Contingency Plan of Salvation

If asteroids had taken the Savior out
Carl Sagan would have more clout.

As it happens however politics
killed him a day after his Seder tricks.

Imagine though a crater on Golgotha. 
I pray for that kind of anathema-

scheme in which he's vaporized
before their country-singing eyes.

And it would be nobody's fault
except for maybe the folks like salt.

Bike Ride, Ohio Northern University

We rode this way.  We rode this way.
On spokes of rust, 

we rode this way.
Through campus... we rode this way.

And there were games we had to play.
The troll, you said, would make us pay
to keep our hearts from wanderlust.

We rode this way.  We rode this way.
But drowsy, breezing fields that day, 
the swans so meanly stomped the dust;
the tolls, they said, we had to pay

or know the nature then of being prey.
Could birds so large engender trust?

We rode this way.  We rode this way.
On spokes of rust,

you cannot stay.  
Connecting flights have been discussed.

Exacting tolls we'll have to pay.
Remember though the birds who stray 
from ponds that form an upper-crust.

We rode this way... grew old this way... we rode this way...
grew old this way...  

And there are goats who make us pray
to keep the fairy tales at bay.   

So ride away.  Just ride away.  
Take this bike and ride away.

Instructions for Darkness

St. John's in Chicago now provides them 
for guests not accustomed to tenebrae.
Instructions include how to bang books 
upon the pews or how to stomp feet 
in imitation of the agony, chaos loosed 
upon mahogany, but only momentarily.  
Make no mistake.   All's dark for effect... as 
acolytes extinguish candles in unison, and
timed to antiphonal readings, we become
even less than silhouettes in the nave.

No binding will take the abuse I intend 
to inflict.  No, not one,
says the verse
from Romans.  I glance at it by the light
of my cellphone.  An inseam is now 
the focus of prayers and my crotch, like 
a cocoon, is affixed to the kneeling bench.  
The demons squirm... as the cantor intones:
I am a worm...  a poured-out potsherd...
My very breath offends me and others...
My bones are like wax.  Are these the facts?

Just then... Hispanic boys, seeming twins,
stand and gird their loins next to me.  Espere!
I hear their blessed mother say.  Wait.  

And we wait... until the last flame leaves 
beneath an Exit
, which is lit by code, the  
Goddamn municipal code!  Damn the code! 

The tenebrae booklets now smell of urine.
It's no Shroud of Turin, but it'll slur a statement.

Letter to Stanley Kunitz

                         Out of mercy you came
                                 to be my Master
                                    and my guide!

                                 - Stanley Kunitz,
                                 The Illumination

Dear Son of Solomon, 

For years,
you've laid your bulbous head
on pillows with a stinging cheek.  
You can thank your slap-happy mother
for that...  And this explains why you've
kept kosher with certain romantic 
ingredients:  blooms of brain matter,
a braid of snakes, gossamer dragon's
breath, desire, desire, desire
at last... Dante's blinding key!

Are you and he sharing a sea
with no ending?  

Getting your toes wet?
Smoking a couplet?

I frame a portrait that burns
like a bush I know in Sinai.
You're leaning on its branches,
and looking sincere with a wrist watch!


Word has it Nietzsche caved...
by which I mean
he showed compassion
for a beaten horse
in Turin's Square.

I was not there
to witness, of course, 
but claim a mansion
where he can glean
the stubble from depraved...

fields in foreign lands...
by which I mean
a retirement home 
in Nags Head, North Carolina
where he'll put a conch shell

to his ear, hear a bell
and unnerve the very vagina 
of Mary in Rome
where he comes clean
at last on demands...

God is dead.   God is dead.  God is dead.
The sea gulls echo what the straw-man said.

And yet, not what he meant.
What he meant was heaven-sent:

He meant the idea,
and he had gonorrhea.  

     Scott Kinder-Pyle 2014