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