August 2007


I.

Great city ravaged by choice
And hardened by election.
There once were high buildings.
The children played upon your stoops,
And in the evening:
A twilight call.
And hop-scotch ceased
and the pavement was littered
with jump rope.

And as the sun,
Glinting through the troughs and peaks
Of banks and apartments
And smoke stacks,
Fell to its rest beneath
Distant dales,
There was, perhaps, a prayer
Over spaghetti or
Potatoes.

II.

Great city fueled by progress,
Each breath a tower babel.
The high buildings overturned,
The children all chalk,
Ground to powder
In wheels of progress.
And a harsh wind howls
Past a bereaved mother.

And the Spirit of God moved
Upon the chaos as before,
Judgment executed by his creation.
And you, O City, stood on you back
in obstinacy
And refusal of your redemption.
And the Spirit found a spirit seed
with which to propagate himself.

In quaking wonder of starry sky
That yonder stellar scene I view!
Hast thou deigned this profane eye
Thy wondrous creation works pursue?
Shall my tainted senses sense
The gleaming gas from fingers spun
To make my body shake and wince?
O distant beauty! Distant suns!
My body is now tremulous!
The fear of God at last I know!
Divinity of righteousness!
Where from your spirit may I go?
No less Thy presence here than there
Indeed, thine image man dost bare!

More than mortal chrysalis
A shell to shed at trumpet blast
Thy incarnation hast placed emphasis
Upon its worth, and one day at last
My soul that seems to brim in fullness,
From Thy Spirit’s dwelling there,
Shall receive, free from its dullness,
A transformed body with which to share
An eternity upon an earth
Recreated from such scandal–
Physical picture of spiritual birth.
At last this flesh to not mishandle.
And with mine body thou hast deigned pure
I’ll touch Thy flesh love did procure.

(Prayer
Ad Hoc)
The way straight
Addison’s Walk
That Damascus Road
Where with grand giant’s gait,
Soon bereft of heavy load,
Walked one recalcitrant
Resistance untold
Went still kicking
Reluctant
Screaming
Free
That Gale
Rises Fast
“Myth is tall tale,”
Foolishness exposed
In leaves fluttering past
In this God’s breath interposed
Incarnation to see
Warm flesh that enclosed
Divinity.
This Moment
Finds
Twelve days
Pondering
‘Till joyful lays
Break clouds and split sky
Joy ceases his wandering
The God-Man hast drawn him nigh
Warrior’s armour lain
Found Imago Dei
Say all the rest
Say again
The word:
Joy
Express
Joy once again
God-head impress
My heart with this Joy
So consumed with my sin
I have resisted this joy
Enforcing my cheap own
Bereft of my joy
Spirit burn fresh
To be known!
My flesh
Yearns
Joy.

For very good reasons
reasons she did not know
she left
But he knew, could list them
and she, she spat but the bitter ends
of months of contemplation
on the cool wet concrete,
met only by her apologies,
for she had no reasons that she knew.
But he knew.
For very good reasons,
reasons she did not know,
but he knew the reasons
and sees now, years after in a cold room
see them now flickering
like ghost figures dancing on a granite wall,
her disruption to their courtship
no resolution,
a shock and revelation
of reasons he could no longer deny
but no demise of those reasons.
They haunt and linger,
In his own words,” Grotesque and silhouetted
on the cave wall of my thoughts.”

He will sometimes take a stroll
or drive in desperation
to where once they were happy,
where once the reasons
hid their truth behind what
they boldly asserted as love,
where once the reasons did not matter
for neither of them had them.
and when she had the reasons,
she to whom they did belong,
she, she did not see them.
And it was then that fires lit
and demons danced encircled
casting inky blotches that skipped
in time with flame.

And now this does not matter.
the reasons were not abstract,
or if so were borne from action,
action springing from a heart
that is still within his chest.
And so the demon shadows laugh
galavant around the cracking coals
gathering soot to smear upon his walls.
For when she had no reasons,
no reasons that she knew

He collected them and remembered them
as his own evil
his own repercussions
sprung from his own temple.
And now the demon dancers laugh
and excite the flames to leap
So these reasons thus now imaged
on his wall may stretch and grow.

we were out for smokes
in a hot van, no air,
the steamy mid-summer;
windows down and
cassete tapes
and radio
an old model
in a digital age.
no dollars, no sense,
save for sensitivity.

we were out for smokes
and the sun beat a blister
in cerulean skies
deeper blisters on skin
but the breeze
from the windows down
ruffled our long hair
and faint beards
and we heard the tapes
rattle through punctured speakers.

and there’s an old man
with a sign
(I can’t remember what it said
or if he really was old but)
the old man with a sign that
spoke of some plight
probably his own
invention or
at best
his own devising
however unintentional
some just desert
from lack of gumption,
motivation,
et cetera.

and we were out for smokes
but instinctively
the ratt-a-tat van
slowed
but there was honking
and I saw in my driver
something like pity
or God
In his eye
as he sped again and
a hundred yards down the highway
pulled in front of the tobacco store.

and I watched him
lifting from the seat
and patting at his backside
to check to see
if it was there.
and in the hot van
the window rolled but
the aid of breeze
no longer availing
I sweated as he
sweated more
jogging to the old man
by now out of sight.

I smoked one more and
thought of his Franciscan fervor
and then saw his figure rush once
more over the horizon.
and he went inside
and bought the cigarettes
and I don’t think we spoke
of his deed
but there were some
angels talking (I’m sure)
and God relished the story
with smiles.

I heard a snicker when I spoke of beauty
and the binding thread did tighten,
That joining strand
connecting the prophets
Bespoke your pity, understanding.

(And did you feel it?
The pull of tether?
When I was in the inclement weather,
the breeze cool and winding,
I a witness to wild surf?)

And were the thousand miles worn
between us gathered then stretched tight
when once I spoke
of beauty and heard the
quiet, breath-covered mock?

And when the sun
broke free of iron
–that water suspended, yet a heavy weight–
and shattered all the weather
all at once to tighten tether,

then at once did you sense
that great, green grid-work,
did fabric lift?

And did Isaiah and Ezekiel
feel the common pull like we?
(Wheels in wheels and
dragon heads,
living bones from
dry ones dead!)

I must lie down now on my bed
And pray these visions for your pen.

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