The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)

The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)
06/29/2017, Deon Mumple

It’s still not good enough, I’ve written the same poem four times now.
I keep trying to say it just right, keep trying, but I don’t really know how.
How do you say this thing, this feeling? What are the right words?
I don’t want to say the same sounds I know you’ve already heard.

It didn’t turn out those times before, when your hope needed fulfilled
And those last two times, when you swore, no more, after the dream was killed
I don’t want to be that way,  I want to be different, and never see you hurt
But I know the times I’ve failed before, don’t trust me,  trust me, you’ll get burned

I’ve written this poem five times now, just trying to say it right
I want to make the promises and keep them, so we always win the fight
I want to be superhuman, and be heroic, but at the same time, be real,
But I don’t feel real; I’m up and down without flying, can’t even control how I feel.

I’ve written this poem six times now, and it’s never going to be perfect
The same as I know about you and me, but I’m not, and you’re not, and we’re not.
I’m afraid, you’re afraid, it’s not going to work, but I hope you’ll give it a shot.
Like this poem, I’m trying to write it right, and keep on writing it wrong,
Me versus verses that don’t have choruses, and a form that’s far from correct
Sometimes even the best composers build a bridge to write a decent love song.

I’ve written this poem seven times, this is the last time, then I’m through.
It may never be exactly right, about like trying on the wrong sized shoe,
But if a hope is just deferred but somehow I know it was meant to come true,
Maybe mixed up words will make the longing fulfilled, so I can win and keep you.

Mostly Cloudy with a Chance of Crying

I forgot all about that it’s April,
I forgot to compose poetry
Not that my poetry is a big thrill
I feel cloudy.  Who wants that to read?

When I’m down, does it have to be raining;
Like the sky agrees I should be sad?
Everyone’s tired of all my complaining,
But they would be with the life I’ve had.

There won’t be a daily composition,
I’ve already missed several days,
I could race, challenge all competition,
But that’s not how Deon Mumple plays.

It’s another way that I’m a failure,
Says my accusers, with examples
Of the other ways, they’re right, I’m quite sure,
I should try!  Should my soul feel trampled?

Not faithless.  Like Lazarus’ Mary,
I believe the end will be just fine
In the middle, I’m doubting, life’s scary,
Til faith’s blessings finally align…

While I wish I would be more victorious,
I’m too tired to stand, much less, fight,
I am stuck where I am through my own choices,
Near transparent, fading into night.

Sometimes I wish that no one could see me,
And I wish they would, on other days
See my crushed heart, my shattered soul, clearly,
Help me, or let me just fade away.

April clouds live in my spirit, feasting,
Leaving me broken, hollow, worthless,
Hail and fail, rain and pain, grey and wasting
Hoping this isn’t good as it gets.

Roped and Tied

Damned jumping cursor stupid loser used laptop bullshit, another reason I hate writing in the morning but I have to do it now or I can’t vent. Wish me luck writing anything, readers (oh wait, haven’t got any of those! Well, when I finish writing I’ll read it, that counts as one.

I broke the espresso carafe from our 20+ year old shitty little espresso machine months ago and so of course today Mrs M wanted espresso when I had gotten up way too fucking early and brewed the coffee for us. It’s her shitty little way of reminding me that I’m never, ever, good enough. Or maybe that’s depression-speak. But I hear her loud and clear when she does that shit. So I stood up to brew the espresso and couldn’t find the fucking arm with the coffee basket, she looked and couldn’t find it either. She accused me of throwing it away in a fit of rage. I wanted to retreat because I didn’t want to say anything. All I felt was rage because I couldn’t find it, because she couldn’t find it, because she was snarky about it, because whenever I do something, anything, she finds a way of minimizing my accomplishment and suggesting, or outright asking, if I would do just a little more, just a little more, just a little more until I realize I can’t do whatever it is, and then I swear she’s smug about her superiority and my re-broken spirit. Fuck. It’s because I’m roped and tied. I don’t really want to escape, because when it’s good it’s good. But when it sucks it really sucks.

If I weren’t a loser I’d be able to accomplish shit, I’d have replaced the damned espresso carafe or the whole machine, I’d be able to keep up with the normal things-fall-apart of life and I’d know how to fix things.  If I weren’t such a loser I wouldn’t have to put up with second-hand shit because I’d have enough money to just get a new _________.  But I’ve never made enough money, and for seasons I just give up and say “fuck it,” and we fall another few thousand behind from where we should be financially.  This is why, when the lottery drawing gets big enough for me to just fucking quit everything and everybody, I daydream about actually having enough.  And if I can scrape up enough, I buy a damn ticket.  And then someone wins that buttload of money, and I wish it had been me.

Young Miss M will soon start driving and want a car for herself, mine is already shitty, rusting, leaking rainwater into the floor carpets from somewhere,  and didn’t want to start the other day, fucking check engine light is on but the last time I checked it was a sensor that cost just over $100, and I just put almost a thousand we didn’t have into Mrs. Ms car, so I don’t have it to spend on my car, or Miss M’s wished-for car.

