POEM: To Be, Sow Fly

Could it possibly be
A cliff hangar
She jumped
In what felt
Like
A free fall
The feint of art
Closing their eyes
Thinking this only is
For the birds
Or perhaps angels
Or butterflies borne by the wind
For life is never a breeze
Fore the heavy
Thinking
Too much
Wait
Never suspect
Beyond
A cruel goad
Only trying
Too flutter me
Amid fleeting heir
In the grip
Of only that
Which can be
Grasped by wings
Feeling confidant
Enough
To be
Sow fly

This poem is about the lightness of heart and soul to take off in life.  This poem is also about the courage needed to let the seemingly ethereal stuff of life lift us up.  Our highest hopes can offer a birds-eye view of what is often a harsh landscape.  A higher perspective can reveal paths and possibilities outside of the realm of those anchored only in concrete reality.  Plus, flying can be real fun and absolutely invigorating.  May you find flight for your dreams and be a beacon for those looking for a way.

POEM: More Than Just, A Tinkle In The Pants

Sum people say
Show me the money
Only taking
That folding
Money
Maid of paper
Illegal to ink for won self
You’re money or you’re life
Weather helled up
Or razing heaven
Our soles speak
As bodies of evidence
And life stiles of the rich and famous
Calling out
Be the change
Beholden to common cents
More than just
A tinkle in the pants
Pissing off the powers that be

In my book, any poem that can incorporate wetting won’s pants and pissing off the powers that be can’t be all bad.  This poem taps perhaps the most fundamental divide in moral life: do we serve God or mammon, the worldly powers, the powers that be.  In this poem, I don’t mention God per se, but instead referred to “you’re life.”  I’ll give a tip of the hat to those uncomfortable with any notion of God.  “Life” or “love” is a synonym-spiced confection more palatable to some.

In this crazy postmodern milieu that we live in, the revered field of of science, with its deep commitment to smoking out causality, has mysteriously led to widespread convictions of randomness.  This perhaps began its accelerative phase with the genius of Darwin pinning his monumental theory of evolution to the notion of randomness.  Concrete evidence has proven the theory of evolution as a powerful scientific tool for accounting for the origin of species.  Of course, explaining things backwards is much easier than predicting the nature of future evolution, other than predicting that we will evolve in some random (sic) way.  Randomness is a notion at least as resistant to a coherent cosmology and worldview as the notion of God.  More troubling, randomness, that which has neither antecedent or predictability/causality is exactly the mythology that science is designed to debunk.  While inserting a “miracle” that cannot be measured by science by either observation or in principle may be irresistible if you can convince others to go along with it, but it is not science.  Randomness is no more a scientific principle than God.  Randomness is not a scientific principle — as God is not.  This facet of the philosophy of science can only be ignored at our own peril.  Quite telling, the field of mathematics has failed to identify any form of mathematics that gives adequate support for the unproven assertion of randomness.  Randomness can rightly be pursued as a hypothesis within metaphysics, the realm in which God is explored.  Still, randomness strikes me as antimatter in the matter of coherency.  We do know that any complete coherence MUST contain more true statements than ANY possible logical system can contain within itself.  This is a space that is in principle incompletely accessible by science and mathematics.  This is a space big enough and unknown enough for God and free will to reside or originate.  Is such a neighborhood the zip code for randomness?  At best, it can not be proven by science or mathematics.

Here is a little more on Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, the mathematical proof under-girding such thoughts:

“In 1931, the Czech-born mathematician Kurt Gödel demonstrated that within any given branch of mathematics, there would always be some propositions that couldn’t be proven either true or false using the rules and axioms… of that mathematical branch itself. You might be able to prove every conceivable statement about numbers within a system by going outside the system in order to come up with new rules and axioms, but by doing so you’ll only create a larger system with its own unprovable statements. The implication is that all logical system of any complexity are, by definition, incomplete; each of them contains, at any given time, more true statements than it can possibly prove according to its own defining set of rules.

Moving to a cultural level, the affection for randomness has brought us to an infection with randomness in everyday life, reflecting both some nihilistic sense of life and sense of humor: “That was so random.”  Our sense of life and humor has been moving from being centered in an elegantly interconnected system to a severed existence plagued by events “coming out of nowhere” — the antithesis of both scientific and religious worldviews.  Is it any wonder that we are possessed by notions of a zombie apocalypse, a world populated by those who are both dead and alive — or is that neither dead nor alive?

I think that Bob Dylan may have stated it about as bluntly and poetically as anyone, in his song, Gotta Serve Somebody (full lyrics below).  “It may be the devil or it may be the Lord/But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”  Of course, the popularity of the devil or the Lord seems to be in decline.  So, for many, the love triangle between self, neighbor, and the mystery of mysteries is reduced to self and neighbor — and perhaps nature (creation).

