Background Noise

“I can’t see you in the crowd!”
(Unspoken words can be so loud)
An equilibrium disturbed.
I’m always split; my focus splayed.
Enjoy the now? But past betrays,
A violence on reverb.

My body tense, my muscles primed,
Will I move in nick of time,
As evil bursts from its disguise?
I claim a place; I call it ours
And hate what within me cowers for
I know. I know its million lives.

I walk o’er hose and noose and gun.
I vet white souls who near me come.
’Cause rage hides itself so well.
It looks to vent when self’s to blame.
It goes beneath, erupts again,
Colors every day, this bit of hell.

Come cry with me as corners grow
Where flowers sit beside candle’s glow,
And cameras catch another death.
My tears remain while yours can dry.
Blow out the flames; blow out Black lives.
You hoard the air; I hold my breath.


To Nikky Finney


Manchester sounds!
From her belly howls a no,
Shakes terror to its core,
Runs it down in shame,
Shows it for the lie it is.
And every self betrayed,
Who strapped upon a bomb
Waging someone else’s war –
O! You who exploit naïve souls
Whose angels talk to God;
Their angels talk to God!
Fierce will come the answer!
For love will bring you down.
Love will bring you down.

So Far From Wounded

Children of Sorrow, come look at my torture
Come see me hanging from this old, tired wood.
No words need be spoken, no direction to guide you
Find my power within you; it is potent and good.

See this! O feel this! I, too, have been wounded
I take Your pain with me; it turns upside down
Enabling even the youngest among you
To take victims’ tables and turn them around.

Accept invitation to climb up on my body
Free my hands and my feet; take me down from this cross.
For I Am within you, your compassion, your power
Allow me to show you that nothing’s been lost.

So far from wounded can each life be fashioned–
As my dead body now breathes once again–
Every scar trembles with potent persuasion
Saving each soul blocked by similar pain.

Children of Sorrow, I won’t force the discovery.
l will hang here through time to speak to each one
Moved by my wounds, O step forward to help me
Find yourselves welcomed; your own wounds undone.

Our Oval Office

Name it, Lord. Show its face. O see! It’s killing us.
Low decibel, unseen but felt, eroding peace and trust.
Black lives matter, but they don’t; outraged white men roar,
Swallowed in their “but what of me?” Fear now takes the floor.
They’re asking prejudice to dance, thinking theirs the bigger hand.
They’re voicing every human vice that self-centeredness lets stand.
Bravado blots the conscience out, one by one they’re joined
By men who once had dignity, led by a spoiled boy.
Rise again, America! This is what evil does!
It crawls inside our weakest links; O see! It uses us
To build the walls, to cast the blame, to rise by putting down.
Survival of the fittest cries, and bullies gather ’round!
O! Stand and cry, “This is enough!” Let human spirits soar!
Tear Christ from their agenda – this is not Christian anymore.
Goodness has been compromised; it is time to overthrow
This Emperor and his entourage – my God, they have no clothes!

Suffering & Sacrifice

Open up that heavy door and take a peak inside
That’s more than most have ever done though I’ve asked a thousand times
Throw stones at God; blame him for pain; question where he was
Toss God away for what he doesn’t do; don’t see just what God does.

Evil has no tendency to name God’s curtain call
In fact, it stands to block our view, have us join in its cabal
Perpetuate the myth that God, at sign of pain, departs
Impotent, voyeur, masochist. No, God’s no bleeding heart.

Toss down your view! Crush it underfoot! See, first we’re all at fault
We wage our wars to break these bonds, our ontologies’ assault
For God can slip on human skin and become a sacrifice
But one and done. Clean up the kill. No “go, and do likewise.”

Admit the truth: his blood remains; it’s in the air we breathe
The end of suffering’s not the aim; it’s something else we seek
All nature shows a giving in, a willingness to feed
And heaven moves for willing hearts, for suffering breaks the seed.

See! There’s God, with hands nailed down; there’s God beneath the earth
And what will grow with lives laid down no evil can subvert
But blind ourselves to evil’s dance – then we can’t see how God can save
And blindness keeps us weak, unbound, tucked neatly in the grave.

