Preachers

When they heard that we preach the Word, even Leviticus,
they turned from our speech, wanting to get rid of us
like nobody like goody two-shoes, but we ain’t claiming innocence
(but we are righteous, so I guess we are, in a sense…)
Still we pray for ’em—no longer in some tents,
but we stay intense, calling for people to repent—
turn from their ways, look to the Son that heaven sent—
plenty of intent in our breath, spend days deciphering what was meant
by what we said, but only if they listen:
what we mention is what they’re missing—
God-sized hole in their hearts, trying to put that or this in:
sex, power, success, whatever glistens.
But none of that will satisfy, none of that leaves you fulfilled,
no amount of work carries you over that hill,
not enough money in this world to pay what sin bills—
only what God wills,
only the blood that Jesus spilled.

Names

All of the names that you’ll have throughout your life
swirl around my brain until you shout from beyond time;
world shaped by memories of my love, my wife –
grandmother of the children’s children, mother to mine.
You’re the soup that I swim through to get to my core;
your voice the pools of otherness that makes me a little more –
words that you said play in a loop in my head, hymns ringing like holy religion,
beautiful noise that rules every chamber of my heart like soul incision.
You call, an aural phantasm reaching through calcified daydreams,
verbal spasms beseeching me to surface from consciousness streams;
and so I can rise from the horizons of my mind’s sunsets
to awaken from these memories – memories that haven’t happened yet.

at the café

At the stirring of the person seated near me at the café,
I look up from my work,
noticing that she is pulling up the blinds from the window
in order to get a better view of the sunset outside.
A kindred spirit,
I think to myself –
but then again,
who doesn’t enjoy a beautiful sunset?
She sits,
coat wrapped around her shoulders
and face turned toward the sun,
perhaps not noticing the many details of the trees turned shadows.
Maybe not.
The twigs at the end of every branch
scrape upward into dusk,
waving quietly in the February breeze,
like eyelashes fluttering upward from the earth.
Colours uncaptured by paintbrushes,
uncaptured by photographs;
they flood my vision,
and I can’t help but turn my eyes back to my work:
a child of my father for certain,
creating just as he had –
my own details upon blank pages
like eyelashes that will become tall trees,
framed against a beautiful sun.

Undead

I remember a time before the apocalypse hit,
when zombies were still a novelty,
when video games didn’t try to make the undead fit
into every single scenario that you could see.
Each mouse click takes you deeper
into a survival horror nightmare showcase,
schools, jobs, worlds filled with creepers
shuffling with intent toward an audience of bored faces.
Every last one of us, with illuminated countenances in the dark,
remain in a cynical daze, because it’s all so uninspired –
there seems to be nothing that can provide that spark
to light up our minds, to reignite a dying fire.
If only the end that has come was about games,
and not the gamers, the uncritical critics
scrambling to open up wallets with no shame,
swallowing what’s given to us like paralytics.
We are the masses with dead hearts,
shambling toward every next festival, dead eyes peeking
from the shadows, heavily medicated so we fit the part;
we devour propaganda like the food we’re seeking,
cause there’s no more brains left in our midst –
just our perpetual motion toward our eventual ends,
every step chronicled on our social media lists,
every breath punctuated by well-trained fingers clicking “send!”
We are the masses with dead ambitions,
rambling about our so original futures, well-worn paths
walked by Frost-bitten feet toward letters of admission,
confirming that, “yes, you can do the math!
You’re headed for six-figures – no need to worry about
your own body stricken with rigor mortis,
all that matters is your financial clout!” –
that’s how they court us.
We are the masses facing dead ends,
mapping out five-year plans that look the same
as our last, but with a little more save than spend –
but really, who’s to blame?
The corporations make the shiny new things we want,
and expectations make us buy, buy, buy –
so it’s everyone else’s faults that our faces are ghoulish and gaunt,
even if it is us who bare our souls and wave bye, bye, bye.

No,
the evil that has taken residence within us
did not come from some virus or something external,
even if it’s so widespread, it’s practically viral, it was
from within that this disease started, as recorded in Adam’s fitness journal:
“take one forbidden fruit –
it’s okay if there’s already a bite missing –
and mix it with one cup of pride (that’s at the root
of your agreement with what the snake’s hissing);
sprinkle on a generous helping of doubt
(comes free with that pride, no lie!) –
in fact, forget the fruit; you can do without,
cause if you have pride and doubt, you’ve probably already opened your eyes.”
If we take a look now at the pictures of our progress,
we’ll see the same thing – the internal rot that underlines
all of these selfies like a hashtag mess,
the skeleton wearing a life costume, insisting “everything’s fine!”

Yes,
it’s something within us that created the walking dead,
these self-consumed monstrosities swallowing up reflections,
but it was divine intervention, Someone outside our own heads
that showed up, calling us in compassionate election.
See, once we’re dead, it’s over – we’re gone! –
even with one foot in the grave, there’s a million feet of dirt above,
and that means there’s no digging ourselves out; but this night has a dawn.
We can’t save ourselves, but we’ve already been saved by love;
saved by grace, cause there was no need, no logical reason
to forgive our treason, to hear our pleas to revisit the case.
The evidence was there, plain to see that we inherited the curse,
no hope, no prayer, no reason to care as we were taken away by the hearse,
but He broke us free, pulled us out of death’s snare,
spared us the wrath, taking the time, the punishment for our crimes.
We can’t save ourselves, but He has done it,
and this great darkness was illuminated, the fire lit,
our souls exonerated – the cure for our undead disease
is here, found with the greatest of ease –
His name is Jesus,
the great Saviour, death’s Slayer,
raiser of the dead by virtue of the life He bled;
the only way to be saved is to take the offer He gave:
your life for His –
now will you rise up out of the grave?

Underground

Underground, my shadow passed me by
three times, and again I thought of where I was
and where I was headed.
The heart of the city,
unfamiliar and yet familiar,
growing more and more prosperous
since its great revival –
economic and yet unspiritual,
lest we be mistaken.

New buildings, and then new buildings built up
again, the world repeating itself like a civic stutter;
skies once blue greyed out like the Insta-filters
we’ve grown obsessed with.
The walking dead shamble past me,
brisk for those who have places to be un-present in,
slowly for those who are chronicling each step they take:
would rather be famous than be president.

Notes being passed without even a graze of fingers,
no thought lingers with no intellect sought,
no desire for anything other than to be Like!d,
tagged by faraway friends – I thought hash was at its end?
Children need a Father, but we’ll settle for pop
Culture of raising awareness but no longer raising the dead –

maybe it’s time to pay attention to what was said,
or maybe all of this is just inside my head.

Just this once

Just this once,
I don’t want the right words to speak.
I want to hear the right songs
to go with these pictures flying by my eyes;
I want to feel the vertigo
that accompanies thoughts too fast and too countless,
the dizzying creativity that doesn’t stifle like busyness,
the sobering drunkenness of imagination that awakens the soul.
Is it possible to hear the echoes of words once spoken,
night questions and dawn confessions that stitch hearts together?
They’re the words that make minds wander,
directionless footsteps that create intricate poetic meanderings,
sunset sighs
and a breathless sunrise,
constellations that could not contain the depths of emotion,
and the space in between.
Just this once,
I want to hear those songs,
those momentary melodies that fill empty pockets
and dress up emptier moments,
just enough
to be bearable;
just this once,
I want time to speak for itself,
just enough to make me forget
how to look
for the right words.