Friday, May 31, 2013


I grew up with dogs as pets,
and not cats, so my opinion
may be quite skewed;
but we had a cat for eight years,

until a few months ago,
when we gifted her to friends
who had both another cat
and much more time
and territory for her to roam.

Gracie was a loving cat,
as far as cat love goes.
She could sit, when she decided
it was time, and demand preening,

purring to no end, so long as
her itch was being appropriately scratched.
Here's what I've been thinking
about for a few years now:

The middle part of life, which,
for most of us makes up
about 80-90% of the years,
is the time when we mostly

live like cats: predatory and
self-sufficient in so many ways,
with disdain, if not fear, toward
any vulnerability or relinquishment.

It is at either end of life,
as infants or the infirmed,
that we find innocence, courage,
and/or acquiesce to  become

transformed into mostly-trusting canines
capable of loving and being loved
in ways so far beyond
our middle-years feline tendencies.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Judgment takes the interstate,
assuming that conclusion
is the prize, so the first
to arrive must win.

Eight miles over the speed limit,
he barely notices the billboards,
and exits only for necessities.

Funny thing, though;
when he reaches what he
believed to be his destination,

there is nothing there
that interests him, so
he packs up and
hits the road again.

Noticing what c(sh)ould have been,
he is quite sure that 
all the facts are in evidence.

Compassion, on the other hand,
takes a leisurely, circuitous course.
She knows that Judgment’s route
is mostly self-reflective;

that there's more to the
journey than can be seen.
Rather than stopping at
what was or wasn't done,

Compassion also sees
a fellow human being,
and is so curious about 
the rest of the story, she detours 
through another life.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, May 25, 2013


More than never forgetting,
let us always remember,
which is not really the same.

The former, a way
of holding-on to the past,
with no clear avenue to the future;

the latter, a gift for carrying forward,
in  hopeful, and life-giving ways
the people and stories who preceded us.

May we reanimate the lives
of those whose bravery and sacrifice
are foundations for our existence,

with enough consciousness and courage
to differentiate between love for them
and revulsion for what they had to do.

Let waving flags and unwavering pride
never swell for the hell of war itself,
but for those who descended into its bowels,

by force or choice, to face the demons formed
when greed, godlessness, and fear overcome
the common bonds of all humanity.

Let one-eyed squints down loaded barrels
be not consumed by death’s insatiable appetite;
praying, instead, to commit the lesser of evils.

May our memories of those whose lives
were taken by war, in whole or part,
and those whose appearance and affect

seem to have mostly dodged destruction,
be one part filled with love, respect,
and appreciation for their selfless answer

to duty’s call, and another part filled
with the grief of knowing that we must
somehow find a different road to walk. 

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


No wheel or vowels to buy,
but fortune is definitely
in the neighborhood.

An "i" will get you little more
than an old-school watch
or a gadget of some sort.

It's "a" and "o" that interest me.
Choose the "a" and your body
gets to take a trip
to an unknown place;

not a race or freeway focused
on arrival, but a leisurely cup
of coffee down the side roads,

with little concern for either time
or turnarounds; and enough
of everything for you to pay

attention to the myriad of miracles
you overlook every day.
Sometimes the "a" will
lead you to the "o"

as your mind gets
to take its own journey,
exploring the rich recesses

of our beings that are never
asked for on standardized tests
and seldom broached at all.

May you be blessed
with time and space,
gray matter and divine spark,
to wonder as you wander.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Monday, May 20, 2013

Storm Praying

Source of wind and breath,
hold back the former;
gift those in its path
a steady cadence of the latter.

Keeper of the living and dead,
hold those who hover in-between;
guide those who dig and pray.

Inspiration of vision and hope,
fill those who wait in angst
with peace surpassing understanding.

 Shaper of order out of chaos,
speak your genesis words of recreation
into the pain of aftermath.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins


If life is a contest where some
must be victorious and others,
by necessity, must face defeat,
then diversity is a paint-loaded palette
flung onto a freshly washed baptismal gown
as it hangs to dry on the clothesline.

We must do whatever it takes
to keep that unruly rainbow
locked safely far, far away,
so that it doesn't desecrate
our pristine path to the medal podium. 

But if we are placed on this earth
for an altogether different purpose,
and  the old African proverb is true:
"If you want to go fast, go alone;
if you want to go far, go together.",
then diversity is a gift to be celebrated
and shared for the duration.

It's difficult to look, travel, or think
very far and still imagine that winning
is the thing for which we were created.

Simply being a part of
this gloriously complex creation
already makes champions of us all.
Why would we want to detract
from that with a narrow exclusivism?

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Friday, May 17, 2013


Deliver us, O Lord,
from the slick veneer of religion
that needs to fabricate
disdain from others in order
to validate a narrowly
constructed dogma of exclusion.

Deliver us, O Lord,
from the false practices
that elevate self and its homies
at the expense of "other" and "different".

Deliver us instead, O Lord,
to a broad, mill-sawn bench
filled with knots and imperfections;
a pew that has been worn smooth

by years of squirming doubters
who refuse to grasp anything that
will not make room for a congregation
prepared for all weather,
oiled by conversations welling-up
from the deeps of daily life;

to a faith that withstands the storms,
instead of hiding from them;
a self that recognizes and embraces
the divine spark that flashes regularly
in the eyes of all creation.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, May 14, 2013



In the hands of angry sinners,
a graceful God gets lost in translation.
To where has the heart
of this word disappeared?

Too often its practice feels
like warfare: soldiers
armed-to-the-teeth, maneuver
into hostile territory, bent on
liberating all who are not
nailed to the floor.

Rifle of fear cocked,
hand grenade of guilt ready to toss
at the slightest hint of provocation. 
It’s hard to distinguish between
the thrill of enemy rejection
and the joy of prodigal return.

Somewhere in the struggle,
hope  is traded in for security.
Escape has been touted
over joy, earning over gift,
lone, paranoid surviving over
communal, generous thriving.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Fear is the tactic of those
who have either abandoned
or never received/understood hope.

It generates nutritionless fare
that must be served repeatedly,
yet never satisfies humanity's basic hunger.

Violence is the weapon used
to force air out of a culture's lungs.
It preys on breathless angst,
expecting retaliation and escalation
to intensify isolation and selfishness.

Love, as response,
is the lone non-sequitur
that can give birth to a different cycle.

Every society must be reminded
of this gift's power to melt adversaries
into reflections of grace.

It is not the choice of cowards,
but only of those who have been
differently-gifted with the courage
to risk self for other.

In this very desire,
hope is rekindled, hatred quenched.
Come to the table of
forgiveness and abundance;

come as invited guest;
come to taste life itself:
dense bread and sweet wine
that satisfy beyond wildest imagination.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013


Sometimes, what you believe to be
a no-strings-attached overture
turns out to be refused by
those to whom you offer it.

You can take it personally,
blaming your would-be guests
for not showing up,
but that negates the very
purpose of the endeavor;
which is much more aligned with
a freely extended gift, than expectation.

Hospitality is Grace's vehicle;
a bus with limitless seating capacity
and infinite amenities that patiently
circles the neighborhood daily.

It is seldom rushed and never
gives up, because it knows
what possibilities lie within
persistence's reach – opportunity
to experience creation's ultimate gift – 
a holy shift toward knowing and being known.

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Saturday, May 4, 2013