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God's Island ~ poems

Fall, Again

I was eating a cracker and looking out the window

watching leaves break away, carried away

on the wind chaotically struggling to do something akin to flying

then interrupted again and again by the black concrete

and I felt sad, staring at decay so brilliantly displayed

like some Jackson Pollock painting with colors spotted

and peppering with each new addition

it felt like an invitation to relinquish, but be not in control with a purpose-

that's a distinction, right?

I still have no answer to Fall when it asks every year

what are you willing to give?

though I know nothing is ever wasted

I know I have a hard time letting go

and seasons just happen, they don't wait for permission

so there's one lesson I still have left to learn

as I'm relinquishing control for meaning

treating it as something ineffable, like a divine name

or the shapes you see when you close your eyes

or the background color in memories

everything, as far as I can tell

is painted and feels like wind.

the Sweetest Scent

Not long has passed, but enough

is enough I'm not trying to rip apart

anything that might be

nice and what you want, but


I want to brush you away

as if running my hands through lavender 

and taking only what is given


(the sweetest scent).

You don't know yet just how 

audacious and roused I can be

and when I act silly it is as a jester

meant to make you laugh in brilliance

because i think your laugh is brilliant-

or is it just you? 

Or is is just my romantic thoughts? I don't mind 

if my vision of you breaks into a harsh reality,

it is the same as the magic

of the sublime, the Pacific

the soul (a metaphor, my Dear) all simultaneously 

consisting of a thrashing mixture of up and down and

of fear and ecstasy: do you understand

what i mean? It's a feeling like a poem

simple and cryptic

that I don't mean you to interpret

and I don't mean to stare

I swear

I'm just floating lazily on top

of the waves akin to a dance -

nothings on purpose, just swaying

lovely like you do.

something fresh

cruel double negatives you don't know what I mean

Just know that I don't give no damn 'bout no California King


Chopsticks and chicken scratch I keep a fine line with my elegance

cheap clothes and calloused hands keep me cradled up like ice baths

knees deep business boy bopping out while I still got a choice

Jack-K gonna hit the road trade my motorbike buy a mini van

Might do it just to say I did - might make mexico my mission kid


maybe you didn't catch all that so let me say while I still got a chance

Corporations and Churches keep claiming cheap reliefs 

and I aint mad or nothing but at the top I saw it all unravelling

like string cheese, like a dark blue bourbon moon shine 

shining blindly fiddler on the roof.

Sing to me while I sing to you something fresh and free and full of proof


Floating in the water I spent all my time looking up and making out your face in all the different shapes between the white clouds and the blue space - my imagination brought us together like the pull of gravity from the sun and I danced around you like the planets 

spiraling and spinning until too dizzy, I fell.


I want to brush you away

as if running my hands through lavender

and taking only what is given


your disruption has changed the scene


Are you paying attention

to the ripples in the water-

a reflection

of my mind

when you dipped your toes

and left, and

the ripples in the water

kept moving

changing the scene

like a distortion

and I can't tell

what's right, what's


is there a difference?

I no longer believe that

we can go down to the pool

sit and dip without

changing everything- 

you and me are too deep 

for shallow touches

because even these

push out to the very edges

It makes no difference

I run out of words-

do you get the picture?

are you nervous?

I'm a romantic in the way Fitzgerald defines it.

(I'm not sentimental--I'm as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last--the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won't.)

Missed Call

The flashing phone signaled a wanting message urgent enough

that it couldn't wait until next time it had to be

now but I couldn't move or lift my gorilla lame arm

from off the couch- it was as if gravity rained down in buckets

eNd TiMEs

Woe to you, pastors and evangelicals, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 

Woe to you, pastors and evangelicals, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. 

Woe to you blind guides! You give a tenth of your paycheck and follow social propriety, but you have neglected the more important matters of scripture- justice, mercy, and faithfulness. 

You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.



{Mother lies down as in a deep deep slumber and we all her children suck at the nipple for nourishment - but a great and mighty spirit of greed and lust has overtaken us, we can’t pull ourselves away, we can’t stop feeding. Mother, still sleeping now bleeding, we put our mouths to her cuts as if to bless with a  kiss, except we have developed refined taste- like ticks we feast on the host. Meanwhile, Mother sleeps...}


Woe to you, pastors and evangelicals, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 

Blind pastors! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Woe to you, pastors and evangelicals. You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. 


{In Wyoming I met the Great White Buffalo woman of the Lakota tribe at the base of Devil’s Tower National Monument. “The actual name is Matȟó Thípila,” she tells me, “Bear den, our most holy site.” She takes me to the heavens and we look down upon the earth. “Do you see the black hills?”. I do, they are shaped like a human heart in the middle of the continent. “They found gold and begun mining.” she explains. There are holes now, comparable to the size of the hills. “For their sin, enveloping blindness has struck the land. But look, you can see the signs- blood moon, an eclipse, Mother begins her stir and a great judgment is coming.” I look down and I am covered in blood, not my own but of many others. I fall down on my knees before her, “I am unclean! I am guilty! Woe is me!” Her hand touches the top of my head, “bathe in the river under moonlight, and purify yourself.” That night I jump in the river, the silver moon enlightening the world. A comet with a tail extending half the sky passes overhead. 


Pastors and evangelicals sit in Moses’ seat, so you must be careful to do everything they tell you, but do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 

Everything they do is done for people to see. They love wearing new clothes, they love being invited out to gatherings, they love to be greeted with respect downtown and called ‘Pastor’ by others- but you are not to be called ‘Pastor’, for you have one Teacher, and you are all children. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.


In the Vanderbilt Barnes & Noble bookstore I try to find something on Perennial Philosophy. A man comes up to me, “ these are scary times we live in,” I assume he says it because of my tote bag, which reads ‘Books Not Bombs”. I agree and he continues, “even in the 60s it wasn’t like this man, something is different, something is wrong. Charlottesville was the first, something else will happen by the end of 2017. In a year martial law will be called across the country.” He is holding a bible, “the cheapest one here (in Nashville) is twenty dollars.” He slips it under his shirt and walks out. I grab another book by Derrida and another by Sartre, and I walk out the door. 


And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of Jesus, we would not have taken part with them in the shedding of Jesus’ blood.

So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the messiah.

Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

Justified Feeling

Toward the horizon line,

I don't believe that there was just nothing,

but rather the end of an illusion,

poetic nonetheless, so useful.


I tried to be carefree and lovely

but apathy is a devil that smiles

at the wasting and waning. So the devil must be a gift,

I suppose. A hymn must make you


Dance, because it is nice to dance

and good. So fight for yourself 

against feelings of disparity  

or against others. Dance even during


the battle. Is stumbling

the problem? You don't need to worry

about this or that. Your soul

will unite the divine with your body.


I swear heaven got it wrong, I am in love

with the earth. Where else

would you call home? I call to God

when I walk and when I breathe and when I refrain


to speak into an empty space. 

Listen, there is much to be found

within yourself, but even more in others.

Just think then, of God


doesn't she look around amazed with wonder 

and fascination at the world, at you, and me?

There is your pride, holy saint

caring for the sins of us all.

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