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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Accumulated Grief

Father died.
Then older sister.
Older brother.
Most recently,

All within the span of a few years;
barely a respite from the tears.

Not to mention the death of friends,
a bitter divorce, and various sins;
it all becomes accumulated grief;
too much to comprehend;
stuff I would love to give away
which I am forced to keep.

It's not a case of the glass half full.
There is no running from death.
Joy and grief are strung
from the same spool, spun
from the same golden thread.

Death is woven
into life's tapestry.
Grief is the warp
and love the woof.

When finally our race is run,
and we realize there are no losers,
that by God's grace everybody won,
we will all wear life's tapestry like
tattoos on our eternal souls,
and accumulated grief will be
the buttons on our godly robes.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Last Love Poem

If I knew I had only one love poem left to write,
if that poem would be the one to end my life,
I would want that poem to be about you.

Golden memories resonate
between the tines of my heart and soul;
humming like god's tuning fork.

Lesser love I had known too much,
faulty love that fell to the ground,
flapping vainly, like a broken-winged bird.

The love we made was witnessed by angels
hovering low above our heads,
kissing us softly with feathered wing tips.

Heaven opened itself to our perception
with fiery-mouthed passion,
and love itself was like naked water
sliding effortlessly over our tongues.

This, then, would be my last love poem,
words carved into my head of stone,
my heart the chisel that drove them home.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bouncing Along the Bottom

Like so much cut bait
bouncing along the bottom
of a cold, dark lake,
I was strung out on your line.

You were an expert angler
dedicated to your sport;
Me, a bottom feeding line-tangler,
your intentions I meant to thwart.

Our story, you managed to snag me,
despite my fight, you reeled me in close,
pulled me into your atmosphere,
hauled me shivering into your boat.
Truth is, I was a willing participant,
happy to crawl into your creel,
but now I spew an ichthyologic rant,
slit my guts on your deadly heart of steel.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rigid Mind Melt

How hard, striving to be right
without becoming self righteous?
Harder still to remain moral
without being moralistic.

It is human nature to scramble
for solid ground as Samsara
sucks us down like quicksand.

But molten karma solidifies
around our feet as soon as
we think we have the answers.

We cling to Absolute Truths like a life raft,
as we are swept through the rushing
stream of this beingness,
never guessing that our truths
may turn out to be the anchor
that drags us to the bottom.

A rigid mind tends toward hubris,
thinking we know all the answers,
telling others how they should live.
A static truth becomes an idol,
and protecting our idol becomes the goal.

Mental rigidity is an affliction
for both liberal and conservative alike,
believing that the world would be ideal,
if only everybody else believed like me.

Yet, how hard to accomplish openness
while competing in this brutal world?
Is it possible to live and let live
when others wish that you would die?

My mind refuses to cooperate
as these days I often contemplate
how to melt my own rigid mind.
My life continues to deteriorate
as I continue to deliberate
these questions bubbling in my wine.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012


Perhaps I never loved you at all.

Maybe the love was always there,
already inside me, waiting for someone
like you to act as a mirror, reflecting
my own love back at me.

Perhaps that is all love ever is;
just self-involved, self-gratification.

Maybe falling in love is just a myth,
a pleasing story we tell ourselves
to justify our selfish intent;
a way to explain ourselves
to others and to God.

Love should never cause pain,
for ourselves or for others.
Perhaps pain caused by love
proves that it never was love?

Or have I just, perchance,
never known true love?
Am I, therefore, unqualified
to inquire of that which
I have never experienced?


© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life Scars

A scar is a vivid reminder
of a past mistake,
the result of poor decisions
or faulty brakes.

Like the time I rode my bike
without working brakes
barefoot on a gravel road,
where I dragged by foot
and tore the nail from my toe,
and then I crashed and cut my knee,
and had to walk home bleeding
with my injuries.

I learned my lesson,
and I still have the scars from that.

Or the time I foolishly put
my hand through a window,
and glass cut a chunk from my arm,
and it bled until I didn't know
whether I would live or die.

It is fading, but I still have that scar, too.

There are scars that can't be seen.
Old hurts to the heart,
old trauma to the psyche that
no one knows about,
nor could ever truly understand.
Secret hurts that everyone bears,
dealing with them the best they can.

Those life scars serve to remind us, too.
More painful than the skin deep kind,
they sometimes open and bleed
for no apparent reason.

We all have those kinds of scars.

How we obtained the scars is not the question;
rather, it is whether or not we learned the lesson?

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Fundamentally Wrong

Forever wheedling and crying,
always birthing and dying,
ever cheating and lying,
no wonder God chooses
to ignore human kind.

Constantly pleading forgiveness,
consistently sinning regardless,
chronically needing assistance,
it is understandable that our
prayers go largely unheeded.

Or is it just me?

People tell me God listens,
they say that He cares,
in their eyes tears glisten
as they peddle those wares.

And on stage the preacher
puts his hand out each time
he claims he is God's speaker,
and asks me to give a dime.

Or am I just jaded?

So many voices
speaking for God,
so many choices,
so many frauds.

It's hard to continue believing,
in a God who never appears.
It's hard to hear God whisper
when the Tower of Babel is near.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

My Father's Voice

Gregory Rodriquez, Nov. 22, 1922 - June 1, 1996.
Photo taken circa 1945.
Sometimes I hear my father's voice
when I say my own name out loud,
so sometimes I say it repeatedly
while alone inside my house.

It helps me to remember him
after all these years A.D.,
and more dearly to appreciate
all the good he gave to me.

My father was a complex man,
riven by experiences of war,
survivor of a prison camp
where he lived through hell and horror.

Haunted by the ghosts of friends,
and enemies that he slew,
he revisited war time terrors nightly
when he dreamed of them anew.

A man of strength to the end of life,
he steadfastly refused to succumb
to life's punishing rod and constant pain
that would leave other men numb.

A pious man, strong of faith in god,
he showed his children how to walk
with humility of the unshod.

When I hear my father's voice,
see his face in my own,
I know that I am coming close,
a few steps nearer home.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Christmas Candles

My Christmas candles just overflowed,
and now I have to clean melted wax
from the top of my bookshelf.

And I remember the Christmas we were
laughing because the kids got wax
on the carpet by pulling over a candle.

We were lucky no one got hurt, and
at first you were very angry, but I
managed to make you laugh.

It's a flash bulb memory I have of you.
Of us and our time as a family.

It's funny how our life together turned
out like so much melted wax,
a nuisance to clean up
and the smudge
will always
be there.

Christmas candles
and melted wax.
Joyeaux Noel.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012