prone

i was better off in the cellar
in the cellar i was safe

there is no safety here
on top of this mountain

here i cower from eagles
that circle these peaks

i can hear their screams
feel their hunger in my spine

i see blood on their talons
and i know

should they come for us
you cannot save me

and i know
i can’t protect you either

so why couldn’t you leave me
alone and snug in my hole?

why drag us up here
exposed

endangered
in one another’s arms?

The Rabbit

with gratitude to Neil Gaiman, in the tradition of his story, “Nicholas Was…

The rabbit didn’t understand.

He could hardly breathe,
and his heart labored to supply
his unnaturally enlarged body
with blood.

His elongated legs
wobbled.

He stared,
uncomprehending,
at the enormous wicker hamper
they had strapped to his neck.

The discolored chicken eggs
inside it
smelled foreign and strange.

“It’s time to go, bunny!”
came the voice
of one of his white-robed
tormentors.

“Hippity!
Hoppity!
Easter’s on its way….”

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