Can I Trust Anybody?

friendship2I’ve lost trust in Janice. We’ve been friends since the second grade. Now we’re Seniors in high school. She’s never been completely trustworthy. She stole a boyfriend of mine. Once she told a deep dark secret of mine to the whole sixth grade class.  I don’t know why. I forgave her. I believed her each time she said it would never happen again. This time I can’t forgive her. She told all the important people in my life that my mom is a bar hopper and a whore. Really, it isn’t the truth. Why would she make up such a lie? I think Janie is jealous of me. She’s never really been my friend. That’s what really hurts. Because I trusted her so much. She was the sister I never had but wanted all my life. My parents treated her like their daughter. My mom never hurt her. Why would she say something so daggone ugly and horrible? I wanted to kick her butt. She’s five inches taller than me. That made me change my mind. Plus, I’ve seen her in fights. She really can fight. She pulls hair like an orangutan might pull hair. She scratches your face. She goes crazy. Really, I think she is crazy. This time I’m not making up with her. If this is friendship, I don’t want it.

Now when I walk down the hall at school, everybody laughs at me. One boy hollered, “you gonna be like yo’ mama?” I dropped all my books on the floor. Left my school locker open. Ran outside of school. I passed my street and ran up the hill to the cemetery.  No one comes here unless they have to bring a body for a funeral. I don’t have to worry about a truant officer coming by. I don’t have to worry about seeing Janie’s big nose looking down trying to find out my business. I didn’t want to cry. Couldn’t help it. Janie never was my friend. The kids in school didn’t care one bit about me unless there was a way I could pass them an answer to a quiz or do all their homework.

I use to do all of that for them. I thought that would make them like me. I knew underneath they didn’t really like me. I couldn’t face knowing that fact. You can’t go through public school without friends. If they ever figure out you’re a loner, you can forget it. They will hurt you up bad. I pulled a nickel out of my pants pocket. I looked at the print, “In God We Trust.” I remembered my Grandmama telling me, “Don’t trust nobody but the Good Lord.” I didn’t know what she meant. She was always humming and making up some old saying to quote day after day after day. As I say by the grave of Jenella Lincoln, I had to look down at the gravestone to see her name, I wondered did Grandmama know what she was talking about. Man, I had to have somebody to trust. I decided to go to church on Sunday. I would go with my brother, Tom. That way I wouldn’t be by myself. I wouldn’t sing. While the preacher was preaching, I would read the words to the hymns. They seemed to talk about Jesus in almost every song. And tonight I would try to say my prayers.

Now I lay me down to sleep.

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I die before I wake, I pray the

Lord my soul to take.

I didn’t know about a soul or none of that stuff. I just believed praying it would help me get my trust back in folks again. Maybe Jesus would send me a “real” friend. Someone I could tell anything to and they would really care how I felt. That would be my first prayer. “Jesus, I need a friend.” I looked at Jenella’s gravestone. She died at ten years old. I would come back and visit her. Put a rose or two on her grave. If I couldn’t find roses to pick, I would bring and leave my gold locket for her. I don’t think anyone would steal it. After all, couldn’t you trust people who came to visit cemeteries?


They Walked Every Day



They walked every day. If he lived another month, it would be a miracle. Not his thoughts, but the words of the doctor who had taken care of him for thirty years. So he knew the right thing to do was to set a goal. Try to find something worthwhile to do before he left this earth to go to Heaven or Hell. While thinking, his eyes landed on his granddaughter’s photograph. He leaned back in his desk chair. He had found this desk and chair on a trash heap. Rich people threw out anything. Nothing they threw out could be considered trash. That day he quickly stashed the desk and chair in the trunk of his truck. Once he got it home, it seemed right. It seemed like that desk and chair gave a sigh. “We belong here. We waited all this time for her to throw us out. Then, two or three days we waited for you to ride by in that noisy truck. Ever heard of a muffler? You need one.”

