psalm 84: dreams of homecoming

49671316
through lit windows i see them.
i can even experience
however vicariously,
their soft contentment as they move
back and forth
through the glowing warmth of their homes.

like sparrows burrowing their nests
they seem to find refuge in you
no matter how long the day or
dark the night.

turning my eyes back to the road
i look down into the valley
and realize for the first
that an early spring rain
has covered it with blessing.

i spend the night in an open field.
a canopy of stars spreads
over my head and
dreams of homecoming wash
through my soul.
in the morning i rise
and continue on with nothing
but my own yearning to guide my steps

soon enough i will come to know:
i am better off just one day
in this timeless moment
than an eternity anywhere else.

it is on this very threshold of return
that i have come home.


psalm 83: fight or flight

bilde

will you help me
do away with my foes?
or more to the point,
can you help me see how
how my need for enemies
is starting to eat away
at my soul?

oh, how i envy your cool
and aloof demeanor,
the way you look on
with such detachment
even amusement
while we growl and rage
at shadows above and below.

what must your think of us,
forever preparing for
fight or flight even as
the world collapses around us, even as
all we’ve ever known or loved
may soon be swept away?

i realize it’s too much
to ask of you to take away
my fears completely –
but i’m thinking maybe
you might just show me
how to live as you do:

not with the quiet that comes
after the fire has raged
and there are no more
adversaries left to destroy,

but rather the calm
that comes from the knowledge
that i don’t need
to create enemies
to finally live in peace.


psalm 82: the man in the cubicle

while the refugee collects
scrap metal and copper wire,
the man in the cubicle counts down the seconds
then watches the camp disappear
in a tiny puff of black and white dust.

that’s all you are, you know, just
a bureaucrat in a cubicle
moving your joystick to the right and left
looking down at the worlds
you create and destroy.

how long will you stagger
in this state of willful darkness,
blindly defending the indefensible and
rationalizing away the unthinkable?

how long will the judge of all the earth
behave so unjustly?

now he spits on the ground,
looks up and squints into the sun
and smiling for a camera he cannot see
and says,

those who dwell on high
will die like mere mortals,
they will sputter and fall like
every other ruler before them.

though this injustice is too much for me
to bear, i will not break.
even as your hellfire missiles rain down
i patiently await the final verdict.


psalm 81: listen to the music

musical-wall-art-05

when will you realize
you have nothing to fear
from the foreign gods
that dwell among you?
when will you open wide and
let those strange sweet voices
wash away the dread
that has been hardening inside your heart
for far too long?

maybe your problem is that
you like the sound of my voice,
a bit too much,
fixating on my every word
so that you only hear
one melody line in this vast and
radiant chorus.

why not let go
of your phobic mind
and listen to the music,
truly listen,
for the very first time?

don’t be afraid,
once you hear this harmony
you’ll see how it soars
higher than any song
I could possibly sing
on my own.


psalm 80: the strangled vine

dead-plants-524ba54043dd4
how long will
this people be wrathful,
this nation that feasts
on the tears of its own trauma
so that it might strike out
again and again
against enemies real and imagined?

this nation repeatedly plucked
from its vine until
it cleared and filled the land,
planting its weapons deep
building higher and higher walls,
spreading dread like an iron dome,
hermetically sealed from
all it ever was
or ever dreamed of being?

can you look beyond
this airtight prison of your own making,
beyond your illusion of shelter,
are you even able to see
the carnage your own fear
has unleashed?

look even further
and you will see
that once glorious vine
now withered and strangling
in the dust,
yet patiently waiting
as the uprooted inevitably do,
to be returned to
its source.


psalm 79: pour out your love

IMG_4753copylr
can you pour out your love
upon the ones you do not know,
the ones who mutter their strange
and fearful prayers, who
refuse to call upon god
by your comfortable, familiar names?

can you tear open your robe and
let your compassion bleed out,
swaddling and comforting
those you have been taught to fear
with an indignation that burns
like a devouring fire?

are you ready to mourn
the dead of another family
whose blood is your blood,
who looks like a stranger
but is in truth,
your own flesh and kin?

throw open the doors,
and if the holy temple is to be defiled
let it be defiled
with unconditional love and grace,
profaned with the unbearably gorgeous
symphony of kaddishes
known and unknown.


psalm 78: the jealous kind

6355496469_9925dbc8ac_z

i’ll tell you what i know
but i must warn you up front
it’s not exactly suitable
for children.

i’ve met this one you call god, the
seductive voice in the wilderness
that blows your mind with wonders,
feeding your every craving
with the promise of
glorious redemption.

it’s all fine of course until
your inevitable misstep, you know i’m
a merciful god but do you realize just
how many times i’ve forgiven
your iniquity, how often i’ve
restrained my wrath, how close
i’ve come to unleashing this
pent-up fury upon you?

oh, i know this voice all too well,
the one that whispers i’m so sorry
but you knew i was the jealous kind
when you signed on the line
it’s ok now don’t cry, yes
you’ve taken your punishment
so now i’m taking you back
my one and only
love.


psalm 77: leaky pipes

cobblestone-puddle
i know all about the deeds
they ascribe to you:
the way you split open the void
and drove chaos back into
deep darkness,
how you split the heavens wide open
to make room for the light.

and i’ve heard the stories:
how you convulsed the raging
waters, how you opened up the
narrowest of places, how you
uncovered a path
through which we might
be reborn anew.

i think of it all tonight
as i lie awake listening to
the incessant drip,
drip of the leaky pipes
and when i close my eyes
i see the waters
slowly rising
once more.

as i dream of chaos
spreading through the streets,
i can only pray
that when i wake,
the wind will have
already begun to
stir the waters
ever
so
gently.


psalm 76: your dark and vengeful ways

ruins movies architecture destruction the pianist world war ii warsaw warsow cities_www.wallpapernono.com_20

did you know there are
those who simply live to tell
and retell of your pitiless anger,
did you ever stop to realize
just how many people sing gloriously
of your dark and vengeful ways?

how exactly do you want
to be remembered?
do you really want to be known as
the one who gleefully
vanquishes the enemy,
who lays nations to waste and
all but numbs the earth
with fear?

or would you rather i sing praises
to the moment i emerged blinking
in the light,
awestruck by the boundless power
that breathes right through me
then drifts impossibly on
into the hush of a
starless night?


psalm 75: well worn hymns

DSC_0005
i know you are near
but too often
i feel your presence as
a kind of sad capriciousness,
listening to us sing
our well-worn hymns
as you dangle the
sweet dream of justice
before us.

then again, perhaps i’m
only projecting my
hopes and fears onto you –
that behind this
terrifyingly random facade
there lies a world founded
on pillars of equity that
will never be shaken,
try though we might.

so if i send my songs of praise
to a place beyond even you
i’m sure you’ll understand.
and when my voice gives out
i won’t falter –
i’ll simply close my eyes,
raise my cup,
and revive myself with the
sweet taste of liberation
without end.