The Dark Phoenix

Out of the ashes

of fear and conflict

rises the dark phoenix.

With an enemy’s face

and a mother’s heart.

Feasting on death

to nourish new life.

She beckoned me in,

not knowing what I was in for.

Her house

a home.

That which I should shun,

a liturgy of light.

That from which I run

is become a friend.

She has spread a table before me

in the presence of mine enemies.

First Snow


It came later than expected,
dreaded interruption,
minor inconvenience,
forcing me to slow

Those who know best say,
“Do not leave the house
unless absolutely necessary.”
Ancient wisdom
from the empire’s
last days.

You don’t find silence;
it finds you,
when you least expect it.
Drowning out
everything else.

made liquid,
then solid,
succumbing to gravity,
dropping into view.

Takes on flesh
and dwells among us.

has more substance
than ten thousand things.

Because we are
so different,
you and I,
I offer myself
to the cold,
to the nothing
that is everything.

My Little Eye

I spy, with my little eye,
a future agitator
bread baker
hate un-maker.

She is rising with healing
for people she has never met.
She is leavening
for a great measure.

Should we place these hopes
on her small shoulders?

Should we gamble our freedom
on the depth of her faith?

We must.
She will respond.
Poem by my daughter’s pastor, the Rev. Nathan Dannison
Photo retrieved from on November 16, 2016.


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,
and other.

of what is
to come.

end over end,
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
particles gathered,
clumped dust,
but You
stretched out Your hands,
spoke the word,

and everything happened.


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

Bound by magnetism,
not gravity;
not necessity.

Pebbles worn smooth
by the passage of time:

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

the great civilization
in its very act
of creation.

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


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.

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.

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

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 (, 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.


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.