Sunday, May 15, 2022

I've been refused



I’ve been refused epic talent, 

power, fame

a long-lived  marriage 

and grateful children,


what I wanted in my prime, 

in that order

and before that, 

as a pious youth, I was refused 


a world without epic greed, epic hurt.

About that I am still angry, 


But about the rest, about all the rest

I am not angry, 


and about all that came my way, 

all my parochial achievements,

I am pleased, 

more than pleased, 

I am profoundly grateful, 


at times even blissed out

by the wholes and the fragments of my fate, 

the camaraderie and comforts, all the kisses--

for all I was not refused, at sunset


I kneel under the partial moon, the

hiding star.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Thoughts while gazing at Jesus statue in the corridor of Resurrection Church

 The eyes of Jesus grow large when bombs shatter the earth

       and the mouth of Jesus floods with dirt, 

       butter and salt 

in the slums and in the camps 

       and under the on-ramps   


because Jesus lives in the wounded,

       Jesus inhabits the humbled 

       and exalts them 

and the ears of Jesus amplify 

      their moans, 

he understands every language 

      because all people deserve 

understanding—those 

     who have done something and those 

who have done nothing 

because the heart of Jesus redeems

      and the hands of Jesus shoo away filth 

      and the knees of Jesus ache from 

      lifting those he exalts

and the elbows of Jesus ache 

       from loading oxcarts and 

       limos with the exalted 

       and soon to be exalted 

because Jesus believes 

whomever wants to be first 

must be the slave of all,

so in everything you do, 

do as you want others 

to do to you

       because that sums up Jesus, 

       his last wish and testimony 

       as well as the last wish of all 

       the prophets before and after 

except the false ones. 

 

Friday, April 15, 2022

If only I could live fearless, fully awake

 .......every moment clear between these

ears and eyes

        So time would quiet down, 

        so it would move 

slowly 

         on hands and knees. 


If tasks, news, silly things

       did not hold 

       me in a drowsy  trance


where time zip-lines away

       so it is always the  past 

      or it is always the future.  


How to keep this mind tuned 

     to the shapes of clouds 

    and phases of the moon, 


to the skunks that nibble from the cat’s bowl, 

       the weeping camilla I planted, 

       chimes I hung above it


and after read a poem out loud 

      about why there’s nothing to be so sad about 

     then write a poem about the worm

glistening on the deck 

      and mention all the things Im grateful for


and so turn time into my loving friend 

      who shares delights rather than 

      my foe 

     who steals everything I love. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Saints

I hesitate 

      but make myself do it.


I place my ear on your pillow

     at 8:32 PM,


the exact moment 

     of your ascent 


a year ago tonight.

     Yes––ascent––a propulsion


I listen for. 

     A gust of wind 


lifting lifting lifting 

     your wholeness


––mustache and thick curls, 

     perfect teeth, long legs––and, of course 


your bel canto trumpet,

     setting your completeness 


down onto the 

     unendingness


of saints marching in, 

     of brass bands 


and beautiful solos, 

     your trumpet blaring, 


your cuff links 

       gleaming. 


Monday, March 28, 2022

When my man’s hand guides my elbow up the stairs because I have grown unused to being upright (2021 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize Semifinalist


Because I have not slept a full night 

     since Spring, 

have not eaten through my mouth 

    in a season.  


The kitchen looks the same. 

   His mother sets the table, 

the kids sit down to eat


just as they did

      that night I bolt 

 to the ER. 


Now the man I married 

     pulls out a chair, teaches

me how to bend again. 


And I begin to sob 

     at the deep beauty 

of sitting 

      at that table.  


Because I have lived so long 

     as a clam flipped 

on her shell.  


Because in the bleached light 

     of my hospital room,

the scream of machines 

     do not cease, 


I think of all the things I will do 

     if I make it home again.  


First I’ll subscribe 

     to Gourmet magazine, 

learn to cook—embolden


     herbs with my love. 

     I will infuse the world’s oils 

with my devotion. 


   In the garden, I will tear at the ground 

         With both hands and birth 

   more trees 

        and they will include apple, cherry, plumb



and the scent of lemons 

     will besiege the windows 

of the house.


And there will be many red flowers

    to beguile more hummingbirds.


And each morning I’ll gulp down 

     the sun in one breath,


Starting with that first dawn 

    When I am home again. 



Wednesday, December 22, 2021

On the border

The suited men have jaws 
                        that snap up & down
      about invaders.

It must be done, they growl,
                   hearts dangling 
      from holsters:

This yanking on necks 
     of newborns

while grinning 
    at the camera 

flashing light on the blight 
       behind white shirts;

                   stink steaming through 
 button holes

as the sunburned beseech
viewers on TV too pleased
       to teach the flip-flop clad
                    a lesson.

Beside the plastic men stand
       beauty queens

      double-breasted & stoney-styled
thinking about getting home,

sun shines on painted gold hair
and sewn back lids

at the fields of families
        tired, kneeling, sweating 
                    at our gates.

With no backward glance, 
         the mighty board          
                  their gulf streams 

and fly toward the stars
          like the gods we allow
                           them to be.

Let’s say you are the widow’s middle child

For my mother: Some stars become black holes. Others get sucked up inside them just for getting too close. --Author Kris Kidd


Let’s say you are the widow’s middle child

still in braids when you first hear

goose steps on your street.


Let’s say the last day of school the Luftwaffe

offers you a typing job, they mention travel.


Let’s say you ride in the back of a Mercedes-Benz Transformable Torpedo 

behind your boss and his driver


When the gates open and beings pour through the yard

Like rushing water, drenched as if just risen from the ocean floor.


Let’s say sleep comes and goes that night 

and the next morning you place your breakfast 

on the window sill 

and turn your back


And when you look again, the plate is gone

And you feel relief 

that a ghost has eaten 


And you are not arrested, your giving 

hand not cut off.


Let’s say the next day you repeat this act 

and later when all is over, 

in the dark of night,


You grieve because you did not do more.

And let’s say what was 

not done becomes 


the story and your life a protracted 

mourning for it, 

for what was not done.