Stars

I was thinking
that if I lean back
into your arms then
I might have the best view
of the stars in all their brilliance
and glory. By the light of their gaze
I might find peace illuminated…
might and maybe and if.
But I don’t easily lean
or rest, so I miss
the stars.

O God my God,
how I miss the stars.

cleveland-arcade-tile

on Job 9:4 & 9:9-10

Leprosy

Stay away, God.
There is no sin here that you have not seen
and it is embarrassing to have you look.
Truly there is no need
for you to draw near:
you would only add to this
humiliation — your touch would
sting like salt on this wound that is
my spirit, broken down and
contrite for its failings.
Better for you
to remain unsoiled or at least
to be messed by the likes of more alluring
matters of life: love and faith and
children’s laughter and the
beauty of creation —
not this pollution of despair
not this erosion from wholeness
that hasn’t loved itself since the angel first
cut Eden’s gate into pieces with a flaming sword.
But you are still in the garden finding
new things to name and even
in your moments of holy
grace for the pathetic,
it seems best
to honor the sword’s divisions
and keep the distance as it stands between us.
No worries, God, and no
hard feelings.

on Jeremiah 23:23

We Never Meant to Love You

Though we pressed our bibles to your hands
and promised you life in the deep chilly river
we never meant to love you
and prayed Christ would forgive you for not
being like us, not even at the threat of death.

Though we survived by your blood and thrived
on your charism and consumed your resources
we never meant to love you
and resented that your resilience outlived us,
defied us, but never saved us from this death.

Though we pledged to embrace your spirit
distinct from its desires & needs & dreams
we never meant to love you
and made of your affections a golden calf
for which we killed faith & preached death.

Though we traveled the world in great hopes
of far becoming near and the strange familiar
we never meant to love you
and now you are too near so let us not risk
familiarity, else we care about your death.

Though we etch in our hearts “God so loved”
and pontificate amply of “brothers & sisters”
we never meant to love you
and build walls of ignorance around our hearts
for fear God might put our worldviews to death.

Though we cling to Your name as our own and
make Your body ours with every crumb & cup
we never meant to love You
and crave only a free ride on Your coattails for
our own self rightness against doubt & death.

God(ot)

I waited for you today,
found a quiet place to
sit in peaceful wonder.
I watched the world
while waiting and oh!
how beautiful the world
because you are in it:
the starling is a black
jewel in the sunlight,
the street a circus of
sound & light & people,
the morning warmth
an invitation to smile.
So I do smile as I wait
…but you do not come.
It’s not the first time —
in fact, it’s been a long
too long a time since
you last joined me here.
I remember the last time
we found each other; that
memory alone brings me
back to wait again for you.
But long too long it seems
and longer again each day
until the starling appears
less a jewel than a nuisance
the street a clamor & chaos
the warmth a stifling heat.
My return tomorrow is in
question; more certain the
likelihood that you will not.
Perhaps another time.