Respecting the awesome power of words!

Posts tagged “words

Write the Present

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Only those who can
both see the past
and taste the future,

  are fully equipped
  to write the present
  that God is unfolding.

    I know you wanted
    it to be present-tasting
    and future writing.
    So did I.

      But I’ve had a bate
      of folks trying
      to convince me
      of their flawless
      clairvoyant skills,

    only to be confused
    and disappointed
    by the disconnect
    and ambiguity.

  What I’m hungry
  for now is to feel
  the heartbeat
  of our current story;

to have its rhythm recorded
in rich, lyrical EKG,
so I can trace the peaks
and troughs with my finger,
as my soul relishes
the gift of this day’s life.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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Pneuma

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Your head is humming 
and it won't go
in case you don't know
the piper's calling you 
to join him.
Dear lady, can you 
hear the wind blow,
and did you know
your stairway lies 
on the whispering wind.

Led Zeppelin 
“Stairway to Heaven”

        Blowing through the valley,
      she talks to no one in particular
    yet to anyone who’s listening.

  Tree leaves genuflect
in sign language,
        while her gusts warble
      through the limbs.

    Every once in a while,
  either because
no one is paying attention
        or because her passion
      cannot be constrained,

    trunks snap and fly
  as punctuation unhindered,
sometimes crushing life
        before crashing
      to the earthly page.

    Is it the same old story
  told over and over?
I think not.

        More like
      a breathtaking new chapter
    awaiting an attentive audience.

  She is,
at one and the same time,
        breath, wind, and spirit;
      teeming with creation’s narrative.
    I hope you’re listening.

  © 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


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

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

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

“Free Ears”

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      That’s the sign
     I’m going to hand-letter
    on poster board
   and hang across
  the front of a card table
 near a busy
pedestrian intersection.

Perched behind
 the advertisement,
  I’ll offer an empty chair
    for passersby,
      leaning-in as they
       take a load off,
        giving their stories
         a roost to call home.

   What tale
  would you spin,
 right there in front
of God and everybody?

I might tell
 of the gut-punch
  that overwhelmed me when,
   over a six-week eternity,
    my mom permanently crossed
     from full physical function
      to forever flatlined;

how I lay awake nights,
 bouncing between
  trying to wake up
   from the nightmare,
    and silently plea-bargaining
     with nothing but
      my own life
       and confession as leverage.

      I used to think
     that telling it
    to anyone who’d listen,
  over and over,
 could somehow
change the story.

Then one day
 I realized that I
  was the one changed
   in its telling.

  You don’t have
 to wait for the sign, table,
and chairs to appear.

I keep my free ears
 with me most of the time.

What about you?

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Wild Words

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When language is also open
    to emotion, as opposed
    to intellect alone,
    it is less controllable,
    and thus threatening
to the status quo.

Feelings, and words infused
    with their energy, can be
volatile change-agents.

I suspect that poetry,
    with its clandestine double entendre
    and metaphorical open-endedness,
    rests near the limit
    of our privileged ability to hear,
    without being shocked
into shut-down.

Narrative preaching,
    in its often-predictable 
    fairy-tale-ness,
    is good for the business
of the stock-market classes.

One of the few challenges
    to that is parable,
    which Jesus either
    used a whole lot,
    or it was about the only thing
    that survived generations
    of oral transmission and memory
between Golgotha and the gospels.

Even the remembrance
    of Jesus’ parables rarely,
    if ever, includes 
    the Nathan-to-David
    prophetic table-turn of,
“You’re the man!”

Security, prosperity,
    and social dominance
    are mammon
    of crack-cocaine allure,
    depriving those addicted —
    both speaker and listeners —
    of the essential gift
of life-giving manna.

Their anesthesia-like qualities
    stand guard at the door,
    duct-taping emotion’s mouth
before it ever leaves the heart.

“Big boys don’t cry.”
    the guards say, and,
    “Frozenness is a sign
    of chosenness.”
    as well as,
    “He who controls his feelings,
    and thus his words,
controls the world.”

And then the poet
    bursts upon the scene,
    or maybe just scribbles a few stanzas
    on a sea of blank space,
    threatening to unleash
    a marrow-deep flood
of soul-wrenching response.

Lord, in your mercy,
uncork our hearts.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Conversation Stopper

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We know the world is filled
 with naysayers — those whose actions,
auras, and words are pins pricking
our dream-inflated aspirations —
because we see and feel them
pressing-in on us every day;

proud to recite a litany
of their prognostications,
like a search engine
of Nostradamus snippets
strung together to match
reality, after the fact.

It’s a bit more challenging
to face the they-sayers, however,
as they mostly quote shadowy majorities
of influential figures who’re either
too polite or too afraid to come forward,
all the while, as mouthpieces
claiming neutrality, if not skepticism
on their own behalf.

Once you’ve been trained
as a they-sayer, it’s difficult
to see that your regurgitation,
allowing the clandestine mob
to remain anonymous, clearly signals
your complicity and agreement,
while denying us all the opportunity
to participate in conversation and discussion.

If you’re not willing
to claim ownership
of the bull, you shouldn’t
be letting it out of the pasture.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Spoken Hearts

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Those who are
 vocabulary-challenged,
  and/or overcome by fear,
  often feel forced
 to abandon oral communication
in favor of violence;

the bravest, or perhaps
 the most desperate,
perpetrate physical aggression;

those with lesser gumption
 often assault language itself,
  waging battle against long-held meaning,
 gas-lighting society
into lexical confusion.

The rest of us
 are then tasked
  to hold firm
   to the tension
    between conflict
     forced upon us,
    and the eternal possibility
   of language,
  refusing to abandon
 the common ground
of our shared meanings.

In the end,
 war’s horror cannot
  stand on its own;
  and words, with their
 community interpretations,
will win,

because our common story
 outlives every other blitzkrieg,
  and love’s vocal evocation
 eventually woos
even frozen, trembling hearts.

          And now faith, hope, 
          and love abide, these three; 
          and the greatest of these is love. 
          (1 Corinthians 13:13)

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

 


Here We Are

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I wanted my words
to make a difference;
not just the words
that leaked out of my mouth
in the heat of the moment,

but the words that seeped
out of my veins, carrying parts
of me from the deepest places
I’ve yet to plumb,

when your pain stabbed me
with the dull side of its blade,
its razor edge sunk
to the hilt in your heart.

I wanted my blood
to make a difference;
but it didn’t.

At least, it didn’t effect
the wispy dream of reconciliation
I constructed with letters,
punctuation, and space —
lots of space.

So, here we are,
on the far side of words —
on the dried side of blood —
and the wet side of tears;

still groping for the edge
of the grave,
still hoping for breath
not squeezed tight
by pain and rejection.

Here we are.

Here we are.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins