May 31, 2013


After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us." And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and the slave does it." When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
- Luke 7:1-10

If someone said: dip a thin litmus strip into a beaker
full of a spinning alcohol distillation of you

would it satisfy a judging of your acerbic self
would it prove anything about the whether

and if of your life and your place in this spiral galaxy
and how close you are permitted to spin toward holiness

could someone send your DNA off to a sterile lab in Quantico
and decode your worth and potential and inevitable cause of death

maybe a hidden camera somewhere is scanning your retina
looking for some reason to let you in the door or rather not

To hell with it all: stand in the free wind and breathe in from
your diaphragm and let the whirl of oxygen redden your blood

chant in ancient melody lines that you exist without apology
or regret and you are foreign to nothing not even God

so offer your healing matchless praise with primitive abandon
while you still have breath and song and mind in space and time

May 23, 2013

Ease of Mystery

not that it is hard as calculus or Rubik’s Cube
but it is easier than thinking itself

not that you must own it or master it
but it contains you within itself generously

not that you can bottle it like spring water
but you walk through it like forest mist

not that you can keep it safe from adulteration
but you let it unlock you into the mess of life

not that you can doctrinize and ontologize it
but you sing its praises in harmony and unity

not that you can teach it like Cartesian philosophy
but you look at it together like the Chicago Chagall

not that it is work for you to do before or after faith
but you climb on it like playground monkey bars

not that it is hidden in a wartime cipher
but it is the peace of this tacit knowing

May 14, 2013

God Stuck Her Tongue Out

God stuck her tongue out at the church
and we grabbed hold of the budded thing
and started flapping it around the neighborhood
like a swimming pool noodle or downy pillow
and before we knew it we were speaking things
we never bothered to dream or wonder
held our tight lips taught when we ever felt them
and yet there they were waggling out:

welcome, stranger, into the fold of mercy
now you are called brother, sister, friend

gather round, immigrants, we speak your language,
no one will shun your accent or poverty here

dance your way through the door, lost ones
and teach us your wild moves and we will teach ours

stroll in you wounded souls and skins
and let us wrap and kiss your pain to healing

make room, settled ones, for the wave is surging
and it will unsettle your closed-mouth silence

nothing, not even our provincial proclivities
can stop these mouths from sputtering
words of grace that blow open any door
any wall any blue law Sunday limitations
on what Spirit can do when set free to
tousle the world’s hair
until love has swept us all away

May 8, 2013

Unity Complex

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." - John 17:20-26

One can be the singular one
or it can be arithmetically generous
a trillion divided by itself held as fraction

this unity you pray for is it
a lock-step compliance, an orthodoxy
the twentieth century hegemonic earthquake

is it school uniforms and khakis
blue polos and neckerchiefs tied just so
sneakers with white socks pulled up

or is it a complex of color differentiated
a polyrhythmic dance, a tango
of entanglement and then release

collect us all in your manifold arms
and let us be just what we are and
find unity only in your love which is you

May 3, 2013

Did You Dream Tonight

Did you dream tonight and
if you did was it good was it holy
was it light and love in one colored vision
did the woven blanket wrap around you
like your entranced embrace in your REM cycle

or did you dream of earthquakes and bombs
heartache and disease and abandonment
a boy in the dry dirt thinner than straw
a girl alone on a honking city street island
a falling without flying that never ends

Did you feed your voracious mind
with blackness and gunshot and
the worst of yourself projected on screens
all the obvious waste of human living
like Tator Tots tossed in the mouth
without tasting beyond salt and fat
without nourishing any part of your hungry self

Or did you suckle on the milk of the soul
the new Jerusalem coming down a miasma
and lifting to unveil the community and canon song
and humble looks in another’s eye that says
we are in this together to stumble along
until we watch each other die and our grandchildren
bury us and remember us with gentle yearning
that we loved and we dreamed of love
and the reveries we had in the long nights of unknowing
were good and were always drawing us
toward God’s dream into which we shall all awake