it
   into the parched cups
   of those around us,
   we sometimes quiver,
   if not quake,
   knowing full well
   the words are not ours.

We see, reflected
   in the still water dimly,
   that we are merely
   a quill through which
   the inked blood flows.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Prophetic Courage

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Without separation
  and distance,
  truth will not
be spoken to power.

When the church’s bread
  is buttered by empire,
  the gospel’s call
    to interconnection
    with those at and
  beyond the margins
  is lost,
as are the church
and its members:

🎼I once was found
  but now I’m lost;
  could see, but now
    I’m blind.
    Dear Lord, help me
  to count the cost;
  prophetic
courage find!🎼

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Held

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Part of the mystery
of faith is that
it refuses to be squeezed
into the box
of our or anyone else’s
comfort, desires,
or understanding.

It contains the paradox
of simplicity and infinity.

It is both easier
and healthier
to be held by it
than to attempt
to hold it;

open hands,
open hearts,
open eyes,
open minds,
open ears,
open dreams.

Open.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Rhythm

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As I watch the clouds spell 
their free-form Morse Code, 
that may as well 
be hieroglyphics, 
against the evening sky, 

I ponder what divine 
smoke signals are being 
puffed across the heavens, 
wooing us toward 
sacred truths 
too deep for words. 
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Having attempted 
to will myself 
into focus 
far too many times, 

I decide, instead, 
to merely pay attention 
to what’s in front of my face, 
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refusing the self-chastisement 
of distraction, 
choosing, instead, 
to nod toward the gap, 
and continue drawing in 
the cosmos’ breath. 

Are you inhaling 
and exhaling 
God with me? 

Such is the rhythm 
of life. 
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© 2018 Todd Jenkins