hell on earth

autumn
May autumn
Tinge me inward,
Dip me in the colors of death
Under heavens of brass,
And hang me out upside down
To wither and dry in the shivering sun.
For then I’ll make good eating when winter has come.
All of the earth is bloodied and bruised,
And the purple smell of the over-ripe
Hangs everywhere by a thread,
Ready to tumble to rot,
To fall from living to dead.
And I smell it’s brother on the wind, the woodsmoke hovers and seeps,
Soaking my clothes like cider,
Spicy and warm and deep.
The earth is crispy, and
The bushes are burning.
Hell on earth is oddly holy, as incense,
And the impulse to remove my shoes
Rises within me as the northern wind.
I could howl with bloodlust.
I could rend my flannel to shreds
And leap and kneel and fall prostrate in the ashes of the dead and dying,
Lying strewn about my unshod feet,
Scattering in the air as I fling them.
My heart releases in hilarity at blatant disregard,
In the crush of fruit and limb and leaf,
In heavenly hodgepodge and cool relief.
I will take my delight in the death,
with my dear ones and cider,
As this bounty sinks into us all, ever deeper and wider.

i am thankful

pharisee

I am thankful I’m
Not like the Pharisee in
This week’s parable.

 

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9‭-‬14 

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song
smallness
sisyphus
ninety-nine reasons to stay
before you kiss him
shrewd
exitus acta probat

exitus acta probat

lazarus

Opaque,
And reflected darkly,
This person, this place,
This paralysis of my soul in a state
I deem final.
I know when I’m licked.
I see little and know little,
By seeming binary binoculars
Ones and zeros, codes and pixels,
This or that, no others.
And the same seems true of my sisters and brothers.

“We are here, we are here!”
It’s the cry of the crumb,
The doxology of dust,
To reach out and seek bigger beings to trust,
Raised in utter awareness of us as we are,
Tiny specks in a void.
Molecules. Stars.
We are Here,
And this “There” is fairy tale rot
Of beggars named princes,
Of rich men named not.
This Reversal is real to all who can see
The God behind flesh,
The Christ within me.

Wait awhile, wanderers,
Just beyond that door
Is fire for the deaf of heart,
And mercy for the poor.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” – Luke 16:19‭-‬31

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
knock
unveil
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song
smallness
sisyphus
ninety-nine reasons to stay
before you kiss him
shrewd

shrewd

bee blossom

Give and give and give again
Of fruitling form and
Volume in heartbeats
Riveting, rhythmically
Sonically, physically
City-slaked streets, then
Open and open and open again
As in blossoming freely
As in everyone, friend
As in cancelling debts
As in cashing in checks, this

Stacked stock of variant hue
Red as blood and twice as thick
Fruit and snake and stake and fire
And glue, of the give
That won’t cease to stick

As in spreading perfume
As in capturing bees
As in honeyed cocoons
As in molasses freeze
Fold in and fold in and fold in again
Skin origami, bend,
Fitfully, captively,
Leisurely, rapidly,
Poured out in putty
Of rich melanin:
Give and give and give again.

“There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Luke 16:1‭-‬9

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
when blood
knock
unveil
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song
smallness
sisyphus
ninety-nine reasons to stay
before you kiss him

before you kiss him

justice

I’ve been here for years now,
Fulfilling my duty,
Willing, that You’d be
Proud of all I’ve accomplished,
All that You’ve wished of me, this and more:
I’ve done it.
If it were a contest with him and his whores,
I’ve won it.
What’s the matter with You?
You never change toward me,
No matter what I do.

My character reads like a resume, listen:
Excellent ethic,
Determination,
Discipline.
I enforce Your rules
(Loyalty) as I would my own.
To think that You’ll hold me
By the hand til I’m home
Is to misjudge my duty of walking alone.
(Self-starter)
So let me speak truthfully,
(Candor and ardor):

This ingrate,
Who comes to You empty-handed
After making You so,
This sin-slave to his passions,
At least make him go
To the fields and produce something of value, some yield,
Before You kiss him.
Don’t pretend that You missed him.
Make clear the difference between the two of us,
Somehow, so he knows (so I know) that You’re just.

I wear my merit,
(Experience)
It’s woven through years.
Don’t be moved by this sinner’s presumptive salt tears.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:25-‬32

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
difficult, divine
better
torrents of my making
mine to forgive
now does the earth
when blood
when blood
knock
unveil
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song
smallness
sisyphus
ninety-nine reasons to stay