Poems of the Heart
ELEMENT OF SIN
The element of sin, that rode under your thin wings
annihilated by greed; brief deposits of senseless acts
Anarchist, being analyzed by the system that dances to its beats between
Situations, weary nights, as the bar to life shades the moon at peak times;
Inured to that liquid courage that carries you thirsty for your part of the butchers
Feast; fired projectiles that shatter like broken promises
Caked to what could have been with calcium from above; beside and under fallen
Tears that began congested reactions to developmental issues
That engulfed me in inexplicable flames that raged like felines in heat; still staring
At the world through a rear view, what was once there; appears blurry
In front now; and what you see causes certain questions in plain sight. The signs are
Larger but clearer on point like a festival passing by.
The small cracks in my window that festers the vision of a picture once fueled by lover’s
Tensions, no sense of purpose, hallmark moments not captured. The
Corpse now breathes in perfect harmony. God is hope. Putting havoc to bed. Glimpse
Of Destiny incarnated outside, looking through my universal grin, jolly again
To have escaped with my shoes and life, priceless, that was paid in full for wrongs
Done me bad…what a wicked wretch it is, another time, same place, hopeless in The absence of grace,
The element of sin.
I’m coming from an explosive culture, dreads, rhymes, verses and rhythms, swiftest beats,
Rare, unique, passionate between the sheets. From heads high and fast paced streets from billowing skirts ‘rag-a-muffin’ walks like travel foxes, dark caramel skin. I’m from a place where the waters edge runs deep gathering itself for the reflections of the morning dews, while the sun shines from within its frames on paradise. I come from warm all summer rains, blue and white skies peeking off the rims of its horizons, heavy winds and the sun sets fitted for God’s endless smiles, from mango’s sweet saps and sugar cane, from pain and love while we maintain. I come from God up above and walk these grounds like blessed doves. I come from graffiti and art eternally displayed, lyrics with meaning and understanding. My music relays from crazy distant families and love filled hearts, from unspoken and spoken word and songs about a father who doesn’t know me at all. I come from a place where being me is never wrong, in fact it’s encouraged.
I come from Ackee & Salt fish, beans and rice, curry goat and oxtail, baby clam, cocoa bread patties and mannish water, from tropical drinks filled with ice and creams, and women who are the back bone to kings. I come from a blessing, the island of sweet Jamaica shores, and New York streets, Canadian burbs and major league, from beautiful dances and fast moving feet, with rub-a-dub styles and Reggae beats, from tropical dishes and delectable treats. I come from a place that is rich and sweet. I come from berries, black, brown, cocoa mixes, happy dark hair with lox and eyes from upbeat nights and beautiful sunrises, from a place full of surprise, mysteries and the world’s greatest lovers. I’m from my peoples history, strong, proud, Xymacia, blood lines of my forefathers. That’s where I’m from!
The great want of this age is men,
Men who are not for sale.
Men who will condemn wrong in
Friend or foe, in themselves as well as others.
Men whose consciences are as
Steady as the needle to the pole.
Men who will stand for the right
Though the Heavens totter and the earth reels.
Men who can tell the truth and
Look the world right in the eyes.
Men who neither flag nor flinch.
Men who can have courage without shouting it.
Men in whom the hope of everlasting
Life still runs deep and strong.
Men who know their message and tell it.
Men who knew their business and attend to it.
Men who are not too lazy to work,
Nor too proud to be poor.
Men who are willing to eat what they
Have earned and to wear what they have
Paid for – men who are not ashamed
To say ‘no’ with emphasis.
LOVERS AND LOSERS
Lovers and losers, I’ve known both pretty well.
Which is which, sometimes it’s hard to tell.
We all played both roles, it’s not we that choose.
Whether we lose to love, or love what we lose.
For the moon’s the first friend of the lovers I’ve come to know.
For the nights are for lovers under the passion winds that blow.
\We imagine time is a fool that has forgotten us here,
We will drink to the stars forever, it would appear.
When our journey resumes, we awake to follow our dreams,
Often becoming puppets of our lives and rehearsed schemes.
What we lose becomes apparent far along our way,
But by then what is lost becomes sometimes hard to say.
Still I would not become the judge of who love or lost,
It is not for me to consider the exact cost
Of another who would inquire of the price
Of one more toss of the lover’s dice.
Lovers and losers, I believe are here to stay,
As April’s moon is revived in May.
If we must lose to love, who can complain.
Love might leave, but its hope will remain.
Lord, help me feel
I’m in my place.
I’m right where I should be.
Sometimes a worry settles in.
I feel I should be doing more,
Should open up another door.
Am I all that I should be?
Are You happy Lord, with me?
You are my coach, Lord.
The planner of all life.
Whatever game You’d have me win,
Whatever goals You’d lead me in.
These are the things that I want too.
So help me, Lord to know
Exactly where You’d have me go.
That I will fully be all
That you intend me to be.
WHO AM I
I was regretting the past
And fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
‘My name is I AM.’ He paused.
‘I waited,’ He continued,
“When you lived in the past,
With its mistakes and regrets.
It is hard – I AM not there.
My name is NOT ‘I will be.’
