A Year Ago When You Told Us that

you were dying, I stared at you, thinking
it was one of your philosophical remarks,
served up between Schrödinger’s Cat
and the Platonic Ideal. We were eating popcorn
in the kitchen and it was just like that, you said
the worst was that telling your friends
would be like hitting a dish with a hammer,
hoping someone else could glue it back together.

This is the third of three posts in this series.

The Day Before When We

came downtown to see you,
we were cracking wise about
the hospital, but Phil was
suddenly aloof, determined
to get to your room, showing
no patience to the volunteer, a
nice-enough lady with a
metal angel pin. You
seemed old, but not enough,
sitting up with us talking
weakly about everything
but

before we left downtown we
wanted to see the museum
but it was closed. We walked
back to the station; Jenny
bought a Saint Peregrine
medal from a street vendor,
started to cry. I spent
the rest of that day
holding her hand, or with
my arm (which fell asleep)
around her on the train.

This is two of the three poems I intend to post in this series.

The Day After What We

called a wake, although we slept,
worthless disciples in the garden
of doubt and anguish over the
tumbling foothold of grief,

We smoked cigarettes, switched
to beer to get soberer, shaved
and put on clean clothes, clothes
we’d bury ourselves in,
were we dead ourselves
and not walking in the long shadow

behind the grave.

 

 

 

This is one of three poems I intend to post as the next three entries.

 

 

Insomnia

Insomnia, while it lasts, is like flying
downhill on a bike. We would love it
were it not for the denouement.
We do love it
under different names at different times:
the holiday weekend, cram sessions,
all the be-now-pay-later moments.
Names like focus, party mode,
and the Big Lie: wired. The promise,
never kept, that tomorrow will not
claim our time with interest, the loan
we didn’t ask for when we lie awake
spinning down mental slopes.

The Road to Emmaus

For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

1 Peter 4:6 NKJV

I walked a long road for this home-going:
tangled paths of memory. You both assumed
it was a trick. You were expecting flowing
wounds, blood-torn back—I looked as if hewn
from rock, and not a grave that thought it had me.
Peter, you were right, but didn’t see:
everyone
had the same eyes. To be
drowning, to have your soul (demanded
from birth, the owed death waiting) returned—
all one, all the same. Peter, everyone dies,
but not all live. Some choose to burn
in prison, waiting to be freed. Why
judge the dead until you walk the sea?
Even the death of you will live in Me.

Christ Calls Peter

A bit out of sequence, but… this is from a somewhat neglected collection that I need to get back to work on.

Christ calls Peter

We cleaned nets which stank from a long night
of nothing and mended them where the sea
snagged and tore them. He wanted to talk.
Not to me, but to the mob coming with him,
a rabble that made me and James look
like tax men. Continue reading “Christ Calls Peter”

Golgatha

It hurt worse than expected,
feeling my soul pulling free,
like meat off a bone, like arriving
when she told me Joseph died—
I knew, but now I Know.

Drunk with pain, down to go deeper,
to get under all of it, down under
the staggering load.

It was hard to be there for it, hard
to see her seeing all of this, hard
to explain, even if I could have,

that it was all merely a stage,
the necessary pain, evil, darkness,
delusion.

And then it began.

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