18 December 2015

Advent at Eye Clinic Jakarta (Klinik Mata)

Advent at Eye Clinic Jakarta (Klinik Mata)

Here in smog-choked Jakarta, alone in the back underside of the world
I’m still waiting for the eye doctor.
Across from me
a blind baby on his back stares up
as white Christmas lights in sparkling globes
dance their patterns across his face.
To him these, darkest days,
are just as dark all the rest;
his round, coffee eyes rove his black world  
no giggle bubbles out
applauding the shimmering lights for
his unlit orbs in sockets
look only inward.
His mama’s head kept bent over
his unseeing face, and there she hovers--as if alone in the room, in the city--
caressing him with her eyes,
she anoints his face with her proud, proud love.
Her son’s her sole mission, and her dear-heart:
And because of that, he doesn’t need sight to see her.
Their love's so electric it sparks,
          and arcs in the span between us—
I shift to escape its reach
and fail, then it comes to me
                 It’s Advent:  the Time when the Father
                 of All brings forth His loving Expression
                 and His blind babies see Him.
I shift again working to close the gaping hole
of my well-woven cloak of theology
but I feel it’s no warmth—
pierced as its was  at that moment
  when I let all rays of my head and my heart conjoin, 
      and in their coming together
they formed one, pointed exclamation
which burns hotter than the tropical sun at noon,
and has followed me far, so far,
             to this land of heat & spices.
Distance makes no matter, and can’t stop movement of His fullness:
          Desolation precedes Consolation.
The rush of His love pours through my veins, filling me with meaningfulness--
and
then yet again this old, cold and blind babe’s fresh-captivated
in the warming draw of His Streaming Gaze. 

03 December 2015

Plight


Plight
Rust eats the bus
         an incurable illness.
Hanging street lights
         cocked broken heads in morbid kind of merriment
framed in the worn dusty dusk  
of this recycled winter night.
In the stalled line of cars
outlined figures of
         every one,
         and each waiting
for a ride to something:
And here, right next to me,
        is Someone--
        who is everyone--
and doesn't each someone
long to go back to,
        or to move on from,
this thing to the next thing right now--
if only just to get away,
to flee the unseen revolution backwards
      to right where we were
      yesterday?
I wasn't going to say anything
seeing our
      self-made urban blight
yet it comes to me again--
sunsets are supposed
  to be stunning
  and I believe
       though we don't notice
even the land of Mars
hears our sighs.
~ A Charity Johnson 2015



24 September 2015

Responding to Fables of Faith

Responding to Fables of Faith

I - You ask, does faith come hard or easy?
I’d laugh but you’re serious.
All I can say is no one I know has had the baptism of desire
..........to skip right on ahead.
I can tell you that I can pinpoint some (or much)
....... horrible humanness in myself—
What is that? – it’s that span between
  ...the head and heart,
  .................and it’s gaping.
You see, our conversions are continuous:
somehow still they slip in –
.......perhaps because the days are an ever-leaking cup
..........................always empty, never filling up.
Or, then again,
  .........there will be a moment, a flash,
when you're awake to your own strangeness.
And, oh, I’m not even touching on the suffering—
..........which meets you but in undreaded forms
  ..................and in the most unappointed times
(& when you can finally exhale
...............it’ll hit you that
 ....................... it’s in hardship mostly, that’s when purpose sprouts).
Take heart, don't be discouraged,
......despite all the fits and starts,
..........faith’s a great and graspable Gift:
yes, no one can unravel the mystery of beauty
it’s the same with the beauty of this Mystery.
.....
II So what can you do? We can do this:
.......we can gather it up,
.....................the cup can be filled, the top can be reached:
..... in a lyrical way: Let’s all come,
....let’s touch
.......let’s sit around the table, touching,
...........let us chew and swallow our bread of faith in one room
...........from one table
.............in one place
One in our taking it in,
.........we'll be bound as one:
This ineffable Oneness making faith easier & so
  .................making hardships easier.
....
III Yes at this time, and in this place,
we’ll eat with
.....our friends & family who
.......ate with their friends & family
........ and their friends & family,
linking time and space
& all the way back to
......a hard table & a hard floor
.....where a handful of hard men were eating
with the Lord when He
faced The Hard Time,
....and whose faith they borrowed—
....a kind of plagiarism
.... but which, somehow in the end,
......cements all sorts, varieties, and degrees of separateness
........of this, our alien identity, with the One.
And through some wonderful kind of marvel
He made this
the most
.........primary of allegiances of all.
....... And still, for each of us faith is different--
God’s not interested in mass production.
.....yet our faith assurances are ever the same—
for no convert is
  ......ever the Original.

19 March 2015

The Science behind the Art of Preservation


The Science behind the Art of Preservation
 

Cutting........across the grass........through the park,
she leaned over,
paused in a Pisa-stance
just to ask,
“When does it all begin?”

 
I take in the world behind her,

 ....and before her,
and pat the spot on the grass
near me, nearby:
“It’s been going on
all along,
and will keep on
...........going on.
Come and sit,
.........take it in,.........take in all of it.
The clouds can’t be
........pursued ........or, they can’t be caught,
so sit here by me.


Let’s sit together,
and let the dogs go
into the night--
let them chase
...........for other game:
The game which keeps running,
barely
staying ahead of
...........their own scent.


Sit here with me,
let’s gather up
pictures for
...........the heart
we can carry back
to our memory
.........vaults. 



Then the day
when the wolves
.........are at the door.........to feast on our souls,
and we're feeling butchered,
............cured, ready............to be parceled out,


then we will pull them out,
...and the fragrance of ...the living blossoms
will not only fill our hearts,
it will 

.........take over the world.”

-A Charity Johnso
n ©

06 March 2015

I Don't Love You

...........Outwitted
..He drew a circle that shut me out--
..Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
..But Love and I had the wit to win:
..We drew a circle that took him in!
 Edwin Markham