To say my father loved Jesus
is as wrong as saying he feared him.
To him, Jesus was a landlord,
a creditor, someone owed a debt,
which, left unpaid, would end in pain,

not only justified but welcomed,
insisted upon, and in the great
tradition of the spawn of Yahweh,
pass on to children and their children,
the unwanted and unearned burden of birthright.

Good morning, says the baptist, and
slaps you on the butt. It’s time
to be fitted for your chains.

The death of Bernardo

I remember a moment in fifth grade,
when it was announced
that Sister Bernardo,
who taught seventh grade,
had died.

There was this brief
eruption of joy that
we would not, ever,
have to endure
her legendary cruelty.
It was an utterly spontaneous, and
therefore uncontrollable, eruption
which collapsed almost
immediately into despair.

There stood, at the head
of the classroom,
Sister Mary Henry,
in all her indominable
forbiddenness, and we knew
that she had recorded the reaction
of each and every child
in her prodigious
and never-failing memory.

Blood line

As luck would have it
I was born who I am,
propelled into wonder
and deep disturbance,

pushed from behind
by fear and tedium,
compelled by curiosity
to delve and burrow.

Shall I say my fate
has formed me,
or have I moved through Earth
not spellbound, but spellbinding?

No use complaining, no
point in shallow grievance.
Fate works not by force
but seduction.

Like me, the day

Like me, the day resembles an empty vessel,
empty of all that radiates outward,
all that intends malice or desire,
that winks a hundred wishes onward,
holding only God accountable,
leaving any sense behind,

out where there is no boundary,
where edge melts into center,
where all becomes nothing,
where stellar wind washes light
from the first Nothing screamed aloud,

down to the yearning of stars to be born,
to the thin layer of life
astride the cosmos.