The Wound on the Floor

It just lay there on the
living room floor, this
gaping wound, ugly as
sin, oozing even. It is
a good thing the floor
is laminate they rumin-
ated. The wound could
be cleaned up quickly
before anyone stopped
by, but the smell, (What
about the smell?) — the
permeating, sickening,
all-pervading stench of
the cancerous behavior,
yes, the cancerous
behavior. Even with
air spray, they still
could smell it and it
sickened them to the
marrow of their bones.
The dog finally came
out of the bedroom,
lifted his nose, flared
his nostrils and shook
his head before walking
to the door to ask to go
out and do his business.


He watches the dune grass wave at him as he sits
looking out the window. It is moving a little
faster now that it is late September, as if it
is trying to warm up, grabbing at the rays of
sun that hit it horizontally from the east,
as if the grass is beckoning the sun to hurry
up and move straight overhead and stand still
like in the Bible for the entire winter so
when the snow comes, the sun would melt it
right away and the grass could stand tall
and continue to wave at the man who by then
would be standing on the balcony looking out
at the pool and the neighbor, originally from
New York, but having moved to Phoenix twenty-
some years ago, waving at him from the hot tub
with the Western sun straight overhead intense
with heat as if it were standing still.

When Gay Isn’t

The man is a heterosexual
but no one references that
today, as in, “Oh, you are
a heterosexual.” That would
be so bizarre. The man quipped
that that must be “straight
privilege,” because his brother-
in-law is a homosexual and
this day everyone refer-
ences that as in, “Oh, you
are gay,” which his brother-
in-law hears just about
every day and that seems
good and okay in this day
but bizarre in another way.
The man thinks that wouldn’t
make him feel very gay,
in the old sense of the
word to constantly be
referenced this or that
way. The man has a deceased
colleague back in the day
who hid being a gay
with a wife and a child
at play. On a business
trip, the man and his
colleague shared a room
for a day. The colleague
had too much to
drink and as he was
slipping off to sleep,
told the man that the
man was beautiful and
that he was in love
with him and hoped
that was okay. Sadly,
it was never mentioned
again after that day.
The colleague with the
wife and son wasn’t very
gay, in the old sense
of the word. Wouldn’t it
be gay, in the old sense
of the word, the man
wonders every day, if
the man, his brother-in-
law and his deceased
colleague were just
considered human beings
each and every day?

I Don’t Blame You

He read one of the poems of the day
written by a poet who had published
twenty books of poetry. It started
out pretty simple with brown grass
and water and horses in a field but
jumped to speaking in church and
talk of realistic and reasonable and
lots of metaphors and similes and
allusions and symbolism and
lots of other stuff and he thought
to himself that he didn’t have
five years to figure this all out
nor did he want to spend one
more minute in that place so
he bid her adieu and she replied,
“I don’t blame you.”

And The Pacific Ocean Beyond

They slid their recreational
kayaks into Duck Lake on a
gorgeous September afternoon,
climbed aboard and leisurely
paddled toward the short, shallow
channel leading to Lake Michigan.
He and his wife greeted bathers
who sat on either side and who
waded back and forth. The waves
into the Big Lake gave them a thrill
and they moved out into gentler
waters, turned and rode the waves
back into the channel. Back in Duck
Lake they slowly circumnavigated,
gliding past big, round water-lily
leaves and cattails and scanned the
shallows for a glimpse of an ever
elusive small mouth bass. Two
kayakers in Inuit style kayaks blew
by them racing from one end of the
lake to the other without even the
customary nod of recognition
normally given to other kayakers
on the water. He thought about
how they used to blow by others
in their long, narrow touring kayaks.
He smiled and they gently paddled
into the lights dancing off the water
as the sun dipped toward the Big
Lake and Racine, Wisconsin, Colorado,
California and the Pacific Ocean

Is It Ever All It’s Billed To Be?

