“If a jar of wine is left in place a long time, the wine in it becomes clear, settled and fragrant.”

– Evagrius Ponticus

For a long time now:
No words.
Not the color or the
Warmth of them
Even, what we would say
In them swirls fragrantly,
Fills them up 

And learning:
Not the silence
We run from, so much
As the bitterness it contains

Too: That not until you’ve
Harvested its jagged fruit from
The impossible rock, pressed
Its singular flavor from
The faceless, unyielding sky, and
Set it to age all winter long
In the stillness beneath
The earth,
Do you realize: Black,
Not the absence of color,
But a refulgence thereof


One Morning after Rainfall in July

Little things that touch me now:

The mesquite at the head of the yard,
Gathering the whole of it into its bosom
So, like a mother

The garden post protruding, lazy-eyed,
From the fencing it was
Made to support, saying,

            “This is who I am,” and
            “Now love me for it”

And the sparrows at my feet (little busybodies)
How they work the earth,
Singing like harvesters at field

And lastly: that solitary dove atop the phone wire —
I think she must know me, judging
By the way she gazes at me now…

Would that this quiet, cool morning,
Damp with last night’s showers,
Offer some measure of solace for all

Whom life would seem to have abandoned,
Some respite for hearts haggard
With hardship and the strain of living

Veil of the Temple Torn in Two


New seed, a new

Sown in the emptiness of every night
Spent alone,
Past and future;

Culled and cultivated out of the abysses in me;

And then finally brought forth to bloom
By the tender hands
Of the One who loves me…

Oh, where are you now old man? Where have you gone?


Like the blowing of dry leaves in autumn;
Like the obsolescent crumbling of pagan marble
In twilight halls of forget…



The Babels we erect in our hearts
Crumble into shadow,
rise again, and crumble

And the way you thought was the way:
Vanishing now into the void 
of all your failures

And the blood in you:
Draining out into the night
widening between you and everything

And, by some miracle, you are found:

God – Happens

Comes singular and soft,
like a solitary dove, soaring
over the black wreckage of your heart,
comes and nests in the one
still-standing steeple of your selfhood

And out of this…what?

…can it even be named?

Perhaps the whole of life then:
But to witness this great
work of the Creator in you,
undertaken at night,
accomplished in secrete,
and sealed in silence;
to feel His hands
kneading you, slowly,
painfully, into the heart of everything,
plunging you in and out of hopelessness,

seasoning you

Deo Gratias – A Prayer


Just as a stretch of brume
Will with heaven suddenly
Part –
Will, wayward,
From its source in cloudwork host,
And begin to wend its way
Through barren mountain passes,
The rent and the rift of them as it
Courses, unveiling in its wake, at long last,
A beatitude of color,
Joyous, brimful,

Newborn, where before
Loveliness held no dominion,
Where before the scabrous basalt
Twisted with rage
Scabrous, twisted
And cruel,
Each one angry at life
And at every other,

Angry at the
Loutish, slogging Sun
That doesn’t care,
And never will,
And at the hoarse wind
That whips through them
Ceaselessly, howling…

Their primal,
Toungeless, cry
– for what? –
Become a soundless resounding
Through each cavernous
Steep, swallowed up
Once and for all
By the listless
In which no star would seem to burn
For hope’s nightwatch…

– Yes, just so, Lord,
Just so did you pass
Through all of man’s inexplicable
Suffering, only to leave man himself
– Inexplicably, shall I say miraculously? –
In bloom.


Coming to Terms with It

Perusing through old photographs:

Of this one as a child

Little frozen memories
Mother has guarded all
These years, collected
Into lean, cardboard-covered folios
Against the ineluctable
Moldering of time.

Flipping through the leaves
Of this life
Traversing its arch
In seasons: An infant,
Face crunched and rudy,
Swaddled in his mother’s arms, here;
There, a pudgy boy unwrapping
His birthday gifts
Among distracted friends;
Then the eldest of three siblings
Upon a sky-blue colored sofa,
Five years older than the rest,
And already beginning
To ask in his heart

The looming question,
The only question,


Soon he’s about eleven,
Wearing glasses,
And awkward in his adolescence,
Wishing he were
Somewhere else,
Anywhere else,
Than “here.”

Studying that face, as if it
Were somehow other than my own:
A growing presentiment, a
Mounting sadness,
Gathering like storm clouds.
Like black pools
Upon the ruinous flame he
Doesn’t yet see, but which draws
Near irrevocably,
And will hound him
All his life –
Smoke him out of foxholes
Of contentment, and chase
And chase him
Through the long night…

Push him so far into hopelessness
That he can no longer run