Once he leaned back in his desk chair the idea spun in his head all of a piece. Every day he would meet his daughter whether morning or afternoon and take her for a walk. It would never be the same time. That would be too boring. It would always be a different time. That way she would always be surprised.He would buy her a sketch pad and a set of pencils. That way she could  make a journal of what they would see at the zoo or what they would see in the museum. Some  days they would just sit on a bench and feed the pigeons. The important thing would be that she would have a memory of grandpa liking her company. John became so excited he walked in the kitchen and opened a can of bake beans. After he ate the baked beans, he would make a call to Tink’s mother. Surely, she would like the idea too. There was one problem. Lola  didn’t know he was dying. He didn’t want her to know. He wanted to just slip away from her. He felt that would make his death easier on her.

Thank goodness it was summer. Tink would have lots of time every day. He would make this a summer to remember and a summer that no one could relive.


On The Road (Fiction)

While reading about Abraham this morning, I thought about my life. I am on a faith journey. What else can I call it? I hear no voices guiding me. I see no written notes left on my desk. I don’t smell bananas or apples. The fruit smell would lead me somewhere. I have no compass. So I don’t know in which direction to go:East, West, North, South. I have no map to fold up and put in my car. I only have myself and God. God through His Word will guide me. First, I have to begin reading that Word, meditating on that Word and praying over it.  What is a Faith Journey? Do I know? At the moment, I don’t know anything.

I think a Faith journey is one on which we get lost. For example, It feels very dark, as dark as a dessert night. If I make one more step, I will fall over a dune cliff. I stand still. I can’t stand still forever. I turn around and walk away from the edge of the cliff. Now, there are two forks in the road. I feel they might be the same ones Robert Frost mentioned in his poem. However, it is my choice whether to go down the left or the right. I wait. I listen. I hear a dog bark. I hear the wheels of cars in the distance. I hear a bear turning over a trashcan.  The bear makes me move five steps forward quickly. I take  left fork. The one where there are still purple wildflowers glowing in the dark.

On a Faith Journey, there is also loneliness. None of my friends or relatives wanted to come with me. As a matter of fact, they decided to stop visiting me. They call me “crazy.” My cousin said, “have you lost your mind?” You’re going to ride across country in a broken down 1990 car. You’ve never driven farther than five blocks down the street to the bigger supermarket. You’ve got to have lost it. I oughta call the people from the mental hospital. “Tell them you need restraint.

I don’t laugh. I feel that he is right. A stay in a hospital on lock down. Because I am acting like a total fool. It’s odd. I know my words and actions don’t make sense. Don is right. I’ve lost it. Still, I don’t intend to end this Faith Journey. I’m going. I’m going to take my Bible, a notebook, a pack of ten   with those different color highlighters, and my dog, Fresno, and we’re going across country. Maybe I will take my rabbit foot. That’s just an extra helper. I don’t think God will mind. I call my best friend, Tony. I try to explain what I’m doing and where I’m going. He says, Gracie, if you don’t allow me to go with you, I’m ending our friendship. You’ve been weird ever since you called yourself a Christian. Woman, you don’t know how to change a flat tire. You don’t know if the tire is flat in the first place. And you always have trouble getting gas. You’re memory is bad too. You need a helping hand on this journey.”

“You left out something. I’m Dyslexic. Did you forget?” Then, I forgot all my religion and hung up the phone. Next, I put my head down and started to cry.

Now I know a Faith Journey can make enemies. Tony holds grudges. It would take him forever to get over the fact that I had hung up on him. I would go through three pilgrimages and he would still be angry. Maybe I should give up, forget about it. This Faith Journey stuff was alright for Abraham leaving Ur. It’s not alright for me. I’m feeling more than anxious. I’m plain frightened. No telling what could happen. Some crazy man, a serial killer, might kill me. My mind could see every type of spooky drama in color like on the movie screen. I  fell asleep on my knees. I dreaded the next morning. It would be my first day on the road.

A journey of faith

A journey of faith




Is justice a part of our society for all or only for some people?

Is justice a part of our society for all or only for some people?



His past, good or bad, does not matter.

He had the right to walk outside unharmed

and unarmed.

Hands in pockets?

He had the right.

Stood still on a corner?

He had the right.

Laughed loudly?

He had the right.

Where are these old and new

Jim  Crow laws kept?

We must read them before

We stand accused.

In the police chief’s safe?

In the police car window?

