28 April 2015

Baltimore, April 2015

A man attempts to calm down demonstrators as a CVS
A man attempts to calm down demonstrators as a CVS pharmacy burns
at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues in Baltimore
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images).

Just before the National Guard entered the scene to ascertain with might who’s right—I caught a glimpse of Jesus carrying a Black Lives Matter sign. 

You won't see Him in videos and photos of police lines, damaged cars and buildings, or angry youth with bricks and triumph.

He is standing among the orderly majority of marchers, no longer dramatic enough for the media.  This cross burns more brightly and the uniforms all match. 

But Freddie is not there, is not tempting retaliation, not trying to be both protagonist and villain, but slain and still in the hearts of the weeping and determined populace wanting new shows with different plot lines and unities, ones showing a will to grow relationships beyond fragile peace into solid justice.

Point cameras at the majority and see the roses blooming despite thorns; emphasize the positive and give up the poorer profit which is Judas’ share.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

27 April 2015

Sleeping in Public

The Sentry by Carel Fabritius, 1654

Unbridled whiteness fires me up to share
my privilege:  Please pull up a pillow,
rest a while, let me protest all despair.

White cops’ mis-justice hurts me, too, I fear.
I’m not safe if you can be held so low.
I can't feel happiness when your life’s austere.

Let me walk with you and grow seeds of care
to wake in your footsteps, to learn to know
unrest for real, how to always beware.

Unrestrained wickedness jerks me alert—
Your fragile bones are exposed to real blows.
I thought to forget, but you lived to hurt.

Whiteness supreme is mine to dismantle,
powers to share, achievements to channel.
What cannot be shared, might just be annulled.

I'll stop my walking, will myself awake—
I want the diverse life your presence makes.
If you have no freedom, mine’s a mistake.

Written at the end of a weekend workshop on Whites Addressing Racism. Rough draft Poem #25, April 2015. I'm a weekend behind.  

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

25 April 2015

Letting Go

File:Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) (5).jpg
Flock in flight, photo by Ken Billington 

Weekend workshops are a learning delight.
That they take an underpinning of health
escaped my notice until now, when I
cannot keep up.  I’m the goose who lags be-
hind the flock, messing up its neat Vee and
wintering on an icy lake, lonely,
cold and sad.  What helps such a goose
survive but knowing new geese join the flock,
the pattern of life remains unbroken?

I will rest here awhile and watch the Vee
advance into the future while I hear
its sounds of life.  What a gorgeous blue sky!
What a pleasure to love and fly in it!
How beautiful my fellow travelers!

For poem #24, April 2015.  I am a day behind.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

23 April 2015

Learning Alchemy

 Madonna Lilyfruits and seeds

A poet made by an artist made by
an artist made by the Artist, I am
thrice blessed, aging into this awareness.
Acceptance and action generates more
than creativity—it renews youth!
Outside seems idle, inside is vibrant.

Funny to be seed-like again as if
pre-natal, to be germinating but
with spiritual awareness this time.
To be precise—then was spiritual,
now factors in experience gained from
decades of  living as guided and led.

Yet—and here’s the cosmic joke, paradox,
enlightenment, quandary: every
minute mattered and each must be released.
Unless, like this poem, we are content to
speak about truth rather than live in it—
a seed split to root and grow, breathe and glow.

The choice is obvious and not so clear.
Comfort in articulation is like
a life raft in an endless sea—Grab it!
Becoming the seed is entering the dark
in faith that it is not death; is splitting
open in faith that it is not bleeding out. 
Becoming the seed is giving up edges
that provide safe boundaries and facing
fears avoided and frozen to skate on.
Becoming the seed is cracking ice to
enter the burn, faithfully nearing the
One who beckons, the Artist’s will be done.

Listen—after this I give up all explaining—
the closer we get the clearer we have
misnamed Creation, obscuring our view.
In us, around us, for usCreating
is Us alone and collectively, and
is activating verb, not separate noun.

And now I will enter the seed, perhaps
never to narrate a linear tale
again, perhaps too distant to be We.
I am a poet made by visual
artists within Creating; I am thrice
blessed, aging into a seed, another chance.

For  #23 poem of April 2015

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

22 April 2015

My Cats

One cat died this week, one five years ago,
yet I still reduce volumes and increase heat
for them, still remember to feed them morn
and night, as I did for twenty-three years.  
Last night friends tossed out sandboxes and
cleaned up bowls and toys I could not remove.
Next week, I donate remaining cat food
leaving only photos and wear and tear.
Alone now, I'm sad but not unhappy
to feel their comfortable presence in
fantasy, to enjoy sense memories
of their sounds, purrs and personalities—
one a hunter and one a spectator.
No, I won't soon replace these characters.

For #22 poem April 2015

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast


International recycling symbol

She’s not wearing her work gloves again, but
she’s picking up the litter from her lawn,
her daily task as steward of the corner.

Black plastic sandwich-shop bags are empty,
but not pizza boxes or water ice cups
gooey with sugar, crawling with ants.

Soda cans, beer bottles and bottle caps
recycle, papers and flyers do too
un-crunched, smoothed, read and piled.

She chatters back at the squirrels from under
her yellow baseball cap, from under her hunched back,
from over her unsteady hip-stiffened walk.

She coaxes the robins to hop closer,
calls them her herd, her grazing goats and asks
them with a chuckle Why not mow the lawn?

While yer at it, why not trim the edges?
These drivers, cleaning their cars on my lawn!
It’s not the school kids, I like the school kids.

But they laugh at her, these stylish children,
who discard whatevers with abandon
as they stroll past without pausing their pace.

She’s moving slower today, probably
pleased to salvage and recycle, to walk
each next day on her little piece of earth.

For my prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~Earth Day or Earthiness

For #21 April poem ~ I'm a day behind.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast