And Jesus Wept

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Jesus Wept
At Lazarus’ death,
Though he knew
He’d resurrect,
Jesus wept,
As Lazarus slept
In a stone-cold crypt,
From which his sisters crept
On a moonlit night
While Jesus wept.

2/3/19

Image is from Jésus pleura by James Tissot

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The Rolling River

Bob Dylan and the ghost of Leonard Cohen
Sitting shivah on short stools
Yarmulke pinned to gray curly hair
Mourning Yossef’s son,
Who got in trouble with the law
Questioning authority
Challenging the establishment
Threatening the status quo.

Low murmured Hebrew and Yiddish,
Swaying like reeds on the sea,
Thoughts linger of sandle-less Socrates,
Served a hemlock cocktail
By the powerful men of Athens,
Condemned to die
For the high crime
Of corrupting the youth
By teaching them
To think for themselves.

The times are changing,
Time is nothing but change:
A rolling river that’s never
The same.

Leonard sits shivah
In the lotus position
Meditating mind breaths
And beneficent Buddha nature,
Serene smile thinking of
The high born privileged prince
Slowly discovering the three fold
Reality of the common world,
Informing the high born
Priests, warriors, and kings
That their stratified social system
Is a mind made illusion
Just like everything else they see.

Socratic Stoic Jews breaking bread
With Benedict Spinoza
Recalling the ship of Citium
Wrecked on the Grecian shore
Near Athens.
Loitering in Hellenic bookstores
Discovering the wise words of Socrates
That hemlock couldn’t kill,
Following the dogs to the porch,
Writing philosophical prescriptions
To alleviate the suffering
Of ill flowing lives.

After seven days
Bob and Lenny
Return the cushions to the chairs,
And uncover the bathroom mirror
As sunlight bursts through
A beat-up Venetian blind.

4/10-4/12/18

My 12th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Judgments

Gold lined pockets,
White hood in the closet.
Bible in one hand,
A noose in the other.
Knuckle-white grip on the book,
Veins popping, spittle flying,
“Jesus said you can’t judge me!”

But the Nazarene
Said no such thing.

People can judge others
So long as they’re willing
To be judged by others
By the same standards
By which they judge others.

A sin is a sin
Even if nobody names it.

And no amount of wealth
Can buy you a needle-eye big enough
To get your gold plated camel into heaven.

1/30/18

Looking for Truth

You can look in your books,
Old and new,
Of beginnings and births,
Journeys and exiles,
Looking for truth
In a burning bush,
Or hanging on a Roman tree.

Search the history of time
For big bangs and clouds of gas,
Using probability and fuzzy logic,
Rationality and intellect,
Dialectic and dialogue,
Searching for truth outside the cave
In the depth of a black hole;
In the cry of a baby universe.

You can look inside,
Examine the depths of your soul,
For compassion and humility,
Poetry and purpose,
Knowing the only thing
You can truly know,
Controlling the only thing
You can truly control,
Be present
In the only moment you have,
Looking for truth
Under an Indian fig tree,
With an Athenian gadfly;
Between the pages of an emperor’s journal.

You can look outside,
At starving children on the streets,
At parents slaving to survive,
Living in quiet desperation
At the pleasure of the oligarchs
In the castle on the hill,
500 yards from urine stained crack houses,
6 miles from Robert E. Lee’s hoouse
And the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Looking for truth
In the eyes of a stranger
Or the hand of a friend.

11/13/98-12/28/17

 

Johnny Cash

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A voice God would speak with from a burning bush.
A man not consumed by the ring of fire,
Hurt yet healed, wearing a black badge for the poor and beaten down,
Champion of the voiceless with the Beatitudes tattooed on his heart,
Like a Hebrew prophet filled with inspiration, visions and voices,
Waiting for the man to come around,
Carrying nothing
But the thought of You.

26 February 2005/16-17 December 2016