This invisible monster,

Draped ’round your shoulders,

Leaching its poison into your mind,

This thing – uneven scales

Gnash together ever-so-lightly,

(Your ears don’t work too well these days)

You keep missing it.

I did too, at first.

But I hear it now,

This invisible monster –

The one that whispers,

The one that tells you what to see.

Does your neck hurt more these days?

A weakness, maybe, in your knees?

Wheezing now with distance walked?

Your guest grows fat and bold,

Perched on sloped shoulders, feasting on fatted calf:

pity and loathing

(Farmed locally,

Nothing but the best).

What happens when you see it,

Your serpent-sleek spirit self, wound tight and poised to kill?

Who will win?

Today the invisible monster

Pulls faces at me from safety as I retreat.

(Your ears don’t work so well – you missed me begging you to break free.)

Self perpetuating daemon,

Wear another face for him.

Swallow peace whole.

Let him be.

Thoughts Re: Bus Upholstery

The hopeless case
A holy grail
The codependent swoon

The eldest child
A married man
Guitarist and a spoon

With cactus dreams
A westbound bus
No quarter left to find

The optimist
Believes in “us”
But what us will I find?


Note: This was written in response to today’s Daily Post prompt, Trace. I’ve always really enjoyed bus upholstery. The first time I saw brightly colored bus upholstery was on a very nice shuttle bus in London, when I was 17. My dad’s an upholsterer, so little details like that always give me a thrill. It’s a strange life, but someone has to exist in it, right? Anyway, this poem is about being alone, and how the people we’ve left – and who have left us – are still there, just under the skin. We’re just distracting ourselves with the superficial patterns, to avoid paying attention.

The Canticle of the Creatures

I was still thinking about St. Francis this morning as I walked through my neighborhood on the way to my local brunch place. It’s a cool, crisp day out, with plenty of sunlight and not a cloud in the sky. I love days like this, but we have so few of them in New Orleans. When they’re happening, you have to get out and enjoy them while you can!

Most people who remember a prayer or two will associate Francis with his Peace Prayer, but just before he died, he composed a beautiful prayer called The Canticle of the Creatures. It is also sometimes called The Canticle of Brother Sun. It’s really no wonder why Francis is the patron saint of ecologists and environmentalists. I hope this inspires you to spend some time appreciating the bounty of nature, and reflecting on how we can better work to preserve and protect our beautiful world.

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing,
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

Pilgrim, Who Is Calling You? (Poem from the Camino de Santiago)

A poem by Eugenio Garibay Baños, written on a wall along the Camino between Navarrete and Najera. Translation by Google & Camino de Santiago Forum member Vigdis. Click through for more info.

Polvo, barro sol y lluvia
es Camino de Santiago
Millares de peregrines
y mas de un millar de años

Peregrino, puien te llama?
Que fuerza oculta te atrae?
Ni el Campo de las Estrellas
ni las grandes catedrales

No es la bravura Navarra,
ni el vino de los riojanos
ni los mariscos gallegos
ni los campos castellanos

Peregrino, Quien te llama?
Que fuerza oculta te atrae?
Ni las gentes del Camino
Ni las costrumbes rurales

No es la historia y la cultura
ni el gallo de La Calzada
ni el palacio de Gaudi,
ni el Castillo Ponferrada

Codo lo veo al pasar,
y es un gozo verlo todo,
mas la voz que a mi me llama
la siento mucho mas hondo.

La fuerza que a mi me empuja
la fuerza que a mi me atrae,
no se explicarla ni yo
Solo el de Arriba lo sabe!


And with Google translator (not correctly, but we all understand it):

Dust, mud, sun and rain
Camino de Santiago is
Thousands of pilgrims
and more than a thousand years

Pilgrim who is calling you?
What hidden force attracts you?
Neither the Field of Stars
or the great cathedrals

It is not the bravery of Navarre
or the wine of La Rioja,
neither Galician seafood nor
the Castillian countryside

Pilgrim, who calls you?
What hidden force attracts you?
Neither the people of the Way
Nor their rural customs.

Not the history and culture
or the Rooster’s Causeway
or the Palace of Gaudi
or Castillo Ponferrada

It is a joy to see everything in passing
but the voice that calls me
I feel much more deeply.

The force that pushes me
force that attracts me,
I cannot explain,
Only the One above knows!