Wednesday, December 15, 2010

there is always so much to say that can't get said 
and much more life that waits to be lived
there is time but only enough to take care of this moment
wherein i do what i can for everyone here
and yet i think and hope and pray for you where you are
and wish i could be two people
because there is more to life than just making do
and what waits is a life of passion 
that would never be on hold

Monday, November 22, 2010

now finally in these november days
life begins to shed some of its grimness

and music falls down the misty sky
in ancient hypodorian, o come o come...

it is your tenderness filling my heart that pulls me on, 
and nothing less than the fullness of joy beyond sustains me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

whose feet are these
slipsliding in the ocean of all that is,
what catches up the breath
in the flow of everyday things,
lurching the heart to fear?

so close is love to fear 
and no seam to follow one way or the other...
only a slight lean on the spirit to guide the craft.

this was a hard risk many days, for both of us,
a leap out of the boat for no apparent reason,
other than for love.

of such is the curve of this kind of grace 
precious as foam
on the long wave homing to shore.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the understanding

taking care of what's Good,
shoved as it is up against Will and Greed,
does not have to be a matter of eeking out a life
in a tiny crack of light.
but there is that.
and one grows slitty-eyed at wondering
what to do with a conscience that knows
its own little accommodations.

as in, how can we let people live on the streets
covered up with cardboard
and drive on by
without smelling the reek of our own shame?
without feeling the pearls choking our neck?
 'they're underprivileged anyway, so this works well for them'...?

how can we not put the heads of british petroleum in public stockades 
for an ongoing kill in the open seas,
the appalling ten-mile death plumes still soundlessly suffocating the deep?
the barrier islands abandoned to their stained and putrid deaths,
the people of an entire way of life sacrificed,
and we do not hear the screams of these ghastly silences?

how can a president of conscience so dishonor himself,
transfixed as he is between starving his people with corrupted hope
and hand-feeding the corporate maw at the altar of power?
where is our holy anger?

 what is all of this love left undone,
  that we too would exempt ourselves from the work?

  from somewhere within the Deep Nudge,
dwelling in salty pools of Light shining behind the eyes,
  Knowing leaks out, as now, and flows along the mind
and pours out on this kitchen counter,
where we sit in our communal quiet, 
you spooning your coffee,
listening to Keillor and Paynter,
i keeping by, tapping out lines,
examining the quality of my fury at joining the collective tacitness
 wherein we have excused ourselves from dealing with reality.

we know that who we are here on this earth, in this kitchen,
is sacred,
and we know that who we are
in the extended consciousness happening out there
is as sacred to our life as our own heartbeat.
so if we do not do That Thing That Changes Us...
the Thing We Were Given To Do...
we must live with ourselves

Friday, September 3, 2010

he looked out from old eyes and a knit cap
in 95 degree humidity, in downtown Austin
standing on the median with his cardboard sign
a simple message to cars passing by ...  "need help"
and i was on my way to the vet to pick up the family dog
found so many years ago,
in the middle of another road and another life...
and it was going to be a hefty bill this time.
$398 for an ear infection and overdue vaccination.
so, how much for the man?
all i had was a twenty and change.
it seemed unfair, but he wouldn't know
that i would be paying more for the dog,
and i handed it to him out the window.
it was easier than holding on to the anger at reagan
for all of those he turned out on the street
in the 80's... the ones who can't hold a job
and can't afford to be poor and bipolar
all at the same time.
out on the street
we are all just people.
and we have to take care of each other.
because what else is there?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

where the red dragonfly silently hangs over on a reed
preying the mindless mosquito,
and the stiletto gray cat waits underneath, still as death,
slitting her eyes at the silliness of blue jays...
the birdbath quietly holds its small dark mirror.
the dramas of a hundred toad lilies 
have been told and told and blown and bled out,
the sweet freckled blooms long since
cremated in the texas heat.
dust to dust.
all of it lies dirt still.

until dinner is served.
a suddenness of jaws and
tiny beaky screams
strikes a jagged edge to garden life
that even lightning could admire.

nothing compares to the local preds
with murder on their minds.

it's the best i can do. tell you stories
about what goes on in the garden.
in 99 years you've pored over that bible
until there's no good plot left to discover.
and the stuff that goes on outside the window
is still cracking new with possibilities
if i peer at it
with dragonfly detail
through half-closed cat's eyes.

i can do that
for you.

