Second Moleskine, Poem XLVIII

“Jesus! Jesus!” they repeat

In children’s voices dumber

Than a sheep led to slaughter

 

In postmodern cathedrals

Resembling concert halls

 

I feel stupid in the first row

Under pressure of medieval notions

Of earth’s gravity in sin

 

Songs of a professed Holy Ghost

Religion exit overhead 

Pressing downward to remove

Lies of autonomy

As my own lips form Pharisaical prayer

 

No other choice but silence

Which is to trespass upon novel

Ideas of religion

 

We have abandoned the discipline

Of the church collar

 

The graceful flow of robes

In gospel trains is no more

 

From radios I heard the cry

 

“Wake up to me

Now 

Turn on the bright lights”

 

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Second Moleskine, Poem XLVII

Too cold this morning!

Stiff hair thaws in the chapel

Relief from outside

 

Second Moleskine, Poem XLVI

What is the meaning

Of such nights?

 

We submit ourselves to ecstasy

In material things

With a half life of twenty minutes

 

Already I feel tomorrow’s anxiety

Which is borrowed even

From the next day

 

Up in the balcony I watch

Unplanned rituals of modern love

 

They have not seen what I describe

In the red light of anonymity

 

My poetry

Is the product

Not the cause

 

Second Moleskine, Poem XLV

Faith runs dark and thick

Like blood through crevices

Self -made beneath the skin

 

Permeated beyond the simplicity

Of childhood

Past the opening stages

Of adolescence

 

I am finally old enough

To hear this music again

 

Shape of Life

A poem written in response to the crises near the Gaza Strip in Israel. I recently visited the area and was deeply moved by some of the things I witnessed there. This poem is an attempt to speak from the heart of a child who might live in such an area.

 

The good soldiers made concrete houses by all the bus stops

And giant hollow caterpillars crawl through the playground

 

Coming home one day from my grandparents house

Momma told me not to play with balloons anymore

 

I watch the girl toddler playing in the yard singing

“Red alarm” with her arms above her head like a vertical snow angel

 

Sometimes the parents come and take us away

Into the concrete houses before the world turns over

 

I can’t see the grass crawl under the dirt

Or see our homes vomit themselves all over the yard

 

But I can feel the bed grow warm between my legs

When I dream and then I can’t go back to sleep

 

Mama made a garden from metal

But when I asked how to grow those flowers she cried

 

“They twisted up the earth, my daughter,

But I will bend them back in the shape of life”

 

Second Moleskine, Poem XLIV

I capture in phrases what

They poetize in words

 

Nouns for icons

And verbs for battering rams

Shaking down the gates of paradise

Here on earth

 

There are places like an altar

Where the veil is so thin

That Malcolm takes a lyric scalpel

And with the divine surgeon’s tongue

Parts the weave of heaven

And earth

 

Second Moleskine, Poem XLIII

Blood on the leaves

In crystal-cased gardens

 

Passing by my hired

Horticulturist

Near the roses and wilted tulips

 

I used to dream on screens

Of floating over lakes on lilypads

But here such leaves only grow

A few inches before dying

Underwater

 

It pains me to pray

Through glass ceilings

Fogged over in desperate

Breaths

 

Someone’s daughter handed me

A flower for my button-hole

 

Take my hand and lead me out

 

Second Moleskine, Poem XLII

I fell in some kind of love

And now you’re too close

To the stage not to be caught

In the light of this

Subterranean band

 

They rose to our occasion

Leaving us at ground level

And now I am stealing glances

Across the tendons of harmonies

 

The room is full

Of next year’s queens

 

I lost my dreams of priesthood

To the dark one

And then with you

Realized the futility

Of returning to innocence

 

Your name still tastes too bitter

To speak

 

Second Moleskine, Poem XLI

Pardon my impertinence

However

Empiricist protocol projected a need

For encounter

 

Shape finger and thumb into a beak

And go rushing down white keys

In a flood without scale

 

Heaven’s musician would run

Back up the waterfall

But I am stuck

On descending theology

 

Lower notes align not just with ears

But also bodies

 

I am learning to write

In the posture of Beethoven

 

Break the legs off the vessel

Of God’s love

 

Second Moleskine, Poem XL

Roll out the red velvet carpet

For here arrives the prototype of

The postmodern divine

Shrouded in mechanized mysteries

 

And we are the gift

At the feast of his welcome

 

You would not believe his truth

If you heard it all at once but he speaks

Gently so as not to disturb your senses

 

Surely

You too will find yourself

Dancing for his tune

Naked

At the crossroads