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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Demon's Voice

You called me the other night
and you were dead, stinking drunk.

Every other word was a curse word
as you heaped abuse upon the world,
while I only listened and prayed.

Your voice was dark and growling.

You said you had a cold.
"A fucking bad cold,"
you called it.

But I think it was the demon's voice,
the distilled spirit that now vies
for your soul.

Until that night I held hope for you;
believed that you could give up
drinking and start living life again.

Before that night I doubted
the existence of demons,
the kind that torment
lost and empty souls.

But that night, I heard a demon's voice
coming from someone that I love,
and I realized that you are now
in God's hands, and He alone can save you.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Comma

Four siblings and then, one.

And I was the comma.

Two older boys,
two older sisters,
me and baby brother.

Hand me down toys,
hand me down clothes,
and a neurotic mother.

Small wonder, then,
that I was lost in the bustle,
a little half-Mexican boy
overlooked in all the shuffle.

Always coats and shoes,
never going without food
they did the very best they could
with an overweening brood.

Still, to feel an after thought,
as though you do not matter,
it can warp a young child's mind
into damn near a mad hatter.

Six kids and a former POW for a father,
a controlling mother who was a complex martyr,
slugs in the kitchen and roaches in the larder;
these explain why, for me, joy is so much harder.

Now mostly dead and gone,
they are ghosts who care no longer,
and yet the I, the comma, still remain,
pausing breath and blowing stronger.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

The First Time

The first time I saw you.
The first time our eyes met.

The first time we talked, and laughed.
The first time my heart missed a beat for you.

The first phone call.
Our first date, first text message, first email.

The first time you let me kiss you.
The first time we touched as more than friends.
The first time we pressed skin to skin.

The first time we avoided saying I love you.
The first time we said I love you.
The first time we believed it was love.

Our first holiday together and apart.
The first poems I wrote for you.

The first time we were not well together.
The first time you took care of me.
The first time I cooked for you.

The first time I realized
that I always thought of you first.

Our first misunderstanding.
The first hurt feelings.
Our first argument.
Our first breakup and makeup.

Our first goodbye.
Our last goodbye.

These are the things I remember.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prayer for My Children

My beloved children:

I pray that God will always help
you know and remember
the difference between fun and too far.

My prayer is that your Heavenly
Father will always protect you
those times I cannot keep you from harm.

I beseech our great Creator
to grant you intimate knowledge
and closeness with Him that I
could never achieve.

I petition Him to be your blessing,
to grant you health, prosperity,
unbroken love that is pure
and always brings you peace.

Sweet children, my love for you
flows heavenward each new day,
as I ask for angelic intercession
should challenge come your way.

For you, my beautiful gifts from God,
my rich blessings from His treasure,
I offer the very prayers of my soul
for your happiness without measure.

May you always walk in His
light and stride upon His path.
For you, my much loved children,
these are all the things I ask.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Intentional Love

I love you on purpose.
I love you without pause.
I love you deep and surface.
I love you just because.

My love is intentional,
the way philosophers use the term;
meaning that in my mind
you are the love that I love.

In a way, you could
have never even existed.
My intentional love
is about you, but it is not you;
my thoughts encompass you,
but you exist elsewhere,
not just in my mind.

If intention were magical,
I would have you always here;
no more a mental phenomenon,
instead my beloved most dear.

Because I love you on purpose,
and I love you without pause,
and I love you deep and surface,
and I love you just because.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Daring the Darkness

Darkness descends upon the world.
It falls like a knife on the horizon,
beginning at the contours of my mind,
growing 'til it engulfs both hemispheres.

I am standing in the darkness.
I feel the claws of unpleasant
memories and toxic emotion
tearing at my psychic skin.

Fear and panic are there, too,
pulling at my mind, trying
to rip it out of my head.
My heart beats in the gloom.

Step by step, I will myself
to continue moving forward.
I pull a sword of prayer from
the hard scabs in my soul.

The sword flashes in the dark
as I swing it left and right,
driving back demons who
go scuttling away in chains.

I am strength now,
a knight who walks in night.
I am fearless now,
finding hope in god's dim light.

It is a fight that everyone faces.
None are spared their season,
none are immune from that time
when they must dare the darkness.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Will No More

There was a time when I would die for you,
a time when I would fight to keep you;
days when I would have wrestled with angels
just to have you one day longer.
I will no more.