Friday, August 20, 2010


there is no pretense about 2000 year old trees.
they are what they are.
and they are magnificent. sacred. 
a presence beyond any words to dignify.

it burns a hole in me that only four percent 
of the original coastal groves of these giants remain.

four. percent. of perhaps the largest trees on earth. 
all the rest were cut down. 

what is it about us that condemns greatness
and draws a crowd to watch it fall? 

Friday, August 13, 2010

our bland, middle class american 
stumbling around
wearies him.
he is so healthy, at 70 something,
and weary of his island life,
the years he drove the school bus,
and now the fund raisers for the library,
playing a clumsy lewis carroll 
to two rounds of applause
and a goofy jacob marley
delighting the kids.
he's tired of all that.
he wants monasticism and a woman in thrall.
he loves rachmaninoff and caol isla
finds great beauty in derelict merchants
hawking the boardwalk.
he rails at a gagged culture
that fails to nurture our nascent inner sweetness.
he doesn't see that he has it all.
doesn't know how to revel 
in the bounty of his own goodness,
the culture of his own soul.
the only culture we've got.
we don't just live out there.
we live in here, out there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

molar living on the cusp

all of my teeth are 64 years old
but tooth #19, a lowly molar,
acting up... on account of there's

a dark hole beneath one of its roots 
big enough for even a musician to make out 
on a smoky xray that never fails to animate a dental type. 
and this one--an endodontist-- is lively about something 
where nerves and bone and tissue carry out their tiny lives in #19. 
i give in. just do it. and then everything fades to buzzy. 
i don't remember. it was the extra gas. i guess. 
he keeps talking through the haze, explaining 
what each new sound is about, as if it will reduce the anxiety? 
enhance the experience? 

there's a jaw expander holding my mouth open, 
and a sexy little blue spandex skirt stretched around #19. 
dental theater. 

later, in the afterglow, a new picture pops up on the screen. 
so many little white lines where the sleek hair-thin canal tool 
snaked in. 

the modern millie in me appreciates the irony:  
lighter by $740 and yet in more pain.

the pioneer woman in me, with 
native intelligence still intact, 
thinks snake bite and oblivion
could have been a reasonable alternative.

the notes fly past the pillow
and hurtle down stairs
where the sodding proper manuscript waits
buried mid-mulch on the music shelves
by the bench.
i can make it that far with slits for eyes
enough to jot down the code
dit dit dash every good boy does fine
some wavy chordish looking blots for bass. 
harmonic hints. not much to go on.
but enough for trying it out. 
like riding a new trike.
you know how it's going to go but
there's no substitute for taking a spin.

and that's why the piano plays 
at dark forty around here.
it's not exactly because we can't sleep.
but the effect is the same.
i'd like to think there's genius 
in hearing notes and writing them down
but it doesn't take enough agony.
and no one will hear it, except the ones 
with pillows over their heads.
but when it all comes right--
when what is in play 
is what came to mind--
then what else is there?

other than other dreams,  of course,
and others' dreams...
and the rest of life, 
out there.
which is, still,  all of it, music.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ends is means

making good 
in the real world
is living in the how

Monday, May 10, 2010

mother's day leftovers

the savory pungence of the daughter's cooking
still lingers all over the house.
'faith of our mothers'
most days faith has
nothing to do with it
and everything to do with just hanging on.
and here we were laughing
while so many dire things threaten... 
here i am, required to live
all the way through the smooth silky easy
minutes and hours and days
in a stone and mortar house
under the oak trees,
with these memories,
to make meaning
in the work of my soul

and across the way is another one like me
in the subsaharansomeplaceorother...
with no lesser thing to marvel, nor is
mothering any more or less poignant or beautiful, 
nor the smell of cookery by younger hands
a sweeter more savory memory

so i look far far far and
her look comes back
with the same knowing 
how it all just is
and the deep goodness of it
the way we are made

Friday, April 23, 2010

fairy and old blush and souvenir heavy and pouty with rain,
secure in the many blessings of being born roses...
this late spring day hangs low,
and drips,
and seeps into the soul,
a muddy balm for winter's rawness
and a momentary protection
against the summer heat to come
when even the the limestone will lose it's cool
and the garden abandons all restraint when the sprinkler turns on

Monday, April 12, 2010

golden calves

Episcopal Barbie. The new face of episcopal evangelism...with "black" Bishop Barbie and ''latino'' Deacon Ken coming soon down the diversity pipeline. Too sweet. 

