Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sanctuary in the Crosswalk

A monastic heart in city shoes
daily paddles the upstream current
of concrete sidewalks, asphalt streets and noise.
He navigates the eddies of the common folk,
rougher waters of the streetsters
and froth-boiled rapids of the good, clean churchies;
Justin loves them all.
With an infectious, well worn smile
sprung from a grinning heart,
he pushes a java which wakens the soul,
waters dry hearts,
makes you a friend;
though something rattles beneath his skin,
a discontent when viewing pain,
enduring grace, and even, peace;
it makes him itch.
Unafraid to birth a ritual,
bury a habit,
follow a whisper
he simply shuffles through each minute,
perhaps to trade it for an hour
or whatever time it takes to pull someone,
be tugged himself up the rickety-wobble steps of mercy;
this daily climb across Christ's bones,
quietly along the dirty stairs
to heaven.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Entertaining Elegance

Incognizant of shame,
I watched as they carried off
his sopping scarlet, loose-wrapped body
down the empty trail,
away to where they planned to dress
and store its heavy coldness;
then cautiously abandon Him who
had left them in their brittle tears,
swollen, socket-eyed incredulity
as He bled out the breath within their lungs.
Incognizant of shame,
I starkly stood as statue as
the curious, the strangers,and sadistic voyeurs who
knew none of these three outlaws on whom
justice dined that day,
this straggling crowd of gawkers who
strolled back to the town to think
about the evening meal.
Incognizant of shame,
I stared as soldiers, guards, officials
plied their trade, followed duty's protocol
to gather tools, clear the hill,
sign off for unmarked burials
of two more thugs in Potter's Field,
trying hard to let routine
replace their thoughts of blackened sun,
shaking earth and sweaty panic
of the recent hour.
Incognizant of shame,
I slowly walked into, against and through
the downward flow of last departing souls;
I, drawn toward the center one
of those now empty, sprawled,
abandoned and uprooted timber crossbeams
left as red-slick, stinking discard in the dirt
for nighttime creatures to discover,
lick the scent before it dried,
competing with a motley crowd of
winged and furry silhouettes
who would tonight come hunched and crawling
there beneath a hollow moon.
Incognizant of shame,

my knees collapsed in drying mud
of body fluids, waste and gall,
with blurry eyes I stared into the residue
of what had happened there;
strained to sort the magic from the sacred,
sift the truth from dogma,
find God's face in all of this
and reaching out
I gripped that crude, misshapened,
blood-oiled peg of iron
and wailed.

Copyright (c) 2009 Gary Brown
Donut Church Cafe

The Donut Church Cafe absorbs its patrons,
infuses them with a shopping center faithiness
in God and coffee and convenience.
The corner booth corrals its transient flocks
who squeeze in past each other's thoughts
and the disheveled newsprint,
this morning's headlined scriptures;
they hope to talk enough to change the world,
note their blogs, call it a day.
The walkers
pace across the storefront's windows,
watch the weather for no reason,
panhandle schemes for spare change truth
from passing strangers,
at least enough to buy a burger,
as if they would really eat it.
And from the street scan parking lot
for clues of who may be inside,
cast our imagined dice at those
we presume make their home
among this riff-raff clergy who
sell each other designer brands
of their recycled dogmas
salvaged from the discard bins
of actual, thinking souls.
My head wags at wasted lives
as these clueless activists,
blind archeologists without credentials
who dig inside their gourmet brews
for insight;
I watch them with chagrin
and hate myself.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown
Elvis Iscariot


Whoda thunk?
The audit would reveal that sniveling headcase:
wacking out, muttering during dinner,
laughing inappropriately during poignant parables;
while pickpocketing the Messiah...
fashioned himself
some rock star mafioso.
Yes, this barney fife of Isreal,
who made book, played the lottery, finally won,
then, blew it all,
on hemp.

Copyright (c) 2005 Gary Brown
Catharsis on a Park Bench in the Dessert

The breakthrough came
when God sat down,
looked me in the eye
and said,
"I believe you.".

