"Little Richie"

(How can we know Love when we were never shown it?)

Little Richie was the runt of the litter, given a thick hide by father and brothers. Identified more with his sisters and mother, always felt a bit different from the others. A loving marriage from the outside, but oh, how ferociously he'd hit her. Richie stood by the bleach white bedside. Ma held his face in her hands while he cried:

"Hush, now, precious lamb, everything will be alright. I know how it looks but I swear he is a good man. Oh baby, G-d has a much bigger plan. I have my family, I have my health, and I'm quite content with that."

"How can you say this time that it'll be alright? How can you still look in his eyes and see the love of your life?"

(He works all things for good! In the end, it's Love that wins!) Love was his inclination. Belief, his dearest passion. A beautiful escape from resentment, fear of the next crushing blow. (How can we know Love when were never shown it?) He'd wait on his lonesome for that blue hair in her station wagon. Attending those Baptist services alone, in the house of the Lord, he found purpose and a home. Richie stood on a chair, peeked over the pulpit, reminded himself and the beloved, not lacking in youthful wit:

"This is what's promised: He works all things for good! In the end, it's Love that wins!"

How are we to know how to Love when every attempt is met with the back of a hand? It would only be Love to mend the damned, who never grew to know compassion. Just another unfortunate, beaten sense- less by his ol' man.

"How can you say this time that it'll be alright? How can you still look in his eyes and see the love of your life? (He works all things for good! In the end, it's Love that wins!) An heirloom passed down before its day, legacy came violently to rip innocence away.


"Ain't Nobody Perfect"

Unforgiveness is a cell that I've made for myself. Things can be said before, "Farewell."

Rich splashed his face with cold water, took a look at the man in the mirror. He dried up and walked out to the porch to finally talk to his father. A man now tired, relieved of his anger. His son looked him in the eye, spoke through anxiety.

"Dad, something has been weighing on me."

"What is it, Richie?"

He thought, "Unforgiveness is a cell that I've made for myself. Things can be said before, "Farewell."

He took a deep breath, his back drenched in sweat. Floridian heat. He heard the ice melt in his father's tea, the rocking creek of the swing. Quietly, Rich began to speak,

"When I was young, you were awful to me: a terrible father, a worse husband. You have to see the blood on your hands. Of all people, know what its like to fear your ol' man. My entire life I've resented you, but now I get what Mom meant when she said, Ain't nobody perfect. I'm tired of carrying resentments. I'm trying my best to forgive you."

"Oh my son, for what I've done, I'm so sorry. Just know that I've al- ways loved you, if you ever can forgive me..."

Our unforgiveness is a cell that we make for ourselves. Things can be said before, "Farewell".

A father, never so broken, a son, never outspoken, held each other in warm embrace tears of joy and pain streaming down their face. Forgiveness opens the door to change.


"The Zealot's Blindfold"

Your tradition was an illusion, a monstrous pillar of ash towering high, blacking out the sky; illusion of substance. As we pull that tower down, we saw Heaven kiss the ground. Oh G-d, the Life that shot through our bones. We cried out for water driven from stone. To finally meet the Shining One, that we might praise, as They shown. A connection we could own, someone to stand firm as stone.

Withstanding the wave, no matter how uncertain. When times appear grave, You will carry our burdens.

This could be the Light; this could be the Fire, the Lamb to bring the sword. Blaze rise higher. We must make this right, for our need is dire.

Look how they are healed with a touch! His cloak, a wrinkled hand reached to brush, see all infirmity turn to dust. Granted sight to the ever blind. Touch of spit and mud; or was the main ingredient Love? Could this really be the one to draw the oppressor's blood? I've fought in the dark for too long. I'll show my face, I'll bare Your name. No longer afraid. This could be the Light; this could be the Fire, the Lamb to bring the sword. Blaze rise higher, higher. We must make this right, for our need is dire.

If he is for us, who can be against us?


"Sleeping Sicarii"

This could be the One, the King to come and break our chains! Am- bassador of change. We were hungry, filled with fish and bread. How could we relent when legions remain well fed? The multitude will press on, Gracious King at its head. To whom all dominion is given, no resource is spent! We were thirsty! Ever-flowering horde, ne'er reliant upon the spring!

We've waited in exile, in expectancy. All eyes eager towards the Sun. Knowing things had to get better eventually.

I've held this endeavor in heart and mind, reflecting upon Lazarus, brought back to Life. I swear I've seen it with my own eyes. I'm assured that we shall never die.

We've waited in exile, in expectancy. All eyes eager towards the Sun. Knowing things had to get better eventually.

"Surely, Lord, it is not I!"

I stir from Sleep as I am handed the wine. Blood and body, take and eat, the Twelve, soon no longer in exile. As I kiss his cheek, I find to my defeat, a mix of Love, fear, and sadness. The Son Of Man handed over; Lamb led to slaughter. (Compliant savior; loving Father.)Bless the spotless sheep. The shame I feel is killing me.


"Judas, Our Brother"

My heart began to race as I drank of Your blood and again I felt the Sleep wash over me like a flood. Blessed and anointed, I stepped out in Your name. Blinded, I thought I carried purpose like a flame.

I'm struck deaf and dumb, alone amongst the olives. How could I have just given up the Lamb without blemish, spotless? I thought I'd be the one to spring the trap, that knowing look in Your eye as you handed me the cup, bearer of Your shining light. Its all been building to this. How was I so blind?

Realization has pulled the veil from eyes. Sleep has given way to cold sobriety. Now I finally see that Your purpose wasn't revolution. Rather, unconditional, loving inclusion. I watched the rock sheath his weapon. An empathic hand on the head of the Roman. I don't want their tainted money. That was never the motivation. My spring on the latch, failed midnight incursion. I thought I knew The Word, heeded Your lessons, but my pride has left me in ruins.

