Small deaths

Jesus suffered the small deaths of life.

Losses of Joseph and John.

Rejected in His hometown.

Being misunderstood
by His followers and the crowds.

Grieving over Lazarus.

Angered by the condition
of His Father’s house.  

Denied by Peter.

Betrayed by Judas.

The bullshit trial.

Which lead to His Big Death

That blessed us 
(as we suffer 
our own small deaths)
never to experience
the curse of a
Big Death.

The Day After Sinatra Married Mia Farrow

So the coffee would stay hot all morning 
Edna, the large-boned Dutch waitress, 
her face and throat flushed from the heat 
would first fill my thermos with boiling water 
in the Circle Diner on Kutztown Road, 
this July morning steamy and loud 
with a highway crew at the counter, 
two grizzled mailmen in the side booth 
and us from the nearby construction site, 
a job I loved for its noise and fresh air, 
screwing big lag bolts into the sills 
of Caloric Stove's new factory warehouse, 
the whirr of the countersink drilling the wood, 
clean white hemlock or spruce

and when one of the mailmen heads for the door 
Edna calls out to him "Hey Jack 
how you think Frank's feeling this morning?" 
Smoke from the grill and the cook's cigar 
clouding the wide glass window: 
Frank, 20 years her senior, 
stepping from Sam Giancana's limo 
or else whispering One For My Baby 
into the spotlight: his death 
in his voice with its flawless control, 
his slanted fedora and raincoat, 
his glittering life we could only imagine

though most of us are laughing by now 
wolfing our hot cakes and eggs 
when the old man yells back, "Tired as hell!" 
pulling his hat down low at the door, 
happy enough to be going to work 
on a Friday under the dawnwashed sky 
of Johnson's Great Society, 
with the Lehigh Valley opening its thighs 
and the weekend gorged with promise.

Joseph Millar


The Gates of Love Budged an Inch

Just an ordinary day.

Casting for cash.
Mending our tools.
Minding our own business.

Then the Extraordinary enters,
asks us
to join Him 
in finding His lost sheep.

And the fools
run off with Him,
while the rest of us
have to hold the fort
without them.

A Great Leaf

A great leaf, that God and you and I
have covered with writing
turns now, overhead, in strange hands.
We feel the sweep of it like a wind.

We see the brightness of a new page
where everything yet can happen.

Unmoved by us, the fates take its measure
and look at one another, saying nothing.

Rainer Maria Rilke


The Poor Rich Man

The poor rich man
misheard the gospel.

He thought 
his fellow one percenter
went away mad
instead of sad.

"Oh, My God!"

Not only in church
and nightly by their bedsides
do young girls pray these days.

Wherever they go,
prayer is woven into their talk
like a bright thread of awe.

Even at the pedestrian mall
outbursts of praise
spring unbidden from their glossy lips.

 Billy Collins



No one’s hangin’ stockin’s up,
No one’s bakin’ pie,
No one’s lookin’ up to see
A new star in the sky.
No one’s talkin’ brotherhood,
No one’s givin’ gifts,
And no one loves a Christmas tree
On March the twenty-fifth.

Shel Silverstein

"...but deliver us from evil."

(A meditation on each word(s) 
of the Lord's prayer)

please deliver me from 
the pleasures of sins.

And when I fall,
grant me Your mercy
as I suffer its consequences.