October 31, 2014

Grief on a Hallowed Eve

You’ll put it in a music box on the dresser
in the guest room where you only go to dust
or you’ll hide it in a milky white vase on the mantel
and not pay it attention when you light a fire sipping wine
but then you’ll walk past the guitar with the capo
your grandfather gifted you for no reason in his last year
the cherry wood dining table that was grandmother's
you drive by the burger joint where your dad said
you will be magnificent and you already are
you’ll walk on the hardwood floors your
mother said wouldn’t they look lovely if refinished
and they are but not before she died and so
the grief you carry cannot be hid long before it
jumps out at you a skeleton behind the front oak tree
on Halloween before all the saints are remembered
so just when you thought the day was ordinary and tearless
all these dead and the fragments of their holy lives
haunt and stir you to imagine your own dying day
every grief is here to stay, waiting, they just need you
like the dog to take them out and play with them a while

and let them entangle and wrestle and empty you again
so you have room for the dead to rise and fill you
with their wisdom only offered to those who pause to weep
and then your ghostly beloved and God with them
make your life hallowed again and spirit you through today

October 18, 2014


Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" They answered, "The emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." - Matthew 22:19-21

The unseen artist uses invisible inks and needles them
into you in patterns and colors and words that
work their way beneath the epidermis and dermis
right on through to the blood and the bone

and with electric impulse make their way to
nerve fiber and spine on up to the cerebellum
there your holy tattooed brand shapes visions
causes revelations of who and why you are and
notions of what you are inspired to do on this earth
with your body and mind, your money and heart
and seconds slipping by even now you count them down

swayed by the indelibility of your own extravagant worth
you resist spending your coins or bills or compassion or vigor
on the shenanigans of market gods and credit seductions
you repel from falling into the bloated trap of allegiance
to nation or munitions or religious tribe which will
take all you have to give until you have spent yourself empty
all of you, even the parts you meant to save for yourself

one marked and signified and summoned such as you
will spend the wealth of yourself as the artist does
pouring out costly love like blood meal on marigolds
inking life into the art of another soul expensive
living the artist’s dream of a gorgeously colored world
as yet only sketched on the canvas of our marvelous minds

October 11, 2014

Ready to Party

But when the king came in to see the guests, 
he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, 
'Friend, how did you get in here 
without a wedding robe?' 
And he was speechless. 
Then the king said to the attendants, 
'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him 
 into the outer darkness, 
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen. 
 - Matthew 22:11-14

Your parabolic outer darkness does not scare me off

O tough and craggy Jesus who pushes us harder than

milquetoast indulgent Jesus of our adolescent imaginations

Your vivid stereoscopes of weeping and gnashing teeth

do not intimidate us like some mob threats or politicians

pulling every parliamentary stunt to get what they want

How can you, Risen One, panic anyone who reads you well

who already knows the weighty black of outer darkness

who has cried all tears to dryness and ground teeth to nubs

The only thing left is your white robe offer at the party door

handed freely to all for the revelry of your love supreme

that slips on as easy as vintage wine trickles down the throat

only a frozen statue who never suffered would say no I will not

only a proud man who insisted on life on his own terms shuns it

only a woman who feared most to be out of style tosses it aside

but we who have tried life on our own terms for too long

who suffered every addiction and endless anxious days alone

we who are already naked wear it gladly to the feast of now

October 4, 2014


Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 
'The stone that the builders rejected 
has become the cornerstone; 
this was the Lord's doing, 
and it is amazing in our eyes'?
- Mathew 21:42

Was it Frank Lloyd Wright who said it was
just as desirable to build a chicken house as it was
a cathedral, and if so did he ever build a coop
that changed the world like the churches of
Falling Water or Robie House or the Guggenheim

my guess is no and so I’d say go for cathedrals
but don’t venerate or praise their immaculateness
they are like the building up of your soul or
your self if you could construct your temple self
you’ll need a decent plot of ground and a
foundation and a cornerstone to get started

and then there it is staring at you like the dog:
no matter your effort or fortitude or refutation
every stone you select for your ego project
will have a chip or be out of plumb or fissured
and skew every door and archway and spire
just hurting the eyeball enough that you will labor
long days anguishing over the faults and the cracks

your heart will sorrow that you never got it right
this blueprint and fabricating that is you and your
cathedral of St. Perfection, until you are moved
to kiss the stone you rejected, yours and God’s
the mortal flaws and unfinished structural promises
and call the chicken house of your ramshackle life
a basilica of the divine, an architecture of the holy