Friday, July 4, 2014

"Flaming Liberal"

Hair afire   
eyes ablaze      
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve        
believing in changing my world      
one deed at a time        
hands open in kindness    
soul accepting alternatives      
mind embracing the strength of diversity     
Hair afire     
eyes ablaze   
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve      
expecting chivalry and honor       
even among the thieves      
hands sustaining the destitute      
soul offering them hope       
mind implementing the strategies of success        
Hair afire     
eyes ablaze      
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve     
acknowledging the flaws     
within the order    
hands mending the tears     
soul nursing lost courage      
mind deciphering the woes of our world
Hair afire    
eyes ablaze  
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve     
ignoring taunts and insults     
from conformists      
hands reaching for harmony    
soul seeking tolerance     
mind exploring multiple paths for our destiny   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, July 3, 2014


           buried under smiles   
                     as innocent as childhood   
           hidden by energy   
                     that eats the inner core   
           enveloped with laughter   
                     tinged by hysteria   
           where no one can see, or touch, or feel   
                     the infinite coldness   
           surrounded by darkness   
                     like a corpse in the grave   
           clamped down by a vise   
                     whose claws rip and tear   
           forced into submission   
                     until no one’s looking   
           deep down in the well of pitch, and stagnation, and fear   
                     the infinite coldness   
           revealed at last in the eyes   
                     through condemnation and indignation   
           recognized by the putrid stench   
                     of pettiness and intolerance   
           exposed in each word and act   
                     through acid hatred   
           an eruption of vomitus bile—black and caustic   
                     the infinite coldness   
Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

“Preaching or Teaching?”

            Over the last few years, the zealous beliefs of many of my friends means I find myself scratching my head in bewilderment and mumbling, “Really???” And then I tend to pull back, step aside, and look at not only what someone has said on any given day, but at how that person lives.
            The “preachers” I shift into the column of “grain of salt” because I doubt their sincerity. They spend so much time proclaiming their views and sermonizing from their hilltops that they rarely recognize their hypocrisy. This is the woman who posts a daily devotional on her status up-date on Facebook but whose own relatives no longer speak to her. This is the man that proclaims his undying devotion to his faith while he lies to his co-workers and steals from his company. This is the woman who asks friends to pray for her or her family because they need a new car or money for a vacation. These are the people who always ask for more while they give less. And they never see the flaws within themselves while they function by spreading fear and misinformation.        
            I find myself avoiding this type of person more and more. At a younger age, I’d try to engage someone like this in a debate of ideas, but time and experience have taught me that extremists yell loudly and insult freely—both things I like to avoid in my milder middle age.
            I have other friends who have deep and profound faith. Not all of them believe in the same religious doctrines, and some don’t believe in any religion at all; yet they embrace a spirituality that cultivates certainty and calmness. This is the woman who shares her beliefs not because she’s expecting to convert anyone, but because she allows friends to see her flaws within her life in the hope that others will find strength by her example. This is the man who questions the canons of his childhood as he survives a divorce and learns to redefine himself and his role as a single parent. His quest takes him onto a different path and leads him to a new creed. This is the woman who spent her childhood and early adult years mired in a religion that piled guilt upon her for every wrong thought or deed. She shares her journey for finding peace within her heart—and passing it on to others. These are the “teachers” in my life.
            And although I don’t embrace the same beliefs as these friends, I never feel their criticism. They never react to me with hostility. They don’t expect me to change who I am or what I believe to match their viewpoints. They don’t define our relationship by forcing me to fit into their round holes.
            So I find myself puzzling over these two types of believers—the Preachers and the Teachers. Both types profess great faith and use their religions to guide their daily lives. Yet, one grates upon me until I sometimes feel raw and bleeding. With the other, I see the nurturing that comes from their convictions. I understand the reasons behind their need to believe because it makes them better people.
Copyright 2014 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman