Lying awake, unable to sleep
Later today I’m really going to be shot
My racing mind cannot keep –
Focused on one single thought.
I think about dawn, the day ahead
My mind tells me I can do it all, instead –
I know that I’ll have to alter my plan
And accomplish whatever I can.
The house is still, quiet surrounds me
Some days I just run through the motions;
Other days I have very lofty notions.
On these mornings I can clearly see
Dawn arrives, with all new possibilities
Which I’ll do my best to seize.
Praying for peace in our society
Losing hope that will ever come to be
The world’s attention now on Ukraine
The protests there were insane
The brutality of the police was horrifying
Images of innocent people bloody, crying
Standing up for what they feel is right
The government punished them with might
Until the people were triumphant
Into hiding their President was sent
A new government was appointed
A country now so disjointed
Airports in Crimea controlled by Russians
This is where international tension begins
The Russians have 150,000 troops at the border
In Ukraine, there is rampant disorder
Some want the old government restored
In other regions, the old regime is abhorred
President Obama warned Russia not to use force
If they do, it will send us on a perilous course
I don’t know how this all will end
But I pray peace to them God will send
“In The Ether”
Days like these, painful days
Where ideas don’t normally flow
When the pain comes and stays
When I just want it to go
The creative process is stagnant
I am uncomfortable in every position
My mind feels small, ideas scant
I could complain, who would listen?
The creative process has a need
To go off into the ether to work
Once I find that initial idea: the seed
But it’s all very hard when the pain will lurk
How will I combat this, rise above
So I can feel somehow fulfilled
So I can write about life and love
About faith, nature, and tears spilled
I go off, in the ether, that place
And everything is so slow or stuck
It’s hard to create in cramped space
I need some faith and some luck
To make all of this right
To move out of the dark, into the light
“Searching for Reasons”
What am I doing here?
I don’t know where I’m going
Why is the path so unclear?
These changes come without knowing
A future that is undetermined
Each day I’m still growing
I continue to take each bend
Willing to see where it’ll lead
Ready for what life will send
Faith, hope, and love are all that I need
As I move on, searching for reasons
For some clarity here I’ll plead
Moving forward, taking it day by day
Confident I will find the right way
I awoke to sleet pounding the window;
I watched as it gradually turned to snow.
Then I watched it pile up and blow –
Around the yard and into the street.
The morning storm was there to greet –
All my neighbors who stayed at home;
Working from computers, not far to roam.
The snow is coming down at a fast clip;
It will freeze tonight, temps will dip.
A typical snowy, winter February storm;
I’m so grateful for a home that’s warm.
I think of those with no roof over their head
No food, no heat, no decent bed
The huge gap in income disparity –
Is something I dislike about society.
Somehow it doesn’t seem fair
That some people spend money without a care
While others live in complete despair
Spending money on fancy haircuts, fake tans
While others eat out of garbage cans
I hope those people find shelter today
And that our society finds a better way
A typical snowy, winter February storm
I’m so grateful for a home that’s warm.
Why does it seem so frequently
The important discussions in life
We have to have repeatedly
What is it within our makeup
That makes this fact so universal
What component within the human condition –
Disconnects when it comes to issues –
Which are rather significant in scope
Those matters are discussed repeatedly
While others are mentioned once.
Why can’t that information be retained?
Maybe most of us can’t separate ourselves
To have the right perspective needed,
Or maybe we feel differently-
About the message, we disagree.
We think we are capable;
And fail to comprehend our own failings.
Even when the evidence is clear,
And staring us right in the face.
Even when others tell us repeatedly;
We continue forward with disregard.
And those decisions have consequences
That are then dealt with repeatedly.
The two words I dread
Happen each year: “Spring ahead”
Daylight savings, and I lose
An hour in bed to snooze
The first week goes fast
Trying to make days last
But they only fly
And it’s Friday, I sigh
Daylight savings is so dumb
I’m stressed, need some rum
Fighting with the clock on the dash
Wishing for extra time to stash
It reads 1 PM instead of Two –
Daylight savings time leaves me blue
I try to go early to sleep
Time just seems to leap
And I’m still awake
Daylight savings, and I need a break
It’ll be back again next Spring
I’ll say the same thing
I know we do it in the Fall
But the extra hour doesn’t bother me at all!
Scared at the future unknown
Searching in the dark for light
My true feelings now shown
Trying to make what’s wrong, now right.
In a ball on the floor crying
Laid bare for only God to see
To be a better person, trying
As the world moves on around me
The quiet here is a curse and a blessing.
Laid bare on the floor with tissues
The loneliness can be so distressing;
Next task is to work on these issues.
To face them like I know I can
To face them with bravery
To come up with a master plan
Laid bare all the things unsavory
All the stuff others find strange
To pick it up, mend, and fix
To move, clean up, to change
To get back into the mix;
The mix of living like before
Before the darkness came to destroy
To stop looking at it all as a chore
Laid bare, healing, seeking joy.
