If Advent is a time / of waiting, of joyful anticipation, why are we / so often troubled?
Be the pulse driven from a broken shell.
Excerpt from Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander
before he unlocks the church gate
the rector kneels before
the gridiron fence surrounding the Cathedral,
not in prayer
but to collect empty wine bottles,
snack bags, and used condoms.
From the midst of the nether
world I cried for help.
—from the Book of Jonah
A gray whale blows off Cardiff Beach,
just beyond the glamour homes,
boutiques, and drive-thru windows,
valet service and all-u-can-eat sushi.
I want to swim out and be swallowed.
Jonah’s whale wasn’t Ahab’s, all
tripey white and peg-toothed, but
a strainer of phosphorescent shrimp,
which lamped the reeking gut, like
fireflies we swallowed once, in jars.
Mass in Las Choapas, Mexico
The crumpled woman pushes through the door
and sees your plump limp limbs
held tight in my buckled arms.
She remembers holding
such sweet eternity.
life's bright beating softens here.
Some say it holds the place of time,
watch springs wrapped tight
under the bone.
Waking, he is held by his father,
whose arms have newly borne
to breathe heavily
into our enemy chest.
Blindfolded and gagged, tossed in the back / of a car -- it's how they gather up young men /
Hemorrhaging from the concertina / crown, brass knuckles, scourging, cigarette burns, / lurching the last meter of Golgotha
Deep with one savior’s death, how many more?
In observance of which, the Dresden burghers
as usual held Shrove Tuesday circuses
around Our Lady’s Church, the Frauenkirche,
eating pancakes before their fast for Easter.
At midnight, Allies drew ash from their firestorm
on a hundred-thousand heads. Remember,
the Good War’s firesticks on Dresden’s timbers
in revenge for Coventry, where in embers
Ash Wednesday passion plays were once performed,