Oh My God!

My God lives, and lives
Eternally, untouched by blemish, & across time between past & present,
My living God outside Creator of time and space
Lord of my life keeps me beside
Still waters of His own breast
Dew dropped sweet smelling
Aroma of the just about to rain summer cloud coming soon like,
& to me always….
He is lifting up my soul amidst all
That will fail, my God and Lord
Of my life lives apart from a back drop
of false certainty, lives brighter than shining
Metal of commerce & moves
Fulcrum of universal sprawl unconcerned
By the mere motor freight..
Of an Atlas rocket, my God’s mighty
Hand is on the back of enemies,
He lifts up my friends, & makes enemies friends, my God lives in
Surety of my own life,
Finally grasped, at the lofty position I fall
On my knees, bowing head, knowing worship
& utter insignificance of self, though juxtaposed to Your love
Lifts back up turns, round & I see..
Here there are riches in poverty, & meanness in prosperity
Thankfully, now this is turned upside down
Because of our daily bread,
On earth as in Heaven & hovering
Beside an estate of evil in residence,
a side show.. really
& then turning again to see power in the seemingly
Ineffectual stillness of a quiet dawn,
Love behind the giving way of hate,
Oh, my God, personal.. and there, my Lord, Christ Jesus
Who drug His cross, who heard,
“Where is his God now…why didn’t He…
“Get a home in the Jerusalem suburbs, “or, “build up
his fathers business, so much talent wasted?”
and. “He coulda retired in Capernaum, had a couple of boats,”
or, “Why-didn’t-he-just-take-care-of-his-mother?”
my God sweet loving victorious failure to reach this material world–as it sees itself
Lord, two thousand years of sorrow & faith, pulling
Up the dying , pulling up & hoping the hopeless, straightening crooked paths..
reaching out in Love, & Life & Word to lift us to abundant life.. as
An eternal priceless gift…a secret revealed so simple,
So complex—you must understand I-am-the-richest-of-men-because
this salvation changed all the rules in space and time!

If I look out the window

Blonde, sunglasses
Dark suited miniskirt
Large belt
w/tight beige pants
Could be a model..
Standing at an outside table
Of this coffee house
If I look out the window
From drinking my joe
I can’t see anything else but her
Talking through her cell phone device
Clipped in her ear, just barely perceptible
Adamant, using both hands
For expression, articulate
It seems, making points,
Striding around a little round table
& between chairs
As if a stage
& this was performance.
This is all normal now..
Less than twenty years ago
This would have been observed
As psychotic behavior,
Talking to someone who is
Obviously not there & not holding a phone,
Or rehearsing a play
My friends (some of them)
Think the same of me
When I pray…

First Contact

the scion of ourselves
Jesus coming in a leather jacket,
love being binding truth
whatall & why not w/ everything
connected to everything else
the small joke being incessantly
onus, the sleepers, compartmentalists,
bureaucrats, casual buddhists, fundamentalists,
clients, zombiebodies in the unemployment line,
the men’s business breakfast, all up
& down cannery row
save the faithful @ mass
but all equally guiltily asleep
in the church, the chapel, the synagogue, the mosque,
the buddha boy’s temple
& everywhere else & the numbers
click & tabulate & go ’round,
as the gas pump goes ’round
there’s been a lot of hands reaching up
there’s been only one reaching down
& the all in all being
accounted for in an extraterrestrial plexus
of where we’ve been
where we’re going
& what we shall be …or
or cease to be
unless there is acknowledgedFirst Contact

this abundant life

I can no longer call them homeless, not because they aren’t,
I’m not relegating them to the planet, nation, community,
or under an overpass, card board box, tent in blackberry bushes, & not because
I’ve seen families living in Africa with as much—or much less..

I can no longer call them homeless
I chose to call them Rotarian
that we may work for relief of especial needs
of others out of good will
see plight, acknowledge pain, knowing
we all need four walls for this abundant life

One of them told me, “I stopped being able to live indoors about 20 years ago.
Don’t know what it is, I do alright..,” he said, as I dropped him off
to go under his favorite Oregon freeway bridge,
“except sometimes in winter I worry about losing my toes.”

I know a preacher who regularly sits among them
rarely preaching Jesus, because he often finds Him there,
but instead buys them cigarettes, gives clothes & pocket-money for cheap wine,
brings them food, or a tent when he knows they would use it
all to relieve pain, prays with them when they ask,
directs them to missions & shelters if they don’t know,
takes them to the emergency room if they need to go.

Rotarian’s in our midst, a few of them better than we,
when living a fast paced life in conceit..
some of them are insane, some of them thieves,
all have had something stolen,
many without learned skill of hygiene this
left behind with four walls of normal life,
they wheel on, on bikes, grocery carts in whining dull roar of traffic,
all of our pain and bliss is somehow connected,
moments of delirious uplifting sunshine
& anguished biting cold, moving south, a hitch-hike,
a protected end of a grain car
makes trek a possibility, peer passed on whispered knowledge
of the “best missions” with good food &
where they will not shame you

This past Christmas morning I saw two
in back of my motels’ outside wall, under eve, arms
& legs entwined for warmth,
but yet sparkling with frost,
asleep, on crisp north California December asphalt

I know another preacher who gives them clean socks
washes their feet.. if they will let him.. washes
them lovingly in warm water, & spreads
antibiotics over sores & soles
while he shares the Gospel…

I can no longer call them homeless,
these Rotarian who sometimes righteously rage at being killed
& destroyed beneath this crushing wheel.


she handed it to me
then I dunno,
how I did it—knew I shouldn’t
but I just sliced me a slice
of fruit w/ the ol’ barlow knife
while I was looking at a coiled up snake,
who’d been talking to my woman,

& then first thing I know,
I was making moonshine
Skip & go naked foolin’ round til waay
after midnight every-night
everything seemed clear for a while,
but trouble was I ended up havin’-to-get-a-job, plus
plow the farm & then the woman left
& I had to take care of the kids too,
& keepin’ the house from fallen apart..

no more huntn’ & fishin’
just makin’ mortgage payments
for a farm I was given free and clear
long ago before the bank was even a notion

seems like there was a time
when there was just the plants & animals
& clear blue sky, white clouds
& the low and high blue flint hills
& the woman had really just been apart of me
that couldn’t no more leave
than I could say anything bad about anything
& hav’n kids didn’t involve them growing up
& killing each other
& back then I don’t ever remember
screaming in the middle of the night either….

Hard Believing

This old man
he lay down on a couch
overnight invite to
sunrise, & service &
it had been three months
since he’d read it,
& he lay down & he’d not
prayed since a small boy,
& in his mind’s voice he got out,
& an unearthly scream came out
his head & he
slept a sound sleep,
& woke refreshed
twenty days later having
listened to Father Louis &
how Dr. Williams actually preached
in Paterson,  he
remembered, this night
& John’s Gospel & then
reading, Psalm 22
he said yes, while the
’62 Chevy II
rolled across the bridge
on Antelope Creek, & he
canceled the Buddhist retreat & its
hard believing
39 years
& 24 rejecting
Church & state this old man
is gone