Sermon

I have been forgiving you
Since the moment
I learned
But how can I respond
When you ask me for forgiveness now
Long after
I have cried my tears
Long after
I have stitched my heart
And coaxed it
To heal
How can I say
I forgive you
When the forgiveness I extended
For so long
Went unseen
How can you ask
“Forgive me”
When you never acknowledged
Your wrong?

I cannot be the one
To give you a badge
That says you have crossed
From that to this

I cannot be the one
To say,
Yes, now you are doing it right.

I did cry a river.
And then I moved my tent
And planted a new garden
New flowers
In new dirt
And I wait painstakingly
To see what grace will emerge
From my pain.

You hurt me.
Instead of speaking truth
You hid it
And when I found it
You ran away
And never looked back
Leaving me
To clear away the shrapnel,
My ears still ringing.

You slipped away slowly
Then quickly
As I grasped at ways to help
Ways to bring you back to life and love.
An honest parting of ways,
An honest confession that you did not love me
An honest word that,
Our time was good but it was over
Would have been a welcome balm.
I grieved that you did not count it worth your own pain
To tell me it was over,
Instead leaving me bewildered
Left to assume what must be true.

I forgive you and forgave you already,
But how can I be your priest
And absolve you of your wrong?
How can I forgive
What you never confessed?

Do not say to me,
“Forgive me, I have changed.”
Tell me the wrongs
That you now recognize
And tell me that you understand
Even a small bit
Of how I must have felt.
Tell me that at last
You feel a little bit
Of my pain
As I once felt yours
So deeply.
Tell me you are sorry.
You are so, so, sorry.

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The poets keep it real

The Poets keep it real
when our capacity to feel
falls to the dumps
when we’ve had too many lumps,
too many blows to the head,
too many arrows to the heart,
too many hatchets in our back
and our meds have side affects
that fog our thoughts
and jade our souls
and make our skin so numb
that we no longer feel the warmth of sun
the poets keep it real
the poets choose living pain
over walking dead
the poets choose love
even after betrayal
and the poets won’t shut up
about what they’ve seen,
what they’ve heard,
they can’t help but tell the truth
because the truth makes their spirit free
even when their backs are aching
even when the rest of the world is faking
pretending all is well
while brothers fall,
killed by hasty judgments
and post traumatic stress
the poets never rest
not while stories go untold
not while honest people fold,
too tired to speak up
too tired to bend over
and see if the man in the ditch is still alive
the poets couldn’t hide
even if they grew tired
even if they lay bleeding on the sidewalk
their blood would scream out,
make their words now sound like whispers
crawling under your skin
and into your bones
and reminding you
that we are human too.