Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Grand Kabuki Pilots Played the Scarlet Symphony

When Jesus refused blindfold and a cigarette,
took his stance before the nailgun firing squad,
looked them in the eye and said, "I dare you.",
Lucifer was the loudest watcher in the room
to leap up, screaming, "No!".
Too late, right then Old Beelzebub
cringed at having got his Christmas wish,
discovering Christ, a Holy trojan horse,
held fatal dose of antitoxin,
a genetic chocolate soup strained from
celestial grease of red molasses
siphoned through the vein of God, Himself.

Stretched out on His wooden crashcart,

staring up into a For Sale sign
hung on Heaven's barbed wire fence,
the Son of God pulled His own plug,
flushed his soul into the sewer,
lost His license to eternity in the deal.
Punching out His otherworldly Samson eyes
so as not to see Himself hired out for rent
as Hade's jester
should His Father opt to never put up bail.
He fell into the deep dark skies of a unique aloneness,
a terrifying nothingness of nothing.

Tortured victim of His love and wretched faith,

Jesus, lost without a name tag,
bodiless in the tumble spin of deaf infinity
felt lightning strike;
electrified, he snapped to life,
a rubberband of light ensnared Him,
jerked all Hell from all around Him,
instantly retrieved the Lamb from
frozen ash inside the grit of Satan's hoof.

The rest becomes the gloried chronicle of victory,

a stunning script exploding, boldly writ
engraved across the ceiling of all nameless universes;
details of a deadly Love
which slayed the King of Kings by His own will,
required His bloody sacrificial ransom,
split Divinity asunder risking Kingdom for His children
then, ambushed the evil grin of death,
reversed that negative reality and birthed
a ravaging Holy firestorm
of undeserved redemption.

Copyright (c) 2009 Gary Brown
The Faulty Ruse

If He had cried, "Wolf!",
He would have dumped the entire
Messiah franchise;
then, who could be believed?

Copyright (c) 2005 Gary Brown

The call went out; a streaming rush of
mouth to mouth elaboration sounding His arrival.
He is here!
Those who did not understand Him,
who adored His reputation,
who dreamt for years of their own
prophesied emancipation,
these jubilant and screaming folk
grabbed neighbors, kin and
flung themselves into His path.
Yes, all of these who at week's end
would each do their important part to kill him,
now fell upon each other,
squeezing in their shouting selves
to welcome home this Liberator
who upon an all too modest beast,
crept along a dusty twisting road into Jerusalem.
Mistaken for a grand parade of gleeful ceremony,
He in fact, lay in state, even then,
as He displayed His corpse to those who
wrapped this colt and paved His path
with their own clothes;
and together they rehearsed the march
which soon would snake its lonely way
into the cemetery.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown
When Mary Fed Judas

When Mary fed Judas the evening meal,
cooked bread for that deputy,
spy, who would engineer
deed and death of her first son...

When Mary fed Judas, carried their water,
conversed with him, her son's close friend,
a two-faced snot who'd pawn for cheap
that one she bore from God's own heart...

When Mary fed Judas and counted him
one in heart and soul
with those who left their lives behind,
perhaps to die for love of Him, her child from God...

When Mary fed Judas with the same hands
which held the face of Whom she loved with all her life,
did she think, suspect they harbored, nurtured
one who laid and plotted late, to sell her son for spite?

Copyright (c) 2005 Gary Brown

Did Jesus smile to himself

as he washed the feet of Judas?
Did Judas?
Cozying up next to Jesus during dinner,
did Judas hope to win His glance, some extra credit
or perhaps even make Him laugh?
As Jesus began to understand
the envy, the anger, the future of his friend,
did He invest a little more in Judas stock?
Back at the table, two arms reach
with roughened fingers gripping bread
and bound for the same dipping bowl, knuckles bump;
Jesus counts the jury's votes
but not to be upstaged, Judas steals the exit scene.
In a few hours each was found
with advertisements hung upon them:
One said, "Jesus, King of Jews",
the other read, "Will work for glory".

