The Night Trumpcare Passed in Congress

The blue-black sky looms heavy
over the orange city lights
phantom claws of Lake Michigan
rip through wind tunnels paved
with cantilevered fluorescence
and smattered with common lives
like flea market jewels.

Was it something like this,
the first passover, when death
swarmed the mud-and-straw streets
coldly marking the firstborn
of each damned household?
A beleaguered nation watching
the future being eaten away
by plagues brought upon it
by the Pharaoh’s impudence,

the most scarring of the blows
being borne by the lowest of them,

until the casualties started mounting
and even the most powerful
had to realize they were not
impervious to grief?

The Sun Rises on Rapid City, 4/22

The problem is,
you only find a path
to shoot down the sun
at postmortem,

when the coliseum
is empty and the flourishes
of ego have been archived,
the dust you disturbed
swept away.

It’s not such
an incomplete thing,
doubt.
If you have replaced
one grain of certainty
with a pause,
a question for another day,
isn’t that power,
even if it means
you’re wrong?

Here, you show them
the line where the mud
meets the sandstone;
moving the mountain
is another story.
Possessing the truth
is an illusion, a summit
that leans against
the ever-shifting light.
The climb is everything
you’ll ever own.

You are where you’re going,
all the lies you’ve survived.

There is still a place
for you at the table
where it adds up,
all the missing gold
that’s been recovered
when before there was
only desperate searching.

Of Plagues and Other Dark Portents

Daughter of Zion has been
walking down the aisle
towards the altar of
the end of all ends
part destruction, part blinding light
sacred in the purity of its chaos
as she bleeds names of unsaved
children and all the witnesses
weep tears of stone
that smell of early graves
and constitutional slavery
and rape
and the decay of silence
rolling down the pews
towards the path of
the resolute bride bound
since her prophesied birth
to wed death and eternal night
and the complete understanding
of perdition when the clock
runs out of hours.

She stumbles but doesn’t fall.
Her immaculate train is
hemmed in fire, and she burns
everything behind her.
There is no reversing this path.
She had heard of Lot’s wife
and the pillar of salt.
She will pass this test.
She hears the organ
miss half a beat, and then
increase the tempo
of the relentless march
and she gets imbued with
an overdose of impatience
to finally arrive
so she hurries up,
her disenfranchised heart
pumping obsolete newsprint ink
and crude oil
and cheap, unadulterated fear,
wrought by endless screaming,
responding in kind.

A Shotgun Wedding

Something borrowed
something given
something stolen
back
from the ones
who stole it first

and their children

something blue
spangled with white stars
red and white stripes

something old
as echoes trying to find new voices
as messages once written in stone
now erased
for reasons less than noble
and talking winds bearing colors
that won’t fit in boxes
and a history that will only
carry so much weight
before it breaks
and draws the blood
of those who won’t remember

something new
coveted grand skylines
towers of many Babels
speaking in market researched
monotony selling the same dream
built on shoulders and bent backs
of children of the new slavery
borrowing from a future
one does not own
to try and bury the past

trampling all its treasures
with lead boots and shells
of expensive wars
and scars
handed out like charity
to the least common denominator
and consolation prizes
of medals and monstrous lines
for rights
at the VA

weeping mothers
and steel faced orphans
line the aisle
as the captive daughter of Zion
force fed with junk food
and pregnant with revolution
marches down
pulling a bridal train
of generations-long oppression
and tears

“Rejoice and be glad…”

They say no amount of proof
will ever be enough for the unbeliever
and no proof at all
is necessary for the faithful.

If that is so,
then we fight this war
for those who are young in the faith
those who are still
finding their way
those who are not done
asking the questions

the ones who are in the fold
but have their palms
out in the wind
and can be ripped out
from among us
by wolves in sheep’s clothing

the ones whose spirits
have received the divine seeds
but are still in danger of being
overrun by poison weeds.

They are the reason why
we have to be the stronger current
and blow the stronger winds.
They are the ones we seek
to bring home when
we talk about doing the work,

not the ones who will believe
the first bad thing
they hear about you,
quick to pass around the news
that your temple is burning,
the ones who call you names
“brainwashed”, “blind follower”
without knowing or caring
about the miracles you’ve witnessed
or the storms that brought you here.

Those people are not your friends.

Not the ones who have already
cast their lot with those
who seek to destroy you,
those who have bound their fates
on the path that leads away
from everything, and would
drag with them
all that they can.

Those people are not your brothers.

So calm your heart,
carry your truth
and hold on to what has been promised.
Some ears are deaf, but
this battle cry is not for them.
The work we do is not in vain
where it matters.

