Advice for the dictator

Lately he doesn’t seem to smile much, hardly a surprise when his latest hobby is world domination.

I pray for him, but how?

How do you pray for a monster?

By acknowledging we are all monsters, only some monsters do not obey the voices in our heads which

Reduce cities to rubble and children to dust.

The advice is simple–

You are a man, just a man

And you are dying

You cannot, no,will not, outrun God

Repent and change

Leave everything but your soul behind and say you are sorry for what you have done

Replace your illusions of control with the acknowledgement of your weakness

For we are all monsters here

Debtors all to grace

Leave your robe

I try to gather traveling instructions for the “nice lady” I met at the coffee shop

Find those who sell the oil and stick with them closely until the bridegroom comes

Leave even your best robe behind

Be willing to sell all you have for the treasure in the field

Do all this for the least of these

Because narrow is the path to life (and few there are who will find it)

Call on the name of the Lord to be saved

If you don’t already seek and find him in

Ordinary wonders

Matthew 25:11-14 KJV

[11] Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. [12] But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. [13] Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. [14] For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

Sometimes we drive in the dark

Every once upon a time I take the girls

Driving in the dark

We look for places to call home–ramshackle garage, vape shop, dry cleaner with its window smashed

In the apocalypse there is still no

Room left in the inns of the world they ask

Why did she have to stick the needle in her arm? Why did she stick the needle in her arm? What was it about the needle that

Caused us to lose her?

The little one has poured her anger out over her minders all afternoon

Unwilling to face what it costs them

So I try to de Bergerac her through the necessary obsequities

I tell her I will whisper the words and she will shout–

I’m sorry

I’m sorry!

I’m sorry I was mean before

I’m sorry I was mean before

I was working out my grief

I was working out my grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

She has such a comical little girl voice

But when she says these things I know what God means

When He whispers in my ear

Lanterns to release in air

She wore a soft, pink sweater (her sister bought) as though the cool chill of October could touch her anymore and the small group of people gathered at her ad hoc memorial are floating up as the sky darkens

The ashes and the pink sweater and the flash of inexplicable light get me again and again

I have to conjure some litany for this–

Sprite, fly

Luminesce

Alight upon yonder shore

Mermaid

Grief been here before–Target was closed and we drove

In my presbyopia I could not identify the man or his freaked out dog

Who can tell between Sirens and mermaids? They are both capable of artifice and the old-fashioned waterborne howl in

Such dark waters

I swim back to the day

The park

Beauty all around

And fast food wedding feast

Pregnant bride vomiting while

Someone took money from the medic’s bag

How did we drive back across that precipitous bridge?

All I can do is elide the best of you with

What will be

What must and shall

Be.

John 2:5 KJV

[5] His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it .

Beat Yins to the House!

When we met Mary and Charles they had some vocabulary specific to the western Pennsylvania region. They used the word yins for the second person plural, the way a Texan would say y’all or a Parisian would say vous.

I’m-gonna-beat-yins-to-the-house! She would yell joyfully, running up the small hill to the porch.

Eventually she lost the yins

But I am praying that she did

Beat us to the House

The distributive property of addiction

The thing itself seems too big and awful–she liked to shoot up in the bathroom, the list of people who enabled her suggested a big bathroom

Why?

Why do this thing? Where do the needles come from? Where do they go after? Do heroin addicts have sharps containers?

I make the elements of the equation as simple as possible–

Keith died of it

Mary died of it

It must have been a doorway

Why do you walk through that doorway the first time?

What is through the doorway that is so compelling that you must go back–no matter what

What were they running from?

She tells the story as though they were just cooking bacon

Who lets a 4 year old cook bacon? Who lets a 4 year old watch a fire burn or find their own way floor to floor to grandma’s apartment?

Who falls asleep on the bus back from the methadone clinic

With a baby

My baby. My baby now

I cannot turn away

If x equals the thing you must have and y equals the way it makes you feel

Then they were simply bound to x because of y

Like sky or free diving

there is a rush

But this time, this thing, chained her to it, brooked all reason

in the blood and the brain you cannot undo

Alone