There was a time when I would deny for you,
cheat myself of both time and money,
steal love from my children and give it to you
just so I could hold you in my arms.
I will no more.

To say I regret having you in my life is not true.
Nor can I truthfully say I am glad to have known you.
You are a ghost now, a bothersome phantom
pain from my amputated heart.
I used to think about you and pray for you every day.
I will no more.

I have only the remainder of my life to live,
and every day without you becomes a little easier.
Perhaps easier is not completely accurate; rather,
I am grown adjusted to living life in pain.
I used to anesthetize my lingering love for you,
but I will no more.

I have discovered that happiness, like love,
is a completely voluntary decision to make.
You made your choices, seeking happiness in the arms
of codependent addictions and your other lovers.
I used to let that make me sad and lonely.
I will no more.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Frogs

(With apologies to Emily Dickinson)

Little people,
like big frogs
in tiny ponds,
sing to their bogs.

Sitting on a Lotus,
padded safe and dry,
admire their watery reflection,
live from fly to fly.

And go hiding in a moss bank
when at night the Gigger comes
shining his bright light at them,
spearing with his prongs.

"Oh no, the Gigger!"
they cry and jump away,
then lurking in darkness,
they gather quietly and pray.

For they know
the Gigger knows
when frogs outgrow
their bogs.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Brick In My Pocket

I hate my phone
when you don't ring it.
I carry it always
but wonder why I bring it.

Might as well be a brick
I carry in my pocket,
or a big box of breath mints,
for the way you used to stop it.

They told me it was a smart phone
which is one reason that I bought it,
but it couldn't tell me how to keep you,
so its "smartness" I cannot plaudit.

Someday they will invent a new invention,
a handheld device for breakup prevention,
you will simply wave the thing over your lover's head,
and it will reanimate all the feelings that were dead.

No longer, then, will I be carrying bricks upon my person,
no more waiting on phone calls as self esteem is worsened;
a simple matter, then, of making human love by cold machine,
a technological fix to ensure that this king is always queened.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mistakes

I have made more than my share
of mistakes in life and love.

I have burned bridges,
forgotten friends and family,
neglected neighbors and niceties,
and lost much beloved lovers.

I have missed the point,
missed the mark and
missed the deadline
of too many
important opportunities.

I have found God,
lost God,
and found God
again and again.

The Hebrew word for "sin"
is "chet," which actually
means "mistake."

Too many sins,
too many mistakes,
too many second chances.

I am living proof of God's
benevolence, loving kindness
and eternal patience with
his learning-challenged children.

From my mistakes I have learned
the things not to do, and valuable
lessons about the reasons why.

From my sins, I have gained
much wisdom, much pleasure,
and especially God's eternal love.

Mistakes.
Sins.
Regrets.
Soul lessons.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Man and Wife

Sometimes a man and his once loving wife
become so accustomed to cold angry strife
they invite it into their once wedded house,
grow bitter and content with a contentious spouse.

Lovers at first, then partners in life,
honeymoon over as husband and wife,
hold grudges for years, perennially grouse
over things that need fixing all 'round the house.

Make cutting remarks with wedding gift knives,
go silent for days and cold sexless nights,
resenting each other for adding some pounds,
take secret lovers as vows they renounce.

Make broken promises, repeatedly try
to reignite passion as cold years fly by,
only to end up old and all alone,
unsure how they lost their once loving home.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Afflictions

You were my addiction.
I was a self-sacrificing victim
of your much-loved self-afflictions.

Your obsession with perfection,
the need to control every situation,
moving people around like pawns,
keeping track so your lies did not
beat you home before the dawn.

In the days before I got sober,
went cold turkey from your love,
you were all I would consider,
my substitute goddess from above.

Now there is only day to day,
thinking up ways not to think
about the joy, the loving play
that could take you to the brink.

Now you are my affliction,
and I am a self-hating victim
of my much-missed love addiction.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

A Fine Line

There is a fine line
between art and anguish,
a very thin line
between hurt and hate.

I walk that line most days now
like a drunken driver walks
the line at the side of the road.

Boundaries mean nothing
in the game of in-betweens,
when angels become demons,
when red gets the better of green.

