Remembering 9/11


Several mobile phones
Image via Wikipedia

I watched with horror,

As the mighty towers fell,

Felt my anger rising,

At this hard glimpse of hell,

 

Yet I was off to brave the world,

 

Bravely waiting for my plane to land,

 

I refused to stay at home,

 

I was ready to make a stand,

 

I saw the excitement of first encounter,

 

As friends, family, or lovers greet,

 

There was relief in their voices,

 

Because they worried catastrophe might repeat,

 

Around me cell phones were springing up,

 

As contacts with loved ones were made,

 

Keeping in touch, a heartbeat away,

 

Unwilling to let their love fade,

 

Security was tight and lines were long,

 

Fewer travel bags to slow me down,

 

I would face my fears by visiting friends,

 

Who resided in a far away town,

 

I was frightened by the latest events,

 

Now while minutes stretched into hours,

 

I was feeling all the aches of aborted sleep,

 

But my thoughts were filled with towers,

 

There were fewer children with excess energy,

 

Because mothers wanted to keep them from danger,

 

Most people were traveling with purpose,

 

Afraid to connect with any stranger,

 

One destination to another,

 

There was a tightness expressed in their faces,

 

No one was sleeping,

 

They watched each other’s places,

 

Suspicious eyes glanced about,

 

Looking for anything foreign,

 

Life was precious after the attack,

 

Our senses were ripped and torn,

 

 

Patriotic apparel and flag bandanas,

 

Small flags were proudly shown,

 

Perhaps 9/11 woke us up,

 

And we preferred things homegrown,

 

 

We would look for the cause of this hate,

 

That hurt us deep inside,

 

Our country would surely act with haste,

 

And protect the world with pride.

It Takes Three-Thirds


This is a photo of George W. Bush and Kimberly...
Image via Wikipedia

“My child
failed because of you,”

I heard an irate parent say,

Her mind was
set, the blame was met,

She had an
excuse to end the day,

 

I could have
argued till my face was blue,

But words
had no chance to sway,

“Would you
mind if I showed you,

A way through
mathematics,

How your
child could always get through?”

 

“Is this a
trick you’re pulling on me,

Or is this math
way really true?”

 

“Oh, it’s
true indeed, and something more,

It’ll show
the importance of your child and you,”

 

“Okay, I’m
listening, so make it fast,”

 

“You’re the
parent and you’re in charge,

Your
influence over your child is vast,

So you’re
assigned one-third of the task,

Your
discipline and love is designed to last,”

 

“Now the
teacher assumes the role,

Of creating
a world away from home,

The teacher will
do his best to reach the goal,

Count
another one-third that will be done,

Add those
together and your battle’s won,”

 

“Two-thirds is
a passing grade,

Yet there’s
a part missing and this is the test,

Your child
must face the world at his best,

He may never
make it if he just skims by,

He’ll have
trouble leaving the ground,

And he’ll
never really learn to fly,”

 

“His
one-third is even more important,

For the
first two-thirds are building blocks,

He’ll need
to stand on those to reach the sky,

But he’ll
never be a bright star,

If he
chooses not to try,”

 

“Your part really
began long ago,

When you
planted the seeds,

For him to bloom
and grow,”

 

Education
brings answers to hopes and schemes,

If he’s
willing to work to achieve his dreams,

He has to
choose whether to sink or swim,

And it’s
time for us to be firm and for him to dig in,”

 

“The common goal
is well within sight,

And
opportunity is knocking on the door,

Remember how
important it is to do things right,

It takes parents, teachers, and student,

All
three-thirds,

To let this
success story take flight,”

 

She squinted
her eyes and stared at me,

Her face
released the frown,

She said to
her son, “He’s right, you know,

So Johnny
don’t let us down,”

 

He excelled
at sports, his grades improved,

He worked as
hard as he could,

And sure
enough he found success,

Doing what
he should,

 

His mom told
others about the math,

And how it
shaped his goal,

One-third,
one-third, and one-third,

Made a student
completely whole.

 

 

 

Updrafts and Downdrafts


A large hailstone, approximately 5 1/4 inches ...
Image via Wikipedia

I leave
chasing storms,

To those
with fast cars,

Because once
hit by a hailstone,

There’s a
tendency to see stars,

 

One day in a thunderstorm,

A hailstone
towards me rolled,

“Say hey,
Mr. Hailstone,

Aren’t you
being a little bit bold?”

