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Juhlhaus Mar 15
Let the dead carry the weight of you
when the road is long,
the climb too steep

—worn treads, bare threads—

out of time
in place.

A bereaved mother's touch to guide you,
an empty hand to hold

when you're on the brink
of a faltering jump to the sidewalk
she is right there with you
to lift you
over the deep mud, the oily puddles.

In that dark mirror
let her show you the shattered faces
of the ones taken

but still here with you,

still here
in a world seen through her eyes
for what it was

and for all it can be.
These words came to me after a visit to the apartment that was the historic home of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley on Chicago's South Side.
Juhlhaus Jun 2021
Walk with me beyond the sunset
and let's sip the sweet ferment of the day,
the pungent lung nectar of Summer's first night.
In her beautiful darkness the world contracts
and expands like June fireworks, heard unseen
behind the measureless shadow trees.
Walk with me here while time rests his tread
leaving the sky to stars and dreams.
Juhlhaus Jun 2021
Somewhere beyond the sea
In the Square for you and me
A Lady stands for liberty
While the tanks come rolling

Somewhere beyond the sea
She's there for you and me
Standing tall with light held high
And all to her side she's calling

It's far beyond the stars
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
Brave hearts will lead us there soon

We'll meet beyond the shore
We'll stand proud as before
Safe and free beyond the sea
And never again those tanks go rolling

We'll meet—I know we'll meet—beyond the shore
We'll stand proud as before
Safe and free beyond the sea
And never again those tanks go rolling
A spin on "Beyond the Sea" by Jack Lawrence, in memory of June 4, 1989 and in honor of the Goddess of Democracy, Lady Liberty Hong Kong, and all who take a stand for human rights and freedom.
Juhlhaus May 2021
This dry Spring
the parched earth drinks quickly,
every cool droplet precious
as the tears of the bereaved.

The rain furrows the dusty creek banks
like sunken, careworn cheeks.
the timid water hurries
past sandbars and gravel spits,
around balding rocks crowned
with rotting riverweed.
and in the green places that remain
to be sought and found between
the highway noise and the factories,
there the shy ones grieve with us
for all those lost to disease and violence,
miscarriage and mischance.

We round the bend;
the yearlings start and bolt
through the struggling underbrush—
an exercise in their own fragility.
The mother does not run.
she moves warily
a few paces away
and meets our gaze: measured, assessing.
She takes us in, then bows
her graceful neck to the tender shoots
that break the hardened clay,
the gesture her benediction of peace.
Juhlhaus Apr 2021
Behind the sky the Weaver knits
All beautiful and ugly things
Together as with perfect wit
She severs and she stings.
Each and every little soul
Safe to her downy back she brings
While their forgotten lullabies
She strums on silver strings.
Juhlhaus Apr 2021
The highway changes when you travel it
At different times,
In different seasons,
Weathers, road conditions, or decades.
The places you pass and your final destination
Will change entirely from year to year
Or day to night.
The highway will tell you totally different things,
The signs change from year to year
And day to night.

The sky goes dark, the lights come on,
Some letters are lost, and new meaning found.
A roadside motel becomes simply a "mote,"
There is vacancy where before
There was nothing at all,
Just an abandoned fruit stand, which by twilight
Becomes a small house—
The siding might be yellow or brown—
With dark curtains and neon signs
Proffering readings, psychic insights, an open palm.

The other night, I came to the end of the highway.
I would have crashed right through the barrier
But God or my survival instinct intervened,
And my journey continued
On a different highway altogether.
Juhlhaus Jan 2021
A wise woman once told me
Anger is no trustworthy emotion for a poet.
Thus has my hot heart's spring gone dry:
Pain and fury sapped it,
Soft tissue stripped and bitten from without
And within, leaving only smoldering bones,
Teeth dulled and nails blunted;
Calcified soles to carry me
Through desert darkness,
Where at last brittle, broken
They fail. No more strength
In clenched fists,
But hope in a desert of light,
To join there those equal to anger,
No longer its slave.
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