uncertainty principle

this poem is written
it’s right here
right now
that’s an undeniable fact

and me
i wrote this poem
i’m pretty sure of that
too

but you
you haven’t heard it
you haven’t read it
not yet
not the whole thing anyway
so its momentum
and/or position
are so far
indeterminate

you don’t know
and i don’t know
(face it, tiger: nobody knows)
what form it will take
when it entangles itself
amongst your brain cells
when its quantum waveform
collapses
with an echoing clang
inside your skull

you could try to explain
“your” poem
to me
attempt to teach me
your personal realization
of this poem
that i wrote

but it won’t work
because i wouldn’t understand
and it wouldn’t be right anyway
(due to unavoidable
quantum decoherence)

all i really want to know is
did you like my poem?

tell me you liked my poem
please
i can’t handle this uncertainty

burn

headlines buzzing rolling in
on schedule     right on
times wapo huffpo cnn
shaking quaking rhythms
making dissonant vibes


let's meet the new news!
sells just like the old news
same old blame old flame
of war     deploying arms: 
lethal     or "merely" verbal?


she's a liar     he's a monster
feckless reckless lazy mean
innocent? then why’d he run?
had it coming     every one of
t        h       e       m


always salting one another's
wounds     constructing rusted
shells around our hearts so we
don’t feel each other     so we
don’t feel anything at  all     but


darling     you and i gaze into
brighter human landscapes
undivided by these chasms
so     what have we got to lose
if this ruined world should end?


days like this i cannot say why
we still shed our blood     still
weep our stinging bitter tears
fortifying     shoring up this
pre-apocalyptic dystopia


shall we burn it to the ground?

Ask the Animals

(a response to Job 12:7-10, and also to 14 days in Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Sister animals, living off the land, whose breath fills and animates you
Brother birds, soaring ever higher, whose is the wind that lifts you?
Green siblings, fern and tree and bush, whose life flows through you?
Swift swimmers of ocean, sound, and stream, who inspires your course?
How can I ask you these questions? Who among us does not know
that the Breath of God within us, quickening each of us, unites us all.

Full

“Happy are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied.” – Luke 6:21a, CEB

“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.” – Matthew 5:6, CEB

Full

“All you hungry will be satisfied!”
Jesus brazenly proclaimed –
at least according to Doctor Luke.

Then along comes Matthew Levi
to “fix” it, so those who cry out
for righteousness will be filled.

WTF, Matt? Why’d you have to
go and spiritualize a promise
of hollow bellies made full?

Was Matthew just being realistic?
Rare is the hour during which no
cherished, starving child succumbs,

while those who thirst for justice
may (perhaps) grow their own,
in the gardens of their deeds…

if, that is, they can stay upright
for that work – not collapsing, frail
and famished, for want of food.

Imago Dei

You’re a fractal,
whose winding paths can’t be traced –
yet whose every crooked corner
replicates the lovely pattern of the whole.

You’re a hologram,
which can be cut and cut to pieces –
yet whose every severed fragment
contains the unbroken image of the entire.

You are made in the image of God!
You are formed in the likeness of God!
And so am I.

Now, tell me the rule
which weighs heavier in God’s balance
than the precious worth and dignity
of me or you.

Disobedience (verse)

When I submitted my short prose piece Disobedience (click through for background) to a poetry anthology, I reformatted it into lines. Here is that version.

Disobedience

It was only an hour before the appointed time,
when the Lord would send his angel of death –
the angel with the flaming sword that would cut
out the heart of each Egyptian family.

Rachel snuck out while her father was bundling
their few possessions, and her mother was
cleaning the remains of the tiny leg of lamb
they’d been given by their next door neighbor.

She moved quickly down the street, careful not to slosh
the blood in the bowl she carried. At each Egyptian home
she reached, Rachel dipped her rag into the bowl,
and hastily dribbled blood on the doorframe.

She kept on running into the dark, painting hope
on as many doors as she could reach, until
the dawn broke, and Rachel heard the first wails
of anguish from the homes further on down the street.

fruit

little seed, you are my hope

only you can keep
my labor from coming back empty
only the fruit you bear
can fill the bellies of those i love

so i plant you with utmost care
avoiding rock and thorn and gravel
i break my back to nourish you
carrying pure water from afar

i watch
and wait for you to sprout
but you don’t

despairing
i see the dry earth split above you
as your own precious body
cracks in two

tears stream down my cheeks
and mingle with dew dripping
from the cedars that surround us
pouring into your cloven heart

i see you sending tendrils
reaching down deep into the earth
touching the roots of these mighty trees

green vines begin to grow
exploring over the ground
further than i can follow
forming fruit
sweet and plump and nourishing
fulfilling the desire of those in need

with a trembling hand
i reach out
and taste

embodied

he gave himself

he gave himself fully
to this embodied life
life as an earthy animal
made of flesh and bones
with sweaty skin
and greasy hair
hunger pangs
friendships
and grief

he gave himself fully
to life in a particular human body
with its own personality
with its peculiar gifts
and quirks

he gave himself fully
to everyone he met

he didn’t ask them if
they were part of the right tribe
he didn’t ask them if
they were holy

he said
your faith has healed you
he said
come, let’s eat and drink together
he said
don’t you worry about tomorrow

he touched
the eyes of the blind man
he touched
the skin of the leper
he touched
the hand of the shunned woman

he touched his friends
and comforted them
and they touched
and comforted him in return

he embodied the source of all there is
so he knew in his bones
he knew in every cell of his body
that there is no separation
between him
and the least of these
made in the image of God

that there is no separation
between him
and any one of us

in his love
in his vulnerability
he showed us
incarnation
he showed us
embodiment

he showed us how to do
this impossible task
of showing up
fully
in our bodies
here and now

of being our own
wild, magnificent selves
and of giving those selves to others

thank you
Lord Jesus

thank you for being
a human being

thank you for showing us
how it’s done

disney dream vocation

it’s the newest attraction
at disney world
kermit the frog
and moana
teaching vacationers
about vocation

moana leads out:

“maybe it’s something
that’s been burning within you
since you were tiny
something you’ve tried to ignore
suppress
or fight
in order to live up
to expectations
but you cannot fight it
suppress it
or ignore it
it picks you up and carries you
irresistibly
like an ocean wave”

then kermit hops in:

“or maybe it’s something
you’ve never seen within you
in all your years
of stargazing and dreaming
something you’d never imagined
until a bewildered prophet
with the voice of god
rows up and lays on you
a vision
of people made happy
made happy by you
so you pick up
and pack up
and you get on your bike and ride”

“whatever you do”
they both implore us
(we the small kids
with our mickey-ear ice creams
we the exhausted parents
resplendent in our cargo shorts
we the young adventurers
plotting our fastpass strategies)

“whatever you do
when you do hear that call
you must stop what you’re doing
and listen”