Saturday, April 30, 2011

One possible perfect Saturday

sleeping in 'til
the dog wakes ~
then coffee and
made from scratch

a little work
a little play
nothing to do,
but nap ~

deliciously simple dinner
and an escapist movie
after the dog park
to fall asleep
with a good book

Friday, April 29, 2011


crisp, pressed, shiny, hat at the
perfect inclination for a salute

whistle, badge, gun, white gloves
for directing traffic

white shirt, green apron, bubbly attitude
as she makes my coffee

wing tips, tie, pinstripe jacket hanging beside
his desk behind the tellers

tights, a shrug, slippers for the kids' class,
pointe shoes for rehearsal tonight

hard hat, florescent vest, carhardts
keep the job site safe

flowing robes behind the bench
pronounce judgment

flowing robes from behind the altar
proclaim grace

which way do I go?

get out of the screen
and into a book

get out of the house
and into the garden

get out of the house
and into the city

get out of the city
and out into nature

get out of the car
and onto your bike

get out of your walls
and into the world

get out of your head
and into your heart

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Montana on a motorcycle

roll into town late at night
Kalispell, maybe
quiet town, empty streets
as we pull up to the stoplight

a rumble swells
as the light turns green
15? 20? 25? bikes pull out
of curbside parking spots

they pass us on the right,
the last bike waving us in
getting us around the RV
that's easing us off the throttle

we ride together, our rice-burners
loaded down with luggage
among their harleys out on a
warm summer evening

our day's been long ~ we need to
make camp soon ~ but
before we part ways with them,
we all own the road

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Building Then and Now

Stone upon Stone
reaching toward the heavens;
they climbed scaffolding and
hoisted supplies on cranes ~
cathedrals, for the glory of God

Steel and Iron supporting
Concrete (creating urban canyons)
are hoisted on cranes
to workers high on scaffolding ~
who do office buildings glorify?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Breathe: A Blessing

the poster on my wall proclaims,
echoing the urgings of my
almost-finished, almost-private office

sing mandolin and guitar
as they hang, silently,
on the opposite wall

reminds the rain as it
rivulets down the

this Easter,
and be filled with
divine breath

Saturday, April 23, 2011


sundown and darkness, then
new fire
and the proclamation of

story, story, story, of
salvation history

with G-d,
we've come through the
Valley of Death
(shadow or not)

G-d has triumphed.
now, to bathe in the font, and
feast on bread and wine.

Friday, April 22, 2011

God Is Dead

Time Magazine asked
on its cover
~ April 8, 1966 ~
"Is God Dead?"

Is G-d dead?, or maybe
is our world so far from the
Faith of our Fathers, that
there's no way back? or,

has soccer, or
perceptions of hypocracy, or even
the New York Times
taken over Sunday morning?

do we now somnambulate
through worship, when we
bother to show up at all?
Is G-d Dead?

Time Magazine pondered publically,
on that 1966 Good Friday ~
the answer, that day: obviously yes.
without question, G-d Is Dead.

I wonder, did the magazine, and
soccer moms coming from yoga, and
sleep-walking pew-sitters ~
did they wait? do we wait?

trusting that today, G-d Is Dead;
and that death may not be
the last word? that death, inevitable,
does not tell the whole story

excerpts from last night's homily

In the room where they gathered for the passover feast
a meal eaten in haste
reminding them of the freedom
to which God had led their ancestors
they are drawn into freedom once again
but it's not the freedom we in this country yearn for
it's not the freedom to live where you want
or to say whatever comes into your mind
it's not the freedom to denigrate one another in the public sphere
or the freedom to pursue personal satisfaction at the expense of our neighbor
it's not the freedom to satisfy every whim and desire
to the point of bankrupting ourselves and our children

it's a freedom that doesn't make any sense
it's a freedom that is born of service to neighbor
it's a freedom that we cannot understand until we experience it
and even then, we may not understand

the grace of freedom did not happen in the past
it did not happen on the cross
or from the empty tomb a couple days later
it's right now, here, today
in a meal of bread and wine
body and blood

God turns the world upside-down
and this week we enter into
God's upside-down world
a world of power made known in sacrifice
strength made known in weakness
life made known in death

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

round table in holy week

round table in a
coffee house corner ~
time passes surprisingly,
for around this week's corner,
routine will abandon
the rhythm of life
in favor of the holy

in these times, we step
out of time, and
time steps out of step with
our day-to-day, as the
divine interrupts,
predictably surprising
with the anticipation of

yet past my round corner table
life goes on as if
we don't know that
in this week of sacred holiness
life and death
is not as it should be

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

a downtown moment

the bustle of downtown
belies, or perhaps reflects
apparent desperation

workers in the deli move fast
for the fast-moving
wing-tips and ties

what are they rushing to
... or from?

who just sat down
between calls,
are proud of their kids

and a lawyer who
just walked in,
later today has to manage
her own divorce

on a break from directing traffic,
his fluorescent vest slows us down
even in here, even without his
ubiquitous sign

i'm interloping here.
my agenda today: empty

though i have little in common
with the guy begging my change,
at least neither of us is in a hurry.