 

“Updrafts
and downdrafts,

Have made me
what I am,

I’ve grown
from a mere drop,

To a layered
battering ram,

 

I put on
several coats,

As I
traveled up and down,

And I
usually pick up speed,

Before crashing
to the ground,”

 

“I know what
you mean,

You’re a
true driving force,

Do all that
you‘ve got to do,

I’ll try to
avoid you of course,”

 

Life is
often like that,

It changes
the path you take,

Updrafts and
downdrafts,

Influence the
choices you make,

 

You might
put on several layers,

As you
travel far and near,

And few will
really know the core,

Of all that
you hold dear,

 

“Hailstone,
you’re not so different,

You’re much
like people I know,

They get
pushed up and down,

And can’t
keep up with the flow,

 

You won’t
last long lying there,

It’s just so
humid and hot,

Thanks for visiting and dropping by,

And commenting
with your best shot,”

 

Friends and
storms are welcome here,

Whenever the
warm winds blow,

But friends
are also welcome here,

When forecasts
call for snow.

 

 

The Legend of “Old Paint”


Pennsylvania vanity plate 343-NYC.
Image via Wikipedia

Smoke
billowing from the tailpipe,

A muffler
with thunderous roar,

The world
knew I was arriving,

Three or
four blocks before,

 

The paint
and chrome were rusty,

The license plate clung to a wire,

The
neighbors all made bets,

On when the
car would catch on fire,

 

“Old Paint”,
I affectionately called her,

And oft gave
her a tender slap,

My friends
all politely inquired,

“When are
you getting rid of that claptrap?”

 

They were
embarrassed by “Old Paint’,

As she sat
next to their shiny steeds,

“Don’t
laugh, I’ll race any of you,

“Old Paint”
was built for speed,”

 

It took some
time for them to calm,

They laughed
and rolled on the ground,

But when I
revved her they stepped back,

She was the
hottest car in town,

 

You think I’d
race their souped up cars,

That didn’t
even have names?

But probably
what held me back,

Was when “Old
Paint” burst into flames,

 

I guess I
was wrong concerning “Old Paint”,

Bragging how
fast she could be,

But the
legend grows about that night,

And how she
burned with me,

 

I escaped in
a cloud of smoke,

So don’t
worry or think I fried,

When “Old
Paint”” lit up the sky,

I was the
only one who cried,

 

A sad ending
for such a noble steed,

The night I hotfooted
it out of town,

“Old Paint”
claimed her piece of glory,

Her flames
brought City Hall to the ground.

The Coin (Part 9)


Right knee.
Image via Wikipedia

Vanna was
emotionally drained and ready to abort the mission even though two of her
original targets were left.  Reggie was
one, but the other person she didn’t know.
She was afraid of Reggie and she knew something had to be done about
him.  The other man was a mystery and she
didn’t want him killed. Her anger had dissipated long before the judge had
died.

In spite of her reluctance the coin had become
active and was willing her on again.  Its
mission and her mission seemed to be going in different directions.  Where was she heading now?  She didn’t like having blind faith in a coin,
especially one she couldn’t control. She was glad when the coin directed her to
a bus going out of the city.  Maybe the
killing was over.

The bus
stopped several times to pick up riders or let them off.  When the bus stopped at a small mall in the
suburbs the coin began vibrating again.
Vanna was surprised because the location seemed so unlike the bustling downtown
office building or the court house.

She
disembarked in front of a small grocery store and looked around.  The stores and businesses were mostly chain
stores and unpretentious. The parking lots were almost full and people were
arriving and leaving.  Two security
police cars patrolled the lots while two security cops strolled through the
mall.  With all the things that had taken
place Vanna felt safer knowing they were there.

Suddenly two
men burst out of one of the stores, each carrying a bag and waving a gun.  “Get out of our way!” one man yelled.

A clerk
emerged from the store.  “Stop them!” he
yelled.  One of the gunmen turned and
fired but the clerk jumped back inside unscathed.

Vanna
realized the men were running in her direction.
She wanted to dash into a store but she stood frozen.  The one in the lead grabbed her arm and spun
her around.  Vanna’s purse swung out and
up, catching the second gunman by surprise and throwing him off balance.  His head hit the pavement and he lay still.

The other
robber stood there, momentarily shocked by the turn of events.  Without thinking, Vanna drove her knee into
his groin.  He collapsed to his knees
next to his accomplice.  Vanna stepped
back, watching the man, knowing he still clutched a gun.

Recovering
quickly, he staggered to his feet and raised his gun.  His eyes met hers.  Her eyes widened in recognition as one
thought raced through her mind.  “They’re
just boys and this one is my brother!”

“Karl, what
are you doing?” she hissed through clenched teeth.

“You shouldn’t
be here interfering, Vanna!” he snapped.
His eyes hardened and he pointed the gun at her.  “Goodbye, sister,” he said slowly.

She heard two shots and closed her eyes. Expecting
pain, Vanna waited for the agony but nothing changed.  Death must have been swift.  She opened her eyes and realized that nothing
had happened to her.  Karl stood there,
his eyes unfocused and his face pale. Vanna watched in horror as blood dripped
from his arm.

