Love in Common


for all of us human beings
who are not yet past
loving (and I would wager
that is almost all
of us who drag breath
into our lungs),
the earth is wide enough that there is a place
where we love in common.

For any two, any unlikely two,
that place exists:
the football pitch,
the concert hall,
the protest march,
the baby’s bedside,
the last unspelunked cavern
beneath Guizhou.

Sharing potential with a stranger
is not adequate, I know, to the task
of turning the firing lines
into gardening collectives.
Until we are all together on the mountain,
the parts of me that are not theirs
may still be broken.

But for we explorers searching
for the lost temples of communion,
there is no hopelessness,
only the adventure
between breaths.


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Your Monday(ish) blessing: No Wisdom Whatsoever

I slept well last night, and this morning I managed
to not check the news on my phone.
I went and drank coffee,
sat there. For a moment or two.
Found a book of stories on the shelf that spoke to me.
Sat there. Not long.
Realized i was thirsty. Drank water.
Cooked some oats, stirred them on the pot.
When my child came down the stairs,
I felt the hello as I spoke it.
If you – and I truly do not know – envy me my morning,
I hope you might take it.
I would like you to know
I own absolutely no wisdom whatsoever.
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Signs of the Times

What is poetry?

Only the poets ask themselves this; everyone knows.

It’s rhymes and lines and lavender bows.


What is art?

The new exhibit’s about this, but nobody goes.

The world is too full of television shows.


What is drama?

We see it every day, we’re up to our nose.

The acts are performed, now send in the crows.


What is politics?

Only the professors lecture on this; everyone knows.

It’s a knife in the ribs and a punch in the nose.

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The Turtle Dove

Your (perennially tardy) Monday Blessing: The Turtle Dove
My faith in turtle doves is hard to quantify. I know the sound well: a throaty, mournful, muted trumpet, that collides with the atmosphere and flares out dully into glory. The sound of it stirs something in me. But surely, “the sound of a turtle dove makes me happy” – that is not faith. Or is it?
It’s not that my faith is an expectation of the call. The turtle dove sounds off often enough, where I live, that I could reasonably expect I’ll be hearing it again soon. Climate change is already changing everything (I speak to the old timers, the ones who watch the weather, and they all confirm this), but there are still doves around, at least for the time being. But my faith is not exactly expectation. In fact, when I hear the call again – no matter how brief the gap between hearings – there’s a feeling of elated surprise, along with reassurance. The call cuts through my day: “Oh! There it is! I had forgotten!”
Yes, come to think of it, reminder is a clear portion of my faith in the turtle dove. I remember that call, when I hear it again. I heard it as a child, in the fields, in Devon and France. I heard it in Pennsylvania sometimes, walking into town. I associate the call with…with what? The specific memories are scattered and do not form a plot. Playing ball with my brothers, being out by a river, and once a swimming pool. Not much, really. But taken together, there is a sense of continuity. The turtle dove reminds me of all in life that is fragile, and all that abides, even amidst man’s stonewalling of the spirit and time’s gentle rot. Plus, it makes me happy. And that, more or less, is my faith in the turtle dove.
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Attention, Deficit, Hyperactivity, Disorder: The American Crisis

Part 1 of my four-part sermon on what is going on in America can be found at:

View at

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Blessing for Beginnings

Blessing for Beginnings

If you are well,
If you are fit, and ready, and healthy,
And energized,
Then now is the time to begin.
Begin the novel, begin the exercise regime,
Begin the new you, begin the home improvement,
Begin the resistance,
Begin to shape the granite of institutions with the stamp of your character,
Begin the kindness experiment,
Start to change the world in accordance with the dreaming
That is larger than yourself. The you within you has been waiting
For this moment, the emergent maybes and what-ifs have bubbled
On the brink of mattering.
Now, not some future date, not some time of the mind,
Move into this moment.
Begin it simply, with a flourish of the hand,
A turn of the eyeball
A gesture towards the ultimate agreement of all things.

If you are well, then now is the time to begin.
If you are unwell:
If your bones are brittle and your body’s cavities filled
With the ache of generations; if your spirit cries out “no more”,
If you seek healing.
Know that the beginning has already happened.
The beginning of your healing has begun,
The plant that will make your ointment is springing out of the ground,
The doctor that will help cure you is being trained,
The solution to the problem that has vexed you for years
Is being formed in the skyward chaos kitchen even now.

You may not feel like healing has already begun,
It may feel a long way off, I know,
But the universe is at work
On your own balm.
Even the final resolute healing into absolute peace,
That is feared but also in its way, a blessing, is already at work
In our lives.

The God of all changes will not leave you the way you are today.
Things may become even worse, for a time, it’s true,
But they will return to peace. And joy will find its way in too.
And you will not always be unwell. For the meantime,
As healing has already begun, might as well act as if it’s already here,
And pretend we are well. And if we are well,
Then now is the time to begin.

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As Dark as it Gets

This is as dark as it gets.
This is true,
true dark.
This is as dark as it gets,
says the earth to the spirit.

Don’t look up, yet, for there is nothing to see.
Rush, if you must.
Push your heels
against the spinning ball
if you think it will help
either of you on your way.

But this is as dark as it gets.
This is the birth of maybe
from the bowels of never again.
Don’t look up, yet, for there is nothing
to see.
This is as dark as it gets.
This is the empty undying, holding all of the moments
to come.

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Your Monday Blessing: Third Sheep from the Left

The third sheep from the left is the holy child.
You can see her, in the frame of her mother’s camera,
at the heart of the heavens and the earth.
In her, the earliest secrets of love are revealed.
Before the stars were spoken into orbit,
her beauty was already making the rounds.

To touch the hem of her garment –
re-stitched in haste, and in preparation –
is to see God. Now, here,
the temporal representative of all that is sacred,
love’s pure light cast in a single lifetime,
has just stumbled into the Magi’s donkey
and both fell to the ground, giggling.
The Magi’s donkey is the holy child.

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After the Massacre: A Christmas Poem


When it was accomplished,
and Herod’s soldiers returned from Bethlehem,
a silence settled over the land like frost.
The odd wailing, like the purposeless wind.
And it came to pass in those days that a mother,
after her child was discarded, like offal,
lay cradled over it, a horizon.
She spoke to the angels,
“Grant to my child your tongues of fire,
else stay silent!”
And it rained all over Ramah.
It has rained since.

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Yes, I have Sought Salvation

Yes, I have sought salvation
from the window of the internet browser.
Just one more click, and that ought to fix
the need for one more click.

It takes no effort just to check
if happiness is at my fingertips, almost
none, just a sliver
of the weight of this moment,

the horrible, gaping, eternity of now.
There must be something worth reading here.
Beyond this waiting room
is only surgery.

I hear there’s something wicked in the news,
and if it gets any worse I may be redeemed
in my widening anger, my own preparing
for the worst.

There must be a picture that moves me.
There must be a product, a chuckle, a reason to care
that justifies my easy chair –
a thought, transmitted and transmuted, into pure grace.

Yes, I have sought salvation,
I, a sinner, poor in all things save coltan,
and every time I look online I find
more than enough rope to hang myself.

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