Stand With

I want to stand with Paris.
I want to stand with Beirut.
I want to stand with Egypt,
with Libya,
Saudi Arabia,
and Tunisia,
with Kuwait,
and Afganistan,
with Iraq,
and Syria.
I want to stand and stand and stand
but I’ve hit my knees
and forgotten how to pray.

I know in a few years Paris will be a grainy photograph
stuck to a thin page in some history textbook
with the caption
“Attack on Paris by ISIS.”
They’ll wrap up all the heartache and loss into
five words and
one photo.

Fourteen years of the War on Terror
takes less than fourteen pages
and it won’t tell you that everyone remembers where they were
when those towers fell.
It won’t show you the things we all lost in those sands.
Maybe it’ll give you statistics.
Two or three lines to describe the casualties.
And somewhere among those numbers I hope they add in
the loss of my marriage,
the loss of the ability of a man to father his children,
the loss of the love that was once held by two young people
crazy enough to dash naked through the snow
and lie for hours on the grass as if no one could see them.

I hope they add on every family like mine,
the loss that can’t be packed into a wooden box
and marked with a number
and a small white cross.
I hope in all the political shit
piled into the text of these next history books
it says that we stood united
in fear, and loss, and pain.
That we stood with Paris.
That we stood even when our knees gave out
and we stood when we forgot how to pray.

©Laura A. Lord, 2015

I Am Tired of Praying for This World

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons - Rubens Praying Hands
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons – Rubens Praying Hands

I am tired of praying for this world.
I no longer believe in god.

I believe in the ability of men to hate.
I believe in the greed and corruption of government.
I believe in the goodness of a child’s heart
and the subtle selfish change we give its beat.

I no longer believe in god.

We’ve been using him as an excuse for murder for so long
I doubt he’d listen to our prayers anyway.
I doubt he’d want to hear from us at all.

God has become to excuse for hate –
the reason we can look at small, blow-up boats
full of women and children,
desperate men hanging on to each frozen, crested wave
like hope was a beacon set in the middle of the sea…
and we can sit there in that lighthouse,
and stare at that man,
and see something to be afraid of.

Where the color of someone’s skin dictates just how much air time they get
and whether it’s a graduation photo shown
or a mugshot.

Where our commercials pray on weak minded men to make them believe
they need this gun to be more manly,
this gun to be confident,
to be important.
While the NRA makes women believe the next wave of feminism
has come packaged in tiny metal bullets,
is delivered at the range and carried
concealed in their purses.

This world, where we can only find the strength to reach out to our brothers and sisters
when our brothers and sisters look like us,
have skin like us,
worship like us,
believe like us,
vote like us,
think like us.

We have poured so much hate into this earth,
even she is trying to get rid of us.

I am tired of praying for this world.

I no longer believe in god.

I will pray for my children instead.

I will pray that somewhere in the mire and muck we are leaving behind for them,
they find love.

© Laura A. Lord, 2015