Archives for the month of: May, 2009



the green light under the trees is aslant with holiness:
holiness raining down and blooming on the young man
the young man there with his infant on his knees
his hands holding the world and hope

the child is stable as a buddha: quiet and full
resting surely in all containment
in all being contained and held

the man’s white shirt (open at the neck)
calls to mind nothing so much
as the light of a Dutch interior
the summer Panama shades a face
sweet as any madonna’s

the man was found whole in this moment
in the dappled light of the summer afternoon
when he held his child on his knee:
this moment that shimmers as a sepia memory

in the yard under the trees
when the summer light was awash with joy:
this moment that stops the sun with a steady hand
and holds the man and the child as gently
as the man then held the child

and the woman is there too:
it is she who is holding the camera
it is her eye and heart
that held and framed
this moment

it is hers forever
and the man’s and the child’s:
that moment when the green light under the trees
was aslant with holiness

Note: With the acquisition of a new scanner, I’m able to broaden my range here. This photo, from my infancy, is veritably an image of heart’s best hold for me, which I hope you’ll see from the poem I wrote some years ago.

Seven-thirty, Boot Liquor country blasting through the headphones. “They ought to make a brand-new whiskey, and give it a woman’s name.” I’ll take Diet Pepsi for my postprandial libation, forego Bailey’s for now.

“Oh, I’ll pawn you my gold watch and chain, love.” Been in all day, was starting to slide, feel out of sorts, unanchored and aimless by midday. Tired of Flickr, tired of checking SiteMeter, tired of sorting through pictures on Picasa, tired of reading about other people’s lives on Facebook.

And I knew Becca was coming over from the City; I’d invited her Sunday. A little concerned that silence might lie heavy, that I might talk too much. “I hollered, ‘Lordy, Lordy, have mercy on me.'”

We started slow, I felt jerky and out of gear. “On the road to Bakersfield.” Stories came, food, weight, computer talk, Andy’s good heart, Anita’s pushing my mother button, my hard time during Lent, her having felt buoyed up, two seminary graduates and her ordained, how sometimes what doesn’t “fit” is the best and most healing truth.

“Ain’t going back there, ain’t going back no more.” My fear, still, that being Christian will take something away from me–and the only part of Christianity I can always take without struggling is the Resurrection. But at church I’m home. When I came back to the church, I wanted where I came from, what I was, to be good enough.

“I won’t wear the chains that sadness made.” Daddy, how he came to me at the trial of the man who shot him and again the day of Mama’s funeral. How I used to say, “He loved me so much he battled through time and space, life and death,” and now I know he had no cosmic opposition, just God saying, “Well, Franklin, get going.”

“We’re doing fine–me, myself, and the wine.” And through the afternoon, my heart opens from the stripped branch I had known earlier to the fullness that makes what is, good and enough, even this body and not having had the relationship I always wanted, even the loneliness that aches.

Becca hears my words into knowledge; I receive her relatively greater silence as gift. The slight meal we share is feast enough. Eight-thirty and I’m not just caffeine mellow. Boot Liquor still flows deep and bright. “Send dead flowers to my wedding and I won’t forget to put roses on your grave.”

Note: “Freeway Sky” appears on my photostream at

is to say that God is good.

This time I had my eyes open and caught the “giveth/taketh” sleight of hand, which probably happens rather more often than I’m willing to give it credit for.

Yesterday the boo-hoo-hoo with stern injunctions to myself not to procrastinate, not to give beauties on the wing a chance to get away.

And today, going back through my photo archive, I find from last July an unremembered gift from Hot Lips (what else to call the itinerant, anonymous artist) from a neighborhood all the way across Oakland from my recent sightings.

Delight, and even gratitude, rises.

Note: “Hot Lips in Splendor” can be found on my photostream at