Looking back at my past,
The abandoned arena, this playground of my life
And my shattered childhood.
Never having the chance to be that child.
As the moonlight shimmers playfully upon the broken pieces,
I’m shocked deadened by the destruction of my youth,
Once introverted and arriving upon delinquent survivalism.
I’ve yearned to fit those jagged, razor-sharp broken pieces in their rightful place.
Only to find the bleeding of my soul
Try — try — as I might — yet to no avail —
I see the black existence of my life within those broken pieces.
Pain awaits me with a callous grin and outstretched arms.
Waiting to catch me, lure me, so enticingly pulling me,
To some miserable alignment of imbalance.
Offering me only a slow walk into insanity and unforgiveness.
Pain is the only gift I’ve ever felt, it’s my escape,
Inflicting, damaging, my threshold is high, unattainable to most.
Pain has become my true constant, my everlasting lover,
It is my slow destruction and will be my final outcry,
Suffocating me with its selfish, toxic poisons,
Dulling my every thought
Then all of a sudden the strong nail pierced hands hold me,
They embrace me, His blood flows over me, covering my brokenness.
I’m being washing in His abundant love, His warmth resonates
Within me, righting the wrongs, encouraging and compassionate
The broke pieces form together as one
The once shattered existence of life has been greatly restored
The grace of God has bound the broken pieces forever in eternity.
— James Robert “J.R.” Childs Jr., Plainfield
I clean a pan in my sink
And a narrow shelf below my kitchen window
Displaying the remainder of Asian beetles
Some wings spread, others compressed
All in death
Their bodies an unbecoming nuisance to be vacuumed away.
I cannot but connect
Syrian villages bombed with precise accuracy
Open markets of only the villagers of a community
Not the barrel bombs of Assad’s regime
Putin doing what he only knows to do
KGB like control
Through threat, examples of circumstantial death
Bodies of men, women and children
In an open market
The threat of innocent voices
And the opportunity to cause a surge of refugees
A tragic horrific effect
To push other nations to respond
And leave the Assad puppet
To be strung by his strings.
And I see the tragic surge of Asian beetles
To heat and light
Wings spread, others compressed
Against the worst of human nature
— Neil Frederick, Brown County