Poem: Smoky Rooms

Smoky Rooms

A room full of blues.
Smoke. A half drunk glass of bourbon.
All in your head as you sip coffee
to the sound of Stevie Ray.

Bringing back memories of your youth,
a long desire to wail and sing like B B King,
something that has never quite left,
something that doesn’t quite fit your Sunday School life.

But then, you have always felt more comfortable
with sinners than saints. You have found most of them
more open, just as kind, and more honest
in their brokeness.

But there is no escaping God. You have learned this
the hard way. He finds you in the smokiest rooms,
the darkest places. Sometimes he leads you to light
and other times he leaves you where you are,

to be the light.

About this poem.

I woke up this morning and there was the smell of smoke in the air. Either a wood stove or someone’s fire pit from last night still wafting in the air.

When I arrived at my favorite diner this morning, there were smoky room blues playing. Stevie Ray Vaughn and his ilk. It felt more like a bar than a breakfast place.

I really did want to sing the blues when I was young. But I was too white, too privileged, and I am not sure my voice would have held up. But for a few minutes at a time, can wail with the best of them.

I do feel God hunted me down in my very flawed life to lead me to the ministry. Heaven knows I avoided the ministry like the plague most of my life. Unlike the poem, I am comfortable in the company of saints and sinners. Probably equally.

In all the politics of the past few years, I have tried hard to state my views in a way that did not condemn others, but still made it clear I fall in the camp of people who think all colors, genders, nationalities and levels of brokeness deserve love and care.

And from all that, inspired by smoke, this morning’s poem. A lot so squeeze in a few lines, but that’s what poetry does.


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