On a chalk board in the jail?

Tell us–

Where do we go to make

right what was never wrong?

Where do we go to avoid

illegal death that makes mama cry.

Tell us-

We DIE to know.


The Horse

Horses at sunset

Horses at sunset

The horse and the colt

stand at the white fence

while a golden sunset lies

across their backs like

a golden goblet used by a king

in a fairy tale.

I look out the car window.

I can only wish

There were a cube of sugar

or a carrot in my coat pocket.

The horse watches our car pass

with sadness in her watery, black



I Am Loved

When I found out death slept near me each night, I knew it was time to make peace with death. All of my life, I had been afraid of dying. After going to the funeral of both my brothers, I decided not to attend another ceremony. The sadness simply unnerved me. A year later during a very hard winter I began to feel guilty. Guilty because both Army soldiers sacrificed their lives for my children, and me. I hadn’t told them thank you. Because of James,  my son decided to quit smoking weed. He wanted to go to Afghanistan and fight. He wanted to see young women go to school freely without being threatened by a gun or bomb or rape.  I should have been present at his funeral to show my appreciation and love. Then Clem died, I still wasn’t ready to step out of the house and go to a funeral.

I turned away from both brothers at their very last moment on earth. Just like my mother always said, “you’re a selfish nothing.” During that winter of the Blizzard  ’68 I could  hear her words screamed at me in the supermarket while I weighed turnip greens, in the car as I listened to a favorite song, Let It Be Me, and in the bedroom as I took a supposedly relaxing bubble bath. Her voice echoed hate words. One day I walked out of the office and rode a hundred miles to the beach. I thought only the beach could quiet her loud, soprano, squeaky voice which wouldn’t leave my head. The voice which betrayed me all my life.

When I left for Alcoha Beach, South Carolina,  I intended to spend the weekend there. Then, come back in time to hit the computer on Monday while I listened to the groans of people who couldn’t pay their heat bills. “Please, give me an extension. Don’t you people have a heart?” However, I didn’t return. I would never return. I ended up borrowing money from my dad. It helped me to set up a store selling candles and pearl jewelry. While choosing the property, picking the stock and making friends with John, a new best friend, I began to stop hearing Mother’s voice. Gradually it faded away like a man’s fade away Afro. Then, one day her voice left my head completely.

When mother died, I was able to attend her funeral.  Shocked at my action, I reached down and touched her hand in the coffin.  I no longer felt hate for her betrayals. I just felt heart eased and graced that God gave me the chance to forgive her. I hadn’t told her face to face that I forgave her. That didn’t matter. I was freed.

While walking the beach, I told John about my guilt for not seeing my brothers at their funerals. He hugged me. He kissed me. His lips tasted as sweet as a salt water taffy. He said, “It’s over. They still love you. They loved you no matter your decision in life. Brothers understand our sisters no matter what path they choose.”

Now when I go to church and light a candle I feel a wind of peace pass over me.  I touch my pearls during Mass and think , “I’m precious. I’m precious to God, my family and friends. Best of all I love me.” Then, I look down at John’s white gold wedding band on my finger. I touch it and  turn it. I hear the angels singing a sweet song about love that lasts for always. Just like the words we said during our wedding ceremony. I look over at John in church. He’s intently looking at his prayer-book. I whisper. “I love you, John always.”

Spiritual Journaling / God’s Will

swanI am trying to live in God’s will for the first time in my life. This means I want to trust Jesus with my whole life. For now that means not to struggle with the unknowns in my life. I must learn that when God wants me to know the unknown He will share it with me. I trust Him by showing patience and not anxiety and impatience. I’m a very impatient and anxious person. Definitely something I hate to admit. When I really understand, I will let go of the wish to control my circumstances. I must give Him the reins of my life knowing what is good for me to know I will know in the perfect time. What I don’t know is good also. There is a time for everything, for every moment. If He hasn’t told me, I don’t need to know. Not knowing doesn’t mean He has forgotten I’m down here on earth trying to survive daily life. It just means it’s not time yet. It’s all about trust. It’s all good. He’s loyal and filled with Everlasting Love. He says I am His child. So it’s all good. I just need to let go and swim gracefully.