I grew up a good alter boy
kneeled with the others, a ring,
a body held, where a miracle
occurred in the eyes of them all.
They asked me to marry him.
I said no — so my CCD teacher
showed up at my house & asked
me was it something he said?
I told him how I stopped feeling
God’s hand over the average world,
the heaviness of gravity,
the warmth of a star,
the bleeding fish, the calf
that calls for momma
and you shot it Satan who sits
in a lawn chair. Go ahead,
wipe the blood…
Sleeping naked is the highest form
of privilege. Take these clothes,
for I don’t need them until morning.
You cannot see past the switches.
No one needs to pass a code for the door.
A water tap, and twelve steps to sanctuary
at the end of a long hall. We sleep in there
with our legs curled up, sighing around
the tockless clocks. I keep a gun loaded
with spice, just in case a skinful wrestle
commences. Don’t make me tackle you
Greco-Roman style, my brother.
If they come for me with handcuffs,
I’ll ask for a shirt, something to…
I’ve seen some pretty neat things.
How volcanic ash can drift
to settle on the worn deck
of a dry-docked ship. I watched
the head of my child plunge
into being, aurora
lights furl the great northern black.
The quiet of a hill, too,
the fury of a green wave
on a black sand beach of glass.
I’ve soared above the wet rocks,
the green barracuda’s eye,
the gray cucumber that spits
its guts to get far away.
The lovely sound of my knees
in a bend to chop fresh wood
for an apple fire.
The deep desire to wear
At the gym, there was a treadmill
where I ran away on a schedule,
a set of big goals in a big city,
packed trains and traffic lights,
glittering drinks in the hotel lobbies.
The same guy would run next to me.
We never spoke, but we’d race
together, both in skin-tight shirts,
him in gloves and a bench-pressing
back brace. When I’d lift the speed,
he would. When I’d lengthen my stride,
he would too, like how you’d match
a power pose in a glass door
status meeting, arms crossed
and then crossed again.
Years later, I ran into…
I sat in the sea, breath from the west
crashing my chest, where water was the same
inside and out. I sat there staring east,
watching my life, those time zones away,
peaceful among the igneous and sacrificial stones,
where they cut thieves and tied them to the rocks,
sharks feasting on their coral painted flesh.
Where a line of sunburned men built a temple
in three days, stones still warm in the sun.
We drove into the desert and searched
for coconuts to quench our thirst.
Nothing but dried husks, no milk to give,
so we climbed the snow…
From my back window, I see a man
in a blue bike helmet ring his little bell,
a signal of his passing. Hooded sweatshirts
parade in masked canter, side by side,
two by two, a sign of our covenant.
Just up the path is a memory home,
stories tall and filled with waiting.
They play jazz on summer Saturdays.
while gray-haired humans stare out
of big windows as we all pass by.
Do they long to walk with us again,
or are they past the pace of longing?
We build each life by these tiny,
fleeting moments, by wheel, by shoe,
by leash and bagged hands,
we shuffle and negotiate, softly gesture,
a tense obsession to mark our passing
with the loud ping of our little bells.
© Trapper Markelz 2021
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