“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.”
~ Revelation 5:1

Nights unfold
Like the scrolls of Revelation
Dragons and Leviathan breathing inconvenience
Gehenna burning bright
As the pale horse gallops across America
Lead me not into temptation
Bring the whore to heel
Empire to ashes
As the Barstool Prophet orders another round
Truth to Power, “he sighs…” and sips his martini
What changed from Egypt to Babylon to America?
From bathtub gin to methamphetamines 
Sing me another song Abishag
A melody for humanity
Lyrics of carnal hermeneutics
“going all the way down”
Keeping my body warm in the night
We know Goliath died long ago
Yet, his shadow looms over us all
So, bring me to Jerusalem
We will find new wine to drink
And five smooth stones in a wadi

Sabbath In Art

Set foot into a season of rest
Embody a room once empty
Filled now with creation
Photographs and poetry
Humanity in space and time
Slowly walk
Slowly walk again
With all the searchers for meaning
Moving like light through the trees
Intentional tangible experience
Breathe in the encounter 
Let it linger in your imagination after you leave
The sabbath in art 


i went for walk yesterday
and saw a deserted street
while a child walked along a beach in the sun
bars and churches with lights out
jesus in the grave contaminated by death
will he ever wake up?
i went for a walk the other day
and saw the juxtaposition of commerce and life
one sacrificed while the other saved
blue eyes and black bodies dying in the poison rain
will love dance in the field of lilies
will we ever know what to do?
i will go for a walk tomorrow
and see what i saw yesterday and the other day
playgrounds closed to children’s laughter
the white noise of humanity quieted for a season
to love another like ourselves and be our sister’s keeper
embraces distanced by plague but not forgotten
will there be meaning in decency?

Bukowski – Days run away like horses over the hill

I put together this digital story centered around a portion of an interview Charles Bukowski did years ago. He talks about the value of rest, to simply sleep when you need to and not feel guilty or that you “should” be doing something. This digital story is a reflection on how I am feeling during this pandemic and the uncertainty and liminal spaces we find ourselves living in while pondering the ramifications of these times. I wrote a poem for the digital story with the word “apocalypse” in it. I do not mean the word as it is often used or understood in the pop culture of evangelicalism but rather with the sense of an “unveiling.” What is being unveiled before our eyes? What injustices and systemic evils? Times of difficulty throughout history have been an apocalypse of one kind or another for the simple reason of what those times and experiences unveiled. Take a look around and reflect on this unveiling.

humming the soundtrack for the apocalypse
eyes begin to see and ears to hear
a world full of stories 
(crying to be heard)
(begging to be seen)
laments of the voiceless
forgotten ones 
with backs bent to build a forsaken 
“American Dream”

Stay At Home: Day 8 – April 4, 2020

Duluth, MN April 4, 2020

“April is upon us, pitiless and young and harsh.”
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
“April is the cruellest month…
 I will show you fear in a handful of dust…
 After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience…”
~ T.S. Eliot, excerpts from The Wasteland

I went to Duluth yesterday to photograph “Stay at Home – Day 8” – last Saturday I photographed emptiness in black and white. This week the sun was out and so were people. I chose to mostly process the photos in color with a few exceptions. It seemed right for the day and my mood. There were more people around and outside than I had expected, and I am not sure what to think about that. People have to get out and feel the sunshine and the wind and move and yet there was an eeriness to humanity moving freely amongst a deadly virus. A few people had face masks on, and some had gloves at Target. Unfortunately, the mask I saw were worn improperly with noses exposed or very loosely fitting. The gloves worn into a store and then back into a vehicle do nothing to protect you. I witnessed two individuals in a car with masks and gloves on and thought of that image of a metaphor for this time of ignorance, lack of preparation and vision. We keep moving without knowing where we are going thinking we are safe. As Jürgen Moltmann writes, “It is in the foreign country that we first come to cherish home. It is only when we have been driven out of paradise that we know what paradise is. Every perception requires detachment and ‘alienation’. That is why all self-knowledge is always a little too late, or a little too soon. In the pressure of events we are blind to what these events are.”

