Posted in Inspire, Poetry

WHAT IS BROKEN IS WHAT GOD BLESSES

The lover’s footprint in the sand

the ten-year-old kid’s bare feet

in the mud picking chili for rich growers,

not those seeking cultural or ethnic roots,

but those whose roots

have been exposed, hacked, dug up and burned

and in those roots

do animals burrow for warmth;

what is broken is blessed,

not the knowledge and empty-shelled wisdom

paraphrased from textbooks,

not the mimicking nor plaques of distinction

nor the ribbons and medals

but after the privileged carriage has passed

the breeze blows traces of wheel ruts away

and on the dust will again be the people’s broken

footprints.

What is broken God blesses,

not the perfectly brick-on-brick prison

but the shattered wall

that announces freedom to the world,

proclaims the irascible spirit of the human

rebelling against lies, against betrayal,

against taking what is not deserved;

the human complaint is what God blesses,

our impoverished dirt roads filled with cripples,

what is broken is baptized,

the irreverent disbeliever,

the addict’s arm seamed with needle marks

is a thread line of a blanket

frayed and bare from keeping the man warm.

We are all broken ornaments,

glinting in our worn-out work gloves,

foreclosed homes, ruined marriages,

from which shimmer our lives in their deepest truths,

blood from the wound,

broken ornaments

when we lost our perfection and honored our imperfect

sentiments, we were blessed.

Broken are the ghettos, barrios, trailer parks where gangs duel to death,

yet through the wretchedness a woman of sixty comes riding her rusty bicycle,

we embrace

we bury in our hearts,

broken ornaments, accused, hunted, finding solace and refuge

we work, we worry, we love

but always with compassion

reflecting our blessings

in our brokenness

thrives life, thrives light,

thrives the essence of our strength,

each of us a warm fragment,

broken off from the greater

ornament of the unseen,

then rejoined as dust,

to all this is.

by Jimmy Santiago, 1952.

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