12/7/16 – M. R. Laver’s Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, Yahweh, your ways are not our ways. Your heart is honest. Our hearts deceive. We plot, scheme, and manipulate. You live, plan, and nurture. We seek miracles, magic,  wealth, and glory. We exhaust ourselves in the shadow of your cloak, desperately trying to get a handful of something real. All the while, You beckon us rest. May we be people who stop, reach up, and receive a kiss from He whose face authors the glorious light. May we find joy in simple truth rather than business in blinding shadows. May we delight in our father first, rather than the work of His hands. Amen.


I am a poet, but I don’t get paid for it.
I write poetry almost everyday.
I set aside time for when my soul wants to speak and wants me to be quiet and listen.
You must oblige your soul, I’ve learned. She is very persistent.

I’ve turned trees into sestinas.
I’ve turned funerals into pantoums.
I’ve learned the language of poetry, often without need or want for end rhyme.

While I love the verse and meter, I don’t love most poetry.
The self-titled-modern-masters write in such a way that is lost on me, and I think if those masters were honest, they’d say their work is lost on their audience as well.

Unfortunate, really.
Poetry was once the voice of the people.
Now there’s E! News.

If poetry is only read,
produced and understood by the editors of Poetry Magazine,
Then … (This line has already been filled in by 100 publications)

I’m not calling myself a master.
No, please don’t follow that thread.
Instead, I’m calling it like I see it,
You see, poetry is dead.

My beloved is surely dead.

Hard Ship

Race. Persevere. Endure. Overcome.
All of it on a continuous loop.
We are all part of a Great Big Story.
One I believe that God is telling.
This is it.



Why this love for music
But a voice no one loves?
Why do you want me to play
When no one else does?

Why do I write poetry
That people don’t read?
Why do I pretend
You’re all that I need?

Why do I have talent
That sits on the shelf?
Why do you keep thinking
I don’t need any help?

Oh, where do you go,
On nights like last night?
Where do you go,
Unmistakable light?

How come it’s so hard
To get out of my bed?
And yet even harder
To get out of my head?

I practice and practice
For a day that won’t come
I fight and I fight
For a war that is won

Of pains, I know many
I seem to master them all
These pains ne’er subside
Not a single one small

You have made me a glutton
For sorrow and grief
A prisoner of pain
A sadness motif

And yet I get up
As each night dies
Still I get up
And still I rise

The branch on the tree in the small park

On a clear December night, when all the trees stand with their colorful past at their feet, you can see a certain tree. It’s not especially tall or stout or memorable at all really. But it has a ghostly aura around it – particularly a branch that looks as though it could carry a great weight. One of literal and figurative proportions.

It’s in a very small park, on the west side of Cincinnati, this tree, with its significant branch, the one I’m now bringing to your attention. The park, like the tree, is easily forgotten and does not get many visitors – perhaps that’s why I picked it.

If you happen upon this place, you may not immediately know or think anything of it. But if you stay long enough, I’m sure you will find – or feel (more accurately) – something unmistakable. The branch, hanging from the tree in the small, forgettable park, is where I hung my former self. He gave quite a fight and I’ll spare you the un-niceties, but he’s dead now. What was left of him clung to the nearest living thing – the tree.

Sometimes, I go visit the tree, bringing with me things it will need to grow tall, but it may be a losing battle – the tree is becoming sickly. You might think traveling there scares me a great deal, but it doesn’t. I can’t fully explain why, but suffice it to say that I feel happier now.

He was always very good at bringing me down and ensuring that I didn’t accomplish my goals. He often thwarted my dreams and called them “unattainable” and “impractical.” He’s much better at being a ghostly aura then he ever was at being a man.

Maybe, I go back occasionally to confront him and look at what he’s become, but mostly, I think I go to remember.

This last time, we parted amicably. “Onward and upward, ole’ chap,” I said tipping my hat at him. As I turned away I said quietly, “well, at least for one of us.”

From the man himself

Dear highmost member of the Salvation Army (or otherwise known as “Salvationist Supreme”)

My clothes are second-hand. Gathered and passed on to kids like me from kids like them.
I am a member of the run-down Boy’s Club. Been goin’ since I was five. They went to the Country Club with somethin’ like gold or silver in the title. Now that don mean nothin’ to me. They can have their country club. They can have their tea-time and ice cream socials, but don’t give me their tattered and threadbare polo shirts. I’ve already got some of my own. I come by the wear naturally. You can see my scraped up, bloody knees if you need ‘em for proof. I’m happy to show ya. But if another pair of frayed Khaki pants shows up at my doorstep (ok my ma and pa’s doorstep) there’s no telling what I might do. I’m liable to fly off the handle a bit. I might just get a little rowdy and lose some of my much needed privileges. An eight year old can only get so far in this world before somebody starts asking questions. I take you, reciever of this letter, to be a reasonable man. You, like me, have probably found yourself in hard times now and then. I am no different. But I don’t need your “charity,” if that’s what you like to call it. I’m trying to be the man of the house. I don’t need no more packages showing up. I’m asking for a cease and desist and I won’t ask again.

Bud, a member of this small community who is on his last leg


I lost a poem
It might have been me at my best
It might have been my peak

I worried some nobody would find it
And become rich and famous
Off my words

But then I found your poem
On a shelf, in a hundred year old
Home in Ohio

And I realized it didn’t matter who
Finds my poem and the others like it –
Because it will probably be someone

The exact someone,
Who needed to hear it

Misplaced Love Poem

I found a love letter when I was helping my mom move. It is from a man to his girlfriend. I think it was right before he was going to propose.

“If you never took that flight to America. If I never moved back to Cincy after school. If you never got that job. If you didn’t go to the bar that Saturday night in November. If it wasn’t for a friend of mine’s birthday. If I had walked past you instead of asking you to dance…then we never would have met.”

If you lived in Fairfax, OH at some point and are missing a poem to your lady, I found it. I know what it’s like to lose a poem.