Aperetif

Lookout Mountain, Alabama
Second Tuesday in Easter 2016

They tell me i died
in a head-on collision.

i was southbound;
it was waiting.

i saw life
flash before my eyes,
not just mine.

Green and Purple,
white and red,
drawing me in
and up
and out.

i press it to my tongue,
and bite down hard.
Bone of my bone,
flesh of my flesh,
within me
and without,
myself
and other.

Foretaste
of what is
to come.

Spinning
end over end,
inebriated,
bits flying off
in every direction.
It’s okay,
it wasn’t mine.
Just a rental.

Whose blood is this?
It’s everywhere.
Gets into my eyes
so i can’t see.

All of this,
could have been
nothing:
particles gathered,
clumped dust,
but You
stretched out Your hands,
spoke the word,

and everything happened.

Erosion

Living stone
the river of fire
in the Province
Beyond the River

Bound by magnetism,
not gravity;
desire,
not necessity.

Pebbles worn smooth
by the passage of time:
kinder,
gentler.

The lava threatens
everything in its path
that is not
in its way.

Unmaking
the great civilization
in its very act
of creation.

Fire turns to stone,
rests as solid ground,
only when
river meets river.

Paradise

It was the way back in,
the only way.

I thought it would be different.
Maybe work harder,
maybe dream bigger.

It never occurred to me
that getting
everything I ever wanted
would mean losing
everything I ever wanted.

I would have to go through
the angel
with the sword.

The door is open,
so long
as I don’t mind
impaling myself
in the process.

Paradise.
I wanted in.

But now I hold
this broken corpse
and wonder,
“Was it worth it?”

The angel never flinched.

I walked up
and kissed him
full on his flaming lips.

Slash and burn.
Purifying embers.

The way is open,
I can go now,
so long as I leave
what’s left of you at the door,
hanging on a hook,
waiting to be picked up
when it’s time to go
back out
into the cold.

Where you wait.
Where I’ve always belonged.

Where
you will be impaled
with those
who will be impaled
to get back in.

Except,
once we get it,
we don’t want it.

So we take up twice as fast
and bite down twice as hard.

We get kicked out
now that we know.

This paradise isn’t for us anymore.
Our home is in the east,
where you wait.

Critical Mass

Hoc est corpus meum.
Et cum spirit tuo.
Critical Mass.
Missa cum populo.

The work of the people
in thrift store vestments,
home-made stoles,
Du Maurier incense.

Kneeling in the cloister
behind the record shop;
Approaching the altar
to receive:
Would you like fries with that?

Crack at coffee hour,
neither more nor less addictive.

Orthodox idolatry,
sacred profanity.

I heard your confession
when it was you
who should have forgiven me.

The Voyeur

By QHyseni (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
A strange feeling:
Watching someone else’s eclipse,
knowing that for someone,
the light has gone out,
and it was your own shadow that did it.

What breaking I behold
is my own.
We are connected,
not guiltless.

Initiation,
Unction,
Absolution,
Communion:

Only to remind:
your wounds
are the same as mine,
I need what I offer.

I have no explanation
for the primal part
(still curious, myself),
only the endless going round
and the occasional crossing of paths.

First Steps

Looking into my eyes,
they could speak no more,
except to say, “Speak no more.”

But how can I keep from speaking what I have seen and heard?

Debate cannot convince.
Threats do not cajole.
Controversy will not be contained.

You know whose friend I am.

Even now,
the hand is stretching out:
your healing is stalking you.

This gathering place will be shaken.

Remains

For the feast of St. Joseph

I ask for what remains:
torn, tattered
leftovers of power’s playtime,
the broken-open
body of a mouse
after the cat has had her fun.

I ask for what no one wants:
dashed hopes,
the possum
who never made it
to the other side.

I ask for what offends:
fragrance of death,
the skunk who stank
for three days
after being run down.

I ask for these things:
What harm could it do?
You have no use for them anymore.
Let me unburden you of
this nuisance.

This stumbling block,
which the builders rejected,
will be the head of the corner
in an altar of undressed stones.

I know what power
lies under the earth.
I have seen the heart of heaven
in the bowels of hell.

This is the secret
I carried with me
from Arimathea to Glastonbury.

Learn it
and you too
will hear the harrowing.

A Midwestern Thunderstorm

I did not know
when I arrived
that the nothing
surrounding everything
would be my favorite part
of the landscape

the pressure lifts
the sky
coming alive
giving life

a traumatic birth
groaning in expectation

water wind fire
all at once
sacred symbols

open font
spirit-filled

I dip my finger
sign of the cross
enter into silence

open heart
spirit fills

I am dipped
evolution
some said it thundered

Passionfruit

Image
Image by Taka. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Life gave
what I took
for my own.

I learned
how to seize
with the hands,
how to tear
with the teeth.

I learned
what it felt like
to touch with the lips,
to press with the tongue,
to be surprised by how much
came out
when I broke the surface,
to be covered with sweetness
all over my body.

Now I know.
It’s complicated.

***

What I took
is mine.

I’m learning
how to build
with the hands,
how to hold nails
with the teeth.

Cleaning up
is never
as much fun
as messing up.

Construction
is never
as cathartic
as demolition.

Nails and wood
are not the same thing
as a tree.

They have no power
to give life.

I’m learning
what it feels like
to be covered with sweat
all over my body.

***

What I made
gave life.

It was an accident.
Nobody meant for it to happen
this way.
It just seemed like a good idea
at the time.

The hands that learned
to seize and build.
The teeth that learned
to tear and hold.
The facsimile of a tree.

I wasn’t expecting it
to be alive
when I broke the surface.

I was surprised by how much
came out
and covered me with blood
all over my body.

More forgetting
than learning
this time.

Not taken
for my own,
but given
by another.