Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday of Holy Week

Wednesday of Holy Week

There is in our times
a certain fascination with Judas
but like father to the son
the fascination betrays an understanding of
and a close identification with
his mind’s machinations
and his political philosophy.

And like son of his father
Judas still sells out to our fascination
with power and money.

Ah but that strikes close to home
sits at the very table with us
dips its hand into the same dish.
No wonder
we place him so often on the pedestal
albeit a sinner’s pedestal
take such pains to maintain his infamy
while we court the pleasures daily
of money and power.

Our true and loyal disciples attend
to the left of us
financial security
golden passbooks
life insurance
pension plans
credit cards
and to the right of us
spheres of influence
public mandates
democratic processes
and the sons of thunder
national security
and executive privilege.

We gorge ourselves on our fantasies
of deliverance from slavery
never mind the forty years wandering
in the desert of our jobs
before the promised land
of social security.

Still
little old Judas runs around
with his bag of money
reminding us all that we have our price
and pay the price
for courting the pleasures of power and money.

But the good news comes cheap
the early church
understood Judas as part of the solution
told before their times
the promise of betrayal.
They built communes against his memory
shared their wealth across national lines
they drew lots to flesh out his absence
withstood the oxymoron of free elections
and free power
giving it to anyone at all
instead of those who want it most.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday of Holy Week

Tuesday of Holy Week

He saw his dream
like smoke blowing in a thundershower
like windows crying
then he fell asleep.

The haunting pull of death
the knotted cord
his life obstructs the vision
standing in the flow of history
dismembered
bodiless and out of joint
then he fell asleep again.

He woke to the para-world
of daylight salvation time
where dreams unmake the man
and the war to end all wars
is fought in the shadow of need.
He marched in his own funeral parade
while the smoke blew
and the thundershowers washed the dirt
off the thumbs-down
double-fisted streets.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday of Holy Week

Monday of Holy Week

It’s the long stretch into it
the thought of all those calendars
still in the mind of God
like unborn children
waiting to be called forth in love and trust
and into flesh and blood.

Life’s call that pulls you
won’t let you sleep
for the loneliness that you can’t run from anymore
Jesus!

To be with your Father
to love and suffer
ache and wander off by yourself to the high places
the holy mountains
and back again
where the crowds devour you
and crucify a man
whose life already has been given.

Love the man says
love is the long stretch
the crazy hope
the pain and the scream
the loneliness
the life already given
hanging there by nails.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

You wave
and some will see it as hello
this farewell tour
this good-bye grand parade
down the main street of mankind’s hope
this ticker-tape and circus-wagon passage
through the graveyard of messianism
watching puppets dance along the curcb
skeleton’s of dogma rattling their well-rehearsed refrains.

You say hello
and they say good-bye
strangely silent empty eyes
washed in tears
hands
and heartbeats.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Saturday after Passion Sunday

I'm going to deviate from the pattern here, because the post is just too long. You'll see the "click here" message at the bottom of this post. It will take you to the poem.

Okay, this was written in my "Western plains" period. I think this was after two driving trips from Wisconsin to California and one hitchhiking trip to Alaska and back, in the space of two or three years, in the middle 70's. I had done it once before, in the early 60's; but that had all but faded from memory. For someone growing up in the confined spaces of Midwest, and going to school in the more confined spaces of the East coast, the wide openness was startling--not just the big sky, but the big, far horizon. If you've been reading all the poems, you will have run across some of this imagery already. Here it all but takes over.

As for the content! Well, it's still with me: the dark side.

Anyhow---
Click here to download the poem.

Friday after Passion Sunday

Friday after Passion Sunday

The Trinity argues
against the logic of destiny
it is no more mysterious
than human existence.

Ocham’s razor dulls
on the bearded wisdom of life:
the rich grayness of flowering death
defies the laws of entropy.

Even God does not live alone
in the solitude of necessity:
life enters on itself
and names the meeting a person
persons are the only true mirrors
of other persons
and move is the medium
through which the vision passes.

The Trinity argues a priori
against the flow of life:
there is oneness
in life meeting itself
born within and without.

To believe in the Trinity
is to see that all of life is one
when it encounters the other as itself:
suffering
it suffers
imprisoned
it imprisons
loving
it loves
dying
it lives
living
it flowers
flowering
it is one.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday after Passion Sunday

Thursday after Passion Sunday

Like Marx standing Hegel on his head
in the greatest show on earth
passages of Scripture
balance before the taskmasters of prejudice
displaying their many talents
crowd-pleasers all of them
they are paraded ‘round the ring
following the tail-end of prior arguments.

To wit:
“Whoever does not want to work
is not allowed to eat,” writes Paul
to the Church at Thessalonia
and continues
justifying his stance:
“We say this because we hear
that there are some people among you
who live lazy lives
who do nothing
except meddle in other people’s business.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
we command these people and warn them
they must lead orderly lives
and work to earn their own living.”

This poor beast of burden bible quote
has been carrying the load of free enterprise capitalism
for centuries too long
walked across the water with Captain John he did
clothed in the puritan ethic
and browsed once at the first Thanksgiving feast
sent stampeding wildly through welfare lines he was
trampling on the poor and crippled
children and aged—
what we were and will be the bane of life’s entrepreneurs.

But he will work as well
for those who suffer under the scourge of life’s lot
the poor
who have always borne the burden
that the rich are
who do not work
who live lazy lives
who do nothing
except meddle in other people’s business
for whom we must slave’by paying high taxes
high utility rates
exorbitant rents
the rich are more of a burden
than the poor.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday after Passion Sunday

Wednesday after Passion Sunday

Statues draped in purple cloth
crucifixes covered
plaster people shrouded in veils
of an ancient and dim past
here in the church they stand
looking like next year’s models
brand new man and brand new woman
new creation waiting to be unveiled.

Underneath that purple cloth
is written the record of a glorious past
of a time when God’s very love walked among us
touching souls of flesh and blood people
of a time when signs and miracles abounded
wine flowed at wedding feasts
loaves and fishes filled the hearts and stomachs of hungry people
blind men saw the look of love on a stranger’s face
cripples walked and even danced their thank you
to the startled crowds.

It was there once
all of it alive
shaking the universe to its core.
Covered now
hidden from our eyes
it is quiet here
and the silence speaks of many things.

We are all of us shrouded in that purple cloth
all of us simply plaster people
covered with the weariness of winter
wearing 40 days of dust and ashes on our souls
frozen in our ancient shopworn ways
of doing and undoing things
stiff and proper looking neither right nor left
unwound wooden soldiers of Christ.

It is quiet in the world now
here within this purple haze
one can even here stomachs growling in Appalachia
hear children screaming
as the napalm spreads its fiery breath
running along the ground
listen closely very
hear the atoms splitting on the warheads.

It is quiet here in the church
one can also hear the spirit
stirring in the depths
the mighty spirit breathing life into all of us
that we can be those next year’s models
brand new man and brand new woman
new creation risen from the dead
signs of life and love
into a world preoccupied with death.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday after Passion Sunday

Tuesday after Passion Sunday

Well
the story is very much down to earth
and up to snuff
floats there in the timeless expanse
between a man and a woman
between faithfulness and infidelity
between love and hate and cheating.

A marriage counselor’s nightmare
what to do about the wanderings of wayward souls
lusting after the thrill of an affair
discreet or otherwise?

The story is as old as a thousand television shows
a hundred thousand paperbacks
a million graffiti on bathroom walls
hack writers still make money on it
so do divorce lawyers.
God doesn’t make any money
those who love usually don’t.

Well
mercy wins
mercy beats out justice
and all the theological divorce lawyers can go home
pack up all their case books
settlement alimony schemes and go home
hack writers can unplug their electric typewriter minds
throw away their carbon-copy plots and go home.

Yahweh God never bought a round in the Last Chance Saloon
he belongs to Lovers Anonymous.
Yahweh God knows with all his heart and mind and soul
the terrible addiction of one more chance
he has seen us all
morning after morning
pouring ourselves another chance.

