Saturday, June 30, 2007


Jacob Wrestles with His Massage Therapist

Her thumb into my hip-
angel, wrestle me
from rock to rock.
I cling to you, pinched
for a blessing.

You know how to fly
yet you leap to wound-

The question:
is this hip socket the wound?

I wince as she
slides, releasing
toxins. Oh angel
bless me now in this clinch.

I am done and my fingers ache.
A sweet tired voice.
off the table
I limp toward Esau.

A Letter to a Young (or Old) Activist

A Letter to a Young (or Old) Activist
By Thomas Merton
Do not depend on the results when you are doing the sort of work, you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no results at all, if not perhaps results opposite of what you expect. As you get used to the idea, you start more and more to concentrate, not on the results but the value, the truth of the work itself. And there to a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down but it gets much more real. In the end it is the reality of personal relationships that save everything.
You are fed up with words, and I don’t blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes. I am also, to tell the truth nauseated by ideals and causes, this sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean. It is so easy to get engrossed by ideas and slogans and myths that in the end you are left holding the bag empty of no trace of meaning in it. Then the temptation to yell louder than ever in order to make the meaning be there again by magic. Going through this kind of reaction helps you guard against this. Your system is complaining of too much verbalizing and it is right.
……The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen and we can share in them, but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important. The next step in the process is for you to see that your own thinking about that what you are doing is crucially important. You are probably striving to build yourself an identity in your work. All the good that you will do will not come from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you will be more open to the power that will work through you without you knowing it. The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth; and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of cause and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments, frustration, and confusion…….The real hope there, is not something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do God’s will we will be helping out in the process. But we will not necessarily know it before hand.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Poem: Kitchen Onion

Kitchen Onion

Most days
There is a reason
For an onion
To rest close
To the sink.
In that space
Vegetables are limited,
To season a meal
Or to bring the cook
To attention.

Knocking the plate
Into the cooling toaster
My onion was sprouting;
Out of its skin
Shafts of green.
Steam from pots, water
From the dishes
Trickled the onion
To life.

The elephant
garlic next to the onion
stays dormant, skeletal white.

Is there a spot in the yard
The dog has not marked
So I may plant
This kitchen onion?

In late Summer I will
Call forth this plant
Like Lazarus, smelly
And bound.

Quote: Betty Dee Kling

"My belief is that the Sacred speaks to me in the events of my life,
in other people's voices, in my own voice expressed in my body, my
emotions, my dreams, and in the silence at the center of my sacred
being. There is something in us beyond our brains that calls us to
fullness and wholeness, or holiness if you will. This is what allows
us to be connected to the spiritual realm, an interwoven network that
connects us all, whether we recognize it or not."
- Betty Dee Kling, "Listening for Voices from the Sacred Center"

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Emily Dickinson quote

"If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."

Poem Curing Rag

This is not the rag
the ailing woman stuffed
between her thighs
as she made her way
through the crowd.

No, this rag was a burlap sack
drenched in water
and placed over concrete slowing
the curing time.

The woman had been bleeding
for twelve years and just
a touch of a strangers ski jacket
stanched her bleeding.

Burlap so rough but good
at retaining water like
a floppy sultan’s turban
around a wood post.

The bleeding woman
walked home still stained
by stares and memories.
She took the rag
from her thighs, and those
from the clothesline, waiting
for her neighbor to come outside
to converse over the new fence
with the support posts dressed
in burlap; bowlegging into freedom
she could wait forever. Cured

Saturday, June 2, 2007


HEGEL SAID "BEHIND the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.”
Familiarity enables us to tame, control and ultimately forget the mystery.
John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara

Poem: Dad's Cough

Dad's Cough

The train whistles through me
Day and night baying diesel smoke,
like my father smoking his lungs

I know your cry diesel wonder,
yearn for the smell, the hiss,
your rhythmic journey.
I know your cry dad spewing phlegm
and blood, with the scent
of Old Spice and tobacco.