How was I so blind? How did I miss it?

Oh, Brother Judas, woe to thee! I've handed over my Savior, damned to hang from a tree. Oh, Brother Jesus, Your name blessed be. I will hang with thee; I will hang with thee.


"Saint Peter"

It's 2 am, as we pull into the humble hotel. German countryside; ev- eryone is shut up tight. Warmth and light welcome, as all file inside. I entered, belated, to see our troop elated, faces filled up with joy. Bless- ed communication. The source stood behind the counter, a man, salt & pepper, his face beamed like a boy's.

We are all given dark and light, beautiful contrast, black and white. You can hide in the darkness or strive for healthy progress. For- give what makes us human; we could grow an earthly heaven.

He told us of our origins, spoke of when ideas gave birth to breath. He spoke about love and respect. I felt fire rise up in my chest. Loving because He first loved us. Clean or dirty, the Ocean remains as One! I've never felt such a warm embrace, well-known stranger, his smile, a handshake. (And while he swept the floor.) Oh G-d, he called on me by name! Even as the smoke hung in our lungs, like old friends we circled up. Peter, preaching Life, past his Marlboro:

"On nights like tonight I come outside, enjoy the pins of light, littering the sky. Run my fingers down the lifeline of the hanging leaf, thinking of how that life also resides in me. The mark of the Creator, we share the same energy. Our light and our dark, the dull side and the shiny, creates the being, whole, and distracts not from beauty."

For glory is revealed in everything, shared energy. We must own and control the dark that we're given. Magnify the light, loving what is just and right, and cultivate for ourselves an earthly heaven.


"Forgetting Is Forgiving The I"

Where our thoughts are, there we'll live. Whether it be misery or joy, both of which Life freely gives. Languish in the mire of the past or steel our resolve and leave the darkness at our back. Stand firm in the face of our sins, owning up to all of it, self-aware. Forgiving our shared part in it, regret and death could never win.

A simple laying down of pride could spring a well of new Life, but still we stay obstinate. We clench our fists tight. If the past be our only present, then so becomes our future, stained black with resentment, infected from picking at the sutures.

Character actors writing their own screenplays, stopping to wonder why all their roles are the same. We continue to play the victim.


"The World As A Stage"

The nights ablaze with blue and red, blurs gliding silent. As the first arrived on the scene, illuminating so vividly the darkness of man, obscene. The blood on his shirt staining darker than that of the flashing red, waving above his head a crimson branded beam; an abused lover in the grass on her knees. Pleading, cowering, trembling. Observe the theatrics; witness the play of man. Anger, violence, and jealousy are set to destroy all that we have. We've turned our shame into rage. Can't you see it's we who've set the stage? Using a spade, meant to plow and sow, as a blade, sharpened, held to our brother's throat.

A child peeks her head out into the dark hallway. The soft white of the night-light shines somewhere behind. She stepped out and began to pray, angelic-made, the earthly babe. The audible violence continues in the kitchen. "Let no bad happen. Let no bad happen."" Observe the theatrics; witness the play of man. We've turned our shame into rage. It's we who've set the stage.

"Let no bad happen. Let no bad happen."


"Sins Of The Father"

"You don't want to go in there," is all the officer said, his face as pale as the dead. The ride-along saw white grow on his head. Hand on his clip, cold metal on his hip, thinking of wasting that monster, sat so close you could spit. This is no man. No man could do this. Heartless.

Gentle grace, met with violence. In this dark place, I feel Your silence.

Stared at the window on the right. Winter air and the fear of what was inside sent shivers down his spine. That flashing red light. The young man found comfort in the stars taking his mind off homicide. Walked up the path through the yard. The door stood ajar; he stepped hesitantly into the dark. Just then another ran past him, eyes wide, hands clasped to his face. Shoved him into the wall as the first spray escaped. The remainder of the vomit planted in the garden. Pointed to the, "First door on the right." That same flashing red light.

He gathered his courage and tried not to think of what he was about to see. Tried to not visualize a child of three running into the first door on the right hoping to stop the fight.

Red on the walls, red on the presents. Her angelic head, left blood and fragments. Red on the tree, red on her fleece. He put her down as she tried to flee.

We are all given a chance to be free. “I will be better than my father before me!” That little girl was his redeeming grace, the thing to help him forget the misery. Cause he was never shown it, he spat in its face. Now this brave young one lays cold, planted under a tree, given no chance to grow old. (I feel it haunting me.)


"... And Their Consequence"

We are not born with hate! It's learned and observed as we grind out our days. Handed down from those held close, the ones we are supposed to trust the most. Sins of the father, continued legacy or learned lesson? No, this must go no further.

Scripts handed down to those held close. They'll be the ones to pay for the path we chose. That angelic child, a perfect prayer in heart,

"Let no bad happen. Let no bad happen."

She ran out of her room, tiny soft white womb. "Daddy, please stop hurting Mommy. It scared me so bad when I saw her in that hospital bed. Please, daddy, I'm getting scared again. Say: 'I love you. I'm sorry. Let's just go to bed.' "

(We are not born with hate! Its learned and observed as we grind out our days.) The coldness of man looked down on innocence; hate blinding his compassion, turned his rage on his child, left lifeless among the presents. Father-given. Son-received. Red flows down the family tree.

We can break the legacy of rage; the same evil that lay innocence to waste. Love and forgiveness can break the chains. We must not pass down our father's sin before they have begun to live, mar our children. Our sons must not inherit our shame! Be the one to turn the page. I beg you.