Embedded in the Velvet is the Thorn

Embedded in the velvet is the thorn
and at the tip of the thorn choirs

When you take off your face and sit down
something happens to sunlight bright silver envies

I have never been here before though the doors on the
corridor are locked I can
see right through them to the
multi-colored horses standing behind each one

Here’s where the harmonicas go
no identifiable tune only the reedy texture of their sound

God left the way to Him open to even the
faint of heart
a shepherd lost in the fog with his twenty goats walking in
circles or the elevator operator in gray jacket and hat
in the same building for twenty years
up and down

I’d count the number of streaks tears make down cheeks
from eyes brimming over at almost nothing at all
a memory suddenly spotlit among the tightly-squeezed
coats and trousers of an incident thought lost forever
among the shapeless sand dunes of time oh ho!

Look at where the city casts a shadow on the sky
from all the lights day and night
each comment across a table capable of illumination or not
and if not nothing’s changed
and if so some of those horses behind those
locked doors whinny and paw the ground

There’s a lion in the deep jungle who wears a
papier mâché mask of a really ferocious beast
but who only wants to be loved
belied of course by the length of his claws and the
sharpness of his teeth
and the burp after supper that sounds like “goat”

Samson didn’t test the pillars first he just
went ahead and pushed
and the entire temple celebrated critical mass

I’ve never been here before but I’m going to be
sorry to leave if
leave I must

Those zebras and those black and white stripes over there
which came first the event or the

Nothing’s happening here that a good merry-go-round at
triple speed couldn’t fix

Nothing gets in the way but the things we’ve set up ourselves
brightly colored cutouts carefully nailed to the floor with the
photographs of friends and relatives friends and foes for

their real heads just bobbing above the horizon but never quite
peering over

Nothing quite feels right just before the end of the world
and then the lights go on and the place fills up again
with the sweet murmur of excited souls

If you think getting born is bad try dying!

Afraid of Dying sat down with No Fear and tried having a
conversation but ended up sharing a
neon sandwich

I think the time has come to say goodbye to these
popped-up sentences
it’s past their bed time

And I have nowhere to go I must go to

With a song in my heart and a
shine on my shoes
and a fresh handkerchief jammed in my
breast pocket

Let go of the rope and you never know what’ll happen
but give it a tug and a campanile bell might ring
or a mountain climber hoist you up to
new heights

I wonder if it’s later in Timbouctou or if the
sun is shining and
what’s happening to the worm-eaten manuscripts in all those
dust-laden libraries no one’s read for a
hundred years or more

Ink be my mariner tonight across the open sea
the sound of pen scratching on paper a faint heartbeat on the
Way to God

and God said it’s worth far more than the
and twice as sharp

See how these worlds are revealed as it
passes on leaving its
reality trails behind these
tumbling sentences like acrobats in His
happy circus?

I want a rose right now to disappear into

Shout to me from your distance

Whisper from your nearness

Listen with your eyes coming to flower

Nowhere’s coming this way
and no one’s there

5/2/2003 (from Psalms for the Brokenhearted)

Categories: Poems