O Again --£…≥÷¢* 7. O Emmanuel (already) O God-with-us in NICU bassinets and nursing homes and truck cabs and warehouses. God-with-us-now on battlefields and bombshelters in churches and congress (even there). God-already-with-us dashing through the snow on city sidewalks in the bleak mid-winter. O. That’s all. Just O. *(cat typing. Why not here, too?)
O Again 5. O Oriens (my favorite) Oriens. O Oriens.* Our Star in the East today rises as far South as she goes. Tomorrow she’ll cross the line to lengthen our days. O Oriens, O Morning Star— Come and enlighten. Sun of Fiery Dawnings— Sun of Rooting Bulbs— Sun of Joyful openings— O Oriens, come. *(Just say it. It does nice things in the mouth.)
An unexpected poem.
the world, the flesh They did it to me when I was too young to resist: in my name they renounced my skin, my heart, my lungs, my sex, my brain, my little fingers. They renounced my senses, my fears, my hungers, my animal urgency. They renounced the world. The deserts and trees, mountains and seas, everyone who crawls and swims and flies: denizens of the dirt, tigers and dogs and whales. They don’t have souls the story goes, and all that matters is what isn’t. When the trout lily leaves emerged, when the bears came out of their winter dens, when the buds swelled on the maples, every spring we remembered our renunciation. How strange when the empty tomb recalls the garden and the flesh. I repent. I reclaim all I was taught, along with the devil, to renounce. Beginning with this patch of ground where rotting trunks flower out their fruits, where robins overturn the unraked leaves and acorns sprout along the edges of the unmown grass.
Between the yin and yang, the line.
Between the dark and light, the dusk.
Between birth and death, the life.
Around the hazelnut, the husk.
before the comfort of book and bed,
I stood in the yard and worshiped
the highest moon.
Soft-edged shadows spread
across the frosted grass.
The darkest month gives
the brightest night—
not an insignificant grace.
Open Studio Poem #17
Fairies shelter behind the disco ball
hung in the portal to the kingdom of odd.
After sunset, they emerge lickety-split,
and all night they dance through the city,
their magenta wings flashing splendid
in the lights of streets, and traffic, and stars.
The other occupants of the Open Studio are out to get me, as you can see. But I know where that disco ball hangs, and I know the fairies, too.
MAGI, GOING HOME Go home another way, it told us in a dream. Another way? What would an angel know about ways? We had to sell the camels and the slaves. Another way meant bad roads, no roads. We were not accustomed to walk, but walk we did till we bought a donkey. It was old and lame. We rode in turns. We were not accustomed to taking turns, nor to buying food ourselves. Now and then we begged, and more than once we slept in stables, in the straw— the only lodgings we could find after we were robbed of everything. But that’s another tale.
CAMP FIRE WOMEN
My friend Julie is a Fire Keeper.
Sometimes all night she watches,
holds the flame at the center
of the world. It is her sacred way.
And mine? To search the forest,
to gather the wood: This for kindling,
this for tinder, this for cleansing,
this for a long and steady burn.
Listen to Sancho, Mistress.
These are only windmills.
This is an inn, that is a basin,
what you have is a computer
glitch, a mis-behaving phone,
a broken coffee grinder,
Look at the world as it is,
not as it never was.
Knights were brutal and mean.
Subsistance farming was hungry and hard.
The Enlightenment was a flash in the pan.
Father never knew best.
No country has ever been great.
If you want a romantic occupation
dangerous enough even for you,
stay home and write poems.
Maybe someone will read them
and write more.
As our creator says, turning poet
is a catching and an uncurable disease.
THE TRICKSTER IS STILL AROUND
Not Loki or Enki,
not Coyote who stole fire
or Wakjunkaga who made
himself some women’s parts
and gave birth to three sons.
This one carries his tiny penis
in a jumbo jet. His wives
and daughters are plastic dolls,
his sons the undead.
He eats honor, shits coal.
His houses are built of bones.
Make no mistake:
somewhere under our nice
we want to be like him—
possess without limit,
rule without shame.
He shows us, uncovers us.
Unless we change our lives,
he will never go away.