The Risen Albatross

Jesus hung broken on the cross;
We hang broken together;
The Ancient Mariner had the Albatross
To Christ we have our tether.

The Mariner shot the bird from the sky;
It fell broken to the sea;
It had given the ship wind to fly.
But then the wind did flee.

The bird was loved by the Lord;
In Him, all things be bright and beautiful;
Was it the bird who drove all aboard
When there was no wind to bellow?

The Mariner lived to tell the tale
And all went to the wedding;
With the Lord we all will sail;
Toward peace and justice heading.

All brokenness shall be healed;
All sorrow and sadness gone;
With Christ as our eternal shield,
Like a risen Albatross we shall fly on.

 

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The Terminal

It’s a game he plays while sitting in an
airport terminal waiting for his flight.

The game is called “Why Are You Here?” the
answers to which are ever and only known
to the people about whom he guesses. He
doesn’t ask.

There is a fresh-faced couple in their
mid-forties waiting for a flight to Florida
mid-winter: a much-needed and anticipated
getaway.

There is the fifty-something, hunched-over
man with what looks like tortoise-shell
armor on his back protecting him from his
grief at the death of his wife whose body
he is taking home.

There is the white-haired, seventy-two-year-
old woman sitting reading a mystery novel
on her way to a grandchild’s college graduation.

There are four military-uniformed, pimply-
faced boys joking with each other on their
way to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for final training
before being shipped off to the middle-east.

There is the thirty-something man in brand
name casual wear doing crossword puzzles.
It is June and he is on his twenty-first
flight of the year for business.

There are the two guys in the bar
discreetly holding hands on their
way to one of their homes to talk
to parents about marriage.

He doesn’t know if any of those people
are in the terminal for the reasons he
conjectures but there are people who are
somewhere, some terminal somewhere, for
those reasons and countless others
because he has been there for many of
those same reasons.

Then there is the call for his flight.
He knows where he is going but he will
leave the conjecturing up to others
who might be playing the game.

Healing

I sit wounded on a Sunday morning,
Body healing,
Spirit healing,
Soul healing.
She mentioned someone
being terminal;
We are all terminal;
Healing is not necessarily
Curing.
I will die;
I will not be cured of death;
I will be healed.
I sit wounded on a Sunday morning,
Body healing,
Spirit healing,
Soul healing.

I Am Broken*

I am broken;
My bones have been broken;
My heart has been broken;
My spirit has been broken;
Relationships have been broken;
I am here broken;
Everyone is broken;
Bones have been broken;
Hearts have been broken;
Spirits have been broken;
Relationships have been broken;
They are there broken;
We are there broken;
Together, we are here broken;
“No one righteous will have bones broken”;
To fulfill scripture, Jesus’ bones were not broken;
That is metaphor for enduring being broken;
The righteous have been broken;
Jesus has been broken;
We don’t claim to be just, just broken;
We don’t claim to be Jesus, just broken;
The righteous are here broken;
Jesus is here broken;
We are all here broken;
Together, we are healing.

*idea from a meditation by Henri Nouwen

Traditional Discrimination

The female commentator on the Sunday
morning news program ruminated,
“What is that old phrase, ‘If a man is
discriminated against, it is a tragedy;
if a woman is discriminated against,
it’s tradition’?” And in that statement
more than a question the female
commentator summed up exactly
what is tradition in our nation’s capital,
in our state legislatures, in our local
politics, in corporate America and,
perhaps, in most bedrooms — trad-
itional discrimination.

Refusing to Speak Refuse

“I refuse to become the wormwood for
his parlance,” is the eloquent integrity

of the commentator and one can just
see the worm worming its way through

the soon to be mush of language with
consequences for what the language

represents like a free press and
beyond that the First Amendment of

the Constitution of the United States
of America. The commentator refuses

to use words such as “fake news” which
would unintentionally give credence

to the false soundbites which, accord-
ing to Nazi propaganda, is the way to

worm away to mush the strong, structural
wood of democracy.

Something There Is That Doesn’t Love a Wall But You Might As Well Make the Most of It*

In the interview he said that
on the Mexican side of the wall
there are “mariachi bands, graffiti,
ice cream vendors, paintings,
dancing, laughter.” On the U.S.
side of the wall — “steel, trucks,
dogs, helicopters, guns.” The
U.S. side is what East Berlin
was when Michael Jackson did
a concert on the west side
of that wall. And then the
poet asked, “Who is free
and who is in prison?”

*paraphrase of conversation
between Luis Alberto Urrea
and Krista Tippet,  On Being

Sounded Pretty Convincing

The parishioners rebuked the priest
for gospel talk and politics in his
homily. He said, “It is all about

politics. Not partisan but ‘polis’
— people. Life is all about the
people, you and me and that

means political systems in which
we live. Those systems go haywire
because of sin, our sin, yours and

mine, people’s sin, greed, avarice
and that’s where the gospel comes
in, right? We people live in systems

and those systems should be just
for all people, right? And that is
where the gospel comes in — in

the first place. If we start with
mysticism, contemplation, centering
in God, going with Jesus, if we

journey inward with the Spirit and
then outward to the systems in
justice, mercy, peace , we will be

living the Realm of God, individually,
corporately, communally, systematically,
wholly, completely, inclusively,

heavenly, right?” Still, they voted
unanimously to cut his salary and
called the diocese to complain.

We Speak Immigration

“English! It’s made up of all these untidy words, man. Have you noticed?
Native American (skunk), German (waltz), Danish (twerp), Latin (adolescent),
Scottish (feckless)…It’s a glorious wreck (a good old Viking word, that).
Glorious, I say, in all its shambling, mutable beauty. People daily speak
a quilt work of words, and continents and nations and tribes and even
enemies dance all over your mouth when you speak.”
—— Luis Alberto Urrea

Think about that: we speak immigration
every time we open our mouths and yet,

from these mouths we curse each other —
whites curse browns and blacks and we

whites are dangerous because we have
a deadly combination — fear and

power: economic, political, societal,
police -— our curse carries with it

the threat of death. With our white,
evangelical mouths we praise our tribal

god and curse our black, brown, red
and yellow brothers and sisters. With

our white mouths we curse in Native
American, German, Scandinavian, Latin,

Scottish, Spanish, Yiddish, Russian
and we shout, “Talk American, you skunk,

twerp, boy, girl, feckless wreck!” We
shout, “Dance for us,” while an inter-

national quilt of words brought by the
immigrants waltz off our tongues.

And our karma goes forth and soon
karma* will return.

*karma (n.)
1827, in Buddhism, the sum of a person’s actions in one life, which determines his form in the next; from Sanskrit karma “action, work, deed; fate,” related to Sanskrit krnoti, Avestan kerenaoiti “makes,” Old Persian kunautiy “he makes;” from PIE root *kwer- “to make, form” (see terato-). “Latterly adopted by Western popular ‘meditative’ groups” [OED, 1989]. It is related to the second element in Sanskrit.

Rasputin’s Poison Seeds

Disputate, exacerbate,
the Wannabe Tzar never
passes an opportunity to agitate.
He leaves chaos in his wake.
Take note; it is never a mistake.
It is all planned
by Rasputin’s hand.
Rasputin is the Tzar’s right-hand man —
the brain behind every devious plan
the fragile fabric to fray
and toss democracy away.
Standing behind the Wannabe Tzar,
whispering in his ear,
this is a danger — present and clear.
Who is this Rasputin hovering in the shadow?
Look for the one with poison seeds to sew.