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
Slow Ceremony of Breaking Bread

As the mutilated Christ,
maimed survivor of the bloodhall's gauntlet
staggered, pulled his deathbeam up the dust-choked trail,
that massive timber deeply reeking
of the countless slain before him
with its thick and stinking layers of
their assorted bloods and skins,
as its splintery filthiness gouged grooves into the exposed bone
He willingly commingle-mixed his red with theirs,
His innocence joined with all those guilty deaths;
and thus the hoarse and rasp of this profanity
was further ground into his heart.
The routineness of such sentences of death had dulled our world,
becoming entertainment though this day, unknown to them
this live theater of tragedy played on an astral plain;
it stunned angelic hosts as Heaven gasped and fell,
spellbound not so much by horror at such fatal torture,
the criminal injustice or collective, toxic agonies
but to be caught blind-sided as
witness to the awkward birth
of devastating love.

Copyright (c) 2009 Gary Brown

For Simon, all thoughts of a fairly good day
quickly disappeared.
From plaza's edge, excited shouts pulled him along
into an uphill human flow
of stony paths and shoving shoulders
straining for a view, a cheer,
or what for some produced a tear.
The messy sludge of sweaty cretins,
the dutiful squad of armed employees
and scattered threads of compassioned panickers
poured unnaturally upwards,
and within it, Simon somehow found himself
stuck to its adhesion to the convict.
Then his growing, tranced fixation with this
curious phenomena
was broken by the vulgar snap
of soldier's bark at him,
demanding that he "step out".
Pushed toward the fallen one,
he beheld a sorrowful excuse for
what once housed a human being;
pushed toward this saturated
trunk of red-slicked lumber flat upon its victim.
Ordered loud to lift and drag the
rough and slimy crossbeam,
he tugged it for the criminal
who through tightly slitted, soppy eyes,
simply turned, to look at him.
Simon later could not say how long it took to climb
the deafening and horrific trek
from there to Golgotha,
for he was hung in time with this
crippled, dragging man as they
sloughed on and on and on.
Til finally, the thudded crumpling of
these men and timbers fell into the aged, rancid,
bloodied mud,
mud which had repeatedly, tirelessly,
passionlessly tasted justice;
Simon, on his knees with him,
again looked over at this one.
He could not mask his puzzlement when finding there,
within those tortured sockets
a seasoned, momentary stare
which burdened him with more than simply gratitude;
rather, imparted still,
an unencumbered gentleness displayed without regret,
a peaceful weave of innocence and silent heroism,
or so it seemed to him.
While future years left Simon with a blur of some details,
he will not forget that look, that of this dying alien man
who thanked him with his eyes,
and who alone,
sent terror through the town that afternoon
when there, before he breathed his last
as dark was just to fall,
whispered words which scorched the heavens
as a Holy fire.
Horror's blackness killed the sun;
in that darkness, screaming shrieks
caught men without their minds
as violent and wobbled grounds
ruptured buildings with a crash,
hurled humans to their venal faces.
Then, as he could find each step,
Simon ran a staggered flight away, and more away
until all that he would see
were those still piercing, dying eyes.
Today, Simon becomes quiet
when he talks about this thing
and slowly fingers on his knee
a fading crooked scar made when he, too,
had stumbled on that rocky craggled road.
Then, he will go on to share the fullness of the story,
where he found the hope he has
and all that happened since;
careful to remind how this was all begun;
one day when he was not looking,
God showed up and found him simply
standing in the crowd.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
The Price of Fish

The price of fish, way too steep for richy folk,
check-off charlies and scammers with the wavy eye;
they take a number then pretend they haven't.

The price of fish is weighed in coins of sticky blood,
a willing blend of oil and thorn,
a seamless grace reduced to big top silliness and laughs.

The price of fish, a painful toll,
paid in currency stained by love while somewhere
Saint Peter's saxophone leaks asthma wheeze.

The price of fish turned face of Jesus to TV static,
cut off his fingers while he hung; caused
no one to remove his workboots just before the sale.

Copyright (c) 2008 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.
Reaching out, I gripped that crude, misshapened,
blood-oiled peg of iron
and wailed.

