A poem I wrote years and years ago that I am reminded of today. I like to think something really new and beautiful awakened after I wrote it. I don’t really go to church or am A practicing Christian” any longer, but I do find something wonderful about a Sunday.
Sunday Mornings are Never Really Sacred
Sunday mornings are
never really sacred.
You walk to church,
like your feet are carrying you there.
You can’t say why.
It just feels like something you’re supposed to do.
Minds eye takes me home
Pennsylvanian vistas of the
Hilltop crest past the Christmas tree farm,
Barn door tucked into valley folds of
sunlight soaked evergreen pond.
Tampered by the promise of
Lumped on fracking wells
To end this recession.
In the city you arrive at the church
and climb to the balcony.
No familiar faces greet you. The sounds of a passionate piano do not guide the way.
No tapestry of a labyrinth, or a Pentecostal dove.
No smell of flowers or wax dripping off of candles.
No need to brush legs with your neighbor while you step into the pew.
No prayers of concern, no reverend who raises his hands –
Let us stand and greet each other.
Just that little black book, where you write your name and check whether you are a member or not.
And the hymnal too. It’s the same shade of blue.
Without white walls to use as a pallet for the colors seeping out of organ pipes,
your gaze tracks the leaden frame of a stained glass window,
dodging eye contact with a painting of Christ.
Your mind drifts during the sermon,
And when the collection plate comes around you throw a dollar in,
hoping it will atone for the sin of forgetting to tip the cabbie last night.
These avoidances keep you vulnerable,
until the end of the service, when the man in front of you with a startling stare turns around and invites you downstairs for coffee.
Tells you about what a great church this is and boasts of former reverend with Princeton accolades who boosted membership with his own bare hands.
Walking back to your apartment under a grey sheet of sky
you call your father and remember that today after church
you won’t be watching red cardinals and clumsy squirrels
dancing in the big pine tree
outside your long glass window
Rather hum to yourself
Be Thou my Vision
While washing the dishes
I want the child to grow into the way he wants to grow into
Not what I expected
Because I know the child does not belong to me
He just came to this world through me
To complete his own dreams and missions
The way he made her feel sober
When she was drunk
The way he was too shy
To look into her eyes
They way they performed something
Closer to making love than fucking
The way he’d sometimes tell her –
The way she’d always whisper back –
“No, we are incredible”
The way she sent shivers down his spine
Before he turned over modestly
To leave her alone on her side of the mattress
A habit, he said, he’d learned from his fiancé
Before she returned the ring
They way his cat would hide under the bed
Flinch at her touch when he left the room
Until she coaxed her to cuddle
Pull a moonbeam from sliced eyes
They way he said
“She’s quite found of you,”
From halfway across the room
Dressed in a robe
With one foot out he door
She had no idea
If he thought of her as much as
She thought of him
After she’d forgotten what it felt like
To be revived
So as you search for healing and completion
I wonder to myself –
Did you buy the car to drive to the mountains?
Or the plane ticket to fly to the sea?
You are a hungry bear hunting, searching, and seeking
Rather than taking the medicine that rests deep inside of me
After you drop me off at my front door
The landlord’s cat sneaks up into my room
“He wants up,” I’ll laugh.
“No,” he’ll sigh.
“He never knows what he wants
To go up or down
Or to even go at all.”
Could it be possible?
Becoming awake together
Through the night
To first be bound
In order to know liberation
To first be found
In order to be lost
When I remind you
All shadows need light
When you ask me
How it could be done
We hear suddenly
Two cats screaming
Out the window we look
On a patch of grass
A black cat and a white cat
Staring at each other
Waiting to see who will back down
When you remind me
Animals never hold on to the fight
When you asked
If you could touch my arm
For your own pleasure
I knew inside
It would not matter
Because I do not feel
That we are separate
When I knew inside
It could mean that
People like us are destined to
Heal the immune system of the whole
When the heavy sweetness
From the sub-elements
Underneath your pillow
You sent me green
And I saw it in blue
Released from some
Taught string on my heart
Do you know?
My soul begs you to
Tell me to have
Some wonderful dreams