April 27, 2013

Glory Comes in Love

When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."  - John 13:31-35

He drove the majestic boulevard
his onyx black Mercedes shining
his thoughts wandered from board room
to stock rise and then to cabernets with legs

his mind queried and raced and fumbled
searching for something in him
that could ascend and hover above the ground
and find its way to the infinite light

until his car stopped at the crash the death
the injured child the woeful mother
and he stooped and wiped blood and
took his laundered shirt to bandage

and swaddled the whole mess in his soul
and sat and cried with those who cried
and wiped the boy’s dirty feet
and in a thin drip of light saw the glory

April 16, 2013


At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, "I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one." - John 10:22-30

That wonderful aching moment with crippled Jimmy Stewart

camera zooming through the rear window at Raymond Burr

the apartment door opening and the battle and the flash,

but then a quick resolve and denouement and credits and black

Hitchcock held us protracted in that anxious splendor in the

pause where it could go one way or the other and we wonder

longer than we expected or understood or even desired

but then not long enough once it ended and all was clear

How long will you keep us in suspense they asked

and Jesus knew better than Hitch or Kubrick not to answer clearly

but to hold them, suspend them, in the mystery of who

and what and when and how the divine would come through the door

and when it comes, would it knock down and overcome

would it accuse and accost and imprison on an island

or would it shepherd and guide slowly, keeping us in suspense

for such long-held agonizing ecstasy that we don’t care if it ever ends

April 13, 2013

This Is That Poem

Thin slice the truffle like sepia cellophane
let it infuse your tongue with murky memory

of the humus and how it once held you wet and warm
of the Lagotto dog that sniffed and dug you out into light

its earthy flavor takes you to the unconscious forest
brings you back to the present dinner table blessing

mixes on your palate with bewildering vineyard wine
becomes an experience never had before by anyone ever

and never will have again in this universe and dimension
unless you can find the fungal words to sauté into a poem

April 9, 2013

Oh, To Be as Bad as Paul

 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 
 - Acts 9:1-8

You waited for your Damascus blinding flash
and all you got was tourist cameras and smartphones
capturing a wisp of history at the roadside marker

You waited to get knocked off your electric horse
and all you got was a circling carnival pony ride
when you were five and all was wonder and wow

You waited for your own scaly-eyed vision
of glory and all you got was a fall back to earth
and your highs were humbled like the poor’s dreams

You waited in the dark on the ground in dirt and dung
humility sucking you down deep like Tarzan’s quicksand
and then in giving up you were called by name and released

April 3, 2013

Order of St. Thomas

If we could just believe and oh we would
if we could put our fingers in the nail marks
hands in the spear-gashed side

work our way into him up to our elbows
and then a shoulder and a foot
and climb into his woundedness completely
peer through his eyes and see what it’s like
to walk this world resurrected and free
from death’s power to box you up with ribbon

live in his accomplishments safe in his flesh
inoculated from any future punctures and bleeding
nuzzle up to his soothing heartbeat lullaby

But we won’t get that, we won’t even get belief
we only have to walk the way of vulnerable love
and find him in every cut and broken bone

we will surrender as we keenly gaze
into our own open wounds and universal pain
and find his resurrection there inside us

And in our disbelief we will praise
in our mistrust we will worship
in our fear we will follow