Courageous

Right actin, right time, right reason, no matter

   If you’re honest, you’ve probably not done that ever

Did you tell your co-workers it’s not right to demean

    another for being black or Jewish or Chinese?

Did you tell your congregation that their prostration

    before their own righteous indignation

    is neither service to God nor adoration?

Did you report your company’s collusion

    in exploiting its customers’ confusion?

Did you refuse to bear false witness when

    police said it’s either you in the lineup or him?

Did you refuse orders and face derision

    or did you participate in the senseless killing?

When doctors told you it’s an incurable condition,

    did you curse fate or focus intention?

If I could burn this cowardice from my soul

    I’d light kerosene and napalm and oil

I’d cake it with white phosphorus and let it burn

    Radiation and chemicals I would not spurn.

It’s blasphemy when a coward mouths courage

    Let the brave emerge and let us reflect their image.

My Lie is a Curtain Drawn Between Us

My lie is a curtain drawn between us

   or rather static in our radio band.

I only hear parts of what you transmit

  and my burden interrupts my signal.

Should I tell you what will hurt you?

  Should I reveal my source of shame?

You speak words of love and kindess

  but I only hear my voice of blame.

It repeats and repeats and repeats

  iGuiltMini, iGuiltPro, iGuiltMax!

If I slow down my breaths and lie on my back,

   my mind can retrieve good times we’ve had.

If I tell you, will you withdraw and leave me to drown

   or will forgiveness remove us to higher ground?

The bottom of the sea of desolation is better

  than confinement in the cell of deceit.

Crossbar

Hitting the crossbar is painful

   The ball’s echo hollows my heart

The vibrations of the net loosen my lungs

   to fall from my chest

The goalie’s look skyward and prayers of thanks

    turn my liver to bile and my stomach to cramps

O wood whose emptiness I love

    and whose whitened edges I hate

You are America’s gold and I am Cortez

    I am your Ahab and you are my white whale

Mexico's Carlos Salcido's shot hits the crossbar as Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero attempts to catch it in Johannesburg - Sunday June 27, 2010

My Young Love

I’ve shut off. I know you think if you break enough dishes and throw enough glasses at me that I’ll listen to you. But I’ve shut off. You know I hate your foul mouth, so you ratchet it up a notch. I wonder how we ever began. I realize I must have some psychosis that attracted you to me. I reach the bedroom and lock the door. I’m glad we have a master bedroom. Now you’ve triggered the fire alarm. This isn’t worth the rest of the lease.