Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Poem for Holy Week

I am about to run out of writing time this morning--but in a way, that's good.  This morning, it means that I was able to sleep through the night, what I call the night, from 8:30 to 4:30.  Last night, we had a lovely evening on the front porch, eating our dinner of delicious dribs and drabs of leftovers from a week-end of cooking for our mostly blind college friend who was making a South Florida tour.  We enjoyed wine and occasionally neighbors walked by and we chatted.

One of them said, "We haven't seen you in awhile."  It's true--we seem to have gotten out of the front porch habit.  Why have we been choosing TV instead of porch time?  Part of the answer lies in the weather--if it's chilly, I'm not as interested in being outside--and I have a South Florida body thermostat by now, so it's been chilly.

Happily, we still have some time to enjoy the front porch before it becomes unbearably hot.  A resolution!

Since my writing time is so small, let me post a poem for Holy Week.  I wrote it many years ago, when I'd been teaching the American Lit survey class at the University of Miami.  Can you see the influence of Allen Ginsburg's "A Supermarket in California"?

Good Friday at the Grocery Store

Salmonella lurks in the spinach,
more vicious beasties in the beef and chicken.
Corpses wrapped in cellophane
under fluorescent lights that cast green shadows.

Homeless people haunt the night,
hungry for bread and beyond,
trundling belongings in rickety shopping carts.
The lights glow in empty
buildings that aren’t for them.

City of unclean feet and dirtier hands,
all night grocery stores and home improvement centers,
the music of militaristic bass beats
and muted churches.
People hungry to fill they know not what,
buzzing on fatigue and caffeine
and always, that ravenous fear
that chews their bones to dust.

Small groups gather in a catacomb of marble and wood,
lit by candles, sheltered
from the Capitalist world that threatens
to consume every last hope.

They know the rituals that fed
their grandparents although they have not practiced
them with faith. They read the sacred
texts; they pour the wine and break
the bread. The veil lifts,
the earth shakes, the kingdom
enters, slipping in through the broken scrim.

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