My Manger

My God, my hope

My nothing less 

Than all.

Come quick, come fast

And land again amidst the roiling swell

Burning dove of Zion,

Reigning kind and friend to men.

Hunker in my hurting heart;

Make refuge, 

Hiding, humble in the crowded cave.

Boom out to all with ears to hear

Your joy for all the worlds:

You’ve stayed your hand,

You’ve stayed with man.

My God, my God

Come dwell again in me.

Wormwood

If a am a tree I am dead

Dried-up wormwood,

Eaten through 

With homegrown lies—

A dirty dearth of earthly material.

Burn through me;

Cut me down.

Grow your fresh green shoot

Up through my roots

Reengineer ancestry

And plant me by the stream

That feeds the boughs which 

Blossom in the eons.

Hail, Homeland Security

With an austere glance and an upright heart

We, the people, watch our troubled world.

Conflicts abounding and they all take part

As we sit and watch and rest in peace.

Why should we worry

And leave our tranquil home?

Their troubles are their duty.

We’ll stand on this ground we died for,

Where the rocks don’t move, the flags wave on and, the flowers always grow.

“Protect and defend our rights!”

Cry the people,

“We worked for our shade and green grass.”

There’s a dark, real world out there,

you’ll see, visceral and rife with humanity.

“We’re safer in here,”

We the people say,

“Live and let live! We’re better off alone.”

And so alone we are

In our corner of the world

Marked by our rocks and flowers and patterned stripes and stars

Spattered across our safe, clean, cemetery plot.

And we are safe,

We, the people,

O, so safe!

The dead need not fear.

The Desolate

Desolation comes in many different forms:

A salesman in a crowded shopping mall

Ignored by all who pass.

A child playing in the hall

Unwanted and forlorn.

What creates the loner?

Deserted buildings?

Buzzing freeways?

Setting changes nothing.

Unwanted,

Shameful,

But curable on contact. 

Desolation is the human soul

Untouched.

Crusading

Teach me death

Is not death

But a door to glory.

Make my life a museum 

Of holy acts.

Spur us on 

Not in rash or rage but 

Through your consuming blaze.

Pain is not pain but 

Feeling your scars

Tracing the path of those furious nails

That fury soon swallowed

And turned to fuel

By which we fight

Not further and higher

But tumbling,

a righteous cascade 

that bows ever lower,

bleeding through the bowels of earth’s hell,

not slowed by position or rank

ambition, rather, dispelling that novel

and ancient myth of progress

by constant condescension—

lower and lower

through the bottom of hell

expelled

yet promoted into beatific 

vision. 

JENGA

Everyone scrambles to the top 

of the JENGA blocks

and tries not to blow away

(which is hard for a husk of a human hollowed out one grasping handful at a time).

But the howling wind atop the towers cannot topple them. They

Are held down by a lightless power, 

A gum-like goo stuck to their shoes that creeps up their legs to their

Heart, inflates them like a balloon.

But before their heads explode with the stuff

They scream, “We will never be finished.

All is never enough.”

Meanwhile below,

Level 0 of the JENGA block tower,

The Have-Nots are having their way—hammering away at the foundations—

giving chaos its way.

A little while now and the big shot bobble-head

Will burst

Raining his sick ambition down 

The Have-Nots will have their fill and –that not being enough—will

Devour each other on their way to the top

Still.

And as a new wave scampers up the tower,

Feeling their chests inflated and a certain 

New grip in their toes,

The blocks will shift and the structure buckle

And the tower will slowly go.

Except for the Littles.

So small and unimpressive, bracing each other, back to back,

They hold the tower barely standing 

About to crush the masses.

The Littles are hollow too,

Gutting themselves long ago, but a song

Echoes from inside them,

Stretching out from their cavities, refracting endless empathy

Singing 

Calling. 

Wheat

Throwing our young, apostolic bodies 

Into the gears of the field 

To slow the churn of angry dark.

It will consume us.

But may it grind our bones into

Fine, fine seed

That springs to harvest

Multiplication through mutilation 

Forsaking only that which our hero did—which

Was everything. 

We Wait

There’s a trembling in my bones
that shudders to the beat
of a windstrung song and shouting throng
and a hundred thousand feet.
For my Father comes in power
and he’s coming for the weak and waiting.

Will you come, Lord God, in quiet thunder
and echo throughout empty spaces
places
of decadence and desolation?
Will you come and burn with fire fury
the tears off of our faces?
For those who hear you coming
put our ears down to the ground to feel the earth shake
and wait,
we wait for you, our coming swift salvation.
The king of a thousand armies calling
in the thump and wink of a heartbeat.

Eyes forced and held open in an act of trust while
desert dust is flung in our faces and our eyes 
water freely
bleary and fainting
droplets hissing in scorn-filled heat.
Here together with arms held and up high,
forcing breath out weakened lungs
to the angry sky,
a "Hallelujah!" chorus is
our unified cry–
as we wait

Temple Complex

Why are the nations enraged?
When you tear down the DOW
flip the market upside down and say,
“This was supposed to be about prayer!”

How do the governments survive?
When the parasites filling up 
slick suits and nice ties—
pompous puppets—finally suck their people dry?

Where are the pretend priests—
the pastors and their staff protecting—
their teeth sunk deep, their bleeding-out sheep?
After all, a man’s gotta eat!

Can the gods among men,
even hear you when 
they kneel to crush? 
How can they hear you, if you can’t breathe?
Hands in their pockets, do they even care if you praise them?

Yet you, Good God and Shepherd, show 
to mend broken hearts with your own clothes
to walk with the weary through the shadow 
straight through to tomorrow.

Our sacred cows are slaughtered,
Lady Liberty led off in chains.
Left to choose between the narrow gait or Broadway,
we sit to entertain ourselves, (unfettered . . . unbothered).

Skyscrapers fuel the pyre.
Not one Yankee-doodle cobblestone unturned . . . unburned.
Hosanna, Hosanna! He comes with fire,
germinating his own empire,
fed by the tears of the crushed and perplexed
that profit and priest never saw,
fallen through the cracks of the temple complex.