Mercy is Yahweh God’s lover
and justice the prostitute of Hosea
the two become one flesh.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday after Passion Sunday

Monday after Passion Sunday

Watch the way the wild lilies grow
all the time-lapse living
sitting out there on the flower garden edge of life
to look at beauty is to touch the other side
to see creation’s evolutionary spasms crystallize
and time stand still and quiet in the daylight mist
breath held in your hand
morning after morning after nights
in which you betrayed the fragile tenderness of life
and crushed the blossoms petals tossing side to side
record band to record band
where have all the flowers gone
long time passing…

Watch the way the wild lilies grow
feeding on the bodies
feeding on the dust of someone else’s dreams
the broken bodies
the blood that has fertilized the earth
all the time-lapse living and dying
lily tombstones dot the hillsides
cover plains
wild lilies feed on wild dreams
and beauty grows amid the ugliness of life and death
and Jesus says to watch.

I have watched the wild lilies grow
just like Jesus I have watched
flower children springing up across the land
wild blooming in the deserts
wandering through ghost towns
parading around the Pentegon
gone to soldiers everyone
when will they ever learn…

Jesus says
take a look at the birds of the sky
singing to all of us reaping
on the fence
like a bird on the wire
I have tried in my way to be free
all the time-lapse living and dying
behold the faded yellow still-life pictures
lily tombstones
birds on the wire-fence
slow-motion yearbook
lifebook
autographed by Jesus
Roses are red
Violets are violet…

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Sunday of the Passion--Passion Sunday

First Sunday of the Passion—Passion Sunday

To sit down after a hard day’s night
thirty years on the circuit
washed up
Jesus
hung up there
too far from fifty to last it out
stoned.

Just to be able to sit down
kick off the shoes
feet sweating on a cool floor
free
to be able to walk on the earth
let the sand run between your toes
to touch Abraham in the open fields
leave your footprints in the promised land.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Saturday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Sometimes I feel like Godot
I mean on the other side of waiting
standing in the wings
watching the chosen people
behind closed doors
waiting for the end which is the beginning
which is a new life.

You were there also
I saw you around the edges.

And sometimes it was waiting with Godot
you and I and a tree
I felt like Adam
but I wasn’t going to say
we have cried in the waiting rooms of life
beneath the weight of a thousand sorry eyes
we have stood at the foot of history
as it stretched out its arms
to embrace the future maybe tomorrow.

We may whatever we dare to hope
circumscribe all our sorrows in a dream
throw a kiss to the lions
sure the tears and floodwaters
undermine the vision mostly.

But he who walks upon the waters is coming
come Lord Jesus
come.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Friday, the Fourth Week of Lent

PAUL:
[What would you do] if I broke out of jail
would you stand up and walk out on me
lend me your keys
and I’ll show you around.
Perhaps I should introduce myself
Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will
I was knocked off my ass
most people think it was a horse I was riding—
I was riding the wave of the silent majority
the unbridled apathy I could harness
saddle ride the winds
I wanted the whole bit.
I could verbalize their silence
they swallowed all my boasts
we ate each others’ hearts
some of us sold our souls for the people’s mandate
our mission: to search out and destroy
smash the Jesus freaks.
But I flipped out in the hot sun
sprawled across the desert blind
saw visions
heard voices
the whole trip reminded me of…

DIETRICH
[the whole trip reminded me of]
the journey to Jerusalem
just couldn’t stay away—Jesus—
the fatherland is my German shepherd—
and Dietrich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer is my name.
I get by with a little help from
my jailers
my memories
my education
my lawyer
pencils
scraps of paper
envelopes
anything larger than the head of a pin
can hold the wisdom of all times:
we are all prisoners sitting on death row.
I sat two years
protected from the madmen
from Hitler Goering Eichmann
then the storm troopers broke into the cell
they built themselves.
It was not a matter of amnesty…

MARTIN
[It was not a matter of amnesty]
or pardon someone said
if you blacks waited two hundred years
you could wait another twenty
we don’t want to move too fast
look at how far we’ve come already.
Martin Luther King here
I have come all the way from
the dark continent of your heart
played the clown at one night stands
of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
fought the rednecks
white liberals
blue meanies
on street corners at school house gates
you name it scars and stripes forever
in Montgomery Birmingham Chicago.
What else could I do
someone has to take out the garbage
so I went to help the garbage collectors.
Nobody loves the man who collects…