Well enough, such truth is still great enough to fill many lifetimes. Wee fight for one another to a void being reduced to a mirror monetizable entity.  Most have a palpable sense of what money is, what worldly power looks like, and the rules into which it invites us into its service.  And still, what is the opposite of serving money?  Is serving money just a vain vocation for the terminally unimaginative?  Perhaps the opposite of serving money involves living a life free of attachments to material security or cultural status.  Whatever there is in life that money cannot buy, I see as that which is truly valuable — able to bring a present with authentic integrity and a future that cannot be bought, only given to one another.

To me, money seems to be one of the least interesting things in life.  Personally, I am in wonder at both the abundant curiosities present in scientific discoveries to date and beyond any imagined horizon AND the mysteries of the heart, my own and others, which inspire countless souls to risk life for more life, and to go where no mere scientist dares.  Can we serve awe and give that which can only be proven to exist by giving it.  Life and love awe weighs fine a way. Serve it up!

Gotta Serve Somebody (by Bob Dylan)

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You might be a rock ‘n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

Still, you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

POLITICAL CARTOON: CEO Jesus Retirement Plan

CEO Jesus: You Had Me At The Retirement Plan

CEO Jesus Retirement PlanAfter a long hiatus, CEO Jesus is back.  This comic was inspired by a poem I wrote recently:

At Jesus, Inc.
I came for the love and mutuality
I stayed for the retirement plan

This poem and political cartoon is a parody of the often namby-pamby, first-world Christianity that passes for following Jesus these days.  I sometimes joke that I wish there was a religion where the founder was a nonviolent rabble-rouser crucified by the state, perhaps even as their fellow clansmen stood complicit.  That’s a leader to which I could relate.   I occasionally wonder what Christianity would look like if we amped it up so that, say, 1% of Christians were killed as a direct result of their radical love challenging the powers that be of this world.  What if Christians seriously risked destitution or death for the cause of love more commonly than building “secure” retirement plans?  These are the kinds of questions that haunt me and in which I find little traction or resonance within the walls of American Christianity.  Ahhh, for a Church that boldly embraces such questions; this is the Church I long for…

Peruse more political cartoons featuring CEO Jesus, General Jesus, Comedian Jesus, Dr. Jesus, and Palestinian Jew Jesus

POEM: Love Making

I was mistaken
All those years
Those sweetest ours
Thinking I was making love
When in truth
Love was making me

This love poem, as most of my poems, can be read several ways.  Of course, the simplest reading is a testament to the transformative power of romantic relationship love.  Love is more than something that we, as individuals, “make.”  Love is something larger than ourselves that we participate in.  Love makes us better humans, much more so than could be designed by our minds however clever, or imagined by our hearts however large and open.  Certainly, love makes us better than we could ever be outside of human relationships, on our own.

When thinking of poetry, I suspect that thinking of love poems is the most common and iconic.  Love, the mystery of mysteries, is at the heart of poetry, trying to put into words that which can’t quite be put into words.  I have described writing poetry as the heart and mind making love.  The melding of the workings of the heart and mind is a struggle for balance and wholeness that pervades every human endeavor.

Psalm 85:10 describes this as peace and justice kissing.  My intent in writing this poem was also to allude to such a wide theme, that of loving the world in a way that makes the world a better place for all.  Peace and justice kissing is the way this becomes a reality in the world.  Practicing that discipline of love makes us better humans, even if the reciprocity of that love is not immediately evident.  Describing such ventures as love of God — love of Love — is a common spiritual discipline to carry us through the dry patches of of unrequited love on earth.  Such love lives in the hope that the way of love (God’s will) will be “on earth as it is in heaven” (from the Lord’s prayer).  Of course, the demands of justice are trans-generational, perhaps perpetual, requiring a patience and perspective beyond our own life.  We don’t work simply for ourselves, that is if we are working in love and for justice.  It strikes me, sometimes in the face, that love of enemy is the gold standard spiritual practice for melding peace and justice, holding fast to perfecting love, in creating a world where one side fits all.  Every loving act brings us closer to peace and justice, no matter how far off they seem.  Every loving act engenders hope and courage for both the gentle patience and bold courage needed for peace and justice to kiss.  May you find love in every personal relationship, within your community, and in every conception of God you may have.