Monday, April 18, 2011

the next table over

they show each other
facebook photos of
women they've met,
comparing them to 'supermodels'

a teenager sits at the
next table over with her family
~ mom, dad and kid brother ~
a nice family dinner out

does she know what they value,
what they look for in women?
will she recall their words
when she gets home later?

in her room, she loves to write,
to draw. she plays music, she
thinks deeply. will their
perception of physical beauty

obscure, in her bedroom mirror,
the depth and breadth of her
true beauty? If only the
next table would open their eyes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Authority and Triumph

authority and triumph
look different this week

strength and power
emanate from a gun barrel,
from schoolyard-bully-intimidation
where those who have
withhold from those who need
manipulating relationship

authority and triumph
look different this week

pain and death
we suppose to be for the enemy;
yet our victor
and, guilty in our eyes
(crucify him, we shout),
dies a criminal(s) death

authority and triumph
look different this week

the vindictive sense we
make of the world
is upended ~ strength, now
made complete through weakness
death now conquered by
new life

authority and triumph
look different this week

behold, in death
G-d is making all things new

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Haiku for Palm Sunday

passion precedes pain
still we hold on to hope
that life conquers death

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chirstmastime at the Mall

Do I get that one?
Nope, it's already gone

The one over there?
It won't work either.

That one looks promising
at least from over here

getting closer, though,
there's no way.

Finally, there's one that
will work. It's a far cry

from what I really want, but
after all this looking, it'll do.

Now that I found a parking place,
it's time to start shopping.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


'Good Morning'
sounded like 'Surprise' today
when last night's rain
covered this morning's lawn
in white

what about the tulips' green shoots
just emerged into
April's warmth -
do they wish they'd stayed
for another week?

or the song birds,
returned from winter's travels -
did they huddle together,
sharing what little body warmth
they could spare?

as for me, even
is still a good morning.
If not today, then soon
spring is here to stay,
and, soon
we won't be able to escape
the surprise of
new life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Healing / Wholeness

we search for healing
we think of
the gift of
the practice of
medicine -
vaccines and ultrasound
scans and surgeries -
grow out of the
God-given gift of
knowledge build on knowledge
genius informing experience
informing genius knowledge
of how to piece back together
body and mind

but sometimes,
healing doesn't come quickly enough
sometimes healing doesn't come on our schedule
sometimes doesn't come according to our plan

sometimes, the healing we want
never comes

unfortunately, in our life
we may never escape
a broken body

but in faith,
though we may never escape
our illness
- at least, as we seek escape through medicine

though we may never
escape illness
wholeness most certainly is possible
even while illness remains

and resultant
spiritual health,
are gift from G-d
G-d, who endured the shame of death
divine body broken, unhealed
G-d, who endured pain and death
in order that we would know
the wholeness of resurrection
the wholeness of new life
even now,
whether or not medicine is any help

though illness may remain
G-d gives wholeness
through divine
and unmerited

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


amid pain and grief and sorrow
i can only beg or steal or borrow
the grace
to embrace
in the face of my neighbor
the savior

but technology
follows me
pushing and prodding
never negotiating
always anticipating
the next big thing
(the pace we race
like running rodents
prostituting potential)
staring at screens
until we eventually
connect so much to the virtual
we miss out on what is actual

can you enter
community on the web?
is it, as for a spider, where
we are caught up
wrapped up
in a net, not
of neutrality
but squandered morality

doesn't seem like community
to me

until we embrace each other
like sister and brother
(is that too trite a line
for our post-modern time?)
our pain and grief and sorrow
hang on until tomorrow
then death ~ followed by resurrection
and new connection
as we are embraced
by divine, unearned, grace

Riding a Bike

initially, it was Connie Carpenter;
after a seventy-two year
american cycling
gold medal
she throws her bike across the line
photo-finish first-place

I liked bikes before -but
that day, I fell in love
it wasn't just the olympic excitement;
soon I also discovered
bragging rights
and the freedom of
unencumbered mobility and

there are things we never forget
like how to ride a bike
but the how is so much more
than simple mechanics and kinesthetics

and even the how
doesn't approach
the why

Sunday, April 10, 2011


with thanks and apologies to Mr. Robert Frost

one road diverges, splits, in a mountain valley
one road, two lanes, multiplies
becomes two roads, three lanes

one (two lanes) cutting a swath along the river
mirroring its size and journey
until the bridge, where
road and river switch sides
before continuing

one road, now one lane, climbing back and forth,
around and upward, until a view of the
mirrored road is afforded

before the view, pavement crumbles to gravel
the road narrows, trees encroaching,
untaming what once was wild

when the view arrives, surprised by visitors
the mirrored road is distant
and the sun much nearer


one road becomes two, diverging in the valley;
I took the one toward the
mountaintop before returning
to the road more traveled

