Monday, November 19, 2018
they know you, that they
have a grasp on you, an angle,
They use you as a mascot,
Something you said you cared about
was your name being used.
Other people think you're one of those,
the golden ones who claim you, who seem
to have a claim on you,
who wield your name like a stack of bills
and look down on, or past,
these others. They think that you might hate them, if you cared
to see them at all.
But this, too,
is a vanity
mirror, which when flipped
upside-down, gives the perspective
which you have:
that those who stamp your name
on their warrants and causes, who drop it
unsubtly in conversations,
who lay loud claim to you--
have, perhaps, acclaim;
but not yours.
And that those who expect
to be passed over or struck down
by a look from you,
are those whose eyes you are seeking,
whose names you wish to claim.
And your claim
is the only one that holds, so
you tell me.
We can't hold
in our heads a true grasp
of you, though we talk much
about you. The way
to know a person
is to know
Can I talk to you?
I'd really like to know who
I want to drop these
and promissory notes
I've forged or
and I want to learn your name.
What it looks like when you sign it
with your own hand
on a king's wall
or the carved-out slab
from a mountain's side.
A hand I can't forge, a script
I can scarcely comprehend.
So tell me.
I want to know, and
I don't know what
I want to know.
So tell me.
Do you love me?
Tell me so.
Friday, July 20, 2018
closed rapping, pounding,
blow upon blow upon
my heart asking
why will it not open?
You come at me with eyes
and lips spitting purpose,
How you must know
I am none of this.
How you can know
and yet permit me
There are days I catch a breath
of freedom, of the air outside,
that breathes there is
a balm in Gilead.
I take that breath with me
when I step back into this chamber.
It lasts a sweet short while,
while the closeness of this tomb
presses it slowly out
from my lungs, too tired
to hold breath.
Monday, February 17, 2014
you on whom we all rely--
when we need a strong example,
weak-willed fools need not apply.
Damn you fools, in your depression--
get your faces off the floor.
God despises lazy brutes
who cower from the battle's fore.
Damn you sorry rabble, in whom
lack and failure coincide--
Listen up, you slobs, the Bible works
if you'd so much as tried.
As for all you gold star Christians
winning souls, redeeming time;
we are giving you a mission:
Get the rest of them in line.
God rewards your utter patience.
When His kingdom's glory dawns,
you'll be wearing golden medals;
they'll be lucky to get bronze.
Honest work. Just reward.
That's the way to please the LORD.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I think of you
breaking the twigs of my nest.
The carpet threads, the new-
fallen hairs you tore
with clipped control, and flew.
I famished more
than on the first fair crack
of crying dawn, when I was young and poor.
You whistled down the seaming on my back,
crackled my wet mouth with food
that overspilled like grain from a fat sack.
It was warm on that bough, and good.
Alone and still, I heard the tenderest sound.
I feathered in your moss, your splintered wood,
and grew. You ripped me out:
clawed, cast me down--
I feed on stones, flail heavy with the ground.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
of orange, hornet in his beak. He looked
at me, and bit his catch in two. We paused
a moment at the glass, considering
what creature moved upon the other side
lifting the wings or arms the Lord has made
or in my case, but to adjust
the curtain for a better view of him
at which movement he fled with his two wings.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Later wood was laid on, and new stories
and rooms for all the children. A back gate
and an alcove. We were happy there.
In that house, deep in the walls,
termites were given
in marriage and were fruitful
and ate of the fruit of those trees
which built that house.
We noticed, bit by bit. Shavings
fell from the corners
where the walls met. The floors gave
gently when we stepped.
But we didn't mind. It's old,
we said. Old houses bend,
and lose things.
Then my father
dropped his match and
the flicker caught the dust
crumbling from the door
and crawled lightly
up the wall while we held
our breath and hoped
it wouldn't grow.
The den went first,
where we gathered. The coffee table sighed
and turned over, charring
in strips. We all left for our rooms.
It's not a hungry fire. It burns slowly,
one wall at a time. Smoke sticks
in our lungs, and the dust
falls grey like ash. Outside,
my father's well laps cold
under the earth. Soon,
soon it will all give way
but the stones.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
These Distracted Prayers
Oh, my eyes
are on the carpet today. It's dirty,
full of worn threads and speckles of
spilled things and flattened by
my ragged feet, my ragged feet. Oh,
Oh, my feet
I'm ripping up today. They're filthy, worn
tough from walking over this floor and
walking over this floor and walking,
walking over this floor. Oh,
out you go, feet. Enough of you, little
ugly things, misshapen toes and dirt
in the nail-corners. Oh,
babies with hands like caterpillars curling up
when you touch them. Cats
curling up when you don't touch them, sleeping
for hours alone. Hands
in their listless mooning, searching
for lost keys.
I don't want tomorrow, I don't want tomorrow
to come now. I'm tired,
I'm tired. I don't want
tomorrow to come.
My nose slopes down from my eyes, always
in the way of anything, its tip. My mouth
I only see when I stick out my lip.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
So we're going back to the old song and dance, the old rhyme and rhythm.
Psalm the 21st of July. A Psalm at Morning.
In this softer dark we rise and look
with sleepened eyes and elbow crook.
Sheep-slow, but unabashing heads we rove
our morning-skins as curious as love.
We're dust to dust. Our particles of grey
array us end to end, and we arrest
a wrinkled forehead on an open chest,
and pressed dry lips into a smiled kiss.
O fingers to the bone we are transformed!
and love has drunk us deeper than good wine
kept cold in cellars. I am yours and mine
you are. An ocean. Fingers in the brine.
Alone, the sun becomes a rosy spot
behind the kitchen curtain, like a thought
that ripens unattended, it will grow.
Alone, this cup is empty,but the rim
is streaked and streaked with holy.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
My God, how long
has it been?
Let me cut you a
deal. You take
this hand, I'll pay
But listen: next time,
warn me. I'll fold.
Do you know, how long
it has been?
I've been taking small
doses, getting rich
with this table's edge.
This wine's a good
vintage, have you seen
Bigger than life, been growing
in this hothouse
My God. How long
has it been?
If you're going to dig up
you might need
a thicker spade.
Concubines. Ever thought
What is this, why do
you give me this—smell it, it's
What did you expect--
Charity loaves. You rub it in
our faces, and what can we do
All right, I'll pay. But don't think
you own me;
Oh, no. You're not unearthing
old wounds tonight,
I said I'll pay.
It doesn't matter how long.
You know how
this will end,
I'll go to bed with you,
next morning I'll
be back here.
What does it
to break a heart?
Think about it:
Friday, October 10, 2008
that does not question
whether 'tis nobler in the mind
but sleeps--perchance, she dreams
and, unsupposing--ends them
aye, there's the rub
the consummation Emily, too, has wished
When we have shuffled off
she licks her paws. There's the respect--
that makes her portent Emily of life
when she herself might our quietus make
with a mere shifting
Now is the winter of our discontent made summer by
this Emily--a spark, a sprite
in the closets of the night
But Emily is shaped for sportive tricks
O Emily--a wanton ambling nymph,
O Emily, fur-tailed, of fair proportion
thou framed in gleeful witchery
in the sun
and made of it imaginary puissance
that did affright the air
admit me Chorus to this Emily
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Jesus, firstborn, loved
You were first--tempted, untainted
Sorrow-filled--with grief acquainted
You were first...Innate
Darkness threads our weave
Broken-tied to grief
Soak it with your sleeve
Here we flee
Of redemption....--all for nothing
(Cursed, I never tried
..to own it.)
Atone it--Firstborn, make your love
crave your bloody,