Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Visceral


Painters and drawers and sculptors and countless other visual artists are able to combine and manipulate various physical substances into objects that pique our imagination and show us a peek at the universe and ourselves that we have yet to comprehend. Once we have seen these creative vistas and ourselves reflected through them, we cannot forget or go back to the way things used to be without tremendous expenditure of costly personal energy. 

Writers are visual artists of a different sort. Authors paint word pictures that hang in the passageway running between head and heart. Narrative/prose is a medium in the realm of realism, often hanging closer to the brain's end of the hall. Once a good story seeps into your marrow, the door at the coronary end of the hallway usually swings open a bit wider as a particular vocabulary and its precise ordering provide a view of what's been right in front of your face for years and yet may still have eluded your perception.

Poetry tends toward impressionism, just outside the heart's door. It often makes you want to race back and forth between the cerebral and the emotive, between fading distant memories and the possibility of what lies around the next bend, anchoring the here-and-now in a sense of hope, if not peace. Story's and poetry's art galleries are for the curious; those who're willing to peruse stacks of beauty with only a handful of syllables scratched on the surface, daring aficionados to crack a spine. Welcome to a visceral gallery of words, brushed on life’s ever-flowing canvas.


© 2016 Todd Jenkins

Monday, April 25, 2016

Creature

Photo by Jennie R. Jenkins

Keep a dragon's egg
in your pocket long enough,
pulling it out to marvel,
turning it over
in your sweaty little palms,

   shaking it at the folks
   who stir you from
   the laziness of your
   inherited perch of status quo,

      and sooner or later
      you'll be the unwitting
      (Or is it dim-witted?)
      owner of an uncontrollable,
      fire-breathing maniac.

         It's getting hot up in here!


© 2016 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Deeps


Photo by Holly Jenkins

Life is easier when your enemies
are all external, identifiable,
and you get to completely define them.

Yes, easier, smoother, shallower.
Give me the deeps anyway,
where ruts and ridges

surprise and challenge my assumptions;
where mirrors reject
my narrow, retouched imaginings.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Planted


When the deathiversary
rolls around each year,
we can hardly believe
it’s here again.

Wasn’t it the day before yesterday
when our hearts were still beating
and normal was something
we thought could last?

It seems like yesterday
the casket was lowered
into the earth or the ashes
were scattered by the wind;

We knew a huge chunk
of who we were 
was dead now, too.

The dirt was like a weight
on our chests, pressing, squeezing.

  We could never imagine that
  our burying was also a planting;
  that the love being sunk and scattered
  could somehow ever break through
  the sod with a shoot, a bloom,
  and perhaps flower or fruit;

    but sometimes it does,
    in ways and places we
    never could have imagined.

You have surrounded us
with the love of those
who can and do sing
the songs of faith for us,
reciting the creeds,
believing on our behalf, 
for a while, until 
we can breathe again.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In Memoriam


As we once again enter the room called remember, the edge of earth and sky as clearly defined as ever, we pray you'll grant us faith, O Lord, strong and flexible, to mortar the vast expanse between our tiny bricks of understanding. 

For all the saints 
who from this life now rest, 
we give you thanks, O God, 
for by them we are blessed. 

When hate has been unleashed, 
indifference unfurled, 
into holy humus 
their toes securely curled. 

Inspired by burning bush 
and heaven-descended dove, 
they walked the path of grace 
and lived sermons of love. 

We speak their names aloud, 
and breathe their memories, too; 
open palms release them, 
eternally to you. 

For all the saints 
who through our lives have trod, 
we lift our hearts in praise, 
and give you thanks, O God. 

  2016 Todd Jenkins


Monday, April 11, 2016

Poetic Subtraction

Photo by Ashley Goad

She objected, "I don't know how
to sit down and create poetry."

   I replied, “Neither do I.
   I'm not even sure that's possible.”

      Poetry is all around us,
      all the time. It's the proverbial
      sculpture hidden within the stone.

   Finding our inner poet
   is about learning to chip-away
   at the things in our lives obscuring her.

First, there's what I call noise;
the other voices that tell you
you're already too far behind
in all the things you need
to accomplish and do
to even consider investing time,
space, and energy into something
as unpredictable, unreliable, and
maybe even unproductive as poetry.

   But maybe you also need
   to hear the whisper that asks you
   to consider whether
   you might be even further behind
   in what you were created to BE.

© 2016 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, April 9, 2016

7

Photo by Ben Padgett

Sooner or later,
you'll figure out
that my vocabulary
is very limited.

   The list of words I know
   to be true – Or is it that
   I NEED them to be true? –
   is quite brief.
   Let's see... there's:

Grace – the truest of all truths,
never settling for the limitations
of how we experience it
or want it to be. 

Love – the deepest of all truths,
holding us more tenderly
than we ever imagined
when it’s whole;
hurting us almost more deeply
than we can stand
when it’s broken. 

Forgiveness – the richest of all truths,
covering even the grandest failure,
not with denial, but reprieve. 

Mercy – the softest of all truths,
tempering justice into
an ending bearable,
no matter how bleakly
our story begins.

Hope – the largest of all truths,
opening doors and windows,
raising suns after all possibility
has been exhausted. 

Faith – the most mysterious of all truths,
the mortar spanning
the vast expanse between
tiny bricks of understanding. 

Trust – the hardest of all truths,
holding betrayal in a glove
of unimaginable possibility. 

      These seven may be it.
      Everything else is
      merely experiential riff
      in their presence or absence;

   just verbal sketches
   from the storm of sitting
   too near the tracks
   when they pass through. 

When I find myself in stories
where all seven of these are AWOL,
I just sing into the morning,  
or  whistle throughout the night,
or cry, or pray until at least
one of them shows up,

believing that the one(s)
to arrive are the necessary one(s)
for the transformation
of today’s pain and suffering. 


© 2016 Todd Jenkins