The other
boy clambered to his feet and put his arm around Karl’s shoulder. “Come on,
Karl! Let’s get out of here!”

With a quick meaningful glance at Vanna, Karl warned
weakly, “Don’t say nothing!”  Then he
followed his friend into one of the shops and out the back.

A mall
security coop ran towards her yelling excitedly, “I got him! I got him! I can
see drops of blood!” He was right.  Spots
of blood marked a clear trail, one that the police could follow later.

Ten minutes
later two squad cars and an unmarked car pulled up to the main entrance of the
mall.  While policemen secured the area
and looked for any gunmen or victims, detectives began taking statements.  “Lady,” a detective said, “You’re both a hero
and very lucky.  You could have been
killed.”

She mulled
over what the detective said and realized he was right.  During this whole time the coin had been
still.  It had not protected her.

The coin
stirred and began vibrating.  Her head ached
and her knee was throbbing.  She knew she
couldn’t chase after Karl.  He would only
become angrier.  She would have to wait
until he calmed down.  He might listen to
her then, if he went home, and if he could get home.

Vanna
hobbled over and leaned against a wall.
She noticed the name “Sports Therapy” on a nearby door.  A man came out and looked around
nervously.  “Miss, are you all right?”

“My knee
hurts.”

“Come inside
and I’ll check it out.”  He extended his
hand.  “I guess I should introduce myself
first.  I’m Steve.  I’m a physical therapist.”

Vanna
followed him inside and sat on the edge of a bench.  At his direction she flexed her knee forward
and backward.  “You’ll probably have a
bruise but I see no swelling. Don’t get up yet.
I’ll get some ice.”

Vanna looked
around the room.  Various kinds of
equipment were spaced strategically.
There were weight machines, a stationary bicycle, other benches that
were fitted with sheets and pillows, large elastic bands, and other equipment
she couldn’t identify.

Her gaze
settled on a framed picture on a desk nearby. “Is that your family?” she asked
when he returned.

Steve
smiled.  “Yes.  My wife, my son, and my two daughters.”

As he placed
a towel filled with ice around her knee she noticed a small tattoo. Suddenly
she knew why she was there. Her thoughts raced. “He had helped her.  He had a family.  She didn’t need or want revenge anymore. She
needed to go and find her brother. How could she have forgotten him?”

The coin was
humming.  “No!”  Vanna stated emphatically.  “No!”  This
has gone far enough!” But already the coin was out of her control.

Steve looked
at her oddly.  “Did you hit your head or
get bumped outside?  Lady, I think your
knee will be fine.  I think you should go
now.”

He took the
ice pack and hurried her towards the door.
The mall was quiet.   Yellow tape
stretched around the crime scene and police swarmed everywhere.

Off to her
left a man stepped back into the shadows and she had the impression he was
avoiding her.  Even so, he was vaguely
familiar.

In front of
her a security cop twirled his gun as he told anyone within listening range the
story of his heroic act.  One of the
detectives looked disgusted.  “Put your
gun away, George, before you hurt someone.”

George
twirled it one more time.  The gun
slipped from his hand, fell to the concrete, and fired.

Steve followed
Vanna to the door and as she stepped outside Steve unexpectedly gave her a
push.  As she tumbled to the side the
bullet from George’s gun whizzed by and struck Steve in the chest.

The world
stopped for an instant.  Vanna watched
horrified as the police raced to the stricken man. There was little they could
do as his life ebbed away.

The police
turned their attention to the security cop.
As they led him away he began crying, “It was an accident.  Something knocked the gun out of my
hand.  I didn’t mean to do it!”

Vanna knew
he was right.  The coin had killed Steve.
She shivered as other questions began popping up and nagging her.  “Was Steve the real target?  The bullet had barely missed her. Was the
coin working for her or against her? Was it a coincidence that Karl and the
coin picked this mall?  And finally, was
that Reggie she saw step back into the shadows?”  Vanna had much to think about and she had to
get answers quickly if she wanted to stop any more violence.  Or if she wanted to survive.

(To be
continued)

 

 

 

 

“How’s My Driving?”


Ford F-150 Two Tracking
Image via Wikipedia

An excellent
question to others I’ll ask,

For I can’t
see how I can complete life’s task,

But if I
follow those who’ve gone before,

I might just
drive right to heaven’s door,

But when I
forget to focus sometimes I’ll veer,

When
temptations beckon, to them I’ll steer,

Off road driving
leaves much to be desired,

I’ll soon be exhausted and completely tired,

Bumps and obstacles
abound it seems,

Different
than in my world of dreams,

Tossed about
as I try climbing the slopes,

Soon I’m
frustrated and give up hopes,

It’s easier to
stay on the straight road,

Where I can
easily carry my chosen load,

Off road I’ve
crashed at every turn,

I’m afraid
someday I’ll crash and burn,

If I cannot keep myself on the road so straight,

How will I ever
get to heaven’s gate?

