Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Warrior Reborn

The shores of my heart
Beat with the waves of your love.
I am a desert man traveling to the water’s edge
I stand with the cool infinite rhythms of you
Needing and loving me.

I awake from illusions
Of long dry unworthiness
To know the quickened passion
In the wonder and beauty of you.
Now, vast waters of life upwell within me.

Adventure!  You! The swirling powers of you,
Are a hypnotic gyroscope of energies:
Gentle . . . fierce, East . . .West, shy . . . seducing,
Connecting in need, independent of all need,
You are a dazzling complexity, transparent.

In the night we spoke of ancestors
Living and dying by war and rape,
Of nations barbarizing nations, both far and near,
And I saw in you the thirst to know,
Of roots uprooted, and your many mothers.

Within us are so many generations.
In our flesh they announce lives
Lived in fragile hopes and hard miseries.
Yet in this intersection of our time and place
In a matrix of a thousand choices, we join.


These aches are death’s messengers.
They arrive daily with updates.
“I get it,” I say impatiently.
But in the inverted process of gestation,
They relentlessly restate and amplify.
“Don’t take it personally,” they say.
Which is fine, except it is “I” who die.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Holy Land

Malcolm Jennings  Bryant, a man with a name,  cast in a beggar's garb, his brain wired like a child's sketch, lived in a world of daily dangers - a place where vagrancy was a crime of life, no less necessary, and no more resented, than breathing, or taking a well-deserved bowel movement when and where he could, knowing that one's bowels were as unwarranted as any other part of his being.

He smelled from a mile away.  He was soaked with engine exhaust, gum markings, oil spills, spit, piss, spilled dreams that leave images on the pavement - maybe the marks of someone who puked up his guts after eating from a waste bin - or maybe just a dark reposed figure clad in something gray, heavy, dark with filth, and asleep - a figure curled in an alcove with bars at the door - a someone in a someplace  outside human care, taking a space for awhile, where he will not be stepped upon, kicked, or touched, except by a madman, or a desperate gray figure like himself.

He once was a boy who sang with his mother in Church.  But now, in this Big City Holy Land, the Christ is Herod's favored child and Mary, a girl of the streets, is cleaned up for the occasion, then returned with a purse of gold.  In this mecca, the pilgrims who survive do homage differently.  

What Bryant needed was a plane. Yes, a large plane for his entourage. He would visit the Pope, and the whole thing would be seen on BBC, and when the private audience was finished, and he had wiped his ass like a respectable citizen of the world in the papal bathroom, and emerged shaved, perfumed, smiling, with golden tie and matching diamond links, then at last, he would have found the Holy Land in Rome, or maybe down the street in Jerusalem.

But before the plane arrived, he died, wrapped in a donated blanket on a cold night in Detroit - a black man, so black that the grime had colored his chocolate skin invisible against the sun, curled his hair tight, crimped the beautiful melody of his soul into an unwanted flute, until all that jazz was played out.

When the smell of death overtakes the smells of life, someone calls 911. They removed his body, burned it and all its smells, the smoke having the pungency of common human dust. About that time a weave of white smoke curled from a vent atop Saint Peter's.  By majority vote, Christ once again entered into the world.

Night Moon

Moon, Dimpled Dame distaining the day,
Your  Mona Lisa smile taunts the Sun, 
And chills the ember'd heart.
Your orb’d face receives and absorbs
Stories of the light entombed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Night Sky

The sky is not our own.
We toil beneath it,
Scramble in the city streets,
Move with steady labor
Up and Down the Furrowed Earth,
But the sky delights to ignore us,
Its vastness like one great eye.

Upon this shadowed dot
We spin our lives
In tales of immortality,
But the night in silence
Tells the horrid truth.
The timeless face, too immense,
Ignores our outreached hands.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


"Execution."  We execute capital crime prisoners.  We execute documents.  We execute plans.  

  1. 1.
    carry out or put into effect (a plan, order, or course of action).
    "the corporation executed a series of financial deals"
    synonyms:carry out, accomplish, bring off/about, achievecompleteengineer,conductMore
  2. 2.
    carry out a sentence of death on (a legally condemned person).
    "he was convicted of treason and executed"
    synonyms:put to death, killMore

When we "execute," something dies.  Maybe that is why so many plan, but so few execute.  In the creative process, we kill our illusions, we kill our favorite biases, and we come to the end of our comfort zone.  "Unless a man dies undue himself, picks up his cross, and follows me, he cannot be my disciple."  Jesus, paraphrased.  Citation butchered.  But the idea is this:  something dies, so that something can come to life.  When I live creatively, I execute, and there will be bloody detritus to show for it.  Think of it as a new mother's afterbirth.  Don't ask me "why?"  In a different world, by a different Creator, there would be joy without pain, gain without cost.  But that is not the way of creation.