is bent over black coffee, drinking
insomnia for going on twelve hours.
The Big Guy Upstairs just handed out
Alpha Romeo Charlie 2-9-9
and the sloppily filed flight plan
to punch into the computer.
Some plan. Like so many, this wannabe
thinks all it takes is a college degree, set
the controls, and it will be wheels down,
trim flaps, and proceed to baggage claim.
Put that aside in order to let sober eyes
make sense of green blips on a field
of black. Call out course settings
while up in the cockpit the man or woman
is turning pages of a magazine.
It’s true. They think I Am Very Important
and therefore somehow, some way
People Like Us can autopilot past life’s mid-airs,
bank and slip around the swollen eyes
of storms, get a free ride on the jet stream.
Not how it works, though, in a cosmos
where the effort in the murmuring control
tower goes on every hour, every minute
of every day. Focusing all atoms
of existence in a warping and wooing
of reality that has no exact word for it.
Fate? Faith? Inspiration from beyond?
Sure, call it whatever and remember
to throw in a wing and a prayer.
Making sure you reach the destination.
Getting you eased onto the runway.
Trying to do it without your ever knowing
what showed up a minute ago on the screen.
—from Rattle #45, Fall 2014
Tribute to Poets of Faith
Albert Haley: “Sometimes I find myself pondering how one-third of the Hebrew scriptures are poetry. Or that Jesus of Nazareth speaks and teaches like a poet, not a fundamentalist minister. This poet’s gift seems to have been passed on to Mary Karr and Franz Wright whose verse carves out divine mysteries. I guess I’m saying I’m interested in what can’t be seen, yet feels as real as smooth stones held in the hand. Words on the page that become signposts, signaling, ‘Something just happened here.’ Trying to explain how it feels to have been run over by light.”