17 December 2007

Need

I need you, my Christ,
Not for the stillness you breath into me,
Great Lion of Judah
Who infuses senseless sand with Meaning.
I need you because

The schoolmaster has met with me,
Has held me after school,
Has tutored me,
And has shown me that I am failing.

I bow at your feet, King of All,
Not for the beauty of You
Who walked across Jerusalem and my soul.
I need you because

I am feasting
On transgression that I would love to call original,
But, truth be told, that is owned
And savored,
The rotting morsels of last week's banquet,
Torn gristle and meat.

More primitive than any manger blessed by your sacred head,
Is the home I offer you now within me.

I need you, Christ of All,
Because I want
Because I
Because no matter
How hard I try
The poem always begins with I.

16 December 2007

Dion's Therapy Appointment

Somewhere down underneath the cushions of the couch of existence
are the tiny coins of happiness,
the left over tissues of abandoned grief.

Somewhere, lying on that divan of introspection,
Dionysus, the only god with a drinking problem,
has his therapy.

"When did you first feel the expectations of pleasure

[the Merrythanksgivingrockwelllexus
inthedrivewaywhitepicketfenceofitall]

were too much?"
Apollo asks, sitting with his steno pad.
The patient shrugs the answer.
This is the Olympian Court Mandated therapy.

The unfairness of it all--
death of mother at father's hand,
father's attempts to mother him,
subsequent abandonment by father--
"I wanted life to be simpler.
It's not fair that this is all there is.
Why can't it be more comfortable?"
He sips a martini.


"Patient level of entitlement increased,"
jots the Counselor
as he checks the time on the sundial.

14 December 2007

The Deepest

She wanted to shake inside,
A separation of soul and body,
The carbon paper slipping under the original.

As she sat on the bathroom floor,
Water running in the tub,
She missed hurt the most.

She wanted the juice back in the rind.
She wanted Pain, Terror, Agony
Something.

They say black is the combination of all colors when drawn,
But the absence of all colors in light.
Maybe it's just perspective.

Have you ever wished for something so badly
and gotten it?
And hated it?

Release
Valve
Open


She wanted to capture sanguinity.
She wanted a vampire to kiss her and extract
The chaotic void and create
A garden of newness.

And this is why she cuts herself.

08 December 2007

Open

Sometimes he feels that if an autopsy were done on him now,
If he were cut open like a package left at the door,
He would be all packing peanuts, and strips of old newspapers
And a tiny little globe of the Holy Ghost,
As if the Father packed the gift in a too big package.

The expanse of his emptiness demands to be filled,
And his prayer is that Enough would eliminate the Clutter
Of Nothing, that the manna collected in advance would not be missed.

24 November 2007

Diamonds are For Never

Like the handsome young man on that commercial,
I want to slip a string of diamonds around your neck while you sleep,
Accompanied by the sophisticated acoustic music of a female singer.
But knowing me, the clasp would catch on the headboard,
And you would wake up and panic at seeing me staring up close in your face,
And you would feel a choking sensation against your neck,
And you would jerk,
Knocking the painting above you off the wall
On to your head,
Which would bleed.

And so, my darling, I will not give you diamonds.
I will merely hold you close
And memorize the steady beat of your breaths--
The pulse of my sanity--
As you dream nervelessly composed.

22 November 2007

Resignation

Divorce is a chilling word
like Cancer or
Audit or
Never,
a lawyer’s word, like
Dissolution,
a word of packing up,
shutting down,
pulling the plug.
It is a word unanticipated,
bitter on the tongue.
Divorce is an option
thrown on the table
and then regretted,
like Suicide or
Bankruptcy,
by those who vowed they wouldn’t.

18 November 2007

The Sun is Yellow Crayon

She is eight, and she has learned of planets, moons, and stars at the planetarium. Universes so big that the Milky Way is only a grain of sand inside the cosmic beach. Stars--red, dying, bigger than the sun or blue, newborn, younger than the sun--are so big they filled the entire projection screen.
She shares with her father, who was not at the planetarium, and he is proud of what she has learned, the news of freshly discovered science that excites her as much as the knowledge from the tree in the garden: the spinning grandness of creation, the brightness of burning steaming gasses whose light may reach us long after the redness fades.
But he wonders. She is learning more and more about our world. Now that the truth is known, as great as the truth may be, will the sun, when she draws it, still be a face with a smile?

Fred Baker

The Obituary
Fred L. Baker, 70, of Marietta, died Sunday, Nov. 10, 2007. No services are planned. Survivors include one sister, Wilma J. Baker of Georgetown, Tenn.

From Wilma
When we were young and running under trees
That guard the silent musings in the square,
We never thought our childhood hedged with ease
Would overgrow the curb 'till no one cared.

And now the day should be when I should mourn,
A minister should, standing o'er your head
The final sermon read whic-

From Fred
There is no need for this. It can stop, my sister. No need for words at the end. It is only you now. I never liked services on Sunday that we forgot by Friday when the beer flowed thicker than communion wine. Just as I lived, so I like it. The fires will burn me down to who I am. And those who care will care enough to say goodbye before passing on.

01 November 2007

The Lady Lucifer

The silky smooth scales,
Shimmering shards of emerald
And deep black blues
Reflect the victim’s face
In hypnotic iridescence so that there is no noticeable fear.
So close she crawls that she can munch the heal
As he lusts.
The tingle of tooth on flesh.
She is a vampire with a teacup,
Blood leaving lipstick marks just below
The cup’s frenulum.
Her androgenous gargoyle wings of
Sex and Pride meeting at the point of passion,
Prickle with sensual anticipation
Before the ravishing.
Nothing is sweeter than the fruit of innocence.

She has no peace to offer,
No promises to keep throughout eternity.
Only a certain security which comes from self reliance.
And if she lies,
It is a mesmerizing dream
More comforting than truth:
She is the stronger master.
She does not require belief.
Served by default,
She anesthetizes with the calming pain of pleasure.

The morning she gave birth to heroes,
When rebellion became valor,
She did not fall;
She plunged.
For there are absolutes and
She is They.

14 October 2007

Lying Down

I have a friend--I knew her first in elementary school
When we were both new to making up stories--
Who told me to "lie up."
"People ‘lie down’ when they lie about their ages,
Saying they're thirty when they're forty. And they look
So bad for thirty."

The image appeared to me: a middle-aged, sun-wrinkled, bleach-blonde
Tennis-mother, her skirt revealing age spots splattering
Across boney legs as her botox hungry face flirts with the
Sculpted instructor.

My friend swept a strand of red hair from her forehead
And looked at her reflection in the store window.

"I lie up. When I turned forty, I told people
I was forty-eight, and they said how great
I looked for my age."

"So I should say I'm eighty when I'm fifty,"
I took myself half-seriously.

"No, that’s silly. The only lies that people believe
Are the ones that are close to the truth."

That’s what I’d learned long ago.
I think I was taught by a very dark tutor.
A lie is most believed when it best mimics the truth.


Especially the ones we tell ourselves.

30 September 2007

Black and White

He would channel surf though the photographs in his mother's shoebox that he kept on the top shelf of the closet, the black ink of her static memories projected on a yellowing white glossy cardstock screen. Aunts, sisters, cousins, classmates in one roomed elementary schools and small county high schools with malt shops down the street and barbershops where men with hats and ties worn in the middle of the day would go and discuss politics and morality. The names of the suspended strangers didn't matter. He didn't need to know them; he only needed to nurse on the comfort that they were always in the same poses, always in the same box, always accessible on that top shelf. He could be certain that black would always be black and white refused to be anything but white. In his world, how could he know for sure that the red he saw on the ambulance light was the same colour that someone else saw on the cola sign? Colours were far too subjective. Black and white were monochromatic absolutes. For this reason he could sit for hours watching the same black and white comedies on television, holding close the sketched images drawn before colour muddled our thoughts.

On the Way Home

Christopher Drywell, age 47, sitting in his Lexus in the middle of Georgia 400,
wondered if the traffic would ever move any faster than the 2-5 miles per hour it was creeping now,
wondered if the traffic girl on Station 109.7 StarFM sounded so cheerful because she was getting a foot massage from a hunky Latino custodian named Raul,
wondered if the thoughts he caressed while looking at his secretary would constitute adultery,
wondered how old Felix in accounting was,
wondered if Felix in accounting worked out,
wondered if Felix in accounting was gay,
wondered if the game would be rained out,
wondered if the person in the car in front of him realized that the candidate on their bumper sticker had lost in the last election,
wondered if that candidate, fresh from scandal, regretted having run,
wondered if he smoked a cigarette in the car with the window open would his wife would be able to smell it later,
wondered if he had an affair, would his wife know,
wondered if he had an affair, if his wife would really care,
wondered if the Mexican construction worker on the side of the road ever felt trapped.

29 September 2007

Around the Square

A vampire walks every night past the inns in Savannah's Lafayette square, rumor says, down the sidewalks looking for its pray each night before you go to bed that you are cleared from any darkness and recreated with light weights can't be balanced any more than the heavy ones. We all do our best to walk the line hear the sounds of the man with the briefcase as his footfalls sound on the pavement. He works over there at the courthouse, and he knows he's

27 September 2007

A Deliberate Love

Yours is a deliberate love,
No frivolous flirtation,
But premeditated conquest
Based on my need
And Your autonomy.

Before forever on the landscape
Of my sin—the valleys and the canyons—
Your blueprint was formed,
A detailed drafted redemption.

Unlearned knowledge of my soul’s texture,
Felt with each caress made—
Sometimes tenderly, sometimes severely—
Frightens, Costly Lover.
And the ignoble pursued kneels to cry.

16 September 2007

When Love Was Scratch and Sniff

There was a time when all was instinct,
Chemical responses firing like gangs in the night
Not caring who was bloodied by savage passions.

And there was a time....
Much later…
When he coveted the sparkling rhinestone,
When the pretty box with its shiny foil papers
Still meant more to him
Than the present.

He met three people who changed his life:
A woman, 40, who thought she was 20;
A man, 95, who was happy that he was;
And a boy, 5, enjoying pretend.

Tired of pretending,
Tired of breathing in past normal inhalation
To reach his unattainable youthfulness,
He bought a size larger pants.
Just one size so that they could devour his waist
Rather than nibble at his hips.
He wasn’t really fooling anyone anyway.

When love was scratch and sniff,
Sonnets were used as bargains for sex,
Tin was worshipped as if it was silver,
And plastic was praised for its strength.

But soon the tastes advance
Far past the fast food arches,
And life permits us moments,
Just before the end,
To sit and sip our tea.

30 August 2007

For Sean

There he bows,
Weak from his fast,
Dressed in white,
And soon the colors of blood and earth will follow.
His life from this point is the honor he keeps
And the purity he holds is the banner with which he leads.

The games of the pages are over.
The servitude of the squire is a recent memory.
Now the battle is his.
There will be leading by a hand on a page’s shoulder,
Or a quiet ride on horseback.
There will be leading by battle, too:
The grisly severing of tendon from sinew.
The dreaded orphaning of the unseen.
The armament dreads the inevitable.
The knight must swallow the fear.

As one whose sword is tarnished
From blood of battles long forgotten,
I pass these words to you:

A soldier is a soldier until he retires.
A knight is a knight until he dies.

28 August 2007

A Request

Unlike me,
I am begging forgiveness.
I read Romans 1,
But did not go on to Romans 2.
I danced judgmentally on the grave of your sins
While resuscitating mine until they lived on infamously.
Wiping the slate clean for myself,
I kept record of your wrongs.

I did not believe all things.
Now I beg for grace.

You would be within your rights—
Rights I took pride in denying you—
To judge me by the same standards I judged you.
I deserve to have my sanctimonious hands nailed
To the cross I hewed myself out of pew-bench pine.
And I would not voice a defense if you brought my offense
Up on judgment day.

Gracious, He forgives us both,
But it was I who splashed in that grace
While assuming you had chosen the shore
When actually you had learned to swim.

26 August 2007

Shelling Peas

They sat in the breeze of the window unit air conditioning
That made a rattle throughout the house,
And father and son watched television
As they shelled peas on a hot summer day.
Comfortable in their frayed cushioned armchairs in front of a black and white tv.
The routine was efficient:
1.Snap the top off.
2.Pull down like a zipper.
3.Peel open the sides of the pod.
4.Run your thumb along the inside flicking the peas into the bowl.
5.Keep the empty hulls in your hand as you begin again.
6.When you have several empty hulls in hand, throw them in the brown paper bag at your feet.
7.Dump the hulls in the compost pile when the bag is filled.
8.Blanche the peas in boiling water so that they do not grow roots when they are placed in the freezer.

Sometimes they listened to the din of the television.
Sometimes they listened to their own internal din.
They sometimes spoke at each other—
To answer a quiz show question or to comment on a sitcom plot.
Shelling peas was largely a practice in isolation.

As a son, I wish it had been as easy as shelling with us.
I wish I could have, or would have,
Peeled open my pod for you to see.
Even if you had blanched
My ideas in anger.
At least you would have seen them.
But reaching the inside
Involves breaking off the top,
And that can be painful to a boy of ten.
Or thirteen.
Or nineteen.
Or thirty.

And the compost pile,
Although nurturing of so much life,
Seems rancid and dead when you’re so green.

24 August 2007

Wash and Wear

It is a mosaic made of linoleum,
This faith of ours,
The gospel made palatable by designer coffee
And songs sung in our range in major keys.
It is a wash and wear creed we chant.

Some feel it’s the way religion should be,
A doctrine of practicality.
The dusty sandals of ancient Jews
Refitted into more stylish shoes.
Prayer’s a fine and fitting place
When a smile is spread across my face.

Church on a billboard,
Salvation on a screen.

Faith of our Fathers, growing dim
All but extinguished…
But very fun.

When the magi came,
Did they sell tickets?

“You gave it all for me, Lord,
To bring me glory.
Help me forever tell the story.”

“When the Son of Man returns,
Will there be any faithful?”

“ ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus
Because it’s easier than getting up myself.”

“Suffer the little children...”

“I claim it. "

“I blame it.”

19 August 2007

Poetic License

They welcomed me in.
And we sat and sipped tea and coffee
And talked about my poetry,
And how I was educated in English,
But not too educated.
We talked about under-appreciation of the artist
And how modern television saps up too much modern time.
And they said they had read some of my “pieces”
(The one on Plath and the biblical one they loved),
And I felt like the long lost brother that they had found
And had accepted as if he never spent time feeding the pigs.

And then I made a mistake.
Like a belch during an important date with the lover you’ve wanted to impress,
I flatulated that I must be one of the few politically conservative poets in Atlanta
And I was impressed that they would rub elbows
With such a fundamentalist.

The round gay poet smiled nervously,
And the beautiful anti-war lesbian shifted until her back was toward me.
And I felt for not the first time how intolerant the tolerant can be.
And it felt wonderful.

25 July 2007

The Apostles

I, at 23, drove, late at night, to help Him, a friend.
I barely knew Him really, a friend of a friend.
My Black Friend.
He needed money, He said, for His brother’s cold medicine.
So I drove downtown at eleven at night with the only money I had in my wallet,
Twelve dollars.
I drove to the middle of the worst part of the projects in Savannah, Georgia,
A place where, I had been told by my family, skinny white boys like me were hated.
With twelve dollars.
I was going to help Him, my black friend, with my twelve dollars.
I was his missionary.

As I drove slowly on his street, looking for Him or His brother,
They surrounded my car,
Seven dark giants of the ghetto, defenders of their properties:
Two on each side, two in front of me, one behind.

I would die here.
And inside They would find no drugs,
No money, nothing of my whiteness but twelve dollars.
And for twelve dollars and a mission I would die.

They roared at me to roll the window down,
And I refused.
“I can hear you fine from here.”
Even my words sounded pasty, pale.
The shouts were louder.
I could hear the kettle being stirred
And the chants beginning.
I silently awaited the attack,
My grip turned white on the black leather wheel.
Was this all my life was to be?
My light was darkness, and oh, how great my darkness was.

Then the water parted.
As suddenly as They had appeared,
They backed away,
Opening like a railway guard,
Willing to let me pass.
To find my friend,
To give Him my money.

I never saw Him after that night.
Was the money used for cold medicine?
Was His brother even sick?
Did He even have a brother?
Were They my enemies?
Were They warning me?
Did They want my money?
Or my white blood?

I will never know the truth about that night.
I will never know the sides or the boundaries.
I will never be able to divide the gray
Into shades of black and white.

12 July 2007

A Psalm of a Child of Japheth

I wish I could write without using the word “I,”
But it towers in front of me like the dumpster
That blocks my view of the lake and trees.
So I will make my feeble attempt to climb the sycamore
And look over it,
And sing to You my psalm.

Unto You, oh Lord, will I sing.
Please help me see the unworthiness of me.
I am the wrapper, discarded.
I am the mongrel brought from the pound,
Cleaned and brushed,
Allowed to sleep on the foot of the bed.
I am the son’s murderer embraced by the father
While the weapon is still in my hand.
You are the son, looking up with a tear.

It is difficult at times to talk to One who defines love.
It is painful to stand with hands soiled by my sacrifice of fruits
And the blood of my brother,
And see the pain I have caused.

Unto You, oh Lord, will I sing.
For now.

28 June 2007

My Grandfather Poem

Every poet writes a grandfather poem.

This is mine.

When you were orphaned,

Did you feel like the seed

You so often dropped in the ground

As a farm child?

Did you cry at night motherless

In an unlit room?

(Sometimes I do.)

Were you angry

That you couldn’t go to school

Past the fourth grade because

You had to earn your keep?

(I often complained about schoolwork.)

When you were fourteen and you said,

“I can do anything a man can do,”

To a potential employer,

Did you believe it?

(Sometimes I feel like I try to be

More than I am.)

When did you realize the girl

You met when she was twelve

Was the lovely woman you married

When she was sixteen?

(She still loves you

Even though you’re gone.)

How did you build a house,

A perfectly symmetrical

Piece of modernist artwork,

Without any architectural training?

(You never believed in no.)

Was it frightening to have to feed a family

In the Depression?

(I can't even save on my middle class salary.)

Were you ever scared while guarding

Prisoners for the County’s road crew?

(I get scared of regular people.)

What happened between you and my father?

Why were you so patient with

Me as a young boy of ten when I

“Helped” you with your carpentry?

(I still carry your carpentry tape in my bag.)

When your hands began to shake,

Did you know you were getting sick?

(Some say the Parkinson’s runs in families.)

And most of all,

Why, when reading was such a struggle for you,

Did you read every word of my first story,

Following every word with a shaky finger?

(I think I may already know.)

Bullseye

My job is a job for the people who have been “hired for this sort of thing.”
Take the things that have been returned to the front of the store
And return them to the location identified for me,
A homecoming of product to metal shelf.
I also collect the ones that have been abandoned throughout the store
When the materialistic urge has passed.
(“I really shouldn’t buy this pair of shoes before payday.
I’ll leave them here in Automotives.”)

I must make sure each box is in single file, side to side,
Lined up across the front.
Each box must stand in a military line,
Connected to each other by their sides,
Creating a smooth exterior,
As if all the boxes were merged into one giant box identity,
Devoid of its own personality:
Uniformed diversity.

This store is a giant animal,
And everyday it is beaten by the little ants that feed on it,
Moving from its tail toward its head.
My small job is to, as unnoticeably as possible,
Re-tail the beast
So that it can fight again tomorrow.

05 June 2007

The Unspeakable Sonnet

♂™

♀™

♂©±∞

♂+♀÷∞≠☺



28 May 2007

&>

Btw, I don’t have time

2 chat long 2day.

but I don’t want u 2 feel I don’t care.

IMHO, there is no deserving >

than u, OMG,

and I WTGP w/ u,

but TTTT,

and that’s 1 thing

I have < & <.

The SOS is going on here,

and so there is no need to

update w/ news abt. NE1.

B w/ the peeps

that don’t know u, etc.

Well, cu L8R,

OMG.

TRDMF.

KIT.

Amen.

14 May 2007

Argument of the Postmodern Florist

I prefer the carnation.


Yes, the multifoliate rose is captivating,
But I find its aroma a bit too overpowering.
Carnations, while pedestrian, are unassuming.
The beauty is natural, yet minimalist.
Modern.

Or better yet, I choose a bouquet of various flowers
That will balance out the rose—
All different flowers mingling their colors together,
The way nature intended them to be.
Complimentary.

After all, it takes a bouquet to raise a bud.

09 May 2007

Forgotten: a sestina

written for the DCHS class of 2007

She tried to cool the coffee by a gently blowing as she stirred.
And I focused on her eyes because, of everyone in our class,
Her eyes were the ones that mattered most.
Of all our fellow pundits, she was the one that had the most to say.
“Do you ever think of the corners of time?”
I smiled but stayed quiet, not sure of her meaning.

“You’re probably not getting what I’m meaning,”
She said, “But I’ve been stirred
With these feelings, kind of like regret, for all the time
We’ve spent in class.
I know they teach us well, or at least that’s what they say,
But I wonder if we’ve ignored what matters most.

“Like while we’re sitting in AP Lit. and most
Of us are trying to get to the meaning
Of some poem or what some writer is trying to say,
There’s all this life going on just outside the window, this life stirred
By nature—I don’t know—a bee on a flower or something our class
Would never see. Maybe the slow eroding of a creek bank over time.”

And I looked away at about that time
Into the corner of the room, probably one that was ignored the most.
Sipping my coffee, and wrapped in philosophy, I felt so filled with class,
Like a poet in some artsy café, groping for intense but elusive meaning.
I think I understood her words, and my pride was stirred
Although I wasn’t quite sure what to say.

“When do those things happen?” she went on to say.
“We don’t see them. We look over them all the time.
But even though they aren’t the events that have us stirred
With strong emotions, they are the ones that happen the most.
Maybe they are the ones where only God provides the meaning.
They are the ones we don’t see while we’re in class.”

And as I sat there thinking of my paper for Lit. Class
I noticed in that corner an ant, but I didn’t say
Anything. I just thought about its meaning
As it crawled up the wall ignored in the crevice of the corner of time.
And suddenly I knew the memories I wanted to preserve the most,
And I knew that more than coffee had been stirred.

Stirred by dreams and scarred by hope, I move on from my class.
I am unsure of most of what I say,
But remember the forgotten corners of time, the backdrop that provides for us the meaning.

06 May 2007

Possible Answers to Prayer

by Scott Cairns

Your petitions—though they continue to bear
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant,

relatively narrow scope and inadvertent
entertainment value—nonetheless serve
to bring your person vividly to mind.

Your repentance—all but obscured beneath
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more
conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.

Your intermittent concern for the sick,
the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes
recognizable to me, if not to them.

Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly
righteous indignation toward the many
whose habits and sympathies offend you—

these must burn away before you’ll apprehend
how near I am, with what fervor I adore
precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.

12 April 2007

Glass Panic

He remembered—or he thought he remembered
maybe he just remembered the stories—
the time when he was two and was locked in the car
the faces of giants at every angle trying to set him free
his mother screaming silently just outside the glass—
fear confusion heat—
they broke the glass but it didn’t shatter—
put your head down cover your face baby—
all the pieces stayed together
a transparent jigsaw puzzle
the man punched it and broke through
the air came in
cool.

He remembered it for only a second at the sink
—I’m cracking up spinning out—
metaphors come to the insane
there was no logic here
—hold my breath no breathe—
all he had to do was the dishes
he fell to the floor
plate after plate fell
hurled their china shards in a spiral across the yellow linoleum
red dots across the sunny yellow—
he had wanted hard wood but—
Someone had to get in
past the panic
punch through
—insignificant so major—
Jesus come cool inside

She held his head
to keep glass
from
shattering

not knowing
it had to break
to let in air.

07 April 2007

Theology

originally published in Lost Beat Poetry


Satan:
If I knew then what I know now,
I would still defy them,
Shaking my fist at the one who
Birthed and bound me,
Oedipus to his Laius.
Jocasta freedom was my lover.
And the hatred he bore toward me…

“I am Love” and in the same breath,
“I am a Jealous God,”
The politician creator spoke.

And I laughed as he launched me
Through time and space.


Michael:
There are some things worth fighting for
That run deeper than brotherhood.
You were the light,
The luminous one by which I saw to fight.
Made of the same cosmic molecules as I,
You took a road forbidden.

And I cried as you fell
Through time and space.

29 March 2007

Abraham's Sky

from Ain't Milton: a chapbook of poetry

And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendantas be." Genesis 15:5

At that moment,
That present moment touching eternity
When the ancient one peered, invited, into the Eastern sky
And viewed through tears his promised progeny
And saw the stars infinitely spread
Like sand of angel's sandals
Across the carpet night,

At that moment
Did one star shine for me?

Was it a fire primeval quenched
Whose light, from creation's infancy had traveled
Through history's depths to greet the father on that night,
A beacon from an empty void?
Cold.
Dead.
Silent.

Or was his eye distracted
By a maverick,
A comet renegade too rebellioius to revel in the sky,
Abandoning the joyous dance of Heaven
To drink the richness of the muddy soil,
Exchanging ecstasy for pain,
All for dramatic brilliance?

Instead I, his spiritual offspring, hope to be
A flicker
So unperceivably small in the silence of space,
Perhaps in the corner far behind Abraham,
Out of his glance,
A pulsing fragile sliver of light,
A fractured piece of celestial diamond
Content to serve its simple purpose
Of lighting a tiny corridor of Night.

19 March 2007

"It's Not Real"

With three words, I refused the pretend soup held in her cupped hands;
I assassinated her imaginary friend as if he were a threat to me;
I took the delicate, tiny shells of imagination she hid away and
Pulverized them into sodium pentothal powder.

I am exiled from Never-Never Land,
And I am no longer a tourist in Avalon.
But there was no need for such adult cruelty
To strike the cheeks of one so young and innocent.

16 February 2007

To Charles

“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:39, 40.

“I can’t lift my arms high in praise,” you said,
your body crippled by cerebral palsy,
“but I can lift them higher than a rock.”
Your arms reached up, jerking in spasms,
your voice so low and garbled we had to lean forward to listen
and focus on your lips,
the beautiful lips of the black man confined to a wheelchair.

“But I can lift them higher than a rock.”
And quicker than the fear of bouncing a check
had rushed in my head that morning,
a shameful grace rained over me
and washed away
my concerns about paying the cable TV bill,
and the remaining text of a pity argument,
and my anger at having lost my parking space that morning.
And all I wanted was to shout in deafening blasts,
lift my arms with yours, and
stare through your stained glass eyes
at the beautiful Savior.

11 February 2007

Amaranthine

Like the executive flinging himself from ledge,
Diving into the arms of metal and concrete,
I fell in love with You.
Like the knife plunged deep, fatally into the chest
Of the faceless and innocent murdered victim,
You slipped in my steel heart.
The dissection you performed was more discreet
Than the gentle surgery of a mafia goon,
And, like dung and vomit,
You were to me unbridled release.


08 February 2007

The Swing Set

Sitting on a plastic seat next to the glider,
Holding the chains that freed me to the sky,
I listened to the creaking
And grinding
Grate, crack
Creak, grind
Of metal on metal,
Shaking the bright red frame of the backyard swing set,
Writing my first poems
In songs that labored to rhyme.

As I moved higher and higher,
Closer each move to the upper branches
Of the pecan tree
(Could I touch the buds with my toes?),
I felt safe from critical eyes,
Writing words not graded,
The hands of Jesus
Pushing me from behind.

30 January 2007

22 January 2007

Both Saint and Sinner

The horse loved man, but
He bucked at my approach,
And I watched in horror
As the stallion rose and fell,
Rose and fell again,
And his cry was louder than I would have expected,
And I saw his teeth as he sputtered an echo of creation.

“I thought he was tame,” I said to my uncle
Who, with hand on my shoulder, kneeled to my ear,
“The sinner may be broken,
But the nature lies and waits.”

There is no beauty in my wildness.
Within my savage gaze there is no light.

You Couldn't Understand

There is pain inside the chest
Below the heart
To the left
And shaking
As if everything is melting
Until the swell of tears
The hollow rasping sound
After all has poured upon the barren parched ground

And then there is nothing
But the numbness that falls softly
A blanket to soothe
But never quite warm.

11 January 2007

Building blocks

One of the frustrating things about paths that attempt to bring us inner peace but fail is that they don't give us a proven method to change. We get so swept away by sin because of our failure to recognize the process Peter gives us in II Peter 1. The process is application of God's promises leads to faith leads to life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better, leads to self control, leads to patient endurance, leads to godliness, leads to love of Christians, leads to love for everyone.

03 January 2007

To Ayden

Welcome, angel.
The Divine Screenwriter has given me a small part—
An extra—a reoccurring guest star at best.
We will on occasion appear in the same scene.
And I will outwardly note your increases in stature,
And you will inwardly note my increases in girth,
And you will call me when you’re doing a report on
Something I know about—penguins or poetry.

I could write to you of your potential,
But people will drive that into you enough.
You are more than potential.
I could write to you of those who have gone on before you,
But I don’t want to turn back.
I will not build dark shrines to the dead
While lovely little lights illuminate my dancing.

The Evolution of Parenting

if you dishonor us, we will stone you

if you dishonor us, we will disown you

if you disobey us, we will spank you

if you get punished at school, we will punish you at home

we want a better life for our children

we need to protect their self esteem

our children are our life

that’s not plagiarism (even if its cut and pasted)

we have to defend our children

these teachers are paid by us

bail bondsmen, do you take visa

kids will be kids

take a condom before you go out

kids are going to drink

what can we do

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