Norman’s Song

During a trip to Philadelphia late last year, I rode the rail into town from the airport. In the course of my journey, I transferred trains at the Jefferson Station stop. As I waited, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the notes of a saxophone. Norman played beautifully for an on-the-go audience, many of whom did not stop long enough to notice, or appreciate, him. But there were those who did, too.

The men and women,
Girls and boys,
Shuffle by
Sometimes with a glance,
A brief acknowledgement
Of greatness —
A nod
To the musician.
Amazing Grace
The sweetness of their sound
Filling the halls
With waves
Of love and feeling,
Blessing the passersby,
Without pretense;
Working wonders.
Playing
The song of their heart,
Holding out
A hand,
Hoping to hear
The notes returned.

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Intersections of separateness

Those places of coming and going
They connect us,
And divide
The places we avoid
From those where we reside.
We protect
Enforcing
A shining city,
An example,
Torn from the dark,
From those who would threaten;
Its purity
Derived from otherness.
Its calling card,
Its greatest shame,
That it decides
Who gets to stay.

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Us

So far from where I once was
I find myself, now —
But not so far —
My gaze only focused,
My steps perfected.
I am me and me is you.
My feet, not so tender as they were,
The ground not so soft.
Though I am one with
Where I am
Heavy objects hurtle past,
Never stopping,
Never asking,
What I need.
Is peace
Me and you, and I and they
Here and now,
Never stirring or colliding,
But stopping to ask?
The light finds my hand
As I hold it open,
Moving up and down my skin.
I and me, and you and they and
We.

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Being Me

Tired.

And disappointed.

That who I am is never good enough —
That being me does nothing to measure up.
Our definitions skewed, reality obscured,
Success turned on its head.

That caring doesn’t count for much;
Money does the talking.
One fills my belly, the other my soul —
The echoing refrain.

That, though all lives are equal, some lives matter less.
That preachers preach instead of practice
And talk is cheap.

We miss the value among the noise,
Buried in a cacophony of copies,
Tempted with our eyes and blinded by our tongues.

I want to be
And have that be enough.
But no,
At least that’s what I’m told.

How so
When what I know is different,
What I know is real.

That beauty comes from caring,
Value from fraternity —
Toil illuminating truth.

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