Dreaming of Paradise

An American Choice

Will he take his bible or his gun?

An American is invited to dinner
With a man he does not know.
A Stranger.
Before sitting down together,
The American is brought to a room
Where he can see his would be companion
Waiting at their table.

The American thinks
“He’s different from me.”
But he is unsure how.
Maybe it is the skin
The clothes,
The eyes?
Who knows.
The American can’t say,
But he knows.

Then the American thinks
“He’s hiding something.”
Although he can’t say how he knows.
Maybe it is the way he shifts
Or checks the doors
Or fidgets or
Checks his pockets.
What is he hiding?
“Maybe it is a knife
Or a gun.”
And maybe it is a rose
Or a bird
Or an elephant.
“Or maybe it is a gun.”

Now the American has a choice to make
Though he can choose only one.
Will he take his bible to dinner
Or will he take his gun?
He can choose only one.

So tell me American,
Do you fear this other
More than you love your God?


Our Thankfulness Tree

This is my entry into The 1st Writing Challenge posted by Obsessive Writing blog on the theme of Sin.

We started a family tradition in 2016:
The first week of November,
Usually the 6th or 7th,
We put up our thankfulness tree.
It’s a plastic tree, modeled after a Douglas fir
And we decorate it with pinecones
Tagged with things we are thankful for.
The tags read “books”
“good food”
“mommy” (the boys wrote four of those this year)
And more.
All to remind us that in the midst
Of the sin of the world
-the racial baiting
-the sexual assault
-the brazen brutality
-the sheer coarseness
To remind us that there is no sin
Without beauty and redemption

The Aquarium

A Fish,
A Spotted Gar to be precise,
Gazed at me from behind the glass
With an expression of such
Mild curiosity that
I couldn’t help but wonder
If some universal force
Had brought me to the fish
For his consideration;
That the fish,
The Spotted Gar,
Was the customer
And I the exhibit
If not the product.


History has ways to tell her story.
One turns to books and museums
To hear the story
The sequence of events
That led from then to now.

One turns to a monument
To see the manifestation of greatness
To stand in awe at the greatness
And to perceive oneself as small in comparison
To understand
That this is the tale of gods and men.

One turns to a memorial
To hear the echoes of the dead
And to weep with them.

History has ways of telling her story
And she doesn’t much care
Which we choose,
But she always remembers.

Death of a Dream

How does a dream die?
Does it die from a gunshot?
Can a bullet puncture its lungs
Its heart or brain?
Can a knife cut open its belly
So that it staggers across the
Scene to bleed out
Over the course of an hour?

Or is it a slow death?
Does a dream die in a hospital
On life support
With an array of machines
To keep it breathing and the heart beating?
Does it die from a wasting disease
A cancer that destroys it from the inside
Until the dreamer finally agrees
Through blurring vision
To sign the “Do Not Resuscitate”?

Does a dream die in glory
Or in hospice?

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