What I remember most is the weight of faith you carried.
Centuries of faith.
The thickness of it, thicker than the incense
The countless spiritual atoms floating in your space
Made everything seem heavy,
Yet somehow also uplifting.
If there was a place for faith
It was under your grey arches.
There are taller buildings, but none reach like you.
Your frame yearned to be taller, and in reaching
You took us all with you, upwards.
I do not doubt we will look up again.
I pray we will.
We find no saints on Earth.
Just plain old men and women
Chipped, crimped and crackled.
Examine a fine bit of skin and you will find the mole of witchcraft…
But only if you want to.
Living bodies stink of life – the taxations of time, follies of youth, crippling doubt, condemnations of better souls…
What flawed creature could possibly be offered up to God as a paragon of what we can offer?
Present a good enough example
And we work it over with the finest toothed combs
Determined to catch the fleas that dig into every gleaming coat,
Loud in disappointment when we find it!
Toss out the charlatan! Another child of Eden!
Perhaps it takes the soft focus of death
To turn us into kinder judges of our kin.
There are no saints on Earth.
They exist only in words and our invisible hopes
The likes of which can dance on the heads of pins
And pass through the eyes of the Bayeux’s needles
Unweighted and unbound
Spiraling out of our grasp
This is what happens when you read the news before breakfast, people.
EAT YOUR BREAKFAST FIRST.
Our temples are hollow and bare.
The better to carry our temples inside of us,
And send our money to the new God.
To him we build new cathedrals of steel and mirrored glass.
His houses of worship open only to the ordained MBAs.
The laity is welcome to stare at its own reflection
on the outside of these new churches
(From whom all good things charge).
It is why we do not sing,
or only sing in solemnity or to overcome sorrow,
For our temples are hollow and bare.
Joy in the soul requires something more
Than four walls and a bookshelf of hymnals.
Just as the spirit requires more nourishment
Than chrome and lobby guards.
*Inspiration/ Title Line from Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth”
2.7 South of the Oregon Trail/strong>
I often wonder how the settlers pushed past the Western deserts.
When they saw the shimmering flats,
The copses of lying Joshua trees,
The flat, red rocks and spiky tumbleweeds,
How did they summon hope and press on?
All along the dry, hot trail,
All along the unforgiving, closed mountains
A hundred miles and more –
Only to reach the dry scrubland of the southwest coast?
What hints from people before them
Got them doggedly past the Mojave,
To the ocean beyond?
Then to reach that great body of water,
And be unable to drink from it?
I would have looked Heavenward and laughed
At the two-thousand mile irony.
That is, if I hadn’t died of cholera along the way.
2.8 can wait
But let me state
I have it written here
I’ll let it stew
Then write for you
Enough to make you cheer 🙂
God told me a joke.
First, he cracked my heart
As though it were a crisp cookie.
Into the space between the halves
He breathed a burr
That wedged and twisted in my chest.
Then, just when I thought
I too must fully break in half,
God sent me a sign.
A bird, trapped in the garage.
Grey, small, with long tail.
Flying in ineffectual circles,
Singing hollow in the darkened space,
Waiting for me to press the button and
Return it to the world.
Great punch line.