Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Message: Gratitude is the heart’s memory

What My Heart Remembers

A suicidal boy choosing life and all that it can bring 
A young man stepping off the street and into the ring
The proud and wounded girl finding her light in strife
The man-boy banger choosing peace and giving up his knife
Six boys in a circle of 20 sharing how the banger saved their lives
An angel seeing who I am and agreeing to be my wife

She sat meditatively, sipping tea alone at the coffee bar
As I counseled the hurt and fearful girl from the phone inside my car
Our second date, I had shown up late and now this – not doing well so far
So I said I’m sorry and she replied. “Don’t apologize for who you are.”

Wounded men and wounded boys standing in our fears
Stripping down defensiveness so our souls can push out tears
Feeling buoyed by brotherly love when I feel my brother’s near
A sister’s pledge by oleander trees remembered after all these years

The knucklehead who claimed his gift and stood to end a gang
A hundred candles held up high as to the earth we sang
The young lady taking a chance on life to give my heart a tug
Folding back her hair to reveal the scar from papa's coffee mug
The young man sharing inner pain, the one they called a thug
The homie crossing a circle of men to risk a soulful hug

He held up a mirror to his pal risking the violence held inside
To see if finally the wounded pal could overcome hair-trigger pride
The elegance of men and boys who subdued the rage that would not hide
Fierce love met tears and rage from years of pain that would not die
Understanding grew because of hearts that knew stakes were way too high
We shared two broken hearts that day and sat locked eye to eye
The fatal gaze of gangster days and all the friends that lied
Gave way for a moment when love stepped in and rage was pushed aside

My heart holds so many more memories than I have rhymes:
The man who agreed to mentor me,
another who called me to this way of life
Friends, family and lovers who have helped shape me
My August (in both senses of the word) friends in Mendo

Enemies who showed me how strong I can be
The young people who call me "pops"
The men and women who stand next to me and offer their mentoring to youth
The young adults who give of themselves each day for such little pay so the youth and communities we serve can find some peace and healing
The Colombiana who bravely shares this path and my heart of service!

To you all, I offer a toast of Happy Thanksgiving from my heart’s memories.


Tony LoRe
Youth Mentoring Connection


Linda said...

To the brother that I am humbled by on a daily basis, I toast you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your spirit and for refusing to see the negative. Your presence on this planet truly makes this world a better place. I am privledged to share this soul journey with you! The Oleander Lives! -xoxo

Jon said...

It is a pleasure to know you man. You motivate, inspire, share and care. So to you I write a Bad poem. I call it Tony.

TONY, the twinkle in so many eyes.
The white hommy who tells no lies.
His heart is in the right place with both dignity and grace and when it appropriate, he will also get in your face.

Miss you man, keep on trucking.

Jon Zimmerman
aka JZ