Sought After, City Not Abandoned

Obedience is the new great revolution,

in a world of misinformation
and too much information
and agendas
and disguised intentions,
where discourse can only corrupt
your sense of right and wrong
beyond recognition,
where everybody has
to have a say on everything
and your supposed relevance lies
in the strength of of your opinions,

the real challenge is
to hear a Greater Voice
and follow it,
to be humble
and deny yourself
your need to feel important
when it means
getting mixed up in the fray
and contributing to the chaos

for the purest form of eloquence
is a tranquil and trusting silence
in deference to the One
who is in charge all the time,
who has a divine plan,
who only needs to will it
for things to fall into place
and the reasons to be revealed
so that we may understand
without having to be broken,
or compromised, or divided.

Walk to the place
where your election is safest
and wait for Him there.

The Spikenard Won’t Wash Off

Why did You choose me

choose to not turn me away
nor cast me aside,
choose me to survive the fire,
to break me early
enough to be saved
enough to be brought back
singing
enough to again
find my way to You?

Why, among the many,
I came to be one of the few,
what did You see?

Why did You raise me
from the shackles of
my defiant addictions,
why did You pull me out
of the ashes of the world
that I so wantonly
burned down myself?
The queue was long
and I had no great hopes
for my turn
but I almost perceptibly
felt You pass me
and tap me on the shoulder
to receive Your blessing,
why?

You know me.
I who have nothing
of myself to speak of,
I who willingly walked
over and over
to the edge of calamity
and dared Your wrath
to strike me down,
I who put You to the test
so many times,
I who was always weak
and ignorant
and proudly used that card
to go against You
I who can never forgive myself
and would only have
too bitterly understood
if You had closed all doors,
why me?

In the trenches
of my personal darkness
I hear Your grace working
though I am occupied by hunger
and so bound to this world
to truly comprehend the light.
I know I am chosen
and there is no justice,
only mercy,
only love.

Magdalene

I do not have great faith.
I only have pieces
that fit without
my knowing how or why,
a profound continuum
that I would be lying
if I claimed
I fully understood.
I will not preach
of miracles,
of moving mountains or
parting seas;
I can only testify
about what I’ve seen:
I’ve seen dawns
rectify the errors of
the nights they followed.
I’ve heard words spoken
with neither grand gesture
nor deliberate weight
but had been received
like sacred seeds
and through time prospered
as wisdom’s indomitable trees.
I’ve witnessed intentions
cast into wayward winds
and return home,
pulling opportunity
behind them like
precious bundles.

I cannot purport
to be one chosen,
or be privy to the answers
to some great mystery.
But I possess
too many good things
not to feel grateful.

I am anything but righteous.
No one can look at my life
and say my steps
consciously aimed to be
guided by some holy spirit.
I’ve spun so many excuses
to justify not believing,
except maybe in a dark chaos
that overtakes and overwhelms.
But somehow I’d make
opportune decisions
at fateful moments and
catch the shaft of light
for one more day.
Somehow that rectifying dawn
just keeps arriving,
grace keeps falling like
rain on my sown words and
all my prodigal intentions
keep remembering
their way back home.

I do not have great faith.
But I ask my questions
sincerely,
and I’ve never been forsaken.

A Path For Faith To Burn Through

The oil was fragrant
with miracles
and potent with life
for us who have come here
seeking something deeper
than eyes can see
waiting for our turn
to be touched
by the Powerful
through human hands
wanting to witness
mercy
the way it was promised
praying to be healed
oh, we who have come
from different walks
of believing,
different stages of pain,
have gathered here
clutching at our
borrowed strength
and left our doubts
by the door
to receive sweet relief
because doctors
and their well-researched
elixirs and the whole
weight of technology
can only bring us so far
but for a heart
stripped bare and
shrouded only in faith
nothing is impossible,
nothing is beyond
hoping for.

The Way Gravity Choreographs the Fall

So love strongly,
love with the strength
of karma and evolution
and the burning stars
inside your soul.
Let your love be
a storm unto itself.
Let it roar through
the corridors in
the freedom of being
whole, or at the
very least the grace
of beauty in brokenness,
and in embracing it,
wholly.
Love as if
you’re moving worlds,
as if gravity is
something you can close
your fingers around.
Throw yourself
into that love.
Take pride in it.
Create it while
it carries you,
as do the music and
its marching band.
Know that love
as you know how
to pray
and push its walls
against every inch
of who you were
before you found out
you were infinite.

But above all,
love strongly.
Occupy that love
the way pleasure
and pain occupy
your body.
Love as if
you were drowning,
as if you could fly,
as if the choice
is all yours,
always been.

I dare you
to be strong in love
for the Bible says,
“Perfect love
casts out all fear”.
Move as it moves,
grow as it breathes,
dance as it forgives.
And watch all
the flaws of the spirit
quietly fade, like embers
of a dying fire
at snowfall.