Qoheleth declared all to be
emptiness encased in
marketed as meaningful,
but quickly forgotten in the glare
of that which is shinier,
and just beyond our reach.
Vanity, my name is Vanity..
until I learn my true name.
And that name can be learned
by leaning into the image of myself
in the mirror of a pine tree’s
sticky, sap-stained bark;
or in the mirror of a mountain range
where snow-covered peaks are hidden
behind winter’s-grey/golden clouds;
or in the mirror of a thousand soldiers’
graves at the edges of a
or in the mirror of flashing fish scales
or a red/yellow/blue/white supernovas
or in a drop of sidewalk rainwater.
I am, too:
in Meaning without words
in Reflection without plot
in Holiness without divinity.
And my true name?
My true name is that
Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage
where the grapes of wrath
were stored but now
are turned into land mines,
On the third day
(or the second or the fifth,
or maybe some day years from now)
some unsuspecting chump
will step on a long-forgotten mine,
and ascend into heaven
on the loosed lightning of TNT,
in a smear of furious death.
I believe in the Holy Spirit:
I’ve seen him in the watchfires
of a hundred circling camps.
And I believe in the holy catholic church-
they’ve builded him an altar in the morning dews and damps.
I believe in the communion of saints
and the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of bodies,
(even blown-apart ones)
and life everlasting.
Our god is marching on.
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Drawing a picture of the bird outside my window
gives me no control (none at all) over him.
No matter that the scarlet and ecru of the bird’s wings
are perfectly blended in an imagined water-color
flurry of feathers..
the bird is gone, flying away from the sound of my
and beyond the reach of the prayers
with which I plead to the God of my bidding,
for the bird’s return.
Either God is not listening, or
I am irrelevant in Creation’s
thrusting toward tomorrow.
The bird doesn’t need me.
Nor, it seems-
at least in the way I believed it to be so-
I am free now to enjoy both.
Unencumbered by chains.
Without the canyon,
there would be no river.
And without the river,
the canyon is not.
They are One.
It is the words I choose
that tear apart their Wholeness.
It is my inability to know One,
that causes me to imagine Two.
This is a confusion that does not exist for the
thriving within their known Universe.
They are unaware of the violence I do
to their world
with my thinking.
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There, by the driveway,
below the bare lilac branches
perfect in lines and delicate color
contrasting in curvature against
the new snow,
It died there sometime in the night
in temperatures that wrapped the
dying dove in its final
repose and held it there
gently- yes, gently:
she has been touched gently
in her final breaths-
every feather is perfect.
So perfect that I touch,
hoping that I will cause
a flurry of wings,
but it is not to be..
the dove has waited for
the end, without knowing of
knowing only, perhaps,
after a short rest,
of another flight.
The Servant emptied himself of
uniform, honor, and accolade
by kneeling on a plank floor
with a towel
and washing street dirt and shit
from the feet of his friends.
No volume of leather-bound
liturgical ritual, written on calfskin
in illuminated inks of gold and indigo
can change that dark and beautiful
No doctrinal platitudes
spoken in sonorous sobriety
by centuries of bejeweled shamen
can drown out the sounds of
the wet towel, the filled basin, and
the guttural wonder of
men confronted by true
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That which we see is shaped
by that which we cannot see.
When we see our Great Home as
a reflection of our will, however,
rather than formed by the
winds of the universe,
then we are inviting those with the
biggest voices, the
biggest fists, and the
to fly flags in the
shapes and colors
of their own wills,
and to hide from our perceptions
any recognition whatsoever
of the invisible winds..
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