JESUS
[Nobody loves the man who collects]
the taxes are the sign and wonder
of an occupied territory
love your jailers
be good to those who take the 20%.
I am the Christ
I am the one who knocked Paul off his
asked Dietrich to stand up to Hitler
mananged to get Martin to sit down
helped all three to escape into prison
for there are no taxes there:
the rooms are free
and so are the occupants.
Besides: I needed time to talk to them alone
they were always so busy.
“I go now to prepare a place for you
I will come back and take you to myself
so that you will be where I am.
You know how to get to the place
where I am going.”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Thursday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Up against the wall Mother Church
waving your Standard Oil credit card
American flag and your Bible
pulling the lever that plugs you into the system
short circuit and all
sterilized for another four years.

You I love you because
God created the world
isn’t that strange
that I should love you because of that
the sun and moon and stars and dust
and a breath of fresh air giving life-giving air
wide open God left himself
and we gag on a diet of color TV dinners
and air-conditioned air
America you are beautiful
do you know you have made uncreation
your most treasured heritage
some of you have even gone so far
as to order law and order and uncreation
try it with Mom’s apple pie in the sky
off the tree off the wall
in the empty arena of the national past-time
God is the home team
standing up for the seventh-day stretch.

You I love you because
the the stone-hard-hearted law shattered
smashed in the confrontation with the golden calf
and your people were saved from choosing between
idolaltry of calf and idolatry of law
wide open God left himself
and in the wide-openness in the land without idols
wandering in the desert the gutted frustration
forty years a wandering god on a free no-home trial
portable god and solid no-state people
at his service call.

You I love you because
the angels finally got off their pinheads
letting the spirit of Yahweh escape
no longer fixed to the world by the cross
perhaps on a good day to crawl away or even fly
above the smog and small talk
that leaves a film of dust upon our souls
and burns our eyes red
white and blue gets into our joints.

America and Mother Church
joined in a civil ceremony
walking off into the sunset
you I love you because.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Wednesday, the Fourth Week of Lent

“Listen to the dream I had”
Joseph said to his brothers
and because of his dreams
they hated him the more.

“I had another dream.”
So his brothers envied him
they plotted to kill him
they said to one another
“Here comes the dreamer
let us kill him
then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams.”

The dreams of Joseph
gush like uncapped wells
from the sandbox of our children’s children
the coat of Jospeh’s many-colored dreams
haunts the bounty of our age.
The lands of plenty consume greed
hoarding it against the promise of surplus dreams.

Somewhere in the future
the milk and honey refuse of our times
like Joseph rescued from the well
will welcome us into a foreign land
bid us settle down
and slowly bind us
to the inevitability of slavery.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Tuesday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Who else would have the nerve
shot up with the hypostatic union
Jesus talking about children
parading a child into the midst of our aging
where time is running out on all of us
and everyone is waiting
for the waiting to stop
here Jesus talks about welcoming children.

Ah but we are all of us children
transfixed
crucifixed perhaps on the cross of middle age
run out of questions
before we have run out of answers
and we hoard the latter
against the final question: death,

There are children standing in our midst
standing right inside our tired wrinkled skins
welcome thechild
you are.

Wait no longer
for we are the spirit come and poured out
strong like a driving wind
we are tongues of fire
shaking and burning
celebrating for all the waiting captives
locked inside the house called America
still alive
after all the betrayals and crucifixions
still alive
after all the answers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Monday, the Fourth Week of Lent

Like the sword of Solomon
wisdom courts death
like the final move
in a cosmic game of chance
it hangs
tantalizing our consciousness.

We wait inside our stomachs
children to the future
smitten in two
by the judgment of wisdom
we are life’s alternative
to being born out of time
and smothered in the restless sleep of death.

