Monday, February 7, 2011

Strong Coffee

"God is obviously white because He said I am who I am not I is who I is", the coffeehouse girl says, surely to be funny but i wish she could go with me when we gather in the woods, down a rutted dirt road, a ways off the highway, where shadows are buried, too dark to fit in among the white tombstones of the town cemetery in years prior.

Rocks, some crudely etched with initials, others just framed pictures, fading into memory, mark the history of family and we lay to rest a mother, her mound surrounded by picket fence flower bed border, drape it in flowers and sing with one voice, Amazing Grace, which comes in all colors.

But i just order my coffee, black, like the son who that day cried on my shoulder, & strong, like my friend, who after, still carries on.

February is Black History month. I have been enjoying some of the programs at several of the local colleges with a few of my friends and making a few more as I continue learning and growing. The son was one of the kids I worked with.

77 comments:

David Allen Waters said...

vivid...powerful images.

another great one friend

Daniel said...

Love the reflective stance of this one. There are times when there is no purpose in fighting or engaging. Just let it dissipate and disappear.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Very powerful words...

Hilary said...

Loss and strength says so much.

Raven said...

Simply amazing. I love that first line!

AmyLK said...

amazing! The story and that the son leaned on you in his time of need.

Fireblossom said...

I have no comment to make in regard to Divine ethnicity, but it was obviously Goddess who invented coffee.

Magpie said...

"Amazing Grace, which comes in all colors." True, so very true. People are like gifts...it's not the wrapper on the outside that's important. It's what's inside.

Hope said...

thought provoking write, Brian
good one
thank you!

Mighty M said...

Such a perfect read for this important month!

Claudia said...

..black, like the son who cried on my shoulder, & strong, like my friend, who still carries on...this was just ..deep..love it

Bev said...

thought provoking indeed, good write brian...
we are made in his image...

Mama Zen said...

"Where the shadows are buried . . ."

A powerful and moving piece, Brian.

Monkey Man said...

Well said.

budh.aaah said...

Sometimes it hurts way too much to carry the empathy on our shoulders..to see more than hear..and to hear more than see.

The Bug said...

I have a tiny shout-out to black history month on today's post.

I'm not sure I could have kept my mouth shut, myself. I might have had to say, "yes, God was white like Jesus." :)

Stranger said...

Great opening it with this classic joke and then bringing your thoughts together without beating the reader over the head with your message. Or maybe I'm just bias to your message. Bigotry bothers me, even when it's the telling of "innocent" jokes.

Beautiful writing and sentiments without getting overly sentimental, Brian.

TechnoBabe said...

Some young people being brought up in households with prejudices don't even know what comes out of their mouth as a joke just shows the pitiful grounding they are getting.

Steve E said...

Black History Month "is what it is" and you are helping to make it more meaningful for me. Yes, it IS!

Maggie May said...

Certainly food for thought!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Inked said...

Awesome read, great imagery!

The Stupid Q

Angie Ledbetter said...

This was as good as the coffee I'm sipping right now -- dark roast with a touch of sugar and some cream, all swirled up together with happy results.

drybottomgirl said...

Fear is fueled by ignorance, and all too often ignorance rules the world. I have a niece who is adopted of mixed race, and it's funny my children never question the color of her skin, she is just one of our family. It would be nice if we could feel that way about everyone. By the way, perhaps I should send you a big "cheese head" to wear so you can celebrate the Packer SB win :) just kidding....

lorely said...

Thought provoking!

Goofball said...

provoking

Titanium said...

Beautifully written, Brian. Profound.

Baino said...

We were going to play Amazing Grace at my Dad's funeral until we heard the words 'saved a wretch like me' just didn't fit

Bonnie said...

Beautifully said. It takes time to learn to not categorize ... people ... and God ...

Brian Miller said...

ha dbg...i was going to write you an ode to cheese today...

5thsister said...

powerful poem Brian.

Madame DeFarge said...

A good reminder for us all, whether here or in the US

Amy said...

Powerful, deep, thought provoking. . . "Amazing grace, which comes in all colors" - wouldn't it be something if the whole world could see this as truth!

Mmm said...

nicely put Brian.

Lena said...

Lovely read. I don't drink nearly enough coffee.............

Candie Bracci said...

YES!Awesome Brian!Love it!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

very cool. Your poetry always brings the word vivid to mind.

Sue said...

We are all God's children.

And I'm quite certain He is color blind.

=)

DJan said...

Very moving, easy to find myself in that piece. Thank you. I sometimes can't think of what to say to these, but today I just had to say something.

Pastor Sharon said...

I love what you did with this!!!!!

This speaks volumes! This should be brought out as a piece of art to be read aloud to the class of all who know the real meaning of what it is like to grow up in the South.

That's where I come from and this just made me cry. Thank you so much for turning that into something beautiful.

william said...

what a fantastic post mate, bravo )

Suz said...