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown
Black Friday on the Rocket Farm

Hank studied on the clearly etched hieroglyph
of three crooked, upright crosses
carved into the cabin's well-worn granite cornerstone.
Years of his reflective fingers touching, rubbing it
had pushed stained patinas of surrendered sweat,
sometimes blood, into its skin.
Just now, it reflects this evening's scarlet setting sun,
unmoving purple shadow of himself, seated in the dust;
his memories chiseling across this touchstone's tattooed face.
Today he fears he's lost the dream.
Unsure whether to respect anything;
the daily tick, earthly life, a hoped for holy "waking up",
simple laughter, morning after screams...
he could only drag a booted heel into the dirt
to gouge a sacred, scribbled note of nothing
to God.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown
An Unremarkable Crime

Yesterday I did it;

sold the hat I swiped from Jesus,
I took it and I sold it right on eBay.
Quicker than I care to say,
I stole and I sold it.
I stole... I think I stole it.
I grabbed it when I somehow thought
He would not see.
Not wondering why the Son of God
would need a hat, want a hat, have a hat,
I, I... simply took it.
I sold it there on eBay.
I watched the bidding without thinking
about selling anything at all;
I watched it, unattached;
spectator to this feeding frenzy,
gobbling up God's stuff.
As one who spent the earth to buy a drink,
traded truth without a license,
yesterday I stole this hat and sold it,
at an auction.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown
An Evening at the Retirement Home for Superheroes

As the lightening emerged from his fingertip,
he forgot he was going blind
and in mere seconds,
had destroyedhis kitchenette.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

...no longer in service

Half of a brick bouce-rattled in
a rusted, red wagon's bed,
pulled by a small, serious, brown haired, blue eyed,
scruffy panted traveling child
who looked me straight in the eye and said,
"You lose your blood or lose your air...
and you die, mister."
Anticipating hesitation to respond,
he watched me as he tugged away his rolling treasure
down the sidewalk,
at intervals, glancing back
until he turned the corner, rumbled out of sight.
And so it is as simple as that,
when we silently, subtly shun relationships,
fail to respond, avoid conversation and
the sight of other's pain or joy;
find peace in our loneliness
and too much comfort in our isolation.
For in so doing, tourniquets twist around our hearts
and slowly numbed to other's voices,
we stifle cries from our own throats,
whispery pleas for rescue
from a darkness of our choosing because,
"You lose your blood or lose your air...
and you die, mister."

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown

Thursday, September 11, 2008

(This VideoPoem can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HeJvPG9jp4 )

Alex lost himself down in the basement,
beneath the yellow-fuzzy glow of dusty bulbs,
his workbench piled with crumpled boxes,
opened boxes, labeled boxes
of pieces of broken radios.
Fascination, a wrinkled curiosity
for years infected his imaginings
about the source of their sounds, invisible signals,
and its reception within these plastic shells,
psychedelic wires,
the fabricated flesh of rectangular, manufactured bodies.
Secretly, perhaps without conscious thought,
secretly, he also hoped to excavate, examine,
even understand the cryptic mystery,
the coded strategy behind God's voice;
its transmission
to the antennaed ears and hearts of man.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown

Monday, September 1, 2008

Two Eyes Waiting

That halfangry, allwanting, ballcapped face,
bench seated at the busless stop;
and his homeless home of dirty duffle
and black plastic bags
secured his momentary residence
there beneath the downtown shade
of a concrete encircled oak.
Turning to look again,
only the silhouette of his vacancy remained.
Somehow, between two adjoining nows,
somehow, baggage burdened, loaded, ladened,
gracefully he had slipped from view,
had vaporlike displaced himself
to visit where such angels, found,
are entertained by unawares.

Copyright (c) 2006 Gary Brown

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Celloistic Gospel

The cello was opened.
As scalpel, it tooled into,
gently peeled the membrane of catharsis
and our air was pulled inside its cavernous display.
The cello was opened.
Its glorious cascades bubbled across
unexpectant ears and flawed expectations,
dowsed fires, irrigated imaginations,
ignited passion.
The cello was opened.
Repeating itself without repetition,
it medicated the inattentive injury,
circuitously navigated distraction
and redeemed histories of transient journeymen.
The cello was opened and without arrogance,
dispensed remedy to the parched assembly,
endless lines of saddened eyes,
wrinkled veterans with baby fingers
and fledgling savior apprentices.
I believe Jesus plays the cello.

Inspired by a July 15, 2007 performance by Yuri Anshelevich

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Consummation of Tango and Redemption

descending through that silent hole of stillest night,
God entangled him in grace
and considerately initiated a choreography of passion.

Resigning his affiliation,
Stefan set fire to his inventory,
flung baptismal waters at the flame
and celebrated with a festive, inspirational requiem.

No one monitors the bodycount littering the dance floor;
such shells of shed acquaintances,
propensities and associated demonettes
provide incense within the fragrant pyres of devotion.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Jesus Tricks

It echoes in the looks of those from sidewalk stands,
occupational cubicles, cushioned seats of movie houses,
and even those who sit on Sunday mornings singing:
"Show us the Jesus trick."