“When We Were That Young”
I watch them at the table next to me;
They’re a young couple: 18, 19 no more than that.
I look over at them and all I can see;
Is a table where we once sat
Back when we were that young.
They’re holding hands, in love, so sweet;
Before the pains of life have stung.
Reminds me of the summer nights we’d meet
After we got off from work – we’d drive
We’d walk, talk, kiss under the moonlight
I never felt more carefree and alive
But even now our love’s strong, we don’t fight –
Like other couples we’ve seen or know.
I think of the past, think of things today;
The challenges that this couple has for their love to grow.
We had challenges in a different way;
Back when we were that young.
Thoughts of our college days back in ’97
Before our incredible marriage had begun
Before our world was changed by 9/11
This young couple has grown in a different age.
We had a time that had some innocence, grace.
They have seen terror, war, constant rage
He touches her, like I still touch your face;
It makes me think back to when we were that young.
When we were that naïve about society;
When about our later years we would dream.
I look at them, and all I see is you and me
It’s a long time ago – though not as long as it may seem.
I love you even more now than when we were that young.
Days go by quickly and I do my best –
To separate myself from the rest.
But I feel I need a new directive;
To make my work hours count, more selective –
With the projects which I choose.
I fear that I have no time to lose.
In the Lord I have put my trust;
In order to stay sane I must –
Trust that He guides my life.
Through all the tumult, chaos, and strife.
He guides my ideas and my mind;
So the path to His goals I’ll find.
Trust to ignore what’s important to society.
Trust that God’s voice is guiding me –
Toward all that is a part of the plan
To make me a better person, a better man
I look to tomorrow and the next day –
As the Lord continues to guide my way.
“Listening to Springsteen”
“Born in the U.S.A.” was the first album I got
“Tunnel of Love” was a great one also
Listening to Springsteen in a parking lot;
In my college dorm – anywhere I go.
The music is part of me, a soundtrack –
Of my life from back when I was a boy.
Those days you wish you could go back;
Days of confusion, hope, pain, and joy.
Listening to Springsteen wherever I was;
Sitting in my room just reading
Or at a college party getting a buzz.
Sometimes quietly, others, the chorus I was leading
Or listening in the afternoon on a Sunday while cleaning.
Alone in the car, or driving with a date.
Listening to Springsteen all along;
With my sister at a concert on my 30th birthday.
Home just chilling with my beautiful wife.
It is a part of all I do, my song.
A part of me in a special way
Listening to Springsteen throughout my life.
The paper glows so pure and white
It’s a shame, I think sometimes
For me to use my strength and might
To fill it up with all of these rhymes
The paper is empty and free
Until I scratch on it with my pen
The blank paper filled with opportunity
Until I get done writing and then –
Its purpose and destination is set
The paper now bears marks and scars
That others may or may not get
Some paper sits empty, unused bars
Of unlimited potential in a store
Or pages in the back of an old notebook
They’ll never know what purpose they’re for
They’ll never be given a second look
The pages of inspiration they could provide
The many ideas they could’ve brought
In a home of an inventor they could reside
The countless hours of boredom they could’ve fought
The page, when full, could provide peace
To those who have had none
Could bring to the downtrodden, a new lease
So they choose to see a new day’s Sun
Could inspire others to love, overcome, or heal
The paper, when full, has so much to reveal
The lot is pretty crowded today
But I’m able to find peace anyway
In my car, parked in a tight space
I’m pushing my thoughts to a place
Far away from here, this spot –
In a large shopping center parking lot
I think of those I love, wonder where they are
As the sunlight glistens into my car
I hope that they’re well, that they’re okay
And that they get time like this today
A few minutes to rest and evaluate
After tackling all the stuff on my plate
I think of those struggling mightily
With life and all of its uncertainty
I hope that solutions they will find
As they toil through this daily grind
I think of those with various illness
I pray God helps to alleviate their stress
I think of those living out in the cold street
I pray that kind people they will meet
So they can have a place to live
And focus on the love that they can give –
Back to others in that same position
Here, in park, I hope God will listen
I think of all the support in my life
From my family, friends, and loving wife
I watch as condensation clouds the windshield
I wonder when my pain will finally yield
I can resume life like it was before
And let my pursuit of dreams really soar
Other days I just push myself – no limit
Because my dream is there for me to get it
I think of others with physical disability
That must know the pain of limited capability
In a society that ignores their every need
Because of its pursuit of greed
I pray that they get the help they deserve
So with their talents, they can serve
Help others develop a sense of belonging
Instead of a culture of blame and wronging
I hope that those with wealth
Will come to help others, not just themself
Here, in park, I pray behind the wheel
That kid in a gang will no longer steal
That teenage girl will keep her baby
I know bad things happen, but maybe –
My prayers will matter – it may seem odd
But here, in park, these moments, I feel closer to God.
(Frank J. Maduri is a freelance writer with publishing credits for a variety of web sites. He has written hundreds of poems and is currently working on two new poetry collections as well as a novella. He recently served as a judge of a national poetry contest held by a well respected literary journal.)