Another aspect to this pandemic is the defining of “essential” workers. I believe some like medical personal, law enforcement, fire and EMS, scientists are essential but the claim that the many of the other industries are essential is more of a comment on the desire to keep capitalism alive and well. Most white-collar workers can work from the relative safety of their homes while that is not the case with the blue-collar work force or low-income workers. It is almost as if a calculation is being made to the percentage of people that can be sacrificed for others to have the life, they expect living in America? As the president said, “The cure can’t be worse than the disease.” As I have written already, I believe there will be a reckoning to come after this when people realize the cost of this pandemic is not in the percentages – either of the survivors or the dead. But, in the actual human lives lost – the family member, the friend, the colleague, the neighbor, the lover, the child. A human life gone because of ignorance and lack of vision. 

Here are some images from yesterday in Duluth, MN: 

The cost of this pandemic is not in the percentages – either of the survivors or the dead. But, in the actual human lives lost – the family member, the friend, the colleague, the neighbor, the lover, the child. A human life gone because of ignorance and lack of vision. 

“This is going to be imprinted on the personality of our nation for a very long time.”
~ Dr. Anthony Fauci


Corner Coffee, Minneapolis, MN

My colleague Maria Francesca French invited me to be part of an event she hosted called “God and Other Outsourced Things” – she asked me to participate by reading my poetry for the spoken word portion of the event. Here are the pieces I wrote and read along with some photos from the event.