They say guilt can be forgiven,
but shame is a permanent stain,
the one can beg for mercy,
the other becomes your name.

So there is a fine line
between heaven and hell
when truth becomes theory
and hope is hard to sell.

A short and broken line
between living and dying,
a very short distance
between true love and lying.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

The Judas Spirit

You are full of the Judas spirit,
self-righteous in your suffering,
self-serving in your sacrifice.

Addicted to suicidal ideation,
craving your cutting edge
like a junkie craves the needle.

Confused in your spirituality,
claiming god as your savior
yet willing to destroy the very life
he graced you to possess.

I do not believe you will go to hell.
I believe you will be relegated back to life,
to bear all the pain of living again,
serving successive life sentences
as god teaches you that love
is the only thing that matters,
the only reason we exist.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Love Yourself

Love yourself,
you child of God.

Revel in your parentage.
Accept your portion of the kingdom,
and dance while you can.
No, you do not reach perfection,
but that, child, is the perfect plan.

The creation is perfect
in its very imperfection,
no two of you alike,
and so out of chaos
grows ever abundant life.

Yes, your Father is distant,
having thrown you from the nest,
He equipped you with all you need
and now you must do the rest.

Pay homage when you are able,
never believe you are in His debt,
you are always welcome at the table,
with His grace and love are you blessed.

So love yourself,
you child of God,
and want for nothing
until you inherit all.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Self-Mortification

In earlier times,
to atone for sin and shame,
we practiced self-mortification.

A lash on the back for
a lustful thought.

A hair shirt to wear
for the sin of pride.

Long fasts to demonstrate
our worth to an inscrutable
and distant God.

Today, our self-mortification
masquerades in various forms.

The dieter who becomes bulimic
is the modern equivalent of the
fasting penitent sinner.

The fitness buff, running for
miles to atone for an extra
doughnut is the reincarnated
practitioner of self-flagellation.

More serious are those
whose shame and guilt
for sins imagined or real
drive them to addictions.

Drinking and drugging,
sexing and loving,
religion and money,
gambling and ever-sunny
dispositions all substitute
for self-mortification.

Rescuing others,
finding new lovers,
prosperity preachers,
new age secret keepers,
depression and bipolar diagnoses,
obsession and self hating neuroses;
all are ways we have
of punishing ourselves,
while trying to answer the
self-loathsome questions:
"What is wrong with me?"
"What will it take to
finally break free?"

But mortifying flesh has
never healed or satisfied
a broken spirit, nor
helped or saved a
lost and hurting soul.

We post-modern flagellants
are no better or worse,
no more sinful or hurt
than our distant cousins
in time whose model
we unknowingly role.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Love You

I love you more
than the sun loves light.
I need you more
than the stars need night.

I want you more
than birds want flight.
I long for you more
than eyes long for sight.

Loving you is the purpose
for which I was created.
Declaring my love for you
is why my lungs were first inflated.

For you my arms
are ever extended,
holding you their only
design intended.

When God in his heaven
wrote out his grand plan,
he etched our names together
in time's eternal sand.

Now and for eternity
it is my great joy to ponder
how you and I may merge forever
when the roll is called up yonder.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hobbledehoy

No longer ashamed,
limping and lame,
riding a three-legged horse,
drowning in his own remorse.

No longer
the scared little boy,
no more the loser,
the Hobbledehoy.

The warrior awakens,
raises shield and sword,
salutes to the heavens,
bows to his Lord.

Filled now with clarity,
the warrior inside
earns a new place of purity,
arouses his pride
and rides gladly into the fray.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Monday, January 02, 2012

Dead Inside

I have a friend
who is dead inside,
you can hear it in his voice,
you can see it in his eyes.

Never takes responsibility
for the things that he does,
never feels remorse
for losing those he loves.

Always blaming others
for the failures in his life,
always finding faults
with his friends and his wife.

Thus passed his middle age,
as he tried to dull the pain
with alcohol and soft core rage,
and holiness movement shame.

He sits now upon a couch,
the throne from which he rules his house,
and refuses any chance to change,
claims the Bible will clean his stain.

And all who enter his home can see
a man trapped like Osiris in a tree,
a selfish martyr, full of selfish pride,
a living man who is dead inside.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012