on Luke 15
"This fellow," they said, "welcomes
sinners and eats with them!"
the three children settled at the table
a monstrous feast lay before their eager hands
ham and potatoes and peas all happily sporting their colors
grace was said with a resounding "AMEN"
watched the ants ravage the remains
of the meagerly meal
chanting with the growls in her stomach
was lined with itinerant beggars
drawn by the magical division of potatoes into finger-fries
the multiplication of the cow's scant flesh into triple-patties galore
all into a sustenance that lingered beyond taste
with me!" he cries, "I have found my lost sheep."
the same way, I tell you, there is joy among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents."
in vans, endless jumble of transports
herds of excited faces
repenting, "It is me!" "IT IS ME!"
the fairy tale and the laughter of monsters
the beardless youth tugged at his mother's dress
"Why do we say Our Father?" he shyly requested
Ah! the moon shone brightly till the dawn.
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on Luke 21
“Take care that you are not misled,” (Luke 21)
beware the bus driver who collects for salvation
watch the left hand of the one-legged preacher
stoop not to support the arm of the craggy grandmother
“For many will come claiming my name, and saying ...”
Shave out-shaves them all!
Pepsi is the real thing!
The Yankees are Number One!
We try harder!
not follow them” is the counsel
Trust not thy brother or sister mother or child
The Spirit leaves the dead to bury the dead
Only a corpse is sign-post on The Way“But
not a hair of your head shall be lost.”
a chilling consolation to the army of bald men
cannot be tricked by this sleight of hand
Madison Avenue lusted for the copyright to the jingle
there will be great distress in the land and
a terrible judgment upon
despair at the curbstone over the last forever brown bag
flailing anger at the split fingernail
all the children were born with green eyes
The TV outage lasted for four hours: no Superbowl!
tell you this: the present generation …”
has found “IT!”
on Matthew 27:46
at the turn of the corner i caught the gnarled body
on the lamp post gurgling in intoxicated tongue
the soap fresh face of the hooded monk
swung golden fumes to quench the stink,
while fraters in swishing dresses broke flat bread
in soundless mockery of the broken bones in his side
turned to me in a whip of anger
froth amused itself on her bubbling words
"You promised me!" and again "You promised me!"
I laced my shoes and forgot my handkerchief as the clock chimed,
my time was up.
realizing that he was but a child
his arms failed and shocked his heart
as he battled to grab the coat-sleeve
of the woman plunging to her death in his bed.
the bodies were counted
with marks appropriately placed on the ledger
the guard stifled a yawn
as he stoked the ovens for their repast.
dutiful disarray the garden exposed itself
flouting the offspring of wild seeds
and airborne messengers of late summer
the bus stop the children were arranged in proper lines
not knowing their destiny
while parents disappeared in unmarked cars
and left indecipherable messages on bloodstained papers.
the others said, “Let us seeif Elijah will come and save him.”
Editorial Never to be Printed
they burned witches in Boston
Cotton Mather embraced himself in prayer
praying for their soul's salvation
with words drawn from the scabbard
of wild men's yearnings
stood at that spot in years gone by
placing my feet upon the shadows of his footprints
and recited his prayers
but this time they were for him, alone
the subway noisily awakens the avenue
the screeching lamentations of burning tongues
fade into the overwhelming smiles of outsized billboards
advertising new slogans with which to bait the witches
is dead and has died too many times
after resurrections magically staged by Madison Avenue
but the ardour of the witch hunters is yet requited
as guide books are spewed in Sunday additions
to the Sports Section and tacked onto churchly bulletins
fear you witches and seeds of the Black Rose
the sweet rain which has fallen to nourish you
has raised the curse of the Crystal Knight
who is relentless in pursuit of the Holy Grail
which is stained with your Ancient Blood
Monks, Indiana: Many Moons Agothey move slowly by each other's shadows
their prayers towards the morning light
machines of dutifulness
cracking out codes from ancient scripts
they assemble at their appointed stations
whorls of incense bind them together
as common breaths are startled by chants
of "Awake! Awake! the Son has arisen!"
the midst of what dawn exposes as splendor
the stealth of ages
residing in golden memory and bejeweled hopes
presents itself in the mockery of saltless bread
they remain forever but each other's shadows?
craving a sunlight which sets in a foreign land
calling forth a voice which speaks a strange tongue
they remain ... are they still there?
left 20 years ago, a deaf and dumb
cripple, seeking a cure, a touch of a hem
i watch other shadows
on sunless mornings i wonderwho hears the chant
it was, they said,
the right spot
sit here, stand there, kneel here
with thick calluses on my knees
thickened calves made strong
through walking the outside Stations
I savored the comfort of their words
is youth to say, "Is this it?"
"Is this really all?"
“I want more!”
when the wizened and the wizardly
shake their heads and flail their arms
admonishing, "This is it!" "Enough! Be satisfied!"
calluses I now bear
cannot be scraped by sharpened knives
for they reside within at that spot
which no monastic map plots
years of stumbling
through alleys and across raging highways
has left me lean and clean of tooth
fat monk have I become
in transvestite garb and purple comfort
no mastery of the ancient tongue is mine
no grave with cultivated lilies is reserved for me
face I now bear
is ugly with the scars of lashes meted out in the public square
etched by private pains only lovers share
wines of the world have long gone to vinegar
the clothes I wear no longer drape my fears
I have stood in endless lines with the lost
found that the striking of the clock indicts not me
have played the game from many hands
cursed my luck in foreign tongues
welcomed the morning with farts and groans
lied to many as I sought another truth
day breaks most often as my dog barks
or my kid walks into my room, "Dad, are you awake?"
I swing my leg of lead onto the rug
rub the sleep of lives now past
and celebrate the spot wherein I awake
is the right spot
they crushed the flowers atop her grave
heaved clods of dirt against her face
with the strength of their anger and their hate
they stomped the ground, embracing her with their curses
was she that inspired such rages
who called forth tremors from behind the heart
who shook them so and tore them apart?
she mother, sister, daughter or lover
what role did she play, what song had she sung
what power did she possess while under their sun?
watched the scene and rushed to ask but their lips were rock
their wild eyes focused behind my head
watched the snow cover their tracks
lay a glistening blanket over her patch,
with such vengeance spread on her plot
i wondered if grass would grow in the Spring
day i happened back that way
caught a young nun at her grave
i tapped her arm, was startled by her trembling shout,
"NO! Not me. I will not raise her from the dead!"
stood there in muted witness to her fear
calculated that no grass had sprouted anywhere
what kind of person could she have been
to draw forth such ugliness from everyone?
on a distant day at a moment far away
did i remember why I had first gone there
someone in the street had proclaimed,
witch is dead!
The mirror is broken!"
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