Monday, July 07, 2008

Genesis 22

Abraham, not play acting
but set on stage; flooded
in lighting and set in motion;
scripted and cued for us

for us to see beyond
the temple scrim to make
murky action bold, obvious and unavoidable

we, consumed in the scene
watch the mountain ascent
study closely, the boy's eyes
searching his father's face for understanding;
for direction, occupation

the fire and wood are here, but where
is the lamb?

oh sweet grief; oh sweet agreement
staged in bright faith
shining like the altar fire
glinting on a sharpened blade

in agreement, the aged binds the willing youth
and raises up the scepter death

but hold and wait and see
the glory of god revealed in Golgotha,
marked by a ram in a thicket
and the God who swears by none
greater than Himself

Portrait of a Man I've Only Read About

The common hours of the day
I see your Presence rise like starlight
in my child's eyes filled with laughter

In the mean moments of early morning
when discipline becomes the voice of mockery
I feel your Presence wrap my mind
in long-suffering, joyfilled approval
your smile resting with your Word on my forehead

In the Sunday morning hour
when everyone sits still, finally
I sing songs and hear stories of your Presence
the Presence who later today
will silence the Accuser

the Presence who will secure my home
as I open it to strangers
who will restore to me all I spend on those who cannot repay

who will strengthen my ill back
to bear up under my own burdens
and others' too; to love without agenda
or restraint

Monday, March 24, 2008

For Easter on January 20, 2008

My thinned-handed friend grasps and releases and grasps again a white tissue. Her ravaged eyes filled with hope; filled with tears.

My most improbable God
I see You now through eyes of scattered starlight.
Oh, most improbable, dependable name: El Shaddai,
of the Promise
whose existence means "It is accomplished."
whose command "be blameless"
set free my father, Abraham, my brother, David,
my mother, Rahab, and my ruined sister, Tamar.

Be blameless: confess the sin which is consistent and constant;
a curse: unshakable and denounced.

This confession, of a Sunday starry night under a searing full moon
shines a light--set in motion at the origin of time and hovered over the Light of the World
now waits; holding steady gaze and delivering uncovered grief of its fester.

She buries her head in her frail hands and grows in favor with God and among men.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

In view of March

my phone clicks into silence
the satellites push silver wings to face away
some direction where the horizon gradually embraces another cycle of sunlight

we've been talking for hours
literally chunks of time have evaporated
into personality and laughter...

and now that I'm in a quasi silence,
my soft, black cat purring into warmth,
pillow secure, sheet and blanket thick around my body

I think of one more thing...
to say to you
or to show you
or to hope you see

always one more... something.
I love that.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Pacific Room

In the stands at Wrigley, the wind brushed through
on a barker's voice carrying the flavor of hot dogs,
beer and cigars.

The far hedges drank up the outfield fence to the
sound of cracking bat and peanut shells; the sweep
of the crowd dusted with heartfelt profanity falling
like magic dust from three rows up.

The sun, shining rust and golden through ball park
chardonnay, leaked behind the sports bars and roof top
cafes; sneaked down to the pier where a thousand
little boats turned crimson. luffed; their full saild
bled a smart, lavender orange into rippled water.

The city woke beneath my 9th floor perch. The lights
of the Ferris wheel, impatient horns and the El
clack-clacking dripped under the doors onto paisley
lobby carpet.

Sounds and exhaustion chased me to the window,
shadows crossed my feet,
above Michigan avenue I watched blue and blue converging.

Between Black Balsam and Sam's Knob

Rippled in wind, the water stirs
pebbles releasing oxygenated secrets
whispers, passwords,
uncollected wisdom, panned out through miner's hands; unworthy
passed on down stream where feet to be washed hesitate at first
touch. touch of knowledge; discernment from centuries of movement
trees bend to this understanding, life force flow: direction
flow, follow,
harshly flowing mosaic: rock to dirt to sand

Jackson Pollack

I brought 3,000 pieces for a mosaic. Gold and twin laced together. Stucco shards and flakes of paint pasted. I placed them there with a hairline tip and spilled to make the finish. Garnet molasses buried bits of bone and muscle; fossilized in layers of wit and fuzzy pain. I cannot finish; I will never be removed. Gazing from alternating directions reveals picture and detail; complete and separate; working.

I will not lie to you

and tell you I am lofty purpose;
destined to see diamonds and pearls;
tell you I have the confidence of street preachers
that service is salvation or that I believe
myths and fables about the good life;
tell you I am complete

My Single Journey is a Homecoming

a place, destination unknown to me
mapped out before I knew of the existence of moving

I must trust this
or travel should not be
and the hurried answers of the rivers
should be only maxims of travel--removes
I am dragged along simply to learn
to be with nature: to be one or two or three
selves in the half light of half life.

I must trust this or I cannot move.
Stagnation is not security; it is stagnation.


Note: Written in 1998, this poem reflects memories of summers in Mississippi--Fourth of July celebrations and late nights at the lighted public tennis courts where all the bugs came to tan.

Just under the dew lies the heat of the day
stamped on the abdomens of carpenter ants.
Crickets push their fires in the early 4am
of human indifference. June bugs are
always early in April, toasted mild chocolate
rust from their mid-winter vacations.
They cling to our screens and shoe soles
waiting for a chance to show off the summer
they brought us. Gnats cluster in our breath
jumping in and out of shallow water
telling craw-dad cousins the early demise of
train track mud relatives.

Little legs carry anklets of tobacco spittle
away from coach-pitch bleachers
across the outfield to lay-cold slabs frying daily
10-5pm. Bed warmers for the horned, the hard shelled.


Notes: I wrote this poem in 2000 while living in a very cookie-cutter neighborhood.

I live in the Suburban Hell my brother speaks
so passionately against. Funny how he doesn't live anywhere.

People are separated only by a few brick walls and the uniqueness in their flower beds.
Blackeyed Susans, Peonies,
Zinnias, Marigolds, Goodness Grows Veronica...a purpley
flower that looks more mountains than
mulch born. It's pictured in
Better Homes and Gardens right next to the
Dropmore Catmint, a stunning yellow.
These are supposed to be powerhouse perennials, but basically
it's your choice of what will root: Petunias, Dahlia, Imaptients,
Chrysanthemums, Jasmine, Jonquils.

Well, I won't root.
Not here in the bermuda sod, shot-gun houses
where the only difference between
978 and 984 is the thickness of formality. Please don't
let your yippy mut run through my Miss Lingard Phlox
And Charlotte Lane is not for me because I don't plant.
Especially not the Goblin Blanket Flower.