Maria Francesca French
Abishag Eyes
The barstool prophet
Looks down the long dark road
At all the empty glasses
All the forgotten names
Listening to words not spoken
Feeling what is not given
Moses with his staff and broken speech
Elijah calling down fire and hiding in his cave
laughter ~ deserts ~ loneliness
friends of prophets
Noah plants a vineyard
Ruth uncovers her lovers’ feet
The scarlet cord of the whore dangles for us all
salvation out of Jericho
Jesus turns sewer water to Roman wine
While Magdalene finds comfort in the carpenters arms
pain drowns in the flood
blood waters the garden of anguish
emptiness fills with a tender touch
Broken beaten abandoned
Raise the cup
Drink deeply the healing tonic
Spill the wine
David write another psalm
To soothe aching souls
The barstool prophet buys another round
The hangover proves you're still alive
New songs for old hearts
Resurrected from cold tiled bathroom floors
To dance and leap
Rebellion against resentful gazes from windows on high
In Michal and her sisters’ eyes
All the stolen Judas kisses
In back alley dive bars
Can't turn around the broken promises
The barstool prophet turns to the girl on his left
at the Red Sea Tavern
David's old friend Abishag with burning eyes
He says baby, "my bones are getting colder each night - winter is coming soon"
Be my promised land
Take my hand
Be my muse
"One more drink,” she whispers
"For the fallen and misunderstood
In captivity tonight
Who write graffiti on wailing walls
And then...
I'll love you forever...
But forever hasn't happened yet..."
Christopher G. Fletcher
Love and Sex
I wanted to know love
And I found sex
I wanted to have sex
And I found emptiness
Now I am tired
Now I am weak
Now I want a friend
I don't know what I want
The acrobat without balance
The acrobat with vertigo
I dream and I am lost
On a sea
In the night
In a bottle bouncing
I am the message
But the paper is blank
Nowhere is out there
But it is somewhere I am looking for
Where do dreams come from
Where does time go
Be careful what you look for
Love becomes a lie
Sex a game
People pawns
In the hands of fools
Remiss and tangled in nets of our own making
Waking up alone
After a nightmare
Still tired
What is the answer
To the unknown question
Red Sea Tavern
Abishag and the Bar Stool Prophet
Sit drinking gin at the Red Sea Tavern
Sharing exploits of all the ones
Scattered across the horizon of the earth
Losers, vagrants, misfits, distressed, in debt and discontented
Seeds blown by winds of compassion
Falling on fertile soil
Searching for the lost penny
Abandoning the ninety-nine for the one
Seemingly crazy
At odds with Empires, Caesars and Institutions
Prophets speaking truth to power
Subverting the status quo
Chasing life not nostalgia
Transforming not worshipping dead men
Drinking in metaphors like fine spirits
Abundant exuberant experience
Breathing stories in liminal complex space
Offering cups of water to enemies
Walking another mile
Napping during storms
Then bringing calm
Eliminating spaces
Between the sacred and profane
Breaking rules and bread
Sharing wine while eating with outcasts
Overturning tables
Befriending whores and foreigners
Lepers and the forgotten minor characters
Touching the untouchable
Turning hate into love
As easily as water into wine
Resentment into forgiveness
Inviting the uninviting to wedding feasts
Waiting for prodigal sons
Washing feet of kings, the forsaken, the forgotten and the deplorable
Both despots and saints
The Remnant sprinkled like rain upon the earth
Watering the love parched, broken, beaten and wretched hordes
Tattooed Heart
Fear tattooed across his heart
Love chasing him
Through a forest of his dreams
During the night
She swam in his eyes
As he drowned in hers
Love curved around the bend
Out beyond his sight
Where there was no light
She wasn’t her
Who wounded him
Deep with a dark knife
Not fully healed
The scar ached
His calloused soul limped
His lover traced fingers over his body
Finding the tattooed pain
The way into his life with light
Her lips on his
From her lungs through her mouth
She breathed beauty into him
He…so afraid
Another betrayal
Would end his life
He loved deeply
They moved in and out of each other
Healing one another
“Give me everything,” he whispered
All the lost and broken pieces
So, we can stitch them back together
With love
Kairos Street
The wait for love is as long
As the search is endless
Out of the cauldron of loneliness
Wafts an aroma of hope
A happy accident on Kairos street
(a reflection or a shadow ~ through a window)
Stepping into nothingness
Off a ladders last rung
When she walks out the fog of exhaustion
(down an alley)
Catching you
Before you crack the ground
Reaching for love
A brush with fright
Touching of fingertips at midnight
When all the clocks have stopped
Running to the Edge
Running to the edge
of what we write and rewrite
screenplays in our minds
Doors closing behind us
While we jump through open windows
into holes
in bruised hearts
Blank spaces on dance cards
Looking for what we we already have
Varicose veins of misunderstanding
songs we already sang to
Miscarried hopes in broken silence
On insomniac nights
Screening moving pictures filled memories
On white walls of emotion
Running to the edge
Of the noble fictions
better than the bitter truths
Of where we were
And never been before
“We all have our broken pieces – emotionally, spiritually. In this life nobody gets out away unhurt. We are always trying to find somebody whose broken pieces fit with our broken pieces and something whole emerges.”
~ Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars (Movie)
The Price of Admission
The price of admission,
Is wild and is real.
The price of admission is love,
In accepting yourself,
In accepting the other.
It is not good to be alone,
This is the exquisite mystery of companionship,
To write a story of life together,
To be known fully and to be held through both,
The darkness and the light,
Becoming each other’s favorite hiding place.
The price of admission leaves space for sadness,
It is a madness filled passion.
So, remember:
Resentments bolt the heart closed,
Forgiveness opens the lock.
“Two hearts are better than one”
Two hearts beat stronger together.
In spite of:
“True love leaves no traces”
The price of admission is love,
To relationship
At the beginning of the evening Maria asked if I would create a poem in real time as the event was unfolding and then read it at the end of the event. This is what was created.
New Fashioneds
hope and story and parables
of a different life
an unknown future
of new love
past, present, future
ghost lovers
outsourced passions
without risk
with nothing to lose or gain
love in liminal space
looking and looking and looking
for the next open place 
to be part of something
yearning, searching, desiring
new radicals
native eruptions
evolutionary clusters
hermeneutical justice
beyond nostalgia
after yesterday
before tomorrow
love in a new country song
stylish love
style like Jesus
outsourcing is easy
style is hard
god needs a makeover
her mascara is running
crying for humanity
all the pain and loss
“what do you want me to be?”
she cries
“you have turned me into a chameleon of your fears”
what is a human?
what is a machine?
what is a god?
love rescue me
turn the tide
love come in from the storm
love rescue me