The Arts section of Orient Lodge


If you blame the gorilla
you’re part of the problem
If you blame the parents
you’re part of the problem
If you blame the child
you’re part of the problem.
If you blame the zookeepers
you’re part of the problem.

If you blame
a former first lady,
a senator,
or real estate developer
you’re part of the problem.

If you blame
the refugees
the immigrants
single young mothers
struggling to get by
you’re part of the problem.

If you blame
the victim
the system
the lawyers
or press
you’re part of the problem

If you blame yourself
but do nothing
to address the wrongs
you’re still part of the problem.

We are all part of the problem.
Too often
we don’t love
our neighbor as ourselves
if the neighbor seems
or simply
different from ourselves.

We find
those parts
of ourselves
we don’t like
in others
and blame them
of seeking to repair
what we don’t like
about ourselves.

A Reflection on Mary Magdalene

I’ve been thinking a lot
Mary Magdalene
ever since
stumbling across
George Herbert’s poem
of the same name.

As a straight white cis male
in the established church
I have the privilege
to not worry
the concerns of her sisters.

When I go to the bathroom
that matches
my gender identity
and gender expression
no one questions
my decision.

When I go out for drinks
I don’t have to worry
about someone
roofying my drink
or being found
behind a dumpster
by a swimmer.

I don’t have to worry
about getting paid
seventy percent
of what my coworkers make
or about a glass ceiling
limiting my career.

Yet there is all the more need
for me and my brothers
to wash our Savior’s feet
with our tears.

Ours is not the sin of commission,
through any fault of the victim.
Ours is the sin of omission,
of benefiting from injustice
and saying nothing
doing nothing
to correct
the wrong.

These Bones

These bones
are the young black men
killed by excessive force.

These bones
are the refugees
washed ashore
fleeing war.

These bones
are the students
and movie goers
of mass shootings
in America.

These bones
are the homeless
freezing to death
the transgendered
beaten to death
God’s children
who have not been shown
God’s love.

The bones
are the marginalized.

Can these bones live?
Prophesy to these bones.

Who are you in Zarephath?

Who are you in Zarephath?
The widow?
Her son?
The prophet?
One of the many
worshipers of Ba’al?

I often feel like the widow
preparing to eat
the last of my meal
and die.

Yet unexpectedly
the voice of The Lord
in the form
of a stranger
asking for food
and promising
there will be

I think of the times
I’ve come close
to losing
that which I’ve loved most
on this earth
only to have
the stranger,
the prophet

Who are you at Zarephath?
Can we accept
the endless oil and meal
and become
the voice of the Lord
the prophet
to someone else?

A Found Journey

“I will arise and go now”
“In leaves no step had trodden black”
“past Eve and Adam's,
from swerve of shore to bend of bay”
“where the wind’s like a whetted knife”

“Where are you going?
Where are you going?”
“ ‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow, “

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,”

“It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood”
“so much depends

a red wheel

“But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, “

“And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.”

“And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

This poem was written in response to a writers prompt for a poetry group I'm part of. It is made up almost entirely of lines lifted from some of my favorite poems.

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