January 31, 2013

Oh Boy Jeremiah

Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." But the LORD said to me,
"Do not say, 'I am only a boy';
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the LORD."
Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me,
"Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant."
 - Jeremiah 1:4-10

He heard a voice that only men hear when ears open
put down his blue light saber removed his holster and belt

disassembled his Lego kingdom castle
and retired his knights and horses and trebuchet

boxed up the green Army men with frozen pea faces
and decommissioned the generals and their monochrome medals

put his red-tipped pistol in the garbage with the Mountain Dew
and tossed the paper-tape caps and plasticized badge

the boy heeded his interior for the first time and convulsed
at the call to be strong in word and muscle and heart and will

the yearning to do holy things for magnanimous purposes
and drop pretense and armor and put his own flesh on

he looked at his father’s leathered hands
his uncle’s gray hair and grandfather’s worn out body

he weighed the heft of work ahead against the helium frivolity 
of youth and so he said to the Spirit that haunted him

oh boy, he said, it looks too hard for this boy
and the Spirit said to the one naked without toys, oh man

January 26, 2013


Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
     to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Yes, you can look back at all the clouded midnights

and the miserable poor who overflow

the urban cups of containment

and the blind and lame and deaf who

bump and toddle along next to all the

eyes and legs and ears never scarred

and sob for past imprisonments that cannot be redeemed

Yes, you can look ahead to the dreamy day

when all is well and all shall be well

and the present day hipster cynic

will be crushed by joy and released from dire irony

and then sit there and grieve the time gorge

between then and this sorry now

and fall into the groove of post-everything sarcasm

Or, you can look into now and see the glory

hidden in the cracks and fissures of reality

a paucity of light, yes, but still seeping through

glory in the poor who manufacture joy from nothing

glory in the blind who make their way just fine thank you

glory in the deaf who make tacit words you wish you could hear

glory in the locked up who discover inner sovereignty

glory in the one word spoken you’ve never wagered on

today is the day and liberation is now

and not even your ferocious doubt

or lingering melancholia can disable it

but your surrender to its unmitigated truth

collapses all of time into this eternal munificent is

January 8, 2013

On Taking the Watery Plunge

you could dig yourself a smooth-edged open grave
or find the garden for your eventual scattering
and place a chiseled stone or etched plaque there
with your name and birth date and a dash
then you could visit this truthspace when your ego’s adrift or
every day even and touch your dimensional name
maybe make a rubbing with black crayon and charcoal paper
say hello to your once and future self
being gentle with what was which is still yet to be
and giving thanks for what is and has now slipped away
or you could find a pool,
a river, an ocean
and plunge
yourself in,
or rather
be plunged
by mystery’s invitation
and drown to yourself today and breath under water this future
living now into tomorrow what already was not yet
free from your intestinal fear at the very first shovel of dirt
and contemplation of your underground sepulcher
or the sight of the flower in the garden
that grows blue from the minerals in your bones