Is heaven supposed to be a lovely place…

Heaven has become a parody
A lampoon of itself somehow
Beulah land made a game show
Answers in question and you’ll know

Why? is answered with clarity
But why? receives a rationale
It’s better, and it’s a better place
Spared this life, saved disgrace

Priest consoles parents bereaved
Much suffering babe’s been spared
And preacher of dear Emily’s fallen life
Remembering all Lot’s wife

Why face it true while dance macabre
Baptism the pyre for faithless bourgeois
Gnosis the alms of this shangri-la

The deserved grave of richly aged
Welcomed passing when well passed
Only then is rest the Bard’s silence
The grave deserved comeuppance

It is no longer God’s cemetery
Adoration is drowned by homily
But in this veil the last enemy prevails
Mocking clerics spinning tales

We gather because we must
To speak dearly of the departed
Doubt given sense, answered pence
Death is living in past tense

Rejoinder due this bare pain
Fear that nothing wounds as nothing
Ignorance defeats death’s diffidence
Banqueting with wink and wince

Welcome must a proper death
Blessing one’s own Golgotha
Barn sour is requiem’s pale horse
Pall bearing a tour de force

Through hallowed valley I charge
Lively in my step, brave of heart
No Ilyitch be I, ending friendless as he
Receiving viaticum finally and finally

Selling something to a rich man…

Sell Me Something

The man pulled up slowly in a new Jaguar,
the more expensive one, which was obvious,
and I greeted him and his young son,
pointing out the table
of twenty-five cent items
and the other with dollar items;
he smiled and said,
sell me something; so I asked,
do you fish;
yes, a little;
and I showed him a plastic
device shaped like the body of a fish,
to grip an unruly catch;
you may not mind baiting the hook,
but who likes the lingering smell of fish
when you’ve landed your lunch;
I pay someone to do that for me,
I have that kind of money;
well, besides the argument that
that might not be true fishing,
does your son here have
that kind of money, or are you
going to let him go through life
never knowing what he’s glad
to have enough money to pay
someone else to do for him;
sold, he said; and
paid his twenty-five cents,
handing the device to his son who
threw me a disgusted look, he called out;
thanks for selling me something
worth more than twenty-five cents
my friend, you’re a good salesman.

Can’t eat it on the cob like I used to…

Corn Off the Cob

Before she moved into the home,
before she couldn’t dress herself anymore,
before she stopped writing out prayers
for her children and grandchildren on slips
of paper she tucked into her Bible from
1944 with those colorful plates of Abraham,
Moses, Elijah and Jesus doing amazing
things, and before she stopped eating
altogether, we would bring her dinner
to her in her room – all cut-up in small
bites, except the corn on the cob
she loved most of all, she always said,
and then she said she just couldn’t
and asked me to cut the rows off the cob
for her and I asked if it was now
corn off the cob, and she said it was.

My little girl’s question…

The Hardest Part

My daughter asked what was the hardest thing
about… and I braced myself for her question, doubting
my ability to answer as I ought, hoping it was answerable
by her mother, that I would reply tactfully, and she
would know my love even when wrapped up in mistakes;
she had to repeat the question for me, about the hardest
thing about…learning to ride a bicycle, and as soon as
she said it I stopped myself, thought carefully, and said
it had to do with steering into the falling sensation – no one
liked that but it was the only way, along with continuous
peddling (you gotta keep peddling) to stay upright; she
had her own answer and blurted out, the hardest part
was the pavement and skipped haplessly out of the room
giggling, leaving me speechless and smiling in relief,
wondering why can’t all her questions be this much fun.

Why it’s all Plato’s fault…

Plato’s Plenitude

I’m not one to believe in Plato’s plenitude,
that there is a fullness that aches to be so
and all possibilities must and will become real
with time a self-contained, single story
moving from point A to point B with no Z
and everything is as it should be and this
is the hero’s story we call history where
every mother’s cry for child lost is akin to
the happenstance of a good parking spot,
longing and impatience are virtueless,
love is shortsighted selfishness which is
but a cheap imitation that mocks us
and every accident is only so to those
who aren’t God and therefore don’t know
these are the mistakes we call life
for which we must ask forgiveness.

What kind of advice do you want to hear…

A How-To of Life

Since everyone is in the business
of giving advice—even advice about advice,
I thought I’d take my turn because
if no one listens to the advice of others
then why shouldn’t mine be ignored too.

Go to school, if you can, but don’t
try to enjoy tests or group projects with
people who never do their part
of the work, and don’t expect professors
to understand how ‘she’ didn’t do the work
because that’s the point of group projects.

Stop telling yourself that Bill Gates and
Steve Jobs dropped out of school and still
became billionaires, because you’re not
Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, unless you are
someone that special, then ignore this
advice because if they didn’t there would
have been no Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

If there are leaves on the sidewalk
then shuffle your feet and even
kick some into the air and remember
the sound of their crunch and the
colors because soon they’ll rot and stain
and be hidden under snow and frustration.

When driving be sure to wave in
kindness when a stranger lets you merge
or even if you’re trying to merge and
no one seems to want to let you
because a sincere wave is more effective
than a turn signal just like being nice is
more effective than giving them the finger

Everyone likes to be told they’re special
even if it’s a logical tautology to say
that everyone is special so no one is
special, like the ‘no two snowflakes
are identical’ is also a lie but that doesn’t
stop us from liking to be told we’re special.

Stop running or walking long enough
to feel the breeze and try to enjoy it
especially if it smells like chocolate because
there are no calories in air and it could
smell so much worse than chocolate
and often does.

While we’re on the topic of smells,
always stop to smell a clean baby,
right after its bath but before it
reverts to its natural state, but
don’t be creepy about it and the only
a nice person, so be a nice person.

You might not need to go home again…

A Wilderness Called Home

Most just stay put, where they began,
through no choice of their own,
except to stay of course, an accident
of birth and even that seems consolation
enough to sleep each night and rise
each morning without wandering,
calling it home; sometimes it’s war that
makes you move, but not here – our war
is for money, for a living, for a life; those
are the only movers today, no more
nomads, vagabonds or hobo’s riding the
rails, driven by the voice of God
even, to live in tents or tenements,
looking for something. anything better,
which is to say, just a little more than
now; there are those brave souls who
leave just to leave, some out of adventure
but most from desperation, escaping what
hurts too much to stay near because
the world’s a wilderness, unless home is.

Dust to dust and back again…

God Bless the Dust

God bless the dust hiding
under my couch, my chair,
my bed, behind my dresser
and end table both solid
to view and hiding decay
from you, but I know dust
has returned and always
will, swept and washed
simply to clear a way
for carbon’s inevitable
epiphany’s undoing of
all that wishes to live
and therefore must be
ready to die; God bless
mother’s wishing to be,
grandma’s praying their
own to safety and peace,
those who protect, heal,
bind up and care along
the way of return to hide
under my couch, my chair,
my bed which I kneel
beside trying to learn
life’s bold humility in
the way of dust’s return.

Again, again, and again…

Today is Just a Page

The marks have no moral,
they know no stories,
nor me or mine,
no memories surfacing
in the quiet of the day’s ebb
haunting and mocking what can’t
be changed by dreams,
they are carried along
as the wave of the page turns slowly
to the next leaving anyone
reading to wonder
who writes this way,
not how but why;
and the way the words go
becomes a prophecy
because it is a path
leading to another nowhere
ready to mean something,
to be noticed
and maybe even remembered
enough to justify
a child’s plea to read it again,
again, again, and again.