Poem – You want to Grow Old Like the Carters

Let other leadersRetire

To play golf

& write

Memoirs

About bombing

Villages

They’ve never seen.
Growing old

Presents a peril

They may not

Expect.
It is to lose

One’s soul

In trivia

& irrelevance

The nerve

Endings

Blunted

By the constant

Pressure

Of moral

Indifference.
Growing old

A curse:

Not even

Generally speaking

Able

To relate

To whoever

Shares
Your house. Not the mansion

You inhabit

On the

Lovely stolen hill

Above the sea

Or the interior one:

The darkened

Desolate

Shack.
You want to grow old

Like

The Carters; 

Curing blindness

&

Building houses

For

The Poor; 
Making friends of those

Who believe

They must fight.
You want to grow old

Like

The Carters

Holding hands

With someone

You love

&

Riding bicycles

Leisurely

Where the ground

Is well known

& perfectly

Flat.
You want to find

And keep to the path

Laid down

Inside you

Such a long time

Ago.
You want to grow old

Like

The Carters:

Serene. Eyes

Twinkling

To be accused

Of

Not getting

It right.
Upfront, upright.

Speaking what to you is true.
A person rich in Mothers.

Beloved.
And:

Honoring what is black

In you. 

Poem – Word Reaches Us 

Word reaches us
that you are sleeping, sleeping.
Dismayed
we have turned to the sea.
We encounter among others
walking there
a sense of what we have lost:
the broad expanse of humanity’s
sensitivity to the oneness of itself.
Gabrielle,
while you sleep, resting your nimble
brain, we think of walking with you
in the valley
of the shadow of death; holding
you up.
We hope you can feel our grief;
our sorrow vast
like the ocean that draws us.
We know in this moment you teach us many things:
how all across the world
there is no one who deserves this fate.
We know we must bleach and sterilize our
tongues,
brighten with understanding
all our dark thoughts.
Sister, whom I never met
except in this pain that has so
wounded you
thank you for reminding us
through your suffering
and your suspenseful sleep
that we must change. 

Poem – A Picture Story for the Curious 

I get to meditate

in a chair! 

Or against the wall

with my legs

stretched out! 

(Or even in bed!) 
I get to see

maybe half

of what I’m looking at! 

(This changes everything!) 
I get to dance

like the tipsy old men

I adored

when I was an infant! 

(They never dropped me!) 
I get to spend time with myself 

whenever I want! 

I get to ride a bicycle

with tall

handlebars! 

(My posture improves!) 
I get to give up

learning to sail! 

I get to know

I will never speak

German! 
I get to snuggle all

morning

with my snuggler

of choice:

counting the hours

by how many times

we get up

to pee! 
I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 

I get to eat chocolate

with my salad.

Or even as a first course! 

I get to forget! 

I get to paint

with colors

I mix myself! 

Colors

I’ve never seen

before.
I get to sleep

with my dog

& pray never to outlive

my cat! 

I get to play

music

without reading

a note! 
I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 

I get to sleep

in a

hammock

under the same

stars

wherever I am! 

I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 
I get to laugh

at all the things

I don’t know

& cannot

find! 
I get to greet

people I don’t remember

as if I know them

very well.

After all, how different

can they be? 
I get to grow

my entire

garden

in a few

pots! 

I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 
I get to see

& feel

the suffering

of the whole

world

& to take

a nap

when I feel

like it

anyway! 
I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 
I get to feel

more love

than I ever thought

existed! 

Everything appears to be made

of the stuff! 
I feel this

especially for You! Though I may not remember

exactly which You

you are! 

How cool is this! 

Still, I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 

And that is just a taste

as the old people used to say

down in Georgia

when I was a child

of what you get

for getting old.
Reminding us, as they witnessed our curiosity about them, that no matter the losses, there’s something fabulous going on at every stage of Life, something to let go of, maybe, but for darn sure, something to get! 

Poem – I will Keep Broken Things

I will keep
Broken

Things:

The big clay

Pot

With raised

Iguanas

Chasing

Their

Tails; 

Two

Of their

Wise
Heads

Sheared

Off; 
I will keep

Broken

things:

The old

Slave

Market

Basket

Brought

To my

Door
By Mississippi

A jagged

Hole

Gouged

In its sturdy

Dark

Oak

Side.
I will keep

Broken

things:

The memory

Of

Those

Long

Delicious

Nig ht

Swims

With

You; 
I will keep

Broken

things:

In my house

There

Remains

An
Honored

Shelf

On which

I will

Keep

Broken

Things.
Their beauty

Is

They

Need

Not

Ever

Be 

‘fixed.’
I will keep

Your

Wild

Free

Laughter

Thoug h

It is now

Missing

Its

Reassuring

And

Gra ceful

Hinge.
I will keep

Broken

Things:
Thank you 

So much! 
I will keep

Broken

Things.
I will keep

You:
Pilgrim

Of

Sorrow.

I will keep

Myself.