Driving school, autumn nights and thoughts on poverty

Poverty never ceases to surprise and disarm. What is truly alarming however is whenever I grow indifferent or worse, apathetic, to its crying dishonor. May I never be unaware or distant and always prepared to enter into the suffering of others. Lord, have mercy.

I

Don’t let me be found waiting when,

like water on a mirror, I slide

from corner to corner,

unwieldy and unpredictable,

the scab before the fall,

the tears before the pain,

the gain before the loss.

Running toward is always better than

running away when haggard eyes

silently proclaim my complicity in

the hollow halls of ownership.

II

I need to simmer long in cauldrons

of grieving for ones lost on the loom,

dismembered patterns refusing collision

into any kind of shape. Can you smell

the paint on my brush, richly bristled,

bent away from their needy canvas,

dry and parched, stretched too thin

to hold more than grey or black?

Colors here only reveal what stolen

chances never offered have done to ones

who just might wear them best.

III

Plumbing these altitudes, I grow weary

from my swan dives upward,

expelling all reason for some ritual,

denying them time for tome,

confusing their ache for my art.

Fixed, stuck am I on stolen intrusions

of short memory too bent to sort,

too cold to move, too sharp to soothe.

But forward brings me closer

than any other path, not placating,

or even prosaic but parallel with promises

unveiled only through the repetition

of laughter, laughter and

the solemn, sweet, irrepressible smiles

of the poor.