those who do not live in love
can only act from fear

when it grows strong enough
hate and violence burst forth
from the tortuous pain of separation

a deranged 22 year old
stalks trails in KC
executing white men
in my age range
five shot in the back of the head
they never saw it coming
he quietly stated in confession
like unexpected grace
he brought them sudden peace

in Charlottesville the fear
draws armed white supremacists together
weapon caches are strategically placed
throughout the city in case more hate
should need to be inflicted
like Easter Islanders gone single mindedly
mad driven over the edge of sustainability
they march with tiki torches
to lend a tropical festive flair
to the dangerous smoke laden air

near Philadelphia 18 year old
Bianca Nikol Roberson finishes shopping
for her first semester at college
she parts from her mother and grandmother
at the mall looking forward to the fall
and fails to allow
an angry young white man
into her her lane fast enough
shot in the head through the window
she careens away
already dead when she crashes
into a roadside tree
her beautiful young life
forever gone from the lane he claims
he speeds off in a red pickup truck
desperate to be somewhere sane

in Houston our callous disregard
for the planet’s health is made clear
thousands are washed from their sodden homes
by the most severe rainfall
in United States weather history
three straight days of broken records
thirty are left dead yet it is love
that pulls survivors from the wreckage
thousands of them spared
and even now when things appear
to be at their utmost worst
we are given another chance
to reflect and begin anew

caught in the swell
of myriad and complex tragedies
i could easily be brought to a standstill
but i serve no one by being depressed

tugged by the tide of perilous change
i affirm that i am love,
that i have no desire to follow
this malicious energy roaming the land

i am peace and i will continue to increase

though i suffer from the anguish
of my brothers and sisters
i am hope that swims always toward light
in the midst of seething chaos i am still
i am pulsing eternal life
i am the joy of existence
i am a safe harbor and refuge

in one power only
one source
i am

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 9/1/17

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