In This Trail of Man and Nature

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PAINTING BY STEPHEN BACH

POEM BY MICHAEL MCGARVEY

 

In this trail of man and nature 

The slightest hint of mist touches the light of the stretching lamps

They reach into the night, where darkness holds sway

The light stretches to reveal the peaceful scene below

The harshness of the sharpened gravel that surrounds the thick metal tracks

 

The world of quiet lives here, only touched on its periphery

By the song of crickets in the grasses’ edge

Here peace resides, a lonely and elegant thing

One brought by the dark that the lamps strive to hinder

 

During the time of brightest light this is a world of noise

Loud horns, screeching brakes and the calls of porters, a place of man

Here in the dark it all fades away on the wings of a moth

Little things that stare at the light and do not appreciate the darkness

 

Just around the bend the light is brighter still

The station standing in silent watch

Awaiting its usefulness and the promise of the dawn

Its brightness adding to define the limits of the darkness

 

At this convergence of man and nature

Where man has cut a swatch through the heart of nature

A place of lumbering machines and the scurrying of man

In the night nature returns to hold sway

 

In this trail of man and nature

As we remember those we lost this year at this special time of year

We all come to the time again when we say goodbye to these people known and loved and to those who did not have anyone to love them. We come from different parts, different lives, different worlds but we all know one thing. Those who have died now have broken through the veil, been raised to the kingdom and is now in the bosom of Christ our Savior and Lord. We know that they wait for us there and while we miss them on this world, we all know that the future for each of us will be with them, in our Lord’s kingdom.

To quote the great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis “And He (God) welcomed them home and the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write or say them. And for them this is the end of all the earthly stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it is only the beginning of the real story. All their lives in this world had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they are beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

 

Love Always,

Michael

“I Can’t Breathe”

“They build walls to keep the brown man out and build walls to keep the black man in”

 

On a normal day “There would be no one around when he was put in the ground.”

That is what would have happened but he got shot by a cop

So…

At the spot he died, flowers were lay, until they died too.

They w put candles and lit them and the flames died too.

Letters left that would drift away. To be forgotten perhaps as he would one day.

All these remembrances that justice and life are not wedded.

 

They shot him down. A camera was there to witness it.

But no honest man was there to give testimony.

A neighborhood cried out, some for blood

While other cops turned their cameras off.

Wanting only to police in the dark.

 

Politicians demanded change and claimed futile outrage.

They stood there behind a podium, the only ones with power.

Attorneys won’t prosecute their friends.

You can’t win anything without the badge endorsing you.

Not when you want to be mayor one day.

Governor one day.

Maybe President one day.

 

Two hundred years ago it was the shackles.

Sixty years ago it was the noose

And the police dogs let loose.

Today it is the cabbie driving by.

City schools crumble while the white flight prospers

Today it is the scared white cop seeing shadows everywhere.

Seeing your entire people as shadows.

 

They claim we have come a long way.

All I know is that we have a much longer way to go.

“Smart Doesn’t Mean Shit!” The Eighth in the “Innocent Children” Series

I was the smart one when I counted the years, the months, the days my dad would be gone away from our family when they took him to prison. I still remember him saying goodbye and saying, “You deserve a better life.”

I was the smart one when I went food shopping with my mom and kept counting the cost of the items so we would not be embarrassed at the cashier for not having enough money. She would sometimes steal too and I was smart enough not to say anything. That was before mom left us too. She did not go to jail. She kept going to buy drugs and kept going to rehab. Then she stopped coming home at all.

I was the smart one when Grandma would do homework with me when I was little and look over my shoulder when I did my homework when I was older.

I was the smart one when my big brother joined the neighborhood gang when he was a teenager. He said that he did it to keep our family safe and that he would make sure the gang did not come for me.

I was the smart one in the class when the teacher praised my work and thanked me for raising my hand. I was the smart one when the kids in the same neighborhood would beat me up because the teacher praised me.

I was the “smart one”. They all kept saying this to me. My brother repeated my father’s words, “You deserve a better life.” He joined the gang because he knew not everyone gets out of the neighborhood and since he was the big brother he would make sure I did. He gave up his own life, his own future for me. My Grandma worked two jobs to keep our tiny home. She worked nights when we were asleep cleaning the offices of those with a “better life”. She would work while I was at school in a diner feeding others hoping she got enough tips to feed us. I saw the weight of the world on her shoulders through my young eyes, as she was always making sure I had paper and plenty of No. 2 pencils.

I was the smart one. My brother joined the gang so I could have a better life. My Grandma worked hard so I could have a better life. The teachers kept encouraging me and fostering my love of learning so I could have a better life. The neighborhood kids had no interest in a better life for me or sadly for anyone else.

On that fateful night none of it mattered. It was right after the evening news and I was at the dining room table doing my homework with my grandma sitting next to me singing an old gospel song from her Southern roots that she left behind a long time ago to come north for a better life.   I do not remember when I heard the screech of the tires outside the front of our home. I do not remember the bullets shattering the glass of the porch window. I do not remember the bullets smashing into the wall behind us, knocking old family pictures off the wall. I do not remember when Grandma threw herself on top of me.

I do remember when Grandma could not get off of me. I kept pushing Grandma and she would not move, it was as if she was deadweight. I then I said, “Oh My God! Grandma! Grandma! Grandma!” My screams turned into sobs and then I knew no matter how smart I was, no matter how safe my grandma pretended I would be, no matter how safe my brother thought he could keep me, I was not safe. I was not smart enough for that.