 

 

POEM: For Awe Inclusive Crews

In this backwards god-eat-god world
In the phase of gratuitous violins
Love surpasses all of the prose
In the ultimate hatch it job
Super seeding awe conceptions
Overrunning all of its boarders
Teeming with those borne agin
Depraving those of what little they halve
Razing hell
Only to make everything
Beyond accost
As be stowing
Such sublime vouchers
For awe inclusive crews
Who take up
The cause

This poem is about the tenaciously subversive workings of love and the sublime benefits of orienting one’s own being and doings with transcendent purposes.  The breakneck, in-your-face cynicism shilled by consumer culture and tribal goading runs roughshod over the deepest and most satisfying harmonies in life.  Actively and collectively working for good in this world may be best centered around these awe-inspiring forces in life that bid us to meet gratuitous violence with gratuitous love.  May love upturn any low impulses that may interfere with boldly welcoming a way of life big enough for awe and small enough to meet every child within.

Free MLK DAY Poster: Peace, Justice — Is It Just a Day Off?

I prefer celebrating the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. every day.  Still, the annual MLK Day holiday gives U.S. pause to reflect on the ever-present message of America’s most notorious prophet of peace and justice: Is it just a day off?  Peace and justice are ours if we want it.  Feel free to download this free MLK Day poster and share it with friends and enemies.FREE MLK DAY POSTER Martin Luther King Jr. Day PEACE JUSTICE Just a Day Off?

This free poster is based on my MLK design, available as buttons, stickers, T-shirts, etc.:

MLK Day design

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day every day!

 

FREE CHRISTMAS POSTER: Homeless Refugee Nativity

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…with all of those homeless Middle Eastern families.  This free poster offers my take on the hypocrisy of Christians in a co-called “Christian” nation worshiping xenophobia and fear rather than the radical hospitality and unconditional love that Jesus modeled from his birth.  The widespread and sniveling calls to limit refugee immigration and brand all Muslims as a threat to national security is a national shame and a profound shrinking of our humanity.

Homeless Refugee Nativity Christmas -- FREE POSTERPlease feel free to download and/or share widely this Christmas poster to help launch conversations about what it truly means to have love and compassion for all of our neighbors around the world.  We might want to stop arming and bombing the Middle East for a start…

POEM: Open Adore

Awe
That knocks
Me too
My knees
Shaking
Hands
Earth below
Heaven above
In articulate silence
And still
Hear
I am

Awesomeness is often met through silence and with silence.  There is a power greater than words dare speak.  Experiencing the power of such awesomeness is a bulwark for my highest hopes and that which incarnates most deeply my daily peace and joys.  Awe flows from this.  May such awesomeness visit you and enliven awe that you are.

POEM: The Rein of Hope

A tsunami of hope is coming
Are you preparing such a weigh?
Will you be caught looking
Through shot glasses
Only to be decked out with eyedroppers
For blood shot eyes, those cynical vanes
Ill quipped to see arose
As a master of heavy arts
Uprooted by a juggernaut of serendipity
Leaving ewe to find won self
Oar reel state underwater
In the bust of surf and turf
As well sculpted ideologies
Serve up anchors and chains
In efface of assail boat
Occupying the same
Regardless of weather titanic cap size
Kicking buckets down the road
As if
Awe is to be fathomed
Only too arrive
More than any won dare expected
Even as some specious of large-mouthed perch
Will settle
Just enough
Too fill one’s lunge
In a whirled turned
Upside down
As big fish in a bigger pond
And still
Hope floats
Not even holding water
A parent as sow much hot air
As a cloud to water
The sores of life cleansing
Bound to witness new arisings
From such a gossamer point of you
Not to be governed by stars
Returning only amor
Gentle reign on earth

This poem addresses head on and heart on one of my favorite themes: hope.  Cynicism is easy. Hope is often somewhat more elusive.  Courage, enthusiasm, and an open heart are prerequisites for hope to flourish.  Change is happening awe the time.  Do you see it?  Don’t get caught looking through shot glasses or nurturing any of the many chronic dis-eases characterized buy the hardening of the attitudes.  Love is skulking about working its way into the seemingly hermetically sealed hearts of the ignorant and perversely-incentivized, and when the time is right, love will flood the vacuum in such vacant souls.  Things will suck in anew weigh for those not paying attention in tuition of life as a topsy-turvy whirled writes itself a new future.  Feel free to spice up your life with such advent seasoning…

FREE DOWNLOADABLE POSTER — VETERANS DAY: Let’s Leave War Behind Not Veterans

Here is my tribute to Veterans Day.  Please feel free to share this downloadable VETERANS DAY poster or meme.FREE POSTER: VETERANS DAY Let's Leave War Behind Not Veterans

This free downloadable poster is based on these designs, available in buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers, laminated posters, and more:

Support Our Troops - Work for Peace - Justice for Veterans - Bring them Home NOW--PEACE BUTTON

Support As Few Troops As Possible PEACE BUTTON

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing enduring can be built on violence. Gandhi quote PEACE BUTTONPeace hath higher tests of manhood than battle ever knew. John Greenleaf Whittier quote PEACE BUTTON