The son of Mary, Jesus, hurries up a slope
as though a wild animal were chasing him.
Someone following him asks, ‘Where are you going?
No one is after you.’ Jesus keeps on,
saying nothing, across two more fields. ‘Are you
the one who says words over a dead person,
so that he wakes up?’ I am. ‘Did you not make
the clay birds fly?’ Yes. ‘Who then
could possibly cause you to run like this?’
Jesus slows his pace.
I say the Great Name over the deaf and the blind,
they are healed. Over a stony mountainside,
and it tears its mantle down to the navel.
Over non-existence, it comes into existence.
But when I speak lovingly for hours, for days,
with those who take human warmth
and mock it, when I say the Name to them, nothing
happens. They remain rock, or turn to sand,
where no plants can grow. Other diseases are ways
for mercy to enter, but this non-responding
breeds violence and coldness toward God.
I am fleeing from that.
As little by little air steals water, so praise
Is dried up and evaporates with foolish people
who refuse to change. Like cold stone you sit on,
a cynic steals body heat. He doesn’t feel
the sun. Jesus wasn’t running from actual people.
He was teaching in a new way.
In my dream
My shirt is unbuttoned
Worn and soiled
The sun shines warm
Bright, on my open chest.
My face, simple
I’ll stay to see the stars,
I’ll stay through the night.
Each smile a human smile
Each child a child
Each tear a tear
Each moment, eternity.
Each flower breathes you,
Each singing bird’s song,
But, now, how can it be?
The sun is shining
But my shirt, buttoned.
Day as night,
And I am so alone.
I am close to you,
I feel your warmth
And all is beautiful when I am near
And my mouth speaks wonders
My eyes behold everything.
So I love deeply.
Warmer than coldest cold.
You cannot run, friend.
You can only hide.
All that claws.
And do not go for long.
The sun is shining!
Unbutton your shirt
Unbutton your shirt.
To long for what eternity fulfills
Is to forsake the light that one has, or wills
To have, and go into the dark, to wait
What light may come- no light perhaps, the dark
Insinuates. And yet the dark conceals
All possibilities: thought, word and light,
Air, water, earth, motion and song, the arc
Of lives through light, eyesight, hope, rest and work-
And death, the narrow gate each one must pass
Alone, as some have gone past every guess
Into the woods by a path lost to all
Who look back, gone past light and sound of day
Into grief’s wordless catalog of loss.
As the known life is given up, birdcall
Becomes the only language of the way,
The leaves all shine with sudden light, and stay.
Close my eyes
I hear the highway,
A soul sized hole quips,
“Cheer up chap-
This is as good as it gets!”
How can my feeble mind,
Grasp the grandeur of the stars?
How can my feeble soul,
Feel the weight of Creation?
I went to school to learn
Things I’ll never use
Do things I’ll never do,
Give me my hands on
something real and
sturdy that does not scream
My hands, my hands
don’t feel what’s real
but plastic and white soap,
Ready to take away
my dirt and soul.
Give me things that stain
and give me bruises to
remember my name.
Give me truth in the
quick of a rushing stream,
Take not my life
nor my dreams.
Should you look at me in pity-
don’t. I’ve tasted both drinks.
I choose one with a simple,