12.4.08

Poem Of The Day: "A Long Week," by Ramón Chaparro

I want to give the world a foot massage
"Take a load off," I'd say
"You've had a long week"

I want to buy backpacks for crack babies
Teach them E=mc2
Sing them the theme to Fat Albert
Show them the correct dosage of sugar for kick-ass Kool-Aid
Tell them their mothers' addictions
Were not predestination, were not bad luck
But just were
And they are free to be
Someone's solution instead of the symbol
Of someone's problem

I want to host a banquet
For the orphans of Gaza
The widows of Darfur
Pile the tables high with falafel
And kisra with bamia
Fill glasses with crystal water
Mugs with guhwah, chai, and goat's milk
Raise a toast to their fallen loved ones
And send them to down-filled beds
For a night of rest
Without the sound of Kalashnikovs
I want to tell them they are no longer refugees
They are Mustafa and Jamilah
And they can call someplace home again

I want to give prosthetics to the war children
Of Kabul and Mazar and Kandahar
Watch them play soccer and basketball
Their new limbs gracefully awkward
Their war dreams lessening in intensity
Their eyes losing their haunted cast
Their steps unfettered by the fear
of land mines in the sand
I want to tell them they are worth more
Than sodomy and poppy seed
That they can write their own history

I want to comfort everyone everywhere
Share and bear their joys and sorrows
Whisper with prophetic imagination
Of a new world with old roots
A melancholy tale with an uplifting end
When he and she, you and me
Can love with reckless abandon
Others more than ourselves

But today, I drive by the man
With his cardboard sign
My windows rolled up against the sunny day
A dollar bill snugly ensconced
In the folds of my wallet
And I sing with Mahalia,
His eye is on the sparrow

- by Ramón Chaparro

Submitted by John Pattison:

Ramón Chaparro is a good friend of mine - more like family, really. He is restless, a kind of vagabond poet-theologian, with a heart for the far-flung and the forgotten, and a knack for creating community wherever he goes. (I sometimes imagine that he must have a lot in common with Rich Mullins, the late singer-songwriter.) Throughout the month of April, Ramón is posting one of his poems each day on his website. "A Long Week" is my favorite so far, and not just because I know that it reflects the intelligence, sensitivity, wit, and deep wisdom of its author. The poem is just really, really good.

2 comments:

  1. It's been a long week and that was a great poem...thank you.

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  2. I just read the poem and through blurry tears I write to say thank you for sharing this with me and others.

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