They moved north after seventeen years
in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.
He went to a liberal arts college in the
town next to where his parents moved,
his father becoming the pastor of what
was billed as a progressive congregation
in an ad in The Christian Century.
The town was smotheringly conservative
and the church was progressive relative
only to its surroundings. He called his
mother and said, “I’m out of money,
mom. Do you have any jobs for me?”
“Well, it’s late September and there
are leaves all over the yard.” “Great,
I’ll be there on Sunday.” “Oh, no, you
won’t.” “Why? It’s the only day I’m
free.” “Because your father is the
pastor of Second Church and we live
in the parsonage.” He shook his head
and thought that they HAD lived in the
Bible Belt. Everything really is re-
lative he ruminated. He sat in his
dorm room missing his Old Kentucky
Home where he could rake leaves on
Sunday and go fishing and ride his
bike and do just about anything else
he wanted to do without the neighbors
passing judgment.

Simplifying Prayer

The pastor, at his wit’s end with what to do about the man who was sinking faster and faster, told him, “You have to pray more.”

The man, in all earnestness and desperation, stated that he was prayed out. Perhaps the man was victim to the linear notion of communication, straight line from me to you, from I to Thou and hopefully back again.

Under those circumstances, you expect to hear right back unless you, an extrovert are communication with an introvert. Then you might have to wait awhile.

Schooled in that same one-dimensional notion of communication, I have tired of
that waiting game.

However, in a counseling course I once took, the teacher discussed the ex-
ponential nature of communication.

If it comprises just two back and forth, it’s two. Add one person and
it jumps to nine. Add one more and it jumps to sixteen lines of commun-
ication at any one time and so on.

No wonder a family of four has such difficulties just getting along and the individual members being understood.

Now if God is understood as three persons in one and in a relationship within self, that’s nine lines of communication right there. It’s a wonder that God has time to communicate meaningfully within self let alone with any one knocking on the celestial door.

I can just hear it: “Now you listen, Junior.” “Oh, now, Father, don’t be so hard on the boy,” “Sophia, stay out of it,” etc.

Add just one more person to the equation and it jumps to the highly complicated situation of sixteen lines going on. The man was just one person. Think about how many individuals are joining the conversation at any one given moment. It’s a wonder God ever gets back with anyone.

The pastor probably could have told the man to go for a jog or suggested seeing a psychiatrist. That would have simplified the communication to one on one.

Or he could have listened, held the man’s hand, cried with him. Perhaps, in the tenderness of that moment, the man might have asked what to do, just between those two.

The pastor could have asked the man what he would like to do. Then, if the man said something like, “I just want the pain to stop,” given it was the man’s initiative, the pastor could have suggested something like going to the hospital, and then offered a prayer of thanks to God for God’s love being in the silence, in a touch and in a tear like Jesus with Mary and Martha before they went forth to the tomb of Lazarus to experience a miracle.

It could have been that simple, leaving the the Trinity to work out the details.

falling for princess summer, fall, winter, spring

the dew forms on the table
drips onto the chair
falls to the floor.

the honey pours from the bottle
onto the bread and through
the holes onto the plate.

snow falls on the hot hood
melts and runs down onto
the cold, hard ground.

a raindrop slides off
the pale green leaf
into thirsty soil.

dew forms, snow melts, honey flows,
rain slides — my heart falls through
every season to you.

The Creation is Meant for Connection

Father, Son, Holy Spirit,
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,
Proton, Electron, Neutron
Quark and two others
yet to be discovered.

The creation is meant for
connection to be in relation,
but we are in isolation
looking for re-connection
in all the wrong places,
filling spaces with disgraces –
entitlements and envy,
chasing after money,
racism, jingoism, nativism,
ageism, discrimination,
sexual exploitation,
finger-pointing, misogyny,
love only for whitey,
violence soaring resulting
in society falling down,
down, down.

Everywhere but on our knees
imploring the connection that
comes in threes:

Father, Son, Holy Spirit,
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,
Proton, Electron, Neutron
Quark and two others
yet to be discovered.

It’s already there —
life is already a loving relation.
There is the connection.
We are all one race
looking to embrace
the love in each other’s face.
We live by grace.

Yes, we all come out of Africa
dispersed throughout the world
resulting in a holy diversity
but always in unity.

So let us live with justice, mercy,
love and peace
greeting every one we meet
before the dignity of Thou.