November 27, 2013

Hope Is a Blue Note

Hope is a blue note on a jazz-worn clarinet a chromatic

piano chord dissonant and handsome a minor modal

song sung diaphragmatically strong a silence between

hymn and homiletic puzzling it holds the day in

a miter-cornered frame setting off the eyes of the

hopeful like sapphires hope is a run on sentence waiting

for some punctuation to signify an end or a pause

or an unknowing or an exclamation of what is yet to come that

is better or beautiful or at least makes what is now worth

the long, melodic, sorrowful, endless, wonderful wait

November 20, 2013

Reign On Me

Sweet strong sovereign of mercy
interfering with all rulers and their ruins
crushing every hegemony with fierce peace
holding sway from your throne in the gutter

gently ruining every strategic move I plotted
to start a coup and run my own country
with a self-appointed cabinet of narcissism
and my weakling high chair tyrant whine

you are the one arch reigning over us all
that does not crumble or fail or condescend
but kindly breaks what must be broken
and muscularly blesses what needs blessing

November 7, 2013

Iron Pen

O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
- Job 19:23-27 


If my words were acidic enough to etch a metal plate
I could weld it to a skyscraper antenna and each letter would soar

If my pen were iron and everything I wrote were inscribed
into the stone surface of this earth even after I’m beneath it

If the photons entering your eye just now could burn-in this line
and your cerebellum would remember me after I’m forgettable

But nothing I author into the universe will survive the curve
of the earth around the sun more than a time or two beyond me

And none of my juxtapositions will remain juxtaposed but toppled
and every insight I have known will spill into the black coffee swirl of time

All that will endure of me is the infinite already in me groping to find a way
through me into the small portal of this day or your eye or some soul’s wound

So let this liquid fountain pen or these soft flesh fingertips do their temporal work
and this erasable life rejoice in the one who writes me speechless and eternal

November 2, 2013

The Dead

The dead do not walk and ravage flesh and trample
do not haunt us into mimicking their traditions
and repeating their creeds until our numb tongues
stop tasting spice and heat and sour and now

The dead do not sit impatient judging us from next Thursday
or from some ill-calculated millennial crashing horizon
wondering if we will ever figure it out and solve the puzzle
as well as they did in their spurt of energized entropy on earth

The dead sing to us their layered madrigals of mettle
that we will listen to their small triumphs of concrete love
and sympathize with their incarnate suffering without verdict
welcoming what shards of their wisdom survived modernity

These holy ones draw us into the future with silk string tugs
urging us to feel the gentle pull even now in this still and stuck day
swamping our hearts with this one mystery that floods us all
the finite bears the infinite, even their and our wrecked finitudes

So on this point the Bible is surely wrong about the future
that there will be no more tears in the holy city
their eyes water the river of life with joy overflowing
as they sit with us already sipping wine on the downtown shore