When you live in this moment
It is not hard.
I AM here.
My name is I AM.’
This story doesn’t start out ‘once upon a time.’
It’s the same old story, but with a different line.
Somewhere down the line you stepped off the beaten track.
You took one step forward, then fell two steps back.
You can blame the system, you can blame it on the rain.
You can even blame yourself, but still the fact remains,
All your dreams have ended, temporarily put aside.
You start again with nothing, rebuilding character and pride.
Once you had a woman, she said you’ll have a home.
Suddenly she’s gone, she needs a life of her own.
She’s easily forgotten as the days go slowly by.
You concentrate on others with a more appraising eye.
Once you had a life, you had a heart, a soul.
As the days turn into month, Old Man Time takes his toll.
Remember not to be bitter, don’t fall apart at the seams,
For Old Man Time is waiting, to take away your dreams.
JUST DOING TIME
I used to think about doing time
So all alone I felt like dying.
But now I think so much of you
I just realized, you do time too.
I know it must be hard.
You’re all alone, I’m in your heart.
You’re the greatest of them all
My tears when I’m blue,
My night and my stars too.
You’re doing time to be with me too.
What can I say, our love is real.
Through thick and thin you stick with me.
I know our love is meant to be babe,
Thanks for doing time with me.
OF THE HEART
A LETTER TO MY LAST BORN
Feb. 19th, a day I will never forget.
Today is my son’s birthday, my earthday.
My greatest wishes, my dreams, my son,
He’s my big boy now, . . .
Wow! My earth born prince, the spittin’
Image of me! I say these words to my last-
Born child: ‘Keep ya head up, stay strong in
This life’s struggle . . .
I’ll carry the cross for your extra miles,
I will fill your cup till it overflows, until
You are humble and wise, 10 long years
Without a father to call your very own . .
10 long years feeling your very
Existence began alone. You are not alone. I’ve been
There son, check your spirit. It was mine first.
I’ve been there son. I’m the blood trapped up
Inside the embryo of your of your heart, of your life,
Of your sight, by your side . . .
Another birthday – my thoughts and prayers
Are always with you, my Dearest Son. Blow
Out the candles. I’ll be smiling at your
Cake. I’m the last candle to go out. They
Call me faith . . .
Make a wish, my son, and may they all
Come through. I’ll be the wind beneath
your wings. Happy Birthday my little
Earthborn Boo!! Love you – Dad.
To my son Tashion Clive Kinlock!
Never be afraid. I can feel your pain. Love Always, your Dad.
TAKING BACK BAD WORDDS
I’m supposed to get a last wish,
Burn all my bad words that I have said to you.
It’s not all what I wanted to say,
Though it was from my mouth.
I was defeated by my own shadow.
My words took vengeance on me.
Forgive me for those emotions
That once left me on bended knee.
To you I send my warm embrace.
I love you – please stay.
With a force and a smile that will relax your face,
Maybe it’s how I’ve become.
These are not my last words – I take back everything
And bad words that were said.
Taking back bad words.
CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELVES
Look. It cannot be seen, it is
beyond form. – Listen.
It cannot be heard, – it is
Grasp. It cannot be held, it is
These three are indefinable
Therefore they are joined in one.
From above it is not bright, from below it is not dark,
an unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness,
the form of the formless,
the image of the imageless.
It is called indefinable and
` Stand before it and there is
no beginning – follow it and there
is no end – so start checking
yourselves before you wreck yourselves –
WUZ UP! WITH A NOD OR FRIENDLY SMILE
He gave a smile, a friendly smile.
He didn’t stop to talk.
A nod, a twinkle in his eyes
He didn’t stop his walk.
Just that, perhaps he
didn’t know he’d done a
single thing – that he had
given me a boost giv’n life,
a life, a lilt and swing.
He didn’t know my heart was
sad, the clouds were hanging low.
He didn’t know I’d found but
weeds where flowers ought to grow.
Since then I’ve traveled weary
roads and many a weary mile.
But spurred, inspired, how they’ve
helped – that nod and friendly smile.
THE FACE OF A THIEF
Today I went into prison
and looked on anguish and strife.
But the lesson I learned from a convict there
I’ll remember the rest of my life.
The convict said
he was content to paying society’s dues.
It’s easy to render to Caesar, he said,
When you have the Master with you.
Oh, I’ve seen his anger
Fly out of hand, for he is just human you see,
Yet ask both God and offended to forgive
unashamed at bending his knee.
Yes, today I went into prison
And saw there to my disbelief
The face of our savior, Lord Jesus
Worn on the face of a thief . . .
IT USED TO BE
I used to laugh, I used to smile
I used to be a happy child.
But now I’m in captivity,
No more laugh or smile for me.
I used to drive a thousand miles.
The clothes I wore, the hottest styles,
each shoes and hats matched my moves.
When I’m low-key
Like silk, I’m soothed.
But that’s not all life used to be.
I have 3 kids who still need me.
I use to think I had it all,
Nice wife, nice house and 4 sports cars.
But where is my life that used to be?
I wish it would come
And set me free.
Today is tomorrow,
it’s just like yesterday.