Wisdom is God’s trump
in the hand of life
the one-eyed knave
who sees the single solitary hope
against the fairness
and equality of death.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday of Lent

The magic word is love
love is quicker than the eye
love’s eye is a growling stomach
and an empty heart
love’s heart is stale bread and dried fish
and the leftovers are saved
all the leftovers of love collected
lest they perish and the hunger come again
basketsful
fragments
broken hearts
tears
Bayer aspirin bottles
ashes on the hearth.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday, the Third Week of Lent

Saturday, the Third Week of Lent

Some days it’s just hard to hope
harder than to hate.

The hangman waits with mail order justice
the funny thing is it arrives with postage due
someone has to pay.
The occupant is Jesus starving cold and thirsty
and he has to pay again.

Years ago
when they buried flesh and bones and blood
of this man called Jesus
he rose a god.
This god-ghost haunts the empty houses
hangs out in national monuments
hangs in art galleries
stands on street corners
and occasionally skips Mass on Sundays
to care for one of his brothers.
But no one misses him.

Some days it’s just hard to hope
because maybe you’ve never hoped before
and it feels like despair now
to hope at a time like this
when there’s nothing else to do.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday, the Third Week of Lent

Friday, the Third Week of Lent

We have all played the scene a thousand times
weary afternoon ice rattling in our glasses
teasing bull sessions into night
we touch all the vital issues
watergation
winflation
holynation
spacestation.
The room grows stuffy
so the window is opened for a breath of fresh opinion
all of us saying what we have to say
sitting there in our little demilitarized zones.

“You’d think”
the final doomsday warning argument
drops like a bomb
“you’d think now that we can
send men to the moon
transplant hearts
watch instant replay
call elections after 2% of the vote is counted
you’d think we could put an end to war
you’d think we would have enough intelligence.”
Jesus sat in his bomb shelter
and survived the direct hit
waited for the fallout to dissipate
and emerged to wander the desert of intelligence.

Avoiding war is a matter of intelligence
building peace rises from the heart.
“Deep within them I will build my bomb shelter
then I will be their God
and they shall be my people.”

For better or for worse
it is the heart that shelters God
against the passion-death of holy war days
and thank-God-it’s-good-Fridays
against the climax of our melodrama lives
battlre weary warriors all of us
swords buried in the heart of mother earth
knives in our backs
smiling as we sign upon the dotted line:
“There, finished!
The war to end all wars!”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday, the Third Week of Lent

Thursday, the Third Week of Lent

Morning comes and then winter
noon follows summer
sun hanging high overhead
shadows point North to a sky
lights dancing magically across the wondrous
dark strange expanses of a child’s memory
to peer sometimes above the pews
see sunlight knife through swirling incense smoke
reach high to windows
burst outside to flood the world
scented sight and sound
holy magic wind-up universe
toss away the key called growth maturity evolution
well
all’s well that ends
well.

Mourning comes again
quiet worlds ring hollow in the windowless world
we stare each of us into our future
the end is the beginning
here at the edge of our existence
quiet words fail worlds fail
worlds fall away and tumble pass away
Jesus says
My words will never pass away.

Again morning comes
again waiting for the signs
darkened sun and shadow moons
smog settling slowly at day’s end
and men walking on and on the moon circling
like seasons changing frozen in the end-time.

But I will wait for you on the other side
I am where the eagles gather
I see someone on the mushroom clouds.

Let the reader take note.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday, the Third Week of Lent

Wednesday, the Third Week of Lent

Why stand you there,
Idol?
Know you not that the thirst shall be fast
and the past worst
and that though neither jot nor tittle shall change
all else shall?
Now that household gods are no longer in demand
now that the certain is going up
and man has entered the whirled arena
spinning off his lines in evolutionary spasms
matching wits with the width of space and time
where life is drama
and eternity the certain call.
Which reminds this I-land that a few hours ago
we had time on hour hands and minute hands
and now possess not even a second chance
thrown into the tick of things
into the mainspring of civilization
we watch and clock and estimated fifteen bloody rpy’s
unwind the spring the great watchmaker wound.
Now that man is sitting on a prouder-keg
and boasting of his Adam-smasher.
Why sit you there.
idol?
Now that man is fled from serf-city
and the barren no more feed on peasant-under-glass
now that man is freed to run alone
past the call of idolness
and all such creaturely end-ever
into the infinite-thee of God.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday, the Third Week of Lent

Tuesday, the Third Week of Lent

It is always the innocent who suffer.