Muslim Mother

In the middle of America Muhammad sits and cries
Exiled from the land he loves; his legacy defiled
Muslim killing Muslim, their rage pokes out their eyes
And mothers cannot bury all their children who have died.

I cry with you, Sweet Mother; your grief can know no bounds
Grasping at each shred of hope before another burns it down
Children with their books in hand, they could find the gold
But hatred just won’t let them; See! Her hope is growing old.

Howl O Muslim Mother! Lay your body down and roar
The feminine beneath their boot will rise from bloodied floors
With Muhammad’s blessing, she has reached a boiling point
Every daughter will hear her cry and will themselves anoint.

While Jacob, Esau wrestle, Eve will put that apple back
This time she’ll crush that serpent’s head before his next attack
Jam the barrels of every gun, walk through the bombing rain
Shame those who say peace cannot be – See! God will come again.

Muslim Mother, stand your ground, make them hear your song
Not one more death will stain your breast; hatred’s ruled too long
Your stolen daughters lie in wait – O! let them see you rise
Through you God will heal all wounds; through you put back their eyes!

American Pharisee 2016

Throw him in the big boy pond
Watch him thraw about
Pretend he knows just how to swim
Ignore that ling’ring doubt.

Conscience screaming otherwise
O ignore that spirit’s song
Take off your vest and dive right in
Insist others come along.

Wear his death whene’er it comes
I will call you to account
Why when he looked right at you
You pointed no weakness out.

Bravado, pride, such arrogance
Thin armor in any war
Your human shield as battles rage
No clue which way the shore.

Console yourself – for he’s a man
Forceful, bold, and sure
But you’ve been given eyes that see
On you this guilt secured.

Fear’s the Foe

Fear can be no force for good
Beware its friendly words
It hides behind its muscled wall
And flexes as it’s heard.
Dense its view, arthritic like
Its future without grace
It turns away and locks all gates
It bears no human face.
Do not act from its say
Avoid building on its ground
A sentinel whose path to hell
’round evil’s thumb is wound.
The human being must nurture hope
Though weak at times its glow
For fear’s appearance is only that
And wicked its undertow.

©September 20, 2016 kelleyrenz

Black and Blue

Blue swag hits long before his coming
There is no face, no heart now, just a gun
Vacuum’s sucked away all air for breathing
Muscles taut for fear – stand ground or run?

Can’t help what comes in fueled projection
Trust no longer what rushes in
Can’t wait for moment’s revelation
So loud the color of human skin.

Peel prejudice from today’s prediction
See the ones whose hearts are pinned to him
A mother’s view so ready for the taking
Replace his face with what fear’s letting in?…

Loud he laughs complete with plastic microphone
Pants sagging; shoes so proud, so clean
A brain, a heart; he has no pick with anyone
But paint him dumb, lazy, no good, and mean.

Project a record, time in jail
Project children in his wake
Project he won’t measure up; he’ll fail
Trust not permitted in his resume.

But wound around him, too, a mother’s care
A God’s delight; a call already planned
Cut through the thick of projections’ damning dare
Help bring to birth the rising of a man.

Blue meets black to what? Crash, collide
And mothers’ hearts do not beat until they see
The consequences such collisions bring
The cost, the loss, the sheer stupidity.

Not this time; no arms are brought to bear
Familiar words exchanged between the two
No territory’s marked by color one
But claimed and named by both black and blue.

See! Mothers met; they laid down new law!
In one another’s homes they talked and prayed
For love of sons, a common ground was found
Tragedy’s been checked; now empty is the grave.

The Scale

The Confederate Flag…

It’s “history and heritage”
It’s “proud Southern song.”
Hoisted high and held aloft,
An agony prolonged
Beneath its spread,
Hiding true intent.
An entire race upon one plate,
The other weight’s descent.
Down, down, crushing sounds,
The race falls to one side,
Where human heart beats apart,
Victim of misguided pride.
Dimensions, units bend and break,
Gaulded is the arm
That tries to fly what clearly defies
Our vow to do no harm.