Nowhere to go, nothing to say.
Seasons pass as the calendar changes
agitating the animals in their cages.
Time is space, space is time,
cry and suffer for your crime!
Close your eyes and fly with me,
free your mind and you will see.
Fly with me in your head,
It must be done, or so it’s said.
Criminal justice, criminal fame,
prison numbers, prison games.
Freedom is only a simple word,
seldom seen but often heard.
Freedom isn’t a parole date,
it’s inner peace and a mental state.
As I lay upon my concrete slab
the cold walls chill my bones,
knees knock like rods,
my feelings stuffed deep down inside
as if I’d been robbed.
The pain I endure words cannot tell.
Sometimes, I wonder, this must be hell.
What can one do when He’s so far away?
The earth remains close
But I don’t count the days.
In prison with my thoughts
I become my worst nightmare.
I can hear several voices
But I’m not sure which one cares.
Denied my right to be human
Brings out the animal in me.
But knowing there is a God -
those thoughts set me free.
I cry sometimes and courage I shall gain.
As a wise Man once said,
‘After a storm it’s calm,
when it pours, I still reign’ . . .
They all say Merry Christmas
and have a Happy New Year.
How can we be merry
when we live in so much fear?
How can we feel happy
and still have a thousand years?
As far as I’m concerned, Christmas passes
And I’m still here.
New Years will come and go
But tell me, who really cares?
I know not what to say
or what to do.
So have yourself a Merry Christmas
And New Year too.
BLINDNESS NOT FOR THE BLIND
Blindness is not for the sightless alone.
It is also for those with hearts made of stone.
It is for the people who know no fear;
It is for the people who shed no tears.
Blindness is not just a physical trait.
Blindness is also an emotional state.
Blindness comes in some terrible forms;
Like prejudice, injustice, and hatred beyond norms.
Physical blindness is not a choice.
It’s a world of darkness, of shadows without voice.
Emotional blindness, a choice that we make,
puts our souls, our very existence, at stake.
We are bind to injustice we choose not to see until
its effect shackles a spirit that was free.
We are blind to prejudice even at this late age,
caring not for all races, only violence and rage.
We are blind to the prisoner who is trying to change
Treating him like a dog that is stricken with mange.
We are blind to the pain of those hurt deep inside.
From those who are suffering, our eyes we choose to hide.
The list is endless -
the darkness of the blind.
The world’s is physical,
Ours in the mind!
LEARNING AND LIVING
Sitting here feeling lonely and bored,
Thoughts of home in my head are stored
Dreaming of the day when I’m finally free
To realize the potential of being me.
I’m scared of the road that I have ahead,
Things from the past rearing their head.
I don’t want to go back to the same old life
Living each day with chaos and strife.
I need to remember all I’ve been through
From these experiences I learned and grew.
The time I have spent under D.O.C. rule
Has taught me things I didn’t get from school.
I no longer take my freedom for granted,
Asking for more after all I’ve been handed.
I no longer spend all my time asking why.
I’ll never know the answer so why bother to try.
I’m sorry for causing so much anguish and pain
But I cannot continue to live full of shame.
What occurred was a tragedy of this there’s no doubt,
But I must be forgiven both inside and out.
My life is too precious to waste on resentment.
Now I will strive for peace and contentment.
So as I sit here and ponder my hopes and my dreams
I thank God I’m alive and for all I have seen.
WHO NEEDS FRIENDS
Friends, friends, friends.
How could this word ever be?
Where are your friends when you are down?
They’re no place you can see.
I always write, I always call,
But no one writes to me.
I guess they say it’s all my fault,
I’ll see him when he’s free.
Just one more thing, you foolish friends.
Your friends I’ll never be.
I checked my heart, my soul, my mind,
My best friend is within me . . .
People are crying
People are dying
That happens every day.
People are making
People are taking
What else can a man say?
People are locked up
People are free
One day, free I will be.
People are homeless
People are sad
How much longer must this be?
People are happy
People are glad
When will people love people like me?
AND THEN THERE WAS LIFE . . .
To live, facing your fears with a smile
Having lived in so much shame, misery and
Man-made-lies, taking too much time to fulfill your destiny
Wondering all the time was this world a part of me?
Thinking at one time and point I was made to Die
Not having the courage to carry it out,
And then there was life. . .
Having died a thousand deaths remained a part
Of life’s constant threat. Imprisonment like souls,
Engulfed in coals filled with smoke and burned hopes.
Crossing the tides of loneliness, no one had
Seemed to know that your insides were dying
A thousand times, always crying, holding onto your
Lost mind, then saw that is was time to draw the line,
And then there was life . . .
Living in a world a million miles away from Home,
Nowhere to rest my weary head, nowhere to rest
My soul. Inside still cling to setting me free,
Inside still wear my crown. There’s no more
Thoughts of dying a thousand times ‘till at least
I make it home. So in the presence of my Enemy,
I’ll strongly take my throne and never
Think of failing me, Head high, Keep going on!
Today is now and now is forever. I’ll take it all
With strife. I once completely died inside,
And then there was life . . .
All poems by Clive W. Kinlock