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t HAVE to accept the second hand, the hand-me-downs, the used car, the shitty old third-hand low-tech phone Mrs M got for herself, gave to Miss M, then transferred to me.  I can’t remember a time when I was just able to afford to fix shit or replace shit or just call the guy to fix or replace shit.  Or buy it new.  I go through seasons when second hand is adequate, acceptable, maybe even a fortunate find.  And then I go through seasons when I feel entirely dissatisfied with the used, broken down, old shit and I want more, different, better.

Our carpets are original to our second-hand home, and they have stains the carpet shampooer we rented and I got to use on it yay, lightened, but didn’t actually remove.  Our garbage disposal was leaking so we had it taken out and the sink plumbed without one.  Another sink is currently plugged and very slow, which tells me it’s hair, which Mrs M denies getting in there, and Miss M says “I don’t like that bathroom,” so obviously it isn’t hers either.  Young Mr. M and I both have short hair, but sure, it’s me.  I clogged the sink.

I need a few weeks off from work, and I think it would be nice to just rent the 25 foot yacht in the fucking Bahamas after the current hurricane passes (see also a prior rant) because 25 feet ought to be enough, right? and let a work crew come to the house, replace the carpet, fix the plumbing, clean the house top to bottom, and while we’re at it, have someone pick up the brand fucking new cars for everyone and park them in the six-car garage and take these used clunkers to auction off, stock the refrigerator, and the liquor cabinet, and have the limo pick us all up at the airport.

Well, because the last paragraph isn’t my present reality, I need to get my ass to work.  But for a quick second or two, that was a lovely daydream.  Except it’s Mrs M’s daydream and I got roped in and tied up in it again because that’s what she would want to do.  What I would want to do is hibernate in a posh hotel for two or three weeks and order room service, or go out for steaks, and maybe go shopping for a brand new posh laptop while the crew comes to fix the shit in the house and pick up our new cars.  And buy us a new fucking espresso machine.  Because even if I was rich, I wouldn’t pay the current prices for a fucking cup of coffee.

Psalm 211

Psalm 211, 06/24/2015, Deon Mumple

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”~Jesus, John 10:10

I’m good at failing to understand
How God is good and I’m to wait for His Hand,
When evil is just too obvious,
And “good” people seem oblivious.
I’m good at doubting that He loves me,
When His loving care is sometimes hard to see,
When I see the good that needs to be done,
But I lack the means to care for anyone.

The world is sometimes a difficult place,
Looming clouds of darkness hide His Face.
And I cling to God pretty selfishly,
Sure, He can help others, but could He start with me?

I’m good at spotting hypocrisy,
Sometimes even when the hypocrite is me.
But I’m tired of hearing the same “go-to” verse
When Christians mean for it to bless, but I feel cursed.
I’m digging deep for gold, they throw me surface dirt
I’m struggling to be honest, my soul is hurt
Still there’s more than some think in the Bible’s books
Because they disbelieve before they even look.

I’ve learned all my wisdom does is make me a fool
And I even went to seminary school
So God, I’m supposed to know how to preach,
But mine’s the most difficult heart to reach.

I’m good at my brand of blasphemy,
Or maybe I’m revolutionary,
I hear they didn’t much like Jesus-
They thought His teaching was dangerous.
The Bible is history, poetry,
It’s also honest truth, humor, and prophecy,
So what if some is metaphor, or hyperbole,
And some is to be applied very literally?

I’ve learned the God of the Bible doesn’t fit inside
Your box or mine, and He doesn’t really hide,
But if our eyes aren’t open He can be hard to see,
So, God, You can show others, but would You start with me?

I’m still good at failing to understand,
I’m good at stumbling like a lost, blind man.
211 is police code for robbery in progress.  I chose the title Psalm 211 first because I know there were only 150 or 151 depending on which text you read, and second because sometimes the thief comes and steals my joy, my understanding, my faith, and my confidence in other Christ-followers.  It happens.  They’re only human after all.  This is my prayer asking for God to give it back.

I also chose it because Psalm 2:11 is Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. I believe this was Paul’s source for Philippians 2:12

Why Am I So Sick Of Everything?

When I was young, say, 8 or 10 years old, I kept up the struggle to be optimistic in spite of everything life handed out.  And a lot of what it handed out was shit.  There was food on the table, and it was damn good, as my mom was a great cook.  Mom stayed at home most of the time and dad worked two jobs at any given time to support our family of 6, and it was almost always enough.  I was never made aware of our limited income, except when I went to the store and wanted something.  I did all right in school in spite of bullies.  In the modern day, knowing what I know I suppose I would have put the bullies down fearlessly, but back then I was this timid kid.  But I was optimistic and I thought I was smart and had a good future ahead.  I had no clue what I wanted to do when I grew up, I just figured it would all pan out well.