We are the superstars
the conjunction of whose lives
signal the purge.

Under the sign of the cross
lie the drained bodies
and breathless souls.

We have conquered
we have overcome.

In the heaven of our weekend dreams
we bury the ashes of time
in the barricaded tomb
at the center of our garden of delights
hoping
they will both lie there smoldering
and soon rise flaming.

Star-child.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday, the Third Week of Lent

Monday, the Third Week of Lent

Let’s talk about lepers you and I
who do not feel the pain
lepers do not feel the pain
that’s what it means to be a leper.
Let’s let lepers talk about you and me
who do not feel the pain.
I can hear them saying
if you will to do so
you can make us clean.
Now I feel the pain.

Let’s talk about soldiers you and I
where have all the soldiers gone?
Graveyards mark the dreams of man
gospels mark the dreams of God.
Who of us has ever looked for soldiers
in the gospels?

Let’s joke about Jesus you and I
who wear frowns like the world wears Winter
white with fear.
The clown is court jester at the feast of fools
and he who laughs
lasts.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Third Sunday of Lent

Third Sunday of Lent

You wonder about the devil inside you sometimes
remember
he squirmed a little
when you went to see “The Exorcist.”
“Scared the hell out of me”
he said
listening to the Beatles
drinking beer
getting fat and lazy.
You think about him now and then in church
and he comes along
now that it’s in English
folk songs and all
Lord of the Dance
Lord of the Flies
swept and clean and so much roomier.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday, the Second Week of Lent

Saturday, the Second Week of Lent

The bartering rose above the lot
of ordinary wagering.
“When he finished talking to Abraham
the Lord went away
and Abraham returned home.”

Sunday liturgists
blue line the final sentence.
All the news that’s fit to print
is that Abraham couldn’t find the honest ten
so Sodom was destroyed.
It is covered up that Abraham did not even
go down into the city to look for them.

What’s with Abraham, anyhow?
The least he could have done was mount
the thorough search
ride the question to its death
put ads in the paper
something.

Abraham
fatherless to God’s promise
still wrestling with the suffering of innocence
goes home with the knowledge
that even ten honest men
could stay the holocaust that waits
poised above them.

Abraham
astrologer of Chaldes
still wandering in a straight-line universe
does not bargain on a bargaining God
nor have a prayer of a chance
against what he sees in the stars:
fire and brimstone
the dark hole of space
swallowing up the city of Sodom.

God drives his bargain
right through the sophistry of wickedness
and the liberals’ soft hearts.
The stars of the universe
like lottery tickets
hold Abraham’s descendants
in the twinkling of their eyes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday, the Second Week of Lent

Friday, the Second Week of Lent

I have often wondered why he didn’t call it off
the wedding banquet
say the special session is adjourned
send the marchers packing
tramping off to farms and business wives and oxen
put all the wedding garments in mothballs
along with the dreams of mothers children
aching feet and aching bellies rising rents
hanging on from waving fist to locked door
to snarling face to empty cupboard to eviction notice
from your national guardian.

I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now and know for sure
an invitation just is not a wedding garment.

Both Jesus and I were youngsters once upon a time
received an invitation to the wedding feast of life
and blanket in hand wandered off
to wedding after wedding dance
darting around the polka-dotted dancing floor
ducking in between the lusty swirling wives and lovers
gliding across a world
that was worn only once upon a wedding garment time
and perhaps slightly crumpled
both in body and in soul
the following Sunday church-going morning.

But I was so much older then
I’m even younger than that now
I
a child roman-collared celibate
offspring of a people’s need
I have stood there on the sideline long enough
clutching the invitation
I am roaming now the countryside
checking on those farms they said were newly bought
soil-banked and weedy welfare world
strangling all the land
living on the suplus promises
that are doled out daily at press conferences
auditing the business as usual
they said was what our country was founded on.