Tiny crosses by the handfuls tossed to waiting crowds,
a web site etched upon each one solicits Visa dollars,
offers to sell secret passports
to The Kingdom.

As well, even the less-than-charlatans
in hopes to earn their collars entertain that challenge,
dance for strangers and parishioners;
unaware they've spilt their Bibles.

Whether a most sincere plea or just bidding on Barabas,
it does disclose an innocent malnourishment
of those who secretly do suspect
they may need what they do not want.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Horrific Glory, Spare Us Not

I sometimes wish... God would just dispatch his justice,
stop the noise, stack up all the bodies, sort out souls.
If He must squeeze time and earth through sieve,
sifting scent of Lucifer from spent eternal dust...
why not now?
Prolonging wound and injury suffered by the human flaw,
man's ignorance prompts us speak aloud.
Graced not to find the questions which
are proper known and asked,
I rant, without the shame which I should own.
If God would but shut me up
and every human tongue which wags;
rip flesh from well worn world by spirit law;
as cord wood, pile humanity, then
weigh the lot in balance hung on Armageddon's porch,
before the throne.
I do not know nor ever will why He tarries midst the filth
we dine and serve each other, feigning love.
No better than another one
whom is, has passed or yet to come,
I simply yearn for end of grace abused.
But God, in his sagacious wit,
extends his hand to spill himself
on angry infants shouting at His ear.

Copyright (c) 2004 Gary Brown
God’s Attorney

In cafes, Kelly pays his bill before he eats
just in case the rapture snags him up away
and midst the riotous confusion,
someone finds his unpaid check and blames it all on God.
And so our over-thinking tilt toward analysis,
diagramming truth
to fit on titled books and business cards
makes evidence against us,
bears witness to our well-intentioned
nature to confound, confuse what is very simple.
Opting to develop an astute defense for God
with those who argue, do not get it,
who cannot without Kelly's help enjoy the secret know,
his life is spent on practicing, rehearsing lines
and missing every doorbell ring,
chance to dance or simply love without a net.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Of Mindfulness and the Disarming Prospect of Awareness

Being quite convinced he could not hide from God,
gave rise to intrigue:
the prospect of imagination;
capitulation to a strange devotion
which strips religion's threads,
might terrorize the gurus of ecclesia.
Considerations grew, became an immersion,
a suffocation which tugs the soul
out, through the heart
and as delightful baggage
drags the mind along to play the straight man.
Vincent accidentally broke the learning curve,
lost himself free-falling through the Kingdom,
landed in the playground of The Trinity
where he forgot his learned theology
and vague yet adamant convictions.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown

Jack has a gun.
He preaches with it in his pocket;
keeps it loaded, unexploded;
Jack, and his gun.
It's the kind of thing he always does,
just after a war or reading of one, in case of one;
he's sentimental like that.
Being humored by scenarios he only imagines,
keeps him prepared in a healthy way, because...
Jack, has a gun.
I remember when everyone,
shocked at some news, recoiled
and repeated their worries and fears to each other;
Jack, only listened and sipped his ice tea
and rocked in his chair on the porch;
and oh, did I mention,
Jack, has a gun.
I thought it weren't his and perhaps, it wasn't,
and perhaps there was more to its story,
but Jack was determined to keep all its secrets
bottled inside like the bullets which hid
in the gun which he kept in his pocket.
I know when he spoke of it no one else listened;
he thought I just knew what he thought he had told me.
Once, after thinking I'd heard it fall out,
when once he fell soundly asleep in his chair
and I thought that I heard it, fall out... on the floor,
I thought that I'd see it;
I saw it was actually an oddly shaped rock;
smooth-like, all over, almost a bit shiny,
and I saw that apparently,
it wasn't still loaded.
I wondered a lot about that after that
but never once questioned the fact that I knew
the truth of the matter
was: Jack... has a gun.
He preaches with it in his pocket.
He's given clues on how to use it,
as now I know, he often does.

Copyright (c) 2005 Gary Brown

Monday, August 11, 2008


Even infants tread and splash within
the hallowed shallows;
no thoughts, preoccupation with the deeper things;
all as it should be for
children of the Kingdom.
But rather we as Henry Bemis,
wake and rub our blurried eyes
to stare without absorption across all the books,
knowledge we desire to decorate ourselves
and mash the landscape.
From the passing Greyhound's window,
Jesus watched before his dozing off
to squeal of babe,
the poor man's breath,
fears within the silent teen seated in back,
and the subtly numbing,
muffled humming,
of the tires.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown