6. Mark 1:11-12

40 Poems in 40 Days

6. Mark 1:11-12

“You are my Beloved . . .

And the Spirit drove him out.”


into the wilderness

Is where you’re heading

For a time and a season

At least, whether you want

It or not, and you don’t

Want it.


Nothing says the Beloved did either. We

Have parties after our baptisms

Generally. He had a 40-day ordeal

Juggling wilderbeasts on 4 sides

And the evil one on the 5th.

And yet

He came out strong, Mark

Doesn’t say how, but

It must have something to do

With being Beloved,



So go into the emptiness

With courage embracing your

Fear for you are too,


That is.



40 Days

1. “Now is the acceptable time.”


Prophet Joel’s alarm is ringing off the hook.

Days of penance begin with the old pain,

Of new students dying

Before a mechanized death machine

In the hands of a distraught child.


God calls this ashy day:

Stop. Just stop.

Become more. Become someone different USA

Than you have let yourself become.


These are conversion days.

Stop. Turn. Begin again.

Brother Sister America:

You’re no good like this.

From Here (on Lent’s near border)

Spring is hidden there

Deep beneath the ice

In depths never charted

In a way the pond does not know

Spring is here.


Spring is hidden there.

In the marrow of the sleeping tree trunks

In the cold silence

That does not expect to flow again

Spring is here.


Spring is hidden there.

In each blade of grass

Brownish gray

Unbending unconscious unnoticed

Spring is here.


Spring is hidden there.

Deep in our hearts

Beneath the scar tissue of

Unspoken loves

Failed dreams

Angry words

Dessicated sin

Denied vulnerability

Spring is here.


Spring is hidden there.

In this week’s ashes

Blackened and cold

Dead and gone

In mortality embraced

And repentance renewed

Spring is here.

~ JPM 2/12/18

Oh Christ

He arrived at the end of the day

Or rather, I did

All was done,

Right through night prayer

The day had been examined and found wanting,

But it was at peace.

Late I arrived at the coffee shop,

The grande one

For a hot chocolate to warm up

A cold evening.

He was there, in an easy chair

Holding a life that couldn’t be easy

Old and cold and wearing a warm knit hat

He extended his hand

as if we see each other daily

(And perhaps I should hope that we do).

He said something indistinct, through thickness

And I responded as indistinctly myself.

I complimented his hat as I awaited the cocoa

And he asked me, he asked me

After a further exchange for a sandwich

“You want a sandwich,” I responded readily

Surprising myself, “what kind?” Ham and cheese, he said, but

Turkey and cheese had the advantage of presence.

I bought it. He accepted it. He offered me “how much?”

I asked him to enjoy it; the chocolate came,

I turned

Toward the dark and the cold and two women

Thanked me for my ‘kindness,’ asking me if I know him,

“I do now,” I offered and I had to smile.

I was lucky he was there, no?

All day at a church, and up the street

He came in blessing to visit me

This winter night.

The Man gets around,

Thank God.

~ JPM 2/5/18