Copyright (c) 2009 Gary Brown
Elvis Iscariot

Whoda thunk?
The audit would reveal that sniveling headcase:
wacking out, muttering during dinner,
laughing inappropriately during poignant parables,
pickpocketing the Messiah and
fashioning 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
Hired Hand

Judas may have been the trigger man,
but no less than we
who pay him in installments.
God watched that one-man marching band
perform in the rain as
impatient paparazzi hid out in Potter's Field,
and St. Bernard watched from his perch,
contemplating rescue.
Later, on a cheaply inscribed wooden slab,
the Iscariot family honored his requested epitaph:
I cannot play tennis,
I am not an artist,
but I can do something...
I can love.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gary Brown
The Pesach Stone

Dawning light, not yet spread, illuminates rock and tree and flower;
barely, but not clearly seen at this time-frozen, quiet hour.
Faint light whispers 'cross a scene where it had never gone nor lit.
Not since before time had name or face or place for it to fit,
Not since the hand of God's own mind cast elements, earth and human breath,
Not since that unique urge of God to create life which knew no death
had such a morning, silent-opened to a moment so profound,
upon a sight not seen by man, especially upon this ground.

Dew bent ray of rising sun on surface of that stone's cold mass

dances in an unknown tongue of energy which was sent to pass
through this boulder's center being, to its heart and core and more;
permeating it like water, in it, 'round it o'er and o'er.
Heavy, huge and hewn by God before time begun,
this ancient citizen of earth, never known nor seen as one
whose role would matter, existence count for much except to wear away
and join itself back to the dust God shaped it of on that first day.

This night turned morning, even now, appointed Stone of Destiny

is found, selected, gently moved; God's finger nudges tenderly.
Then earth as birthing forth its own, groans in tremors from the leaven
and as celestial hosts erupt in voice illuminating Heaven,
as Lucifer screams in defeat and Death, his only son... expires,
and as redemption, yet unseen, prepares to rescue from the fires
the sealing stone cracks ajar, slightly shifts and shuffle-rolls
away as hand of Christ does guide; its task complete, now silent, tolls.

Copyright (c) 2004, 2006 Gary Brown
A Marker in the Mud

In a spontaneous fit of pseudo-zenic gloriosity,
the aged, retired, forgotten apostle
found himself headlong running
across the surface of Galilee's Sea;
fortunately for him,
a summer drought had stolen all the water;
left little more than spongy mud
where he arrived and stood, quite stunned.
And he became anchored there
as ancient, bearded, solitary stork,
a statued sentry in the center of a perfect flatness.
Later, politely retrieved from his lonely post
by his cheering buddies,
as they washed the ankle-deep sludge from his feet,
he remembered another footwashing
by another, whom no one could rescue
from that Holy, solo pole
where the butcher hung Him up,
out there on the stretching flat of eternity.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown

In its day, daily death by governed hand
was dealt routinely, if not crudely,
by efficient cross hung method; nothing special,
not worth noting to the average bloke.
But, were it not for calendar...
would church's roofs now be adorned
with statuesque images
of gallows standing tall with noose,
hanging hollow, emptied of its holy prey?
Should that thought disturb?
Or how far removed are we still
from sporting miniature electric chairs
on pinned lapels and bracelets,
properly stylized for denominational appropriateness?
Could possibly we be today found clutching
midst our heart pled prayers,
scaled models, perhaps life-sized replicas
resembling just the Saturday Night Special
used to slay the Son of Man?
Were it not for technology's lag,
would executioner's M-16, which firing squad employed,
find its trinketized self worn 'round our necks
or just a plastic bullet from?
To what extent does thirst compel us to enshrine
symbolized memory-joggers of that death's,
that famous death's instrumentation;
yet results in fascination for some trophied weaponry
marketed in tiny, cast facsimiles
or better still,
displayed in mammoth sculptures wrought by hands
to appease the more esthetic tastes among us?
What would those early followers,
friends of Him and family
say if but known to them it was
that generations since
were holding in their palms and pockets
reproductions massly made
of that device which tortured fast
to kill the mortal body of the Savior of the world
because there's little else to see
and touch and feel as a reminder?
What would they think?
Silently, I slowly turn the cross I sometimes hold
and do not know.

Copyright (c) 2005 Gary Brown

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No Vacancy

I thought he had been taken down;
supposed him really gone,
presumed his same but second self
lived somewhere else by now and
I loved that place.
I imagined hands, both soft and calloused
had pried his slippery, red and tough skin from spikes
and gentle souls clumsily lowered
the heavy flopping holy cocoon to the dirt.
Amidst sobs of horror, angry tears, silent despair,
what was left of him was rolled up in
cloths which could have been mere bandages,
had he just loved them a little less
and this life, a little more.
I believed he had been carried off,
and people did what's done to those who go this way;
now unrecognizable, some blood wiped off
revealed only hardened layers more
and the bulging purple puffy bloat of blackened bruises,
the jagged open gaping lacerations,
the exposed white of bone;
but all knew who He used to be.
It was my understanding that
when carried off to seal his corpse
inside that dead dark vault of stone,
he did in fact do only what the Son of God could do:
in death, he lay and listened;
an almighty crack occurred,
snapped the iron thread which tied his soul to hell
and he woke up where he is now, or so I'd thought.
I had adjusted to the notion that atrocious fee he'd paid
which when believed buys room and board, was enough;
enough to set aside my guilt of being there
serving with those who killed him;
was enough to carve some kind of hope
out of this toilsome life;
was enough to let Christ finally rest in peace.
And then I opened my front door,
through the screen saw in my yard
that he still hung there, not yet dead,
barely breathing, turned his head to watch me.
I became a clutching child behind barbed wire
whose scratched-up arms stretched through the fence
to claw the air,
to do whatever needed done, anything,
but he's still there.
I'd always been so surely sure
this dying part was over.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown
Our Father Who...

He left me speechless;
standing there, facing me, hands outstretched,
on his palms, layered, ragged, dirty band-aids
half-way covering oozing, red infected holes
in painful, swollen, purpleblack,
club-like, useless hands.
Speechless, he quietly
holds them out for my inspection;
waits for me to heal them or
go do his job for him.
Nothing to say, says it all,
for both of us;
this silent, awkward moment,
praying for God to use me
as if I meant it,
as if He could.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown
The Orange Rapture

On All Saint's Day, November first,
it's absolutely necessary.
He signals for the starting up of all the station wagons,
begins the roadtrip ritual
of gathering every dying jackolantern;
assembling every scattered and
abandoned orphan pumpkin he can find,
he reunites them, links them all
in a single solid line along the beach.
He and they and everyone then
sit to watch the evening sun
ignite the skies, touch the ocean,
have its quenched illumination pulled from the horizon;
and through it all they listen to
an intoxicating crew of sympathetic cellists who
stay with them,
play their hearts out to the rhythm of applauding waves.
As the encroaching, rising tide
creeps and inches closer in
everyone gathered there is baptized in aluminum
falling light of autumn moon.
Those to whom he chooses to
disclose where this rite will be,
they in turn will secretly
tell only those who can endure,
indulge themselves with tranquil hours
of silent ceremony.
Thus, this assembly forms out there
where water, earth, light and air
celebrate a joined festivity.
The breathtaking nature of
this most peculiar spectacle
always grips the congregation:
Facing sunset lies this stretching,
haunting streak of countless, staring pumpkin heads,
and behind them seated in the sand
their human guards;
these escorting chaperones,
as mothers usher home this weaker, dying,
lonesome herd of fallen heroes;
and lastly, stationed in the back,
as captains guarding, guiding this sacred conflagration,
sit the cellists, navigating space and time.
What few know, is what compels him
to create this annual
assemblage of art and life and death way out here,
without leaving single trace of its occurrence.
Yet, there is a glorious, significant, spiritual design
contained within this curious, profound commemoration;
a clearly woven layeredness of transparent liturgy,
a tangible grasp for hard redemption,
a slow leak flow of holy ecstasy
whisper-blown upon the shore,
and through all this, he waits, until
he observes the gradual,
raptured rescue of every orange, wrinkling soul
as liquid fingers gently grasp, lift and roll them
down the pristine night-wet slope,
slip them from salvation's dirt,
cause their tumbling off into
the deep and dark and light of heaven.

Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Brown