will you do
without that cross
to bear
that visible sign
of your purity
the white religious banner
you tightly wrap
your true thoughts in
as if wearing
supportive undergarment
to give
your life
the right shape
what happens
at night
your remove it
do you see
in the mirror
beside you

a victim of self…

she had
so carefully
woven her crown
of thorns
from her beliefs
binding each row
with the twisted twine
of her sense
of worthlessness
wearing it
with olympian pride
year after year
turning water
into wine
that others would drink
while she hung thirsty
upon a cross
carved with her own hands
hands she marked
so her tormentors
would know where
to place the nails
and yet
she knew not
what she

on this winter’s day…

why do you stand there
staring off into the horizon
as if he’ll be coming home
he is already home
he is buried
with his friends
his cross
bearing the helmet
he wore that day
a day when death
took his hand
and led him
into a negotiated peace
one paid for with blood
so there is no need
for you to stand there
waiting with ribbons of tears
tying up your life
around a gift of hope
for someone
who cannot come
to christmas day
so come in from those cold memories
and join me around
the warm embers
of existence

on the edge…

Challenge Photo II from Jade

the gray morning
air presses hard
against me
holding back
the sounds
of my footsteps
that were so clear
and distinct
as i began
this journey
but now
all i can hear
are my labored breaths
in and out
my throbbing heart
a heart seeking
to escape
these city walls
to leave behind
this street
where laughter
and joy
have fled
where only
your memory resides
shrouded in betrayal
wearing a cross
of lies
to conceal
the truth
of who
and what
you are
and what
you’ve done


This poem represents my second response to  the second challenge series between Jade and I.  As you may recall, each poet provides the other with a series of photos, visual prompts,  from which the poet is to write a poem.  Jade has written her response which can be found here

these words i write…

Photograph by Vlad

my words
are all around you
feel them
against your skin
gentle as my lips
tracing the curvature
of your spine
in our warm bed
before morning’s dawn
do not ask if this will end
close your eyes
hold this moment
a gentle breeze
caressing the soul’s passion
holding our love
within this hallowed sanctuary
where each touch
is a sacred point
of the cross
in our love
where every breath
i take
a holy

Jade and Vlad have done it again…forced me to write a love poem during this challenge because of the image they provided.  For those of you new to this recent challenge…the whole idea behind it is to send a picture ( in this case by Vlad) to the other as inspiration (to the visual muse), and the other has to write a poem inspired by the image.  Please take a look at how Jade has responded to my most recent challenge photograph on her site.

when pilate saw…

i am an old soldier
the scars i have
and the wars
i’ve fought
are many
each scar you see
is yours
for each war
has been for you
so my blood
runs in your veins
transfused there
by some battlefield medic
that you have
only read about
not cared about
as you stood in line
at starbucks
holding the morning news
in hands now ink-stained
hands that you washed
as if the ink was blood
and you wash them again
when i returned home
scrubbing me from your memory
as well as any thought
of your part
in those deaths
upon the cross
of freedom

of this i believe…

all the words
and verses had not changed
he had said these words a thousand times
and a thousand times he said them with faith
but today
he felt as if he were just an actor
one waiting for godot
staring out into the sea of souls
some lost among the coral reefs of disbelief
seeking to find the beacon of truth
that would free them from themselves
too sure of what they knew
dawned pious smiles when he said
what they wanted to hear
they frowned at him
as he stood in the pulpit
he wondered
could he say those words
his faith intact
if they sensed his doubt
would they rise up from the pews
and proclaim him a heretic
or claim that their faith was undaunted
by what they had seen in the world
had they studied the word
as a lover studies their love
they would understand its history
but they do not know or care
who the scribes were
those founders of this society of believers
the codependency of this relationship
means he dares not tell them the truth
his cross would be that of the malefactor
who did not repent
but this man has done nothing
his questions have come with age
and studies to find true meaning
just to answer those daunting questions
formed from so many years of religious grief
wondering how men meeting in secret
could design and decide
on what was best for mankind
a committee
producing  sacred writings
marketing their beliefs as if for profit
he wonders am i now a non-believer
or am i like a lover
whose love has waned
over the years
progessing from insatiable passion
to a deeper love and understanding
or is this grounds
for divorce…

For those who wish to read the trigger for this, read: Non-Believing Clergy.