A boy becomes a man.
Along the line,
life grabs him, rattles his innards
like a wooden roller coaster catapulting him into the jaws
of a treacherous society.
As this becomes clear, a reality,
a game if you will,
one he cannot win no matter the effort
or how sly he’s become, begins.
Only then does the risk
become the fuel to survive,
–C. L. Swinney (c) 2017
A salty policeman struggles to lift his hand
to the hand of a stranger.
Community meetings force him
from the comfort of a cruiser.
He walks along an uneven path
through downtown streets
leaving muddy boot prints,
each one crushing his aspirations.
Stress is part of the deal, but where trust once existed,
media has stripped completely away.
The pride once gained by risking our lives for strangers,
is gone. “Stranger” never meant what it does today,
like it did back in the day.
Back when “neighborhood” meant something.
Back when you didn’t ask police to raise your kid,
or scare them straight because they embarrassed you in public.
Back when civil disputes were handled by adults,
when simple things wouldn’t tear at the very foundation
of our society.
Yes, we’re wired for scary things.
Yes, we hunt active shooters
and run toward the gunfire… the evil you pretend
does not exist, that which looms in the back of your mind daily.
Why I risk everything for people who want me dead
is my own mystery. One for me to work out on my own.
My sisters and brothers will continue to protect the innocent,
enforce antiquated laws, and do what we can to crush
So we’re far from simple nuts and bolts,
robotic if you will. Strip away the badge and the gun.
Beneath the pain and suffering is a man or woman,
same as you. Nothing too fancy.
Beneath a ballistic vest and forty-pounds of accoutrements
we want the same thing, and we’re prepared to make
the ultimate sacrifice to obtain or provide it.
-C.L.Swinney (c) 2017
I can’t turn away, let my eyes drift with the sea.
The beauty, her complex levels,
her almost letting go completely,
yet close enough to be rescued pulls me deeper.
In the water, on land, wherever my weary heart travels,
she is there. Bubbles mingle with timeless boulders,
intertwined like new lovers, drawing me into the current.
My heart, a ship searching for land, and comfort,
somewhere to throw an anchor, somewhere to finally settle down,
swells. Today, right now, I’ve finally found the courage
to tell her how I feel.
(c) C. L. Swinney 2016
Your tainted mouth kills
my ears, my heart, my weary
soul and words have failed.
(c) C. L. Swinney 2016
In a pool of his own urine he sleeps,
homeless, scared, and lacking food or shelter.
Then along comes the law, this sight he weeps.
People turn away, all helter-skelter,
while the rest of us throw most of our scraps
away, cast long and menacing sharp glares.
For what? What does your heart see as he naps?
Your soul and heart should burn wild like flares.
Pretending he is not there, no answer,
but strife. Remember he is still a man.
Most fought to protect and came home with cancer.
Some fraud, not he, looking for an open hand
and I’ll be damned if I didn’t get involved
while you sit there…a conscious un-evolved.
(c) C.L.Swinney 2016