meditations on first philosophy
July 4, 2013

(in which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated)

“I will therefore make a serious and unimpeded effort to destroy generally all my former opinions.”
– Descartes, First Meditation: Concerning Things That Can Be Doubted

 

I’m setting out 
to disprove God.
Who am I? 
A trick of the light.
Look too hard, 
and I’m gone.

 

Mass
January 12, 2013

With all our limbs in limbo,
your feet next to my neat pairing of hands,
breath on breath, scapula on stomach,
sing me the birth song of your
every miraculous turning over in the night,
my arms flying buttresses
to your rib cage cathedral,
your rose window-wide eyes,
and your stone shoulders.
You have convinced me that
we were all immaculately conceived
in the tiny cupped hands
of just one corner of the universe.
This is not a dream
but a secret the universe whispered to me
through stars and the perfection of your shins;
in this hall of your body let us make new sins
because all those old giants have paled,
and we are new and bright and
oh so ready to make fresh transgressions
with this flesh on flesh test of humanity,
so come with me, love.

“For I hear many whispering…” -Jeremiah 20:10
January 13, 2012

Jeremiah complains to the Lord

I hear many whispering
in the night filled with sleepers
and street walkers, slow-lipped talkers;
I hear the moon breaking the cloud line,
screaming as it is pinned to the sky
by church steeples; I hear people
asking their children why the sun rises
and children responding with cereal-
boxed wisdom; I hear the repetition
of cardboard idioms.

I hear many whispering
that the door locks jam with humidity
and sin; that pockets are not deep enough
to hide their hands in, that they are running
out of super market plastic grocery bags
to stuff with trash and throw out windows;
that the internet is crackling with news of itself,
brilliant and bright; that the night has decided
it will last forever to let us dream our nightmares
longer, to leisurely scare ourselves
to death by somnambulism and shivering.

I hear many whispering
to themselves on the orange-lit avenues,
to deep doorways that only echoes
know the meaning of, to tired eyes
that are ears for speechless tongues,
to fleshy others sweating in cotton,
to mirrors and identical open lips
and fluorescents fighting the shadows
out until the world is all clean white.

I hear many whispering
words in body languages
I do not recognize.

I hear many whispering
my name in a tone of voice I left in a shoe box
next to cathedral candle wax and metal toy soldiers and dust.

I hear many whispering
of lust, and I whisper back that
I do not understand.

Anarchist Poetry, Fourth Installment: Loaves and Fishes
November 20, 2011

In Day’s account of the Catholic worker movement in Loaves and Fishes, the element of her political thought that made her stand out among the anarchist thinkers I have read was the centrality of religion to her social movement.  Day’s Catholicism was the driving force behind her humanitarian approach to social engagement, and it is her religious faith and dedication to love that I get at in my poem.  Specifically, I was inspired by her statement, “Jesus is the fat lady.  Jesus is this Jackie who is making advances.  Jesus is Baby Doll, her cellmate.”  During her time in a women’s prison, Day dealt with individuals who made it difficult for her to adhere to her personal ethic of indiscriminatory love, and her belief that Jesus lives in and through everyone is what reminds her that she must try to continue to love even those individuals who seem unlovable.  Her constant striving for an egalitarian, universal love for all is without doubt the defining feature of her particular form of non-hierarchical communal living (i.e. anarchism).  She tells us in her book that “young people say, what good can one person do?”, and she answers “we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment.  But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.”  This miraculous multiplication of love through individual action is what I have tried to draw out in my poem.

“Where there is no love, put love and you will take out love.”

Love is patient but
mostly love takes patience
it is greedy like a child
who you cannot give up on
always asking to be held to be
fed to be tucked into bed at night
and you comply and you bite your tongue
when the grape juice is spilled for the seventh time
because patience you are cultivating it
like a slow-growing garden planted
when the ground is still frozen
it takes patience and you know this
and still you love still you bite back
every word you could say that would
end conversations and drive people to
the brink of hatred to the brink of all
falling-outs and cold stares because love
takes restraint and it is something
you might have completely one day
someday love will flow like a stream
down hill and you will love like a river
love like a spring breeze in the country
but now your love is like a faulty train
starting stopping starting lights flashing on
off on sometimes you are in the dark and
you reach out and feel for someone to love
anyone who will have your imperfect
manifestations of divinity of loveliness
and that is all there can be
all you can hope for and have faith in
and that is all you need

 

say the bells
October 10, 2011

this is a place of sacredness.
this is a place that will
estrange you from yourself.
your heart will be some alien moon
that you visit to trample with footprints.
your heart will be some quiet room
in someone else’s house.
this is a place that will
turn you on yourself.
this is a place that will
make you love something
that you will never meet.
you will pass it like a
stranger on the street
and not know it for what it is.
connect to this unknowing.
connect to this loveliness.
it is a sprint towards a brick wall.
it is a leap into deep water.
don’t think twice.
this is the end you are looking for.
this is the end you did not know you wanted.
this is the embracing of every
sigh you have let go.
this is the moment of silence
before the offering.

free verse
March 27, 2011

Undone

They are taking apart all the cathedrals.
They are undoing the mortar.
Brick by brick, and stone by stone,
they are shouting,
“This can be broken!”
They are taking each
brightly brilliant pane of glass
from every rose window they can find
and letting them shatter across the earth
into more meaningless minuscule shards of light
than can ever be recovered.
“Look,” they tell us, “this is not real.”
And they are proving it.
They are making all the cathedrals unreal;
I am standing in the empty spaces
they are leaving behind.