On The Places I’ve Called Home

Grimy ghettos,
graffiti-graced brick walls the only chance for beauty.
Parents just survive and “don’t know where that girl has gone!”
Cats rummage in alleys where big boys bully babies
until there are no more tears,
and iron missiles fly like kites for a passage of rite.
For you can not become a man without a
notch in your belt::
Death dodges a bullet.

Uppity suburb,
artsy district with history
of American legends
both in writing and french fries.
Famous artists and architects,
fine dining and paintings
where nobody is anybody unless
you sing/act/dance/paint/write;
I run because::
I. have. no. talent.

Burrowed hobbit home
in the middle of dairyland,
bringing rabbit’s escape to
Alice so that she can preserve her Wonderland.
Crystal forests,
leaky roof,
smell of growing mold
and all that is green and thriving::
I grow; out of reach.

Busy ‘new money’ sprawl
where no one dares their hands touch
brown earth or soapy water.
They pay ‘people’ to do that.
And “it’s so hard to find good help these days,
don’t you know?”
And though my face may be falling
I prefer jowls than knife to skin
and to money spent on self and an image
I’ll never catch up to::
because it was never mine in the first place.

In ordinary
middle class
spring has sprung and
carries with it songs of
lawn mowers and robins,
radios and roaming children
whose parents aren’t afraid to let their
hands get dirty::
all the while intoxicated by barbeque.

I cannot afford the riches of my former life.
When I lived on Easy Street.
They are far too expensive.
For they bankrupt me from
smelling fresh cut grass that I’ve mowed myself
and squeaky clean dishes
which my middle-aged, middle-class, middle-of-the-road gloveless hands have wiped free
from what was left behind on plates that I’ve filled with home-cooked food,
from a kitchen I clean myself.
This past plunder keeps me from neighbors who sit on
the porch even though it’s far too cold,
but who look for community just the same.

This is where I’ve found home.
I much prefer
the life of common –
But it may not be where I stay.
Only time will tell where the path may lead.
They say that home is where the heart is.
But a remnant of my heart is left in each place,
And a remnant of each place is left in my heart.

linking with d’verse Poets

and my dear Emily: center>

Painting Grace Graffiti or How I Almost Quit Blogging

A Little Piece of 80s
Photo by Twig_Is_The_Future

“Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;
take in your frightened children who
Are running from the neighborhood bullies
straight to you.” Psalm 17 (The Message)

Recently, I questioned my place here in the Blogosphere. This test, is seems, is common to bloggers who remain. It is our Wilderness of sorts. Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted of the Devil. His temptations were, at the core, focused on keeping Him from doing what He was called to do.

And so it is the same with us. Our enemies, whether real, or in our own mind, are sent to keep us from doing what we were meant to do…and part of this test must be done alone. But I’m not writing about that part today. I’m writing about the part when strong hands pick me up when I am weak. I’m writing about community.

You see, as I went through my blogging valley, I received encouragement from the unexpected. I expected encouragement from my readers,…and I did get some. But the encouragement that blew my mind was from my blogging mentors. This wouldn’t be so surprising had they known that I considered them my mentors. However, I had admired them from afar, both in proximity and in anonymity. Sure, I left glowing comments on their blogs, but I never asked them for advice or let them know that I was watching their every move in order to copy their behavior in hopes that maybe, just maybe, I’d experience some of their success.

Within moments of posting my blogging woes, I received this comment from Jen:
I saw this on FB and came by to read and was I so surprised to see my name here. And then, my heart broke a little when I read the next few lines. And I know that you know, but I’m just confirming that the world would be a little less caring, a little less bright, and a whole lot less beautiful without YOUR words in it. You are a true original and I am so glad I know you.

This was so humbling and healing. Jen is possibly the kindest blogger I know. She was the first to invite me to join her blogging community, teaching me how to linkup with her weekly community Soli Deo Gloria. (Yes, I was that green at the moment.)

Then there was the Twitter mission started by Renee at Lessons from Twits and Teachers…she and the iconic Ironic Mom Leanne Shirtliffe decided that they were going to beat up the voice in my head that was telling me to quit.

A few days later, I read this Scripture in Psalm 17 from the Message Bible,

“Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;
take in your frightened children who
Are running from the neighborhood bullies
straight to you.”

It was then that I realized that this is just what my friends and mentors had done. They had painted grace-graffiti on my fences, telling my bullies to “KEEP OUT!”

Epiphany! What if I am ever ready to build a fence around those who need protection, even if it’s from themselves? And what if I, with pen or keyboard in hand, determine to ward off those bullies with grace-graffiti? What better place to write grace-graffiti than a real-life virtual wall on Facebook, or as a Tweet? Can I challenge you as well? Find someone who is needing a grace word, and paint some grace-graffiti on their fence. It might be just what they need to continue on!

Jen and Michelle thank you for your kind and encouraging words….and Renee and Leanne? Wow! You really went the extra mile. Keep painting that graffiti! Come to think of it, after Jesus finished with his temptation, two angels were sent to Him in order to minister to His needs…that’s who the two of you were, my angels. Thank you.

What grace-graffiti has been written on your fence lately?

Giving Thanks today with Ann:
and with Laura: and with Michelle:

56. for a husband who shampoos my carpets.
57. for the pattern the stark dormant trees make on the powder blue sky
58. for sunny skies despite cloudy news.
59. for the smell of banana bread in the house even if it’s not for me.
60. that I have enough groceries in the house that I can put off shopping. one. more. day.

and a brand new community at: GettingDownWithJesus