This mans Judean? So he must be taught
himself and thereby feel God in his heart
(we well know how that can sting)
and the things Antipas wont forgive,
a slander or a misplaced name. This ones
words could someday return to him . . . .
He must regard his place, remember ours,
keep the Sabbath and remember this,
and pray. You know how some mistakes arise
from being too blind or too literal, faithful.
Remember, one can be almost right.
Remember how hes certain and persuades
(and so far removed from yet so similar)
about our mystery. Show him the way.
Ive done more for you than most.
As I erase the dark across my heart,
Ive lost loyalty to those for whom I fought,
to what my hands almost contained. And while
I struggle in mans fingers, my voice
and strength have helped so little,
if at all. I see the reasons why I failed
and am now afraid to die. I dont want
to fall asleep yet, in bonds I feel
the Roman deepening around me:
give me what I still need to fight, believe
the