It is what it is…

Starting a new religion usually takes effort,

not necessarily consistency, proof or fact,

just data and anecdotes, which means

listening and creating at the same time;

it’s an interpretive exercise most ignore

because of the difficulty of thinking anew,

and we’re really driven by insecurity and

the need for followers, but not this one;

it won’t matter if a single soul converts,

nothing will change if everyone changes,

because whatever happens will happen

in the new religion of it is what it is.

Let’s try a morning prayer…

Good morning, God – well
at least for me; since you
neither slumber nor sleep
and never get tired (I’ve tried
that but it doesn’t work for
me), and you’re constantly

observing (what we like to
call stalking, but that’s a harsh
word), and eavesdropping
(again, our word… sorry),
on your creation, it’s hard to
know what’s the appropriate
greeting, but since you know

all things and I don’t I’m
assuming it’s okay to just go
with what I know and you’ll
be understanding; and that’s
why I’d like to talk about with
you – some understanding,

but you know that already,
and I’m tired so I’m going to
take a nap soon (but that’s
something you don’t get
to enjoy and I feel bad about
that). Amen, and amen.

A church fire…

church fireThe day the church burned down
was the day I found my faith,
because if fire can destroy bricks
and hardwood in just minutes
there’s hope for the likes of me;

even at nine years of age I knew,
it was drilled into me, there’d
be a lot to change but who knew
the great unchanging, infallible
tradition would shift from red
to blue carpet; rebuilt, grander,

new smells to learn, new pews
to christen, new saints to spy,
but try as they must they could
not remain unmoved, instead
of hiding behind rails and veils,
a fire was the only thing
that could ever change them.

Lovers forgotten…

There’s a wonderful novel on my shelf
which once slept bedside when read daily,
over and over again as if new, old pages
still surprising, reluctant in my progress
through the confused lives of Owen and Stevie,

how Kate loved Owen but Stevie loved Kate
and nobody loved the janitor, Mr. O
which they called him because no one
could pronounce his European surname;
how I cried every time I read about
the disappointments of their sad lives

and wondered at my own insignificant ways
until another lover came to bed with me
and the pages of Owen, Stevie, Kate and Mr. O.
gathered dust, then hid in a stack
until finally becoming lost on my shelf
next to the other lovers I’ve forgotten.

Invitation to Prayer – A Tutorial…

Instead of reflecting on all those times
you’ve missed the mark,
ignored what is good and right
fallen or failed or f-ed-up
being all that is normal and wrong with us
and life and me,
this invitation is an explorers call
to the strange and distant lands
of ‘because it is there’
a quest you are rarely begged to risk
to search for that exception to Augustine’s rule
that makes a moment sweet
when an embrace longed for is now,
a miracle realized, a gift from God
who must favor tears of joy,
and laugh aloud with us or go about
with a silly, uncontainable grin,
or pause to remember the aroma
of childhood and cookies and bread;

so today when you pray,
hunt undistracted because what you crave
is the kind of love you’re only given,
rummage the haystack
eager to feel the sting of needle’s touch,
trace the patchwork and stitch
quilted from everything gathered,
fight through the conflict forced upon us
by those who celebrate sin
to win the role of our deliverers to whom
we must allocute lest we be damned
and laugh because they will lose;

pray as if your life depends upon finding
the beauty that is living,
the gladness of exhaustion at the end
of a summer’s day,
the contentment of wonder
which needs no explanation,
and you are not broken,
you need not hide in a safe place
because entropy is there too,
and the only secret is that you
will live forever, you will always win
because you played with life as a toy.

A Good Neighbor…

They say a neighbor
should be one; not borrowing,
gossiping, coveting
what’s seen through the window,
lusting for greener grass;
we sit in our windows and look
out at our world,
wondering if he will curb his dog,
hiding from her,
overhearing raised voices, again,
the widow’s window
with Christmas decorations in June
because she’s still
remembering, but this is not all
there is to the world,
it just can’t be all there is to it;
once upon a time
the rabbi asked who became
a neighbor, not who lived
close enough to be like us already,
and who stops, and who helps
even though they are so different
as to be hated without reason,
and who will pay the price
to become what the world needs,
and that is the good neighbor
we’re all still looking for.

I don’t want a Taurus station wagon anymore…

Taurus on Fullerton

I used to want a Taurus station wagon;
don’t ask me why because I just did;
the bulbous blob of 80’s style in all those
muted tones of earthy discoloration
wrapped in my romantic recollection of
childhood transportation complete
with rows and rows of seats for rows
and rows of kids, now all mine, an
idyllic lifestyle of contentedness and
satisfaction – it’s what I’d wanted;
so imagine my surprise when idling late
last night at a red light next to me
was a parked a Taurus station wagon
all rounded and earthy, hiding in plain
sight on Fullerton Avenue, and the
windows disclosed what must have
been the worldly possessions of the man
asleep with his forehead pressed
against the glass and every inch inside
crammed with clothing, books, bags
of stuff and more stuff untidily packed
around him like a cocoon of some
discontent and what I imagine must be
dissatisfaction; this is not the dream
I had of a Taurus station wagon
and I doubted it was the dream of the
man dozing in the driver’s seat.

 

 

What is original about sin…

History of Sin

History a tale of fallen’s friends
giving account of what had to be,
fixed by a sovereign who sees the end
saddled with a desire to be free;

lost to be found, but only through Rome
intrude on our lust, our passion, home,
named ex opere – the lusty lie
sprinkle the babies lest they all die;

create the fright, threaten what’s scary
touch our babes, but still necessary,
triumph assured, all wars justified
feelings condemned not capitalized.

Who erred that all are born this way
simply answered, we all come astray,
it’s sin, not hunger, that babies cry,
and not biology why we all must die.

For the one born blind…

Grace in Mud

They sing,
we sing,
all sinners sing
of grace
that’s amazing,
of grace
that makes
the blind see,
grace that
does what can’t
be done.

Never, they
say, It’s never
happened
ever,
to anyone,
so don’t think,
don’t dream
it can happen
to you,
sinner;
punished,
deservedly, en
utero (what
terrible thing
did your parents
do anyway
that you should
be born…you?)

Grace in this
spit and dirt,
grace in mud
that must be
washed away,
washed to
see what you’ve
never seen;
you’ve never seen,
ever; grace
in mud made
you see.