Respecting the awesome power of words!

Posts tagged “words

Color Me Here

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Whatever choices you have
in your box of crayons;
whatever their condition —

worn down to a nubbin,
paper peeled and tattered,
broken in half —

take the one
whose hue reflects presence
and absorbs distance;

use it to fill in the spaces
between the lines
of the real-life drawing
that are me.

However that appears,
it’s who I want to be.

When words have
run their course,
for better or worse,
and nothing’s left
worth saying,

I’ll sit with you 
in the silence,
as we remember
what we can of yesterday,
as we struggle
to breathe through the weight
of today’s hurt,
as we hope our way
into tomorrow.

Yes, take that crayon
and color me here.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins
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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

Dry Sockets

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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

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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

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

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