God, please help us.
Turn us inside out
that the Love running through our center lines
might explode through these empty hulls
that the resultant tatters might fit into the
of shreds and shards
in such a way
that we all flow together
with the kind resolve
that makes everything
better for everyone.
Wife Number Four
The sand fits between my toes
like a million other times in this pretty place set in sparkling blues
And I move step in step with the drums nothing new
Feel the heavy certainty of the beat driving me into my people into our gods
Yet this is new that the fire is so large hot close my nose and lungs hurt from the smoke and the skin on my face and chest feels close to bursting from the warmth.
I don’t know why they weep and wail behind me
They were so happy when I was made wife to the king
Did they think he’d live forever in this in-between land?
Or that suddenly kings would have no need of their wives?
But I know my luck.
They weren’t there when he took me with his big hands
and I felt the nearness of his strong chest and shoulders
and he was so gentle until the violence became absolutely necessary
and so descended upon us and took him into me.
They weren’t there when he entered and I knew we were joined forever
and I was blessed among women.
Oh you open up
oh you accept what you are
oh you let it win
Only poor wife number six, only her I pity
poor girl with her baby only half-full
poor girl not able to leave no prince behind
the priest is wise and must know
when he says her baby will be a great king
in the higher land
but the frustration of it!
I remember the need to burst forth with him,
with my answer
to the loneliness of love
For no matter how tenderly the king touched my hair my face my thighs my burning dream
no matter how much he reminded me
with his looks and his words and his fingers
that I was special to him
even more or at least as much
as his first wife who he’d known since childhood and who was always so strong and beautiful and never said a word against anyone and always took care of the children and the people loved her and mourned her more than they know your him which is a great sin but not really since she reaped what she sowed and no one could be expected to outshine her harvest of our hearts
No matter how much he made it clear that he loved me
still I must share him with the other wives and their children and all the people and gods
But it will be different in our new place
He’s watching me now
He’s seeing how I don’t mind to watch my body blister and come undone and melt down
How could I complain about the path to him,
the way to find him again?
God, what is going on?
God, I feel so sick and awful
God I feel so lonely
God, my God,
Why have you forsaken me?
It is done, for good or ill
It is done, please accept me
guide my body, my ornaments and rattle, my voice and my form
Take this our king to your high land
above the curved clouds and ever-reaching skies
Take these his wives and these virgins
to serve him in his need and you in your glory
Take this my heart and my mind
that I who must remain here upon the wavy sands
might speak for you and guide your people and your kings
for the king is ruler over all, but you rule even the king;
and I am servant of all, but I tell even the king
what you command
Don’t let me falter or fail or lust
after that queen who you know her name and how many nights
next to my own wife who I love and bless her please
would dream though I fought it and though I prayed you help me escape the stomach-churning shadows
of her beautiful smile and the gentle laughter in her eyes
oh why oh God did the king not see her worth?
Why did he prefer that silly girl?
and now it seems such a shame
this is my fault and my weakness and I beg you stomp out this evil fire in my gut
but it feels like such a waste to let her to go you so soon
when I love her so much here in the in-between land
and it is a heavy burden to serve you and I just want a little succor a little place to rest upon
but my teacher warned me against these evil inner thunderstorms and how they would sometimes rage and that I must resist
God I am lonely and I am dying to watch her burn!
The artist in the cafe
This is a beautiful moment, God.
This warm cup of coffee on the sunny patio
watching the surf break upon the boulders that reach into the sparkling sea
watching the kicks and giggles of foam-lipped shatter-splatter kisses.
What would you have me do?
How would you have me sing?
All this evil, God.
All this evil in me and around me.
All this evil in our hearts and between our fingers,
in our stories and our systems,
in our smiles and our frowns.
All this evil, God, I fear it is winning
I fear that we cave in
I fear that we falter
and that mere huzzah-porpoise-kickering-arch-leaping Beauty
— my only weapon if you’d grant me the open carefree strength required —
is no match for the gentle grinding corrosion of hope and fear.
Help me God
Lift up my voice that it might serve you and forget all my hopes and fears,
which must come and go with my skin and teeth
Please God, please help me to write a worthwhile poetry, full of thought heart images and deep and wide as life and its people.
OK, then grant me at least enough joyful wisdom and steadily percolating and bubbling over feeling thought and word that I might serve Love in me and in everyone.
An artist is just a person making and sharing art
Dissolve my vanity and make my life and art outshine my ego-tripping half-ass stories about my life and art
I can’t do this anymore
That awful moment while they are still human enough to feel the sting
so much waste