Saturday, April 9, 2011

first date

they've lost themselves in a
first date

their lattes sit, untouched,
as smiles and laughter
overtake their faces

after two hours of people
coming and going
all around them
he looks up and
comments on the time

now, suddenly late
to a genuine appointment,
she drags him out onto the sidewalk
so they can squeeze every moment
out of this first encounter
knowing there will be a second

the couple who take their table
still gaze tenderly at one another
their comfortable silence carrying
fifty-two years
of first dates

Friday, April 8, 2011


they always get ahead of me;
before it's even warm enough
to plant food:
- tomatoes
- squash
- basil
- melons
- beans
they've invaded
taproots diving deep
drawing sustenance
(the sustenance i want
for my summer culinary delights)
into their green, growing,
i-don't-want-you-here leaves

i coax and cajole
pull and dig
mix and turn
until the soil looks clean
ready to plant

then i turn away
for five minutes, it seems
(though the days get away from me)
and they're back
so i'm back
digging, pulling

to have my hands in the dirt,
it's probably worth it

Thursday, April 7, 2011

beginning violin

the violins are painfully
out of tune,
even on open strings;
but nonetheless
we applaud adoringly

tonight, at the bar
the fiddle player
(fluent on three instruments)
will be perfectly
on pitch

he, too, was once
on that elementary stage;
and we heard, today,
grace notes anticipating
beautiful melodies
soaring from future
concert halls and
front porches

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


small patches
scattered across the hillside
in my eye's corner
look like paper
that's been rained on
the day after
you accidentally hit it
with the lawnmower

it's unnatural, out of place
until the corner of my eye
turns somewhere else
and the paper, centered
in my vision becomes
shaded patches of snow

up higher, the powder's deep
where winter's holding on
down lower, we're mountain biking
wearing summer's t-shirts
here, in-between is stuck
not wanting to commit to the one
before the other's fully played out

and there, on the hillside
I see myself reflected
in that moment when the
waiter wants to take my order

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If I could write

If I could write a poem
that rhymes, like those in tomes
lining dusty bookstore
shelves; I'd even pour
all of my thought
into a poem that's not
free verse. Or maybe metered lines
that, juxtaposed like tines
create a fork, will build
a useful verse to still
dis-ease, or maybe quell
a fear. If nothing else,
I'd like to write some good
coherent words. If I could
write a poem that rhymes -
oh, well, perhaps another day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

american dream

next to an impersonal
there's a coffee shop
complete with patio seating
out of place in
suburban sprawl

before the movie
i step inside, where
familiar and foreign
are juxtaposed
products i've seen before
alongside european drinks
and candy wrappers
my monolingual eyes
can't decipher

the shopkeeper
friendly, but not overbearing
though he
mixes up his prepositions
still communicates so that
we all understand

in the shop, i begin to
that his familiar and foreign
are opposite mine

most of us, in our ancestry
left our familiar to arrive
in foreign places
some came unwillingly
some came maliciously

most of us,
however we arrived
simply wanted better for ourselves

the coffee is adequate
the ambiance tolerable
the hope, though,
is life-giving

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Vacate: to cause to be empty or unoccupied
Vacation: an emptying of the ordinary

a break from mundane
when what is normal is
allowed to expand,
the world opening up to
possibility and adventure and
exploration of the
wonders that life offers

or, when the world is
walled off, creating
a manageable interior room
ignoring the mundane
in favor of fictional worlds
where the extent of my worry is
fresh fruit and books -
do I have enough of each?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Colorado, April in the Garden

brittle and brown tomato plants,
decorated with shriveled
red and yellow bulbs, skins
toughened by october's sun
and november's frost,
linger in the garden
neglected as the Christmas tree
set on January 6th's curb
for January 4th's pickup,
still bearing those three ornaments
homemade years ago by cousins
barely remembered and unseen for
- what? - twenty years?
still, those days were good,
the whole family around a tree and
a table that groaned under
the weight of pounds of turkey and
generations of stories.

I dream,
as I dig in the garden,
nostalgic for childhood innocence
or, at least, for next year's

Friday, April 1, 2011

memories of a frog in a bog

a frog in a bog
came out of my pencil
in seventh grade,
hopping onto the page
bringing the bog
(and a log) in tow

the contest was
though i didn't enter

still, when the results
and poems/stories/essays
were published
we were all excited ~
who would win?
what did they write?
what would it be like
to see your name
your friend's name
in print?

in typical fashion
i forgot the day
was the day
a normal day
seventh grade, like
every other
was transformed
when a frog
with a log
in a bog
was top dog

i only understood
that the assignment
'write a poem'
wasn't for a grade
when i was handed the
winners page
bearing my
smudged name
in aromatic ink

Poetry Month

April is national poetry month, and I've been challenged to write (and post, no matter how bad they might be) one poem per day through these thirty days. I have no illusions of being able to write decent poetry, but thought it would be a fascinating way to navigate the end of Lent, Holy Week, and the beginning of Easter. We'll see what come of this adventure.