On My Ordination Day

I had forgotten this day,
or rather, that this was the day,
my ordination day.
The crypt is full of friends,
families, even strangers,
priests and deacons,
at least one bishop, maybe more;
festivities are waiting
across the street, delights
hard to number but easy to swallow.
The Heir shall come and lay
upon heads his hands,
calling down the Paraclete
forever changing destiny;
to serve and not to be
served, bearing upon heads
the weight of the gospel,
the proclamation and the message,
and held forth in hands
the pressure of the chalice,
bearing the weight of the world.
Today is my ordination day
and I am not there.
To mind are a thousand reasons
to be present at the altar,
yet only one that called me away,
a tingling, small voice
that only speaks in silence
and even then is quiet.
The years have not made clearer the call
save that it remains what it was
which is to be elsewhere, elsewise.
The heart of the mystery remains
mysterious, other, distant, present;
only the encounter has taken me away,
laid low my present for the sake
of what has not yet come to pass.
For two years I have not advanced
so clearly as those in the crypt,
my firm and sure plans muddled
in wind and rain and passing days;
there is no book, no chalice, no stole,
no altar, no hands, no kiss;
I wait and cannot wait,
for today is my ordination day
and I am not there.

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They Say the Most Important Thing

They say the most important thing
Is to forgive
But they do not say
How to do that.
You think they are
Three simple words
I forgive you.
Four syllables, one long
Three short.
Yet how do these words work?
If you mean them,
You are done.
If you do not,
How do you come to it?
You can repeat a thousand times
I forgive you
Yet get no further through the words
I forgive you.
They are simple words,
Clear in meaning.
I, the one self,
You, the other self,
Forgive, there’s the rub.
How do I forgive,
What is it,
Where does it go,
How do I forgive you?
I know I cannot hate,
That I must love,
And in loving
I forgive you.
Maybe it is seventy times seven
Because before then
You know not what you say;
Only once you proclaim
I forgive you
Until it loses all meaning
Can you finally say and mean
I forgive you.
How many times must I say
I forgive you
Until I am firm in saying it?
Every time I say
I forgive you
I hope I mean it;
But how can you know,
How can you be sure that
I forgive you?
Go with God and
Go with love;
Maybe soon I will know that
I forgive you?

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Leaving Room

Love is patient.
But what is that?
Is it patient before,
Or only in the fullest flower?
For if before, I must learn
Before I can find what I seek.
To love I am to be patient,
And then to be in love
I shall be in patience.
I hope to love you
But I must wait;
If I rush I am impatient
And am out of love.
You are so distant,
Miles and years between
Yet so close in my hopes,
Inches between us in my heart.
Not inches, but seconds,
The gap between the exhale
And air rushing in.
There is room enough
For the Holy Spirit,
No one else.
How can I wait for years and miles
To collapse into the thin point
Infinitely distant and always present?
Each inhale is pain,
I do not have your exhale.
We are swarmed by breaths.
But, though you lie beyond my eye
There is still room enough
For the Holy Spirit,
And no one else.

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A Hand

A hand, neither open nor closed,
extending from the crystal past.
It seems then time had not deposed
a hand, neither open nor closed,
which once held a cosmos enclosed
but is now just showing, at last,
a hand neither open nor closed,
extending from the crystal past.

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Mirror

I have not seen you look at me
with eyes that mind the weight of years;
what has brought you here, what may be.
I have not seen you look at me
ev’n though I long for you to see
my hopes and dreams; behind the fears
I have not seen you; look at me
with eyes that mind — The weight of years!

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Ars Poetica

It’s not so hard,
just vomit your feelings upon the page.

Perhaps that’s not quite right.
Lay out carefully the stirrings of your heart,
bare and shivering in the cold gaze of strangers.

Hm, not much better.
Free your mind and splay
across unsullied paper
every urge and imagination
until it drips with confusion.
Declare clearly and be bold,
make known the reaches
your soul without foundation.

Or again:
find the symbols that light your path,
that show others the way you’ve found -
except when you haven’t found it yet.

Maybe there is no ars
and only poetica,
however you see fit to reveal
to the page what cannot be spoken
in words which cannot die.
For every poet is everyman.

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Sycamore Trees

Zacchaues, come down,
for the tree is rotten,
it cannot hold your weight;
It belongs to someone else
and is not yours to climb;
You shall be made sick,
pesticides are still on the leaves;
Those clouds look like lightning,
this is the tallest tree;
You left your door unlocked,
strangers are eating there;
The poor are gathering,
demanding you see to them;
For you should hide in your house today.

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