Someday I hope you’ll see me arriving,

And you can
ask me, “How’s your driving?”

“Erratic,” I’ll
say, “I didn’t do well on the test,

Though
during my lifetime I tried my best,

But I made many
wrong turns on my wayward path,

Committed
too many mistakes to escape God’s wrath,

But I’ve
heard a secret from angels above,

That
judgment contains mercy and is full of love,

I’ll seek
instructions on what I need to do,

And faithfully
follow a road that is true,

It won’t be the
speed or how I set my pace,

I may flunk
the test but I’ll pass by grace.

My Community is the World


Build A Future with SPS Habitat for Humanity
Image by dreamsjung via Flickr

Within my
community I live,

Focusing on what I can give,

In the company
of friends I seek,

Without
pretense I’ll help the weak

Being a
friend to all I know,

You could probably
see that though,

My thoughts
on those hurting often dwell,

As I try to
care for others well,

My struggle
to help is not a trend,

I try to
encourage all my friends,

I want to
hang out with those like me,

And touch
the lives of all I see,

I want to
have friends across the earth,

For they have
stirred my heart since birth,

Now my heart
no boundary knows,

As my circle
of friends grows,

Because my relational
borders do not exist,

All the
friends I would have missed,

Are drawn to
friendship’s warm embrace,

I encounter those
with vulnerable hearts face to face,

Life’s
continual upheavals will not pass me by,

But with the
help of friends from low or high,

I’ll join
with others and lend a hand,

Giving of
myself across the land,

Working and
caring like sister and brother,

Sharing
strengths and weaknesses with each other,

Listening
and seeing with open hearts,

Keeping ego
and pride worlds apart,

With respect
and dignity treat all the same,

Exchanging
hopes and knowing each name,

Listening to
dreams that need to be replaced,

Sharing fears
and worries that should be faced,

Building a
future together within our space,

Being part
of a community without end,

Changing the
world so that all are friends.

 

 

 

 

My Sweet Kiss


Don't Talk Just Kiss
Image via Wikipedia

She laughs
at my jokes,

She’s shy, she’s
bold,

But a sight
to behold,

She twirls
her hair,

While she’s
standing there,

I smile at
her and take her hand,

I want her
to understand,

That I want
to know

As much as I can,

About her,

She fascinates
me,

Though I want
and need her now,

I’ll wait
somehow,

Until she
discovers ,

She needs me
too,

She leans
against me,

Creating
sparks,

Gently I
draw her near,

And whisper
so only she can hear,

“You’re irresistible,”

And with one
slow kiss,

Tantalizing,
teasing, wonderful kiss,

We’re both
on fire,

The flames
burning higher,

“We need to
talk,

So let’s go
for a walk,”

We stop
after awhile,

And look at
the stars,

I point at
one afar,

“That one is
like,

The sparkle
in your eyes,”

“I’m cold,”
she says,

And snuggles
against me,

Seeking warmth
but finding flame,

But for her
it is the same,

Her lips
seek mine,

And I oblige
without wasting time,

Each kiss is
sweeter and takes its toll,

I want to be
a gentleman,

But I’m
losing control,

I don’t know
just what I expect,

But I want
to show her some respect,

“Tomorrow I
want to see you again,

I want you
to be more than a friend,

Tell me
tomorrow if you want me too,

Your dreams
will tell you if it’s true,”

She is quiet
on the way,

Surprised by
what I had to say,

I walk her
to her door and give her a quick kiss,

“Every night
I want it special like this,”

I’m restless
and I don’t sleep well,

Hoping that
love will show and tell,

I think she
might call,

But my cell
is silent ,

There’s
nothing at all,

I’m
heartbroken that it’s come to this,

For I was
addicted at the very first kiss,

A noise
startles me,

It is so
loud,

I push back
the curtains,

And see a
crowd,

x’s and o’s
in ribbons are there,

With yes, yes,
yes, everywhere,

She stands
quietly off to one side,

Waiting for
me to come outside,

Without
thinking, to her I race,

Twirl her
around and then embrace,

The crowd
gathered gives out a cheer,

“Hooray for
love! Love is dear!”

She is
smiling,

Her face
aglow,

“You forgot
to get dressed,

Or didn’t
you know?”

I’ll have to
admit I am embarrassed today,

And I’ll
remember it forever,

No matter
what I say,

But more
important to me is this,

She wants
me,

And my sweet
kiss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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