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88:12

twombly7

Weary, tired, bedraggled he shuffles across the sand.
The grit scraping inside his torn shoes
is no more distraction than the wind tattered
clothes that cover his legs, feet, chest, hands.
Bloody feet. Cries exhausting lungs emptied into sky.
Tear ducts empty. Face, a desert floor dry, cracked.
Somewhere between anger and despair masks
a desperate attempt for this wanderer to remember why.
For so much has passed. Past. Joy. Sorrow. Love. Pain.
Hope. Only a whisper he hears from the shadows
waiting while he rests here. Wondering. Watching.
Fist on chin. Elbow on wrist. What will moving really gain?
The roots are dry. Reservoirs too deep to tap. Suns of light
have long since burned out. The only light here a lamp
swaying at his feet. Leaking oil. Staining sand. Painting a road
through the engulfing darkness for those who follow behind.

13:6

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Collisions with immanent transcendence
burst the glass above. Assumptions shattered, raining. 
Looking up, only darkness descending.
Faith says wait; let fear begin its waning. 
Here he is born again, this womb – this darkness -
this desert into which he jumped or into which he was led
here he is birthed again and again and again
this place he rises from whence he was dead. 
Or was fruitless or was dying, or lying.
He is a tree given four more seasons
before the farmer brings the basket or the axe
when to him is returned a reason -
Shatter the ceilings, who once was a slave,
in this darkness a man who once had no name. 

Bleed into Monotony

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An aerial view of the crowd shows me southwest of centre;
I can see myself, feel myself simultaneously
fading into the faces, any distinction unrendered
blurring into the normality of human-ness. 
Winds whip ’round the edges, through the chaos of bodies.
Wings carry away dreams filtering 
through Pheme’s sieve until reality is a single vision, 
the sound of a univocal droning melody. 
“In the mix” becomes a retired turn of phrase
when monotony becomes the air we breathe
when all I can see is all you can see
and same is the only color, anymore, that we bleed. 

 

The Biography by Thomas Merton

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The Blood runs down the walls of Cambridge town,
As useless as the waters of the narrow river -
While pub and alley gamble for His venture.

Although my life is written on Christ’s Body like a map,
the nails have printed in those open hands
More than the abstract names of sins,
More than the countries and the towns,
The names of streets, the numbers of the houses,
The record of the days and nights,
When I have murdered Him in every square and street.

Lance and thorn, and scourge and nail
Have more than made His Flesh my chronicle.
My journeys more than His bleeding feet.

Christ, from my cradle, I had known You everywhere,
And even though I sinned, I walked in You, and knew You were
my world:
You were my France and England,
My seas and my America:

You were my life and my air, and yet I would not own You.

Oh, when I loved You, even while I hated You,
Loving and yet refusing You in all the glories of your universe

It was Your living Flesh I tore and trampled, not the air and earth:
Not that You feel us, in created things,
But knowing You, in them, made every sin a sacrilege;
And every act of greed became a desecration,
Spoiled and dishonored You as in Your Eucharist.

And yet with every wound You robbed me of a crime,
And as each blow was paid with Blood,
You paid me also each great sin with greater graces.
For even as I killed You,
You made Yourself a greater thief than any in Your company,
Stealing my sins into Your dying life,
Robbing me even of my death.

Where, on what cross my agony will come
I do not ask You:
For it is written and accomplished here,
On every Crucifix, on every altar.
It is my narrative that drowns and is forgotten
In Your five open Jordans,
Your voice that cries my, “Consummatum est.”

If on Your Cross Your life and death and mine are one,
Love teaches me to read, in You, the rest of a new history.
I trace my days back to another childhood,
Exchanging, as I go,
New York and Cuba for Your Galilee,
And Cambridge for Your Nazareth,
Until I come again to my beginning,
And find a manger, star and straw,
A pair of animals, some simple men,
And thus I learn that I was born,
Not now in France, but Bethlehem.

Heels and Hands

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In the road behind me are a thousand
heel marks driven deep into the soft ground.
The driving force of madness seeking truth
devastates the landscape that I’ve run through.
More than permission I have asked forgiveness
for the lefts and rights that I have taken
never once thinking that I had forsaken
the vitality of life boldly lived.
And now…I don’t need your voice to guide me through,
for these ears no longer hear just truths.
What I need is a hand to hold this hand
to chase hard these stories we’ve been told.
If you will condescend let it not be to me,
but here with me, chasing these crazy dreams.

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Life runs a listless interwoven strand with death,
a give and take, a pause no break; a crossed line
swallowing itself at each moment of reach
for knife or needle, of leap or cease.
Our gods, our idols, our demigods, our selves,
all dance with Moira. None have ceded scissors
they never held; though some have received
a gift and decision from Atropos. Have chosen or refused.
Yet, when one’s line crosses the other in the weaving,
we arrive; we feast; we wake; we give and take
while the pauses begin to fade with leaving
and your strand is given over into the fabric of life.

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