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February 2016

A Memory of Church

A Memory of Church

The family of God
That is the church

I have a memory:
A small church building
On the edge of town
Maybe on the way
To the next place
Or into the countryside
Or simply on the
Outskirts; and in this
Church, there was
A very pleasant man
The pastor with whom
I had enjoyed an
Ecumenical Bible
Study in the town

I liked that man, and
I liked that church
He and it were simple
(In the best way we
Use that word), set
Apart—the way I
Think the universal
Church should be;

And isn’t—we want
To be in the center of
Town, where everything
Fashionably important
Takes place

We want to be in
And will accommodate
Much about ourselves
So we can be there

Psalm 30, a song of I-don’t-know

Psalm 30
a song of I-don’t-know

what is the resolution
of an unsolvable equation
when one plus one
makes love

what more is there to say
to add or calculate
what function can enhance
the totality of this

one plus one makes love



Three minutes past
My time, which is
All ones

But three is for the
Trinity, so I can’t

The numbers of
Our lives: my dates
In spite of ones
Are rife with threes:

Add up the numbers
Of my birth and now
Divide—there are
Exponents of three

Multiples abound
And I am only one
Of these

Sometimes there’s
Great comfort in
That, in being one
Of these

Pray for Fiji

Pray for Fiji

Pray for Fiji.
I cannot go.
I don’t know how to build or
how to advise others how to do it.
I cannot send money.

It seems so small,
but I can pray.

Psalm 29, a song wanting simplicity

Psalm 29
a song wanting simplicity

Innocence or stupidity, I want a simple life. I want my books and films. I want to write. I want a few nice things to wear. I’d like to keep my health in check. I’d like to be able to get around, not in an extravagant way. I’d like to quiet my ego by layering it over with love. I’d like a loving life. I’d like a faithful life. I’d like a life in which the Spirit guides me, even if that might ruin all the rest. Sigh, I’d like to follow God.

Bread and Circuses

Bread and Circuses
(after a debate in 2016)

I know I’m not the only one
He yells into the microphone
Dismissing anyone he’s talking to
Sometimes with a literal wave

He wears too-long neon ties
And cannot carry a moment of
Dignity, let alone civility
Has he ever been polite a
Day in his life?

Yet he’s our front-runner
Why? Because he’s got us
Paying for it, and we’re buying
Him, his shtick, his cant

He reaches the mad part of us
(“Mad” in both ways)
He’s catharsis when he’s gone

But we’re acting as if
We want to elect him to stay

Tornado Forms and Passes Through

Tornado Forms and Passes Through

A tornado touched down here;
That doesn’t happen often

In the Midwest, I used to drive
Underneath funnel clouds forming
Within a sky of green and yellow

Sometimes the tornado formed
Sometimes it didn’t finish

Here there was the locomotive
Sound, and all things went awry

Gravestones lay flat upon the
Ground—parts of houses and
Other buildings rolled over
Discarded stone and memory

Roofs of schoolhouses pushed
Deep inside—the Amish will
Give to municipal authority

A list of broken property to
Be fixed in community, alone

The Red Cross Is here, while
We number what is lost,
Remembering simultaneously

What is to be thanked; for
This was a fatal happening

Yet stolid folk are quick to
Say it could have been much
Worse, because it has—retellings

From the cobwebbed past given
Anew to current, digital media

Meantime the sun remembers
To return to us a blessing now

Many Waters

Many Waters

The ocean’s acidic
Ruining its own reefs
Shipwrecks in the Gulf
Of Mexico merge with
Oil remains from spills
Creating new corrosion
In waves

This is global occurrence
We are mostly water,
After all

epigraph (and then we laugh)

epigraph (and then we laugh)

who am I, I do not know
am I you, far down below

do I cheat when I arise
see the world with only eyes

will I rest, when I am done
in a place where we are one:

all things sensed, and with a will
cherish what we might and still

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