Untitled Poem  

Untitled Poem 

 

 

She is a woman 

in full possession of her power 

on legs that part the sea 

like word 

The Word 

ancient 

and the earth and all that’s in it 

and I  

move 

to keep up 

 

She is child 

vulnerable 

she’s held the world 

she’s held other lovers 

other poets 

other melodies have moved her to song 

but the quiet storm of her vulnerability 

is a poem 

a prayer 

that only I have seen 

 

Early morning 

she checks the weather 

to see if the day matches her mood 

and the day listens 

intent to meet her 

 

The ring on her finger is mine 

the finger is hers 

the hand is hers 

 

I will be bound 

in flesh 

in land 

in song and in prayer 

in worship 

hand in hand 

to her 

 

Dark psalms rise inside my mournful heart 

threatening to steal 

as thieves 

twelve stones in the Jordan 

laid by the fingers of a God 

we only wish to serve 

 

She has her face 

God’s face 

in a necklace  

four winds rest softly on her breast 

and I press my lips to those winds 

and the song I sing 

is praise 

 

To her 

and her God 

 

As Ruth proclaimed 

where you go, I shall go 

where you stay, I shall stay 

your land shall be my land 

your people shall be my people  

and your God shall be my God 

 

I stand on this scripture 

carved into my own breath 

anointing my own candle 

to offer for her  

and every promise she has whispered  

to God 

for us 

for our love 

for the scripture that walks 

like her legs 

parting the sea 

and releasing 

each slave bound 

to a past I can no longer afford 

 

She is woman 

She is child 

She is home 

 

And in this home 

I abide 

and my children 

and my children’s children 

shall name her  

blessed

While You Dream  

I used to sit around an apartment on Ridgewood avenue in my hometown of Gainesville, smoking, playing guitar and dreaming.

Dreaming, always dreaming.

I spent about 3 solid years there as a bachelor, rarely sleeping, just writing. I must've written 500+ songs in that apartment; most of them really rotten, but occasionally, something good would come out of it. 


This is a song written and recorded then, a song about the time period. A wonderful snapshot of an extremely formative time in my life. 

The Art Collector 

“The Art Collector" 

by: Michael C Smith 

 

Mason pulled the door tight. 1624 Langston Street, Apt. 52. “Thud” the deadbolt latch echoed into place, “clank, click” fastened the padlock. 

He shackles this one for Brenda. 

She hated sleeping up here. The neighborhood gave her the creeps. The junkies, the whores, the occasional stabbing. He bought the padlock to help ease her mind. “Calm down darling” he’d say, “We’re five floors up and the guys you worry about would either give up or give out by the third floor.” She laughed uneasily, unconvinced. 

Brenda was so sweet to him. He met her at the library, of all places. She was using one of those Macintosh computers the city was wasting his tax money on; 1986 and suddenly everything was about a computer! Not for Mason. He was looking through a magazine a few feet to her right when their eyes met. She had the most disarming blue eyes and hair as black as a thousand starless nights. Even now as his mind drifted back to that first encounter, he could feel the wool of the sweater she was wearing. Mason had never been one with the ladies but something about Brenda gave him confidence. He walked right over to her, lightly touched her shoulder, took her hand and introduced himself.  

They would spend the next month in a slow, conservative courtship; hands held on afternoon walks, autumn trips to parks to watch parents and children, ice cream and coffee shops, bookstores and even church. It would be just over a month before Brenda began spending the night at Mason’s apartment. Brenda was going through a divorce from an abusive and alcoholic husband; her own home felt an unsafe place for romantic company. She had grown up in a house with an equally abusive and alcoholic father and had promised herself when she was young that her childhood history would not be repeated. She hated herself for having fallen in love with someone so much like her own father. She’d recount nights of fear and physical pain from both her childhood and her marriage, as Mason, listening intently, would stroke her hair and remind her that those parts of her life were over for good. She’d sigh easily, and drift away, comfortably asleep in his strong arms. 

When she announced that she wanted to take a break, maybe see other people, it hit him like Chernobyl; an explosion, followed by a slow, painful burn. She loved him, she said, she’s so grateful for him, she said.  “You’ve given me the confidence to go into the world, to face it alone, to discover who I am.” She said. “And I must do that without you.” 

“Clank, click” went the second padlock. 

“Clank, click.” “Clank, click.”  

The others were far easier. 

They’re all still here. 

Mason sits back, admiring his collection of four ladies, preserved almost as if by a taxidermist, lounging in various positions around the room. He keeps the windows open all of the time now; less for the smell of the decay, and more for the odor of the chemicals he uses to bathe his collection. They are pleasant and polite company, never contrary and always available for Mason’s every desire.  

The neighbors around him will never notice the smell, and even if they did, they’d never call the police. Police are a far less welcome presence in this part of town than an art collector, no matter how strange the collection.  Mason installs a new padlock on his door for each addition, keeping Brenda and her companions quite safe indeed.

JHW  

 

"GOD DON'T MAKE JUNK."

Scribbled on a t-shirt with black fabric marker, draped over a thin, much too thin frame of a young bearded man with long blonde hair sitting at the top of the football stadium, reading a bible.

I must have been in 9th grade, we were at a pep rally. I had no interest in school spirit, but I was intrigued by this guy's handwritten slogan.


Thus began one of the strongest, longest, strangest, currently estranged friendships in my life. 

I could write pages about the ensuing years, instead I wrote this song.

God bless you tonight old friend.

Untitled Poem 

 

 

I kneel before your alter, Lord 

with all my impossible 

and not so impossible pasts 

with all that I must carry 

and all that I must leave 

 

I kneel before your alter, Lord 

with each face I’ve seen in each mirror I’ve passed 

and each face unseen in any reflection  

each smile, each tear 

each breath drawn or held 

and you offer your breath  

and your reflection 

 

I stand 

with your face  

shining on my own 

and carry your alter 

and offer your forgiveness, 

your breath 

and your reflection 

to everyone I meet 

 

and when I forget 

I return  

and kneel 

and begin  

anew

"Rains Left to Fall"  

Hard times come for everyone. It's one of the few certainties in life. Most folks can shake it and keep moving forward, knowing that a better day is on the horizon. Some folks get so caught up in the desperation that they forget to keep moving, or they choose to quit living. 


Desperation is no sin. 


This is a song written for a friend going through a really dark time.


If you know someone feeling desperate, feeling broken, feeling like they've got no reason to keep moving, be sure to reach out to them, love them, help them, let them know that the sun's gonna keep coming up every day and that one of these days, if they'll just hang in, it'll look bright and promising again.