I pity my compadre

Don’t strike the snake

I thought as I struck

at the root of my sin.

Fear not but pity

weighed my spade as I cut

earth with my thought.

For the serpent, too, a creature is –

rise thus he must –

and the first to fall waits longest of all.

Yes, by God he’ll rise. I say it is just.

For what better blow

to the little man’s pride

than to give what he hates

and wants all along?


I don’t like the stupid part

of being a disciple –

how you have to learn

the same lessons again and again,

fight the same fights,

and offer the same apologies

thirty years in a row.

I’m sick to death

of thinking I get it –

feeling contrite at Mass,

all that wet-eyed resolve

and the light shining on

just the right window

at just the right time –

until you’re again coughing, after,

over your coffee, sputtering

your justifications and wondering

secretly if God Himself is not choking,

ready finally to keep His promise

and spit you from His mouth!