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As a boy I shared a game with my father.
Played it every morning ’til I was 3.
He would knock knock on my door,
and I’d pretend to be asleep
’til he got right next to the bed,
Then I would get up and jump into his arms.
“Good morning, Papa.”
And my papa he would tell me that he loved me.
We shared a game.
Knock Knock

Until that day when the knock never came
and my momma takes me on a ride past corn fields
on this never ending highway ’til we reach a place of high
rusty gates.
A confused little boy,
I entered the building carried in my mama’s arms.
Knock Knock

We reach a room of windows and brown faces
behind one of the windows sits my father.
I jump out of my mama’s arms
and run joyously towards my papa
Only to be confronted by this window.
I knock knock trying to break through the glass,
trying to get to my father.
I knock knock as my mama pulls me away
before my papa even says a word.

And for years he has never said a word.
And so twenty-five years later, I write these words
for the little boy in me who still awaits his papa’s knock.

Papa, come home ’cause I miss you.
I miss you waking me up in the morning and telling me you love me.
Papa, come home, ’cause there’s things I don’t know,
and I thought maybe you could teach me:
How to shave;
how to dribble a ball;
how to talk to a lady;
how to walk like a man.
Papa, come home because I decided a while back
I wanted to be just like you.
but I’m forgetting who you are.

And twenty-five years later a little boy cries,
and so I write these words and try to heal
and try to father myself
and I dream up a father who says the words my father did not.

Dear Son,

I’m sorry I never came home.
For every lesson I failed to teach, hear these words:
Shave in one direction in strong deliberate strokes to avoid irritation

Dribble the page with the brilliance of your ballpoint pen.
Walk like a god and your goddess will come to you.
No longer will I be there to knock on your door,
So you must learn to knock for yourself.
Knock knock down doors of racism and poverty that I could not.
Knock knock down doors of opportunity
for the lost brilliance of the black men who crowd these cells.
Knock knock with diligence for the sake of your children.
Knock knock for me for as long as you are free,
these prison gates cannot contain my spirit.
The best of me still lives in you.
Knock knock with the knowledge that you are my son, but you are not my choices.
Yes, we are our fathers’ sons and daughters,
But we are not their choices.
For despite their absences we are still here.
Still alive, still breathing
With the power to change this world,
One little boy and girl at a time.
Knock knock
Who’s there?
We are.

a tip of the hat to Telling Secrets

 

“Madame Speaker, I have words for Democrats and Republicans tonight.”

“Let’s start with the Democrats”

“We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds in our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote on health care reform. I want to remind us all that Olympia Snowe was not elected President last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America’s population.”

“What America wants is health care reform.  America doesn’t care if it gets 51 votes in the Senate or 60 votes in the Senate or 83 votes in the Senate, in fact America doesn’t even care about that, it doesn’t care about that at all.  What America cares about is this; there are over 1 million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills.   America cares a lot about that.  America cares about the fact that there are 44,780 Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care, that’s 122 every day.  America sure cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have health insurance, it’s not covered.  America cares about that a lot.  America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don’t need any.  America cares about that a lot.  But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, America doesn’t care about that at all.”

“So we have to remember that as Democrats, we have to remember that what’s at stake here is life and death, enormous amounts of money, and people are counting upon us to move ahead.  America understands what’s good for America.  America cares about health care, America cares about jobs, America cares about education, about energy independance, America does not care about processes politicians or personalities or anything like that.”

“And I have a few words for my Republican friends tonight as well. I guess I do have some Republican friends.”

“Let me say this; last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there are 44,789 Americans that die every year according to this Harvard report published in this peer reviewed journal because they have no health insurance. That’s an extra 44,789 Americans who die who’s lives could be saved, and their response was to ask me for an apology.”

“To ask me for an apology?”

“That’s right. To ask ME for an apology!”

“Well, I’m telling you this; I will not apologize. I will not apologize. I will not apologize for a simple reason; America doesn’t care about your feelings. I violated no rules by pulling this report to America’s attention, I think a lot of people didn’t know about it beforehand. But America DOES care about health care in America.”

“And if you’re against it, then get out of the way. Just get out of the way. You can lead, you can follow or you can get out of the way. And I’m telling you now to get out of the way.”

“American understands that there is one party in this country that is favor of health care reform and one party that is against it, and they know why.”

“They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation”

“They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace they would blame him for destroying the defense industry.”

“In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwhich tommorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.”

“But that’s not what America wants, America wants solutions to it’s problems and that begins with health care, and that’s what I’m speaking for tonight.”

“I yield back the balance of my time”

sand and foam picture

 

I AM FOREVER walking upon these shores,

Betwixt the sand and the foam,

The high tide will erase my foot-prints,

And the wind will blow away the foam.

But the sea and the shore will remain

Forever.

Only great sorrow or great joy can reveal your truth. If you would be revealed you must either dance naked in the sun, or carry your cross. You see but your shadow when you turn your back to the sun.

You are free before the sun of the day, and free before the stars of the night; And you are free when there is no sun and no moon and no star. You are even free when you close your eyes upon all there is.

But you are a slave to him whom you love because you love him, And a slave to him who loves you because he loves you.

You cannot consume beyond your appetite. The other half of the loaf belongs to the other person, and there should remain a little bread for the chance guest. If it were not for your guests all houses would be graves.

When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things, even in the eyes that are blind to beauty.

We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.

Sow a seed and the earth will yield you a flower. Dream your dream to the sky and it will bring you your beloved.

Kahlil Gibran

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory