(To be published in Oregon East 2014-15)
Your despair is quite improper!
At His Death and Pass Into Nirvana
However happy Heaven is
golden boulevards and pearls
do less for mortal cheeks
than handkerchiefs. In Dreams
The solemn Sunday bell shakes
Its dew-drop tears with tolls, dampened
By my distance from the locus
Of mournful calls to congregate.
I watch a watermill spill
its load of gold-frilled glacial pull
back to the blue,
your funeral, a jovial passel
of maracas, songs
and jungle-colored dress,
pass the camera’s eye and celebrate
the proper End for him who lived to mend
the fishing nets. Who can be sad?
an old man asks.
But in the background blurred
by shallow focus plane,
this daughter of the dead,
bank in my knees, cheeks
dappled by the spray
of golden peaks....
A Story Common to Man
(Published in Oregon East 2012-13)
What does that stone feel?
That one, there on the street,
a tiny blip on a concrete radar,
colored light as
the stone meets stone,
Maybe it wishes to be a slab
of sandstone making up the Egyptian
wonders of the world...
Moving the Couch
(Published in Oregon East 2013-14)
Turn that damn couch on its side. Maybe,
a bit more. Still, it’s just too wide!
Shift the head to the floor, shove,
push, shove some more. If all else fails
take out the screws holding the feet
and jam it hard. The cushions rip,
the doorframe splits...
For Pastor Wayne Pickens
Today kids climb our steeple stairs
But just find clanging bells.
And we’re to blame. One time,
I ate an apple, preaching
on the hypostatic states
to starving kids. I tossed
the pippin a stream
Half-eaten. I now know Jesus
wasn’t on that podium.
has our stain glass shattered?
scattered down our aisles,
across our dining halls,
inside our living rooms?
I just want to be done
from unbelievers’ soles. Instead,
I’d tend an orchard, pluck
golden gospels from the trees.
Nights, I’d pass in phone book registries
Searching for those kids’
home addresses. When I found one, I’d send
a single Autumn Gold
wrapped up in torn-
out Bible passages and creeds.
Call me, if you please, apologist
of Lucifer, the first distributor
of apples to the least of these.
We impart the words not taught by human wisdom but by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:13
When I first prayed
The Spirit said that Jesus Christ is Lord
God raised him from the dead
The Bible is the Word
And Evolution is absurd
You’re saved, it said
But Catholics aren’t, they’ll burn
Unless they quit their jobs and turn
To true Christians again
But then I prayed a second time
And Mormon Spirit warmed my loins
And said that Jesus visited
Nephite Americans and lives
In Salt Lake pining for the Jews
But then I prayed again and heard
My Spirit ruffle in a tree
A tree, you see!
My Atman in its leaves
Crawled with lady bugs
Sprawled with yellow spots
Which, it seems, were also me
But then I prayed again
And Buddha’s Spirit dharma’d in my ear
It’s all a freakin’ forest fire!
The trees and ladybugs ablaze
Coalescing piles of dust
Blown away to nothingness
So then I prayed a final time and Spirit swore
Iraq has nuclears
The sun is square
Snowflakes are similar
Santa Claus exists
And Christmas lights are colored sprites
People force to fly in chains
For holiday delight - It said
Stab mother with a spoon
And microwave my car
Into a mass of metal sparks
and blackened goo
And now I’m in this room confused
With padded walls and doors
Sitting in a centered chair
Praying again I fear
But just my lonely sentences
Dampened by the cushioned squares