Finding x

The funny thing about x
is that one moment it’s found
only to go missing the next time around.

Part I

My grandmother found x in a man
who puffed and puffed and shook her bones
with his voice. He grabbed her by the ribs
and said he was taking back what God had stole.
She saw the equation solved and complicated again
every time he said he loved her.
She could never tell who he was saying it to.

Part II

My mother found x in her children.
The x comes in infrequent, but savory scraps
of mothers-day cards and kisses goodnight.
But when our x is so faithless, I think she goes
looking in the Christian radio station.

Part IV
My sister found x in herself when she said
she’d never let another man touch her.
My grandmother laughed and cried that night.
She knows that x in our hands and hearts is like
finding x in candles that will always need to be
replaced and relit.

Part V

I found x in a Sunday service.
It was at the alter where I cried
and didn’t know who I was mourning.
It was underneath the pews.
It was in the stained-glass portrait
of a man who could’ve been my friend
if only he was around more often.
The funny thing about God is that I thought I found Him,
only for him to go missing from His tomb.

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Watching the News

Two lungs to swell in the moment
Two hands to ball up or raise
depending how I feel.
Two feet to carry me to the front lines.
Two eyes to witness interesting times.
Two ears to listen for a battle cry
or the storm that’ll carry us all to sea.
Ten fingers to count transgressions.
One heart that pumps.
It’s pumping.

Two watering eyes.
Two ears tuned to the right channel.
Two nostrils flaring like a bull.
One drummer boys heart.
Lips, open! Open up!
It’s me! Do something!
Silence and my heart
slows to a deadly march.

A Scholar’s Sonnet

We measure our life in half empty beakers
and drain pipets of our worth into deep, awaiting
test tubes. Like Jesus, a weightless insect, oil
on water we float atop the plains of unending and uprising
seas; we are holy, disgusting, and dangerous.
It stirs below us. Whirlpools drain us to their depths.
Riptides drag us to their conclusions. And yet we float.
And yet there are those of full glasses, who drink
sea water, in hopes to go mad. Those who turn their heads
and grin at a cave-sentenced puppeteer. They do not fall next
behind Alexander in the line of students, but they are greater
than Glaucon. They elucidate life with nothing more than glowing
eyes. Look you learned man who cannot live! Erudite starver!
How noble is a noble when compared to this carver?

New York in Short

after the night has ended, before

the sun rises I sit and think about

believing. something, anything to believe.

stories like my own, told by someone

who can tell them better than I can.

everyone else has long gone home,

likely sleeping off the memories

of bad jokes and misunderstandings

quiet quarrels, fighting words

wisely left deep in the throat.

but I am awake with the cricket,

with the moon whose crater filled

face reminds me of the boulders

in central park. I’ve never been

but I wouldn’t mind going. Earth

science taught me that they were

dropped by glaciers during the ice age,

an unwanted child, left on the steps

of a church it would help build.

there are so many unwanted ones

in new york. outcasts from one place

or another looking to build their temple

in the sand, where it may unscramble

the riddles of piety. where it may

crumble to the satisfaction of

its attendants, releasing all the

mystery of mysticism that

the orthodox would follow.

tearing the labels of the label maker

is the birthright of those who

have been reborn in exodus.

baptized in exile, who have refused

to be exercised of their demons.

because what is a demon?

is it not the forgotten child,

carrying its message long

after the glacier has melted?

is it not the outcast, left to clean

the nails from Calvary and going home

with his nails painted red;

his hands, drenched in salvation.

If I Could Paint You…

As Romeo suggests, love can contain so much “sweet sorrow”. It is so easy to look at the idea of love and love that concept. It is hard to experience the reality of love, see it as a rose whose thorns have pricked through ones hand but still see it as a beautiful rose. Some people might say that if love pricks , prick it back: fight against love, reject all idea that Queen Mab still visits lovers. How easy would that be? But if one takes that road, he/she does not love. Love takes sacrifice: Sarah sacrificed her life for Coalhouse. God sacrificed his son for the world. Soldiers sacrifice themselves for their country. All of this is beautiful pain. All of this is authentic love. Here’s the poem:

If I could paint you

I would use

only the nicest colors

Reds and oranges

Warm colors

Warm like body heat

Warm like your hands

Warm like a summers day

Warm like blood

Warm like a fire

I never should’ve touched

I should’ve never gotten too close

But the farther I move away

The colder it gets

And through all this

I see beauty in your inferno

I find love in these burns

I see forgiveness in forest fires

I find heat

Where there shouldn’t be warmth

I find you, even when you’re missing

If I could paint you

I’d use only the warmest colors

Warm like the smoldering house

Destroyed by the fire,

As I sat idly by

Admiring it’s beauty.