Episcopal_BarbieIt's surely a labor of love spending over 100 hours sewing her little mini-36-24-36 vestments, using fabric from an actual clergy shirt...BUT  I cannot for the life of me fathom a serious commentary--much less serious heads nodding agreement--that Episcopal Barbie is a sign of hope in what Walter [--. Russell Mead] calls a faltering, gasping, near-death church in his little debbie "Faith Matters: Will Barbie Save the Episcopal Church" ... 

"...This, frankly, is a tremendous relief.  Every now and then I am tempted to believe that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is in a death spiral ...  As it moves inexorably toward expulsion from the worldwide Anglican Communion,... I sometimes wonder just where it will all end.

But then I see something like this.  There is still hope; we Episcopalians still have a message to the contemporary world.  We are ‘fun’.  We dress up.  We are PC.  We have incense.  As a church which has borne Christian witness in this land for more than 400 years falls to pieces on our watch and around our ears we have hundreds of hours to spend making vestments for dolls."

THIS from a foreign policy guy at Yale who writes for the Wall Street Journal AND the New Yorker?  I thought he was someone with a little gravitas. Turns out he is a batterfried fluffball. 

Talk about lost opportunity. The new Episcopal Goddess is totally sans that ''bad'' kind of diversity --not one Transgen Ken or Bi Barbie anywhere on the horizon to muck it up. This baby doll is the perfect All American Alleluia. 

One week after Easter Jesus we've got Evangelist Barbie. I say, there musta bin a u-turn somewhere. We're back in the OT with the golden calf.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the other easter

light is only light because there is dark
love is love because it perfectly repels fear

surely the spirit of christ risen 
cradled the soul judas sacrificed 

to become the darkest knife ever to trace
  a bright seam of blood on That Good Light.

and so we too are cradled in christ's love
when humility calls us out and forgives us our daily treacheries 

Monday, March 8, 2010

so this is what i learned at breakfast:
that the freakish zing of a very ripe strawberry
can break the flow of everything--
and to miraculously close the shocked eyes that  
so nearly electrocuted the brain  
reading the Baptist Standard about Ken Starr 
as a potentially great president for Baylor...
gawdamighty, what a fookin disaster.

mouth and mind agape, the strawberry as catalyst,
suddenly jumping up are letters in strings
spewing from some thin corner where sits
my muse of rare inklings and mystic wisdoms.

panic. no writing tools naturally 
habituate the kitchen bar,
so nothing comes to hand for catching 
wild tribes of raucous lines
racing like monkeys over the canopy of mind 
without a backward glance.

all gone, only the receding tails
of epic lines that came once, whole 
an english major's paradise lost 
for want of a pencil stub 
and the back of an envelope.

even tho i had been only 
a lowly music major, 
now i was mad,
so i ordered an ipad. 
and i think i'll name it 
the jabberwok strawberry.
and wouldna joyce be pleased?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

the cameraman said 'think bliss'

i knew what he was thinking...a quiet room
misty fog lingering outside the window
enough wood to last 
no phone
a little ooolala...
and i was thinking
a quiet room
enough wood to last
misty fog lingering outside
...and writing, writing, writing
which made me laugh
which made him smile...
'perfect' he said 
to his laughing mary magdalene
for the vestry wall

Thursday, January 28, 2010

song for a standupforjesus rallythesaints candlelitelovesongfest

we are made to be who we are
God's people, God's people.
only to be who we are
God's people. 
all God's people.
and like the stars we shine
and like the oceans are full of the heavens
we are God's people
and like the warm sweet rain gentles the earth
we are God's people. 
all are God's people.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

safely made is the night's passage
borne on the iridescent wings of sleep
borne on the softly feathered air
of ten thousand breaths
taken, unearned
to arrive again on these bright steps of morning
an unrepentant thief of grace