Armor Smiles

We wear smiles as armor

With bloody wounds beneath.

Our banners are the tattered remains of old dreams,

Fluttering in a breeze of sighs.

We drift around one another like dry dandelion florets,

Smiling our armor smiles as we pass without touching.

We paint our lives with vibrant hues,

Portraits and pictures of unfelt peace.

The skin of our lives,

The carefully crafted, molded, and made-up skin,

Is often a plastic wrapping hiding shared flaws.

The smiles we put on every day are sharp inside.

They tear the wounds anew when worn as armor.

 

Foolish.

 

Foolish.

 

Three things I’ll say:

 

 

We were not built for isolation

and deep wounds are only healed by another’s touch.

 

 

The beauty of life is found in the scars

and it takes bravery to fly even tattered dreams.

 

 

Armor smiles protect best when they come from an open heart.

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Wandering moment

Wander a moment with me.

 

Step down this dusty old road,

Two worn ruts with reaching fields to either side.

Might be corn or cotton around here, or perhaps soybeans lately, though tobacco still lives up north.

The crops change but the road still runs and the fields stretch on.

 

Between the fields the dark woods still hold,

In little stands and sweeping swaths of pine, oak, hickory, and dogwood.

No roads here but trails run through.

Squirrel and rabbit and boar run through too.

And generations of little boys and girls have run through too.

 

Turn now down this high bank,

Running the edge of the marsh,

With the long black-water river running beside.

Move lightly past the pine and pickerelweed; the southern swamp lily and the aged cypress.

Here are the deer and possum and the croaking frogs and water mocassin.

The air is heavy here, carrying the weight of ages.

 

Follow the dark water long enough and come to the salt marsh,

Rich with plough mud and sawgrass,

Alive with oyster beds and tiny crabs.

Take care where you step.

Solid ground may not be solid and the mud holds well when it takes hold.

Be careful when you step.

This place is ruled by the eternal time of the tides, riding the ebb and flow.

 

Just past, we find our feet upon the shore.

Miles of sand and shells

Washed and sifted by the reaching waves,

Bordered by saw palmetto and sea oats.

Old pilings and posts reach out to sea

And tidal pools hide the occasional flounder or dying jellyfish.

 

West again and we must climb.

The hills rise to mountains,

Old and worn,

Granite bones under rich, dark soil

With hidden hollows and wildflower meadows and black bears and beaver.

 

With each step, our footprints join those who came before and those to come after.

We make a line through this place,

Not the first, not the last,

But the ones here now.

Now is our walk through this place

 

Wander a moment with me.

Stand

When am I done?

 

I am battered.

I am bruised.

I am a little broken

(maybe more than a little).

 

I’ve been knocked down,

Again,

And again,

And again.

 

Each time

I didn’t see a way to rise.

 

Sometimes,

I didn’t want to rise.

 

Each time I rose.

 

Down I go,

But up I stand.

 

I stand,

I stand,

I stand.

 

I stand for…

 

Me.

You.

For truth and honesty,

For dreams and hopes,

For the simple reason that I’m supposed to.

 

That’s how I’ll know, I guess.

 

On the day when I’ve stood for all the things I’m supposed to stand for,

On the day when my muscles will no longer lift,

And my bones will no longer hold,

And I can rest secure that my watch is done,

 

Then I’ll be done.