The whole world should know about your writing
this was awe inspiring writing
truly a gift
well well done

Laura said...

Thank you for this, Brian. I am amazed at the insidious views we communicate...

Tonight I was trying to imitate a southern drawl as I tinkered around the kitchen. My son said, "mom, stop trying to sound like a black person!"

I was stopped dead in my tracks. Needless to say, we had a conversation.

I did not realize it was Black History month. I will have to see if we have some programs offered in our community.

Betsy said...

Amazing Grace...comes in all colors...love that.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I was reared in the deep south, the heart of bigotry. The N word still flows freely there. I was as guilty as any in a city with poverty and ignorance mostly among those of color. Seven years ago my son adopted his first little girl and I fell as much in love with her as I did with the ones my daughter gave birth to. I now have three little girls to love that have skin much darker than mine and see the world in a whole new light. Words are powerful ....

Me said...

People who think they are "funny" like that really tick me off.

When someone makes a joke/comment that bugs me, I usually smile, open my eyes all wide and innocent, and then proclaim partial heritage (or a relation by marriage, if the first one seems doubtful). Anyone with a shred of decency feels rather shamed at that...and hopefully they think twice next time.

Thanks for using your blog to spread such a positive message, Brian. :)
-C

Heather said...

it's always what's on the inside that counts, wish more could see it that way.
i love the last sentence...xo

Vicki Lane said...

Nice post, Brian!

Lori said...

"Amazing Grace, which comes in all colors" thank God it does indeed...I love this line a lot...your friend is blessed to have your shoulder to cry on...I will pray for this boy...the color of your heart is beautiful Brian.

Teri said...

It's sad that some people have to be marginalized and brushed aside; hidden and buried in some out-of-the-way place. This young boy had you as a friend and he can be grateful for that. I'm sure you have given him a much better perspective than the girl at the counter. I don't think it is anything to be joking about but some people just don't get it and probably never will. Dogs come in all colors too. Do we love them any less if they are not white?

TALON said...

Ignorance is always sad, isn't it? But there are those who know better and thank you for that.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Bravo.
Powerful words, Brain. Thanks, jj

ladyfi said...

A great message. I love the idea that Amazing Grace comes in all colours - because it does.

PattiKen said...

This is so touching. You have an amazing empathy for the kids you work with.

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Zuzana said...

Beautiful and important thoughts and awareness in an another well written post.
I like the title.;)
Have a lovely day dear Brian,
xoxo

Just Be Real said...

Brian, wow. Powerful and meaningful.

Lorraine said...

You...how many times have i said, are a marvelous writer, story-teller, poet,philoshopher..I'm in awe, always

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Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
This is a very powerful piece...that is very reflective, and once again your very "positive" attitude is on display.Brian said,"I continue learning and growing..."
Which is a good thing, but Of course!
DeeDee ;-D

blueviolet said...

Her attempt at being funny sure falls flat to me.

ninotaziz said...

Thank you, Brian. For doing your part to turn the world around.

secret agent woman said...

Would you like a shot of racism with your coffee, sir?

moondustwriter said...

Colorblind indeed

Great view Bri

Pearl said...

Such a quiet introspective piece.

I always like your stuff, Brian.

Pearl

Jill said...

Uh, coffeehouse girl=inappropriate!

We are a trans racial household and we are forever on a quest to educate OURSELVES and others.

Paul C said...

The title is so appropriate for your subject matter. Clear thinking is needed here to sort through our histories and perspectives.

clean and crazy said...

i think it is funny, peopls arrogance and ignorance. not too funny though, i have zero tolerance for all the hate and jokes people say.

i love this peice it is wonderful, and very heartfelt

Myrna R. said...

I love strong coffee and I love this poem. You can say so much by creating images that don't go away from one's mind. You do that with simplicity but with so much depth.

Dianne said...

interesting how the smallest grave markers make the most impact, the 100 year old wooden cross with the child's age, the family with the love to visit the photos, and the tears we cannot shed elsewhere, but marking the grave.
perhaps a poetry book from you will emerge from your black history month interest...
Di

trisha said...

truly beautiful. how we paint god as per our whims and fascinations, dont we?

ethelmaepotter! said...

Your imagery never ceases to amaze me, and the fact that do it so few words...indescribable.
Thank you for caring enough to be that child's shoulder. And for having the sensitivity to write about him with so much love and empathy. Such hearts are rare, indeed, in today's world of hatred and indifference.

Betty said...

... where shadows are buried ... beautiful imagery. I like that

kkrige said...

sometimes the best one can offer is that shoulder to cry on. It don't matter what colour it is, just how strong and soft the landing space offered.

mama-face said...

amazing grace in all colors... that would be amazing.

Pat said...

This was great Brian.

Syd said...

Amazing grace does come in all colors.

Marla said...

Well said in any color.