Tough Guy

Tough young guy
In a big shiny SUV
Demonstrates his fearlessness
His masculinity 
His God-given superiority 
Accelerating
Engine roaring
Wheels screeching
Peeling out 
From
A suburban grocery store parking lot

Fall down and worship, ye mere mortals

(I bet his mama sent him to get bread)

How I Responded

A Facebook friend posted: “…last night we were challenged ‘How can we share our gifts? What gifts can I bring to our church in our passionate desire for change?’ I’d love to read your responses.”

I responded:

How can I share my gifts?
How can I bring my gifts?
to a Church that does not
want my gifts
at least not when those gifts
are wrapped by God
in a woman’s body
Nevertheless I shall persist
and bring my gifts
to my sisters
and even my brothers
who are willing
to be gifted
to be blessed
by a woman.

God of Chance

When all other faith fails
My faith in the God of chance
Persists

It’s hard to pay attention
Driving the familiar route
But the unexpected sign
Brings me fully alert

“Emergency scene ahead”
Warns the red diamond sign
On the median

I’ve never seen such a sign before
In half a century of driving
In five countries

The traffic slows
Crawls
Stops
As we approach the flashing lights
The seemingly random
Scattering of police cars
And two utility vehicles
Many yellow vested uniforms
The sirened ambulance
Speeding past in the opposite lane

And the metal
Twisted tortured metal
Strewn across the road
Two wheels
Separate and lonely
Disconnected forever
From their only reality
The only reason
For their existence

No recognizable vehicle
So a motorcycle
Was slaughtered here
Most likely
By a speeding car or truck

My stomach clenches
My forehead tightens
With the start of a headache
My breath comes fast and shallow

Just yesterday
A cousin posted an old picture on Facebook
Two of her brothers
Mike, bearded, handsome, 20-something
And his little brother Chris
Probably about 6 years old
Towheaded confidence
Sitting in his big brother’s lap
Mike the oldest of nine
Chris the youngest

Mike
Dead in a motorcycle accident
These 50 years
Chris
Killed in a motorcycle accident
20 years later

I follow the policeman’s gesture
And turn into a subdivision of townhouses
Thirty years living in this city
And I have never turned here

I follow the car in front of me
Following the car ahead of it
Following the car ahead of it
Following the car ahead of it…
The long line
Stretching ahead in this
Blind man’s bluff game
Of follow the leader
Our dance macabre
With death so very near
Through the twisting tarmac turns
Past towering townhouses
Until I know where I am
A familiar road
A red light
A panhandler
Who wears a bandana mask
And a baseball cap pulled low
No threat intended
Just COVID and sun wise
On this sweet spring morning

I don’t even read his handwritten
Cardboard sign
I just roll down my window
Ask his name
(Scooby)
Tell him mine
Hand him a 20
And chat with him until
God turns the light green
And encourages me to move on

I am no Pharaoh
But the God of chance
Led me here
And softened my heart

On Sensitivity

Does anyone else get tired
Of those who tell you
How sensitive they are
Those who tell you
How intuitive they are
Those who tell you
How hard it is to live life
As an empath 
Those whose eyes fill with tears
As they explain their painful sensibilities
Their acute awareness of the feelings
Of others
Even ants

Does anyone also ever feel like screaming
“So why the fuck are you so unaware
Of my feelings?”

Or is it just me?

Blanket Faith

Sometimes I just want to be Linus
Dragging my blanket of faith everywhere
Thumb in my mouth
Sucking contentedly on the familiar
While walking through the unknown

But my faith too often disintegrates
Into a cloud of dirt
And I become Pigpen 

Hopeful





With bows to Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins

If hope is the thing with feathers

– And, ah, bright wings –

Then faith is the greening leaves
And nest-making twigs
High in the branches of love
Rooting down deep
Into my soul’s soil

Hope nests like the robin
Waiting patiently
Wisely
Knowing beyond knowing
Sitting in her nest of faith
That eggs will hatch
Fledglings will fly
Finding other trees
Soul-rooted
That need hope
For awhile
Before autumn’s onslaught
Fells the leafs of faith
Then yields to winter’s freeze
That ices over even love
As my soul struggles

Yet always
Sometimes sooner
Oft times later
Spring’s resurrection
Alleluia arises
Freeze yields
Bare branches bud
And hope wings back
To build a nest of faith
In a tree of growing
Living love

Life and Faith

The maze is beautiful
Lush deep shrubs
Seven, maybe eight
Feet tall
The path is smooth
No sign of rocks
To stumble me
Or crevasses
To sink me

The sun is warm
Not hot
Warm and bright
Not too bright
Right bright


Why can’t I move
What are these cords
These invisible tender tight
Cords
That hold me in place


What was the name of that child’s game
Indian something, I think
That strange small
Accordion tube
Soft and colorful
You put a finger in each end
When you pulled
To free your fingers
You were stuck

The harder you pulled
The harder the tube resisted
Fingers stuck
That sweet panic started
Titillating almost scary
Almost arousing
To be stuck
By such a colorful playful
Bit of nothing
But to know
All you had to do was relax
Stop pulling your fingers apart
Pull one while the other pushed forward
And the stuckness vanished
A magician’s illusion
Your fingers were soon free
So you did it again


Relax
Relax again
And the binds will loosen
Relax and you will
Walk through the maze
Enjoying the challenge
Until the worry binds again
And you forget to relax


You forget
Again
To remember
The loving Family
Mother God
Father God
Brother God
Bound together
With Holy Loving Spirits
Waiting
Just outside the maze
Knowing
You will find your way
Sending
Confidence and love
On the warm sunshine
Laser cutting those invisible
Binding
Ropes



Our Mother

Our Mother
Who art our earth
Hallowed be your resources
May you flourish more
May we honor your wisdom
As we see it in nature
Thank you for our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses against you
As we recognize they trespass against us too
Let us avoid the temptation of exploitation
Let us be delivered from unwise practices
For you are our home
Yours is true power
In you we should glory
Forever and ever
So be it

The Kingdom of Heaven

The church’s Sequoia 
I cannot climb

Its towering branches
Block the sun

Its massive trunk
I cannot hug

On the dry ground beneath it
Nothing grows

BUT

The Christ’s mustard seed
I cup in my palm

Careful not to blow it away
I cradle it

Trusting not to lose it
I bury it in my soul’s rich soil

Soon, by the grace of God
I nest in its low branches