Sunday Reading


“Lilies on Black,” oils on 40 x 50 cm stretched canvas (web store). 


As performed live tonight at the inimitable Sunday Slips—my favorite open mic in Berlin. 


“Sunday Reading”

“He said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you.’ ” —1 Samuel 24:17

In the blindness of
          what is a blindness if you can name it?
     how bad can the pain be if you know where it is?

Anger, then. Bleeding like a fire
          in my brain through time, and my heart out-pacing
     itself, like the minds of the powerless outpace the powerful.

Nothing to be done. Everything destroyed
          by evil men who loved the pain they caused.
     Before or after, in the timelessness of panic, I am lost.

Stumbling through darkness, directionless, cold,
          I come to a long line of foreign men with suitcases
     who want to know if I’m looking for work.

I go back the way I came, less and less able to tell right
          from left, to tell right from might, to tell right from
     wrong things have happened so quickly all week,

some of them outside my head. Yesterday the border patrol
          told legislators they were working for the President,
     and hung up. It will do no good to say I tried to tell you.

Besides, the woman sent back from the airport to anywhere else
          even though she had her Congresswomen there
     even though she had her papers
                    show me your papers
                    stay in the car
                    step outside the car
                    step outside your body
                    this is not your body
                    this is not your life
                    you are no longer real, you are no longer human
                    and I myself should have died long ago,
                    who am I to bear witness?

Sometimes then a silence overtakes me
          in which the whole world seems stilled
     and all is well because I am a child of God.

And I wonder, is this a trick? My brain was bathed
          so deeply in anger, and I was lost, as we are lost.
     Do I need like my ancestors to tell stories just to stay alive?

To rest in some kind of certainty that,
          although we lose, we lose with love.
     In that damn desert in that damn time, there was no other solace

to be found in powerlessness. There was no comfort
          no hope for justice, no hope for change.
     So we made one up. That kind of faith got us through.

It’s a different time. Still, any peace will do.