I’ve been coasting watching a slow decline over the years.  I worked hard for a marriage, I worked hard for two kids, and I’ve worked hard to keep it together, but the edges keep fraying.  By “the edges” I mean everything, and by “fraying” I mean shit falls apart.  Everything from cars to plumbing, This is natural and I should just roll with it and deal with it, but it’s happening faster and faster.  Perhaps when I was younger I had the energy and patience and time to deal with shit, but frankly, I’m tired of everything.  It’s taking a toll on my home, my kids, my wife, and me.  There isn’t enough money for what I want.  There isn’t enough money for what I need.  I have a number in mind, of how much is enough, but it’s pie-in-the-sky.  And no, the number is not 3,141,592.65 although that would be a nice start.

I could just be depressed.  I’m a bit like a robot or a zombie or something.  A robot, if you only count I’m going through the motions without any meaning or purpose or end in sight.  A zombie if I really am looking for something and I can’t die to free myself from the endless search (for brains).

Work is boring.  I’m not going to divulge any details but it’s a minute by minute struggle to focus and there is no joy in any of it.  I dread the next assignment, the next task, the next mind-numbing stupidity.  I also dread the tiny tiny paychecks that haven’t grown over the past seven years.  When they did grow, it was immediately swallowed by insurance increases.

At home, I’m going through the motions.  I’m running out of any real passion left since it wasn’t reciprocated when I was trying.  Push me away all the time, almost every time, and eventually you’re going to either hear me, or feel me, say, fuck you, you aren’t worth my time.  I don’t have the energy I used to have to stay up and take care of chores like dishes and other quiet housework.  I sit on the couch and watch television until I fall asleep or until I fall into my cold bed. I’ve surrendered to the realization that although she is physically present, she isn’t there.  She’s asleep and if I do anything except sleep, my advance is batted away like a line drive to some poor schmucks head in a baseball game.  I’m the schmuck.  Fuck this, what’s the point?  Why keep trying?

She’s always been impressed with money, which is why I was amazed she married me.  I had none, still don’t have enough to impress her.  I somehow doubt that even if I had what I feel would be “enough,” she’d still be distant.  Maybe even more.  A woman at work touched me today and I realized how much I miss it.  She asked permission (!) and then fixed my collar.  That was it.  I don’t want the woman at work, fine as she is.  And she is.  I want my wife back.  I want my life back, but I want it better than it ever was before we started slipping away from each other.

What I want is freedom from this shit.  EVERYONE I read wants to be free from their shit.  There are so many blogs out there where people are looking for a greater degree of personal freedom, Which doesn’t bode well for the hope that someday I will find myself free, after seeking out and finding whatever opportunity wasn’t ready to knock until I did the knocking.  I used to knock on doors to see if they would open, but they would tease me and slam shut and I reached the point of fuck this, what’s the point?

What I need is a windfall that releases me from these constraints- the rising cost of living modestly, the increasing speed with which things fall apart.  I need a season of repair and rest.  An extended season.  I want to fix it, or replace it.  I want to have time to write more of what I want, drink more of what I want to drink, eat more of what I want to eat and less of the crap I’m eating now on this so-fucked-I’m-helpless survival budget, and then after eating more, time and liberty to exercise more.  I don’t want champagne and caviar and lobster, but I bet my wife would like that.  Damn good thing I like rice and ramen and mac and cheese.  But sometimes even that loses its flavor in my mouth and I feel sick.  I want a fucking huge ribeye steak and a bottle of pinot noir and no time limit.  Once every week or two.  I don’t think that’s much to ask for.

I wake up in the morning and regularly have stress attacks. On weekends when I don’t have to do anything I stay in bed longer and when I do get up, there’s no stress attack.  I wonder how many days of not having to get up would make the attacks go away.  I force myself into the routine of morning, and then into the routine of the day.

I want to get up in the morning and choose what I want for breakfast and either cook it myself or go out and get it, and bring my wife with me to get whatever she wants.  I liked doing chores, when I had the energy to do them.  I like breakfast, but I don’t want it at the crack of dawn.  I want it at 9:30, after a cup or two of coffee.  Rich guy fantasies.  What do rich guys want?  I want to find out first hand.  I want to wonder where I want to go today, and then pick a spot and go, instead of being unable to have any choice.  I get up, I go to work, I come home, I watch TV, I go to bed.

I don’t want to be a recluse.  I just don’t want to do this any more, and until I figure out what I really want to do, I want to be rich enough I don’t have to do this any more.

In short, I’m more than just sick of everything and this is more than a simple tantrum or a rant.  The woman in the old commercial used to call out for “Calgon” to “take [her] away.”  And then she’d be in a beautiful bubble bath.  Yeah, I don’t want a bubble bath.  I want a lot more.