Lectionary/Poem: Proper 14C / Ordinary 19C / Pentecost +12

by Kwame Toure Kagale

“The Trampling of My Courts”

“When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?”
– Isaiah 1:12 –

I was lost and alone,
behind these bars of steel.
Afraid of what was ahead of me,
with no one to appeal.

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Poem: “Life”

by Vickie Rose Byrd

Luke 23:34


(to accompany the drawing “Life”)

Falsely accused, used, and abused, beaten
torn apart. The question screams within
my heart. Why must i live in fear, is
this the vision of my life, not clear, in my
eyes all you’ll see is sadness, surrounded
by all this madness. not so long ago, i was
left for dead, my tears dripped of blood so
red. they could fill a river, i start to shiver.
Sorrow and moaning was all one could
hear, is some one near. i closed my swollen
eye, that is black as night. prayed to the
lord, “forgive them father. they don’t know wrong
from right. My Life to you i give, for you, i want
to live.” i hear a voice say “you have done your best.
it’s time to rest, your sins are forgiven. close
that door. i wait to give you so much more.
if you stumble or fall, call on the name of
Jesus Christ. i will hear your call. so
rise up. stand tall.”

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Lectionary and POEM: Easter 6C

by Kwame

John 14:23-29

Easter 6C Jn

This reading from the Gospel of John deals with many interesting points, the first one being “we will… make our home with him” signifying that all of us who put our love in Jesus and obey his words will experience the immediate presence and love of the Father and the Son. And lastly, that when we give into anxiety or worry that shows a lack of faith in God’s fatherly care and love.

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POEM: “Unconditional Love (godmother)”

Taj 1

by Taj Alexander Mahon-Haft

in dialogue with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

She rises before dawn on a Sunday
just to catch an early Southbound train.

She makes 800 miles round trip
just a single day
for a mere three hours together
then says after the initial squeeze
it’s already worth it.

She hires a driver from the station
just to avoid getting lost, getting late
pays him to idle the visitation hours
watching Southern asphalt bake in August swamp simmer.

She shirks off thanks
looks deep in my eyes
dusts the backs of my hands
(that she just won’t let go)
with tender kisses that seed tomorrows
into my pores.

Taj 2She comes
simply shows
to visit at Greensville
(mid-70’s-Soviet-chic, turreted hell)
just to commingle our talk with presence and affection.

She cares little about frisks,
even less about growling coyotes
posturing in uniforms and scowls
flashing teeth and gnashing bad ‘tudes,
and not one bit about the sharp summer glare
reflecting off surround-sound razor wire, cuffs, and chains.

She enthusiastically proclaims
over the thrill of posing
just for a standard prison photo op
despite the full senior-prom-phony grins
and my state-issued, elastic-wasted attire.


POEM: “for whom?”

by Taj Alexander Mahon-Haft

in dialogue with Luke 6:34-37 and Luke 17:3-4

Taj 3how can
this land of
uniquely mandatory minimums,
third strikes
called by referees blind to circumstance,
truth in sentencing,
threats by bully prosecutors,
most of all
no take backs
one time only sales
American exceptionalism
exceptionally American
uncruel and usual
death sentences
call itself
land of second chances?

Poem: “When the Concrete Speaks”

“When the Concrete Speaks”

by AMN

Shhh, did you hear that?
There it goes again,
that sound makes the noise of a thirsty
And you can only hear it when the
concrete speaks.
The concrete only speaks of these cruel
and hardcore streets.
This wretched beast has no conscience,
it just devours souls with rage and violence.
It quenches its thirst from the blood
of the fallen.
It doesn’t matter whether they be innocent,
or his savagery be justifiable.
One day you will unveil the voice
of these wicked streets.
And you will see that it is the voice of the Devil’s advocacy.
So play if you will and roll the dice,
But always remember that on the Devil’s table,
The dice always land on the snake’s eyes.
Many continue to ask if that sound will
ever cease,
But that sound will never cease
until that Hellish Beast,
Is put on his thousand-year leash.
So, I advise you to never have a seat,
nor enjoy those foolish treats,
because it just might be you,
in the next edition of the concrete speaks…