I have seen a thousand farms
a thousand wives a thousand oxen too
all of them idle
while the wedding invitations scatter in the wind
and Jesus walks alone.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday, the Second Week of Lent

Thursday, the Second Week of Lent

Hunger
as words go
has become cheap and unreal
it is bought and sold
in the fast food shops
of the theological
political
and economic market places.

Hunger is hurried meals
of reports and statistics
pre-cooked
kept-warm facts and figures
ready to serve at a moment’s cry of concern.

The menu reads
like rendings of the heart
APPETIZER: according to the current estimate
of world food reserves on hand today
we could survive as long without them
as we could with: 27 starving days.
MAIN COURSE: applying red meat’s bloody equation
(8 to 10 lbs. of feed equals 1 lb. of meat)
survival’s chances shrivel
as stomachs bloat.
JUST DESSERT: World hunger.

Our minds swell deliciously
on the crumbs falling from the tables
of those rich in gourmet gruesome facts
and simmering in their own doom.
Their meals glitter
like falling stars and suns going nova
against a blood-red moon
as earth wets its lips
in the vigil of disaster.

We feed on doom
grow fat and lazy
heart-heavy in the thrill of brinkmanship
unable to kick the habit:
too fast
to fast.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday, the Second Week of Lent

Wednesday, the Second Week of Lent

The television set keeps on babbling
flashing pictures
right there in a frosty glass
just a swallow away.

“Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
Jesus says
and we say we can
thinking of the good life to come
the coolness after a hot and weary day on the job
all the trials and heartaches
washed down in one deep swallow away.
“This is the cup of my blood
It will be shed for you and for all peoples
that sin be forgiven.”

“Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
Perhaps we can
perhaps in this Lenten season
as we gather in the memory
of our fallen brother Jesus
perhaps the memory of him does take on our flesh
move our lips to say we can
move our hands to take the cup of his blood
and drink to whatever may come.

What a change it is
drinking to remember
instead of to forget
and in so doing we become the memory of Jesus
alive his blood is flowing in our veins
his flesh covers the hollowness we are.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday, the Second Week of Lent

Tuesday, the Second Week of Lent

From the dizzying height
of our power and arrogance
our cynicism and sophistication
on the cross Jesus reigns
over a people
who does not want a king
yet plants the tree
and tastes the fruit.

The cross sticks in our throats
splintering
it is shoved
down the gullet of our greed
to satisfy our ambivalence.
Its fruit is bitter to the tongue
it tastes of history’s triumph in its repetition.
Somewhere in the crowd
that gathers at the cross’s clay feet
Ezra reads again the word of God.

Labeled king
says the honor of thieves
God is under the same sentence as humankind.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday, the Second Week of Lent

Monday, the Second Week of Lent

If you can’t lick them bind them
wrap the world’s wounds
in the rag-tag remnants of your dreams.

We were walking on the road to Jericho you and I
from Jerusalem to Jericho
all the lonely people
where do they all come fr

and the man speaks of love
all the lonely people speak of love
armed love
Bonnie and Clyde love
heart and soul love
mind and strength love
neighbor love
stripped and beaten love
lying there on the roadside to My Lai to Chicago
to the grocery store.

Living on a one-way street
is like watching half a ping-pong game
people bouncing along the road of life.

The ratio of a man’s brain to his automobile body
is about the same as that of a dinosaur brain
to a dinosaur body
add that to your fuel
and see how your mileage improves.

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho
is not one-way
like the two-edged word of God
it cuts in both directions
like a ping-pong ball it bounces back.
Although I have always wondered
about the presence of the Samaritan on that road
being that Jews and Samaritans darned their socks
alone in the night
a small point to be sure
but there he was in hostile territory
what did he care?

And then the question hits us
like a body in the ditch
like an empty gas tank
like a hole in our socks.
What are we going to use for bandages?
Those of us stripped of the rag-tag remnants of our dreams?

Hang on to your hats
may become the wisdom of the ages
at the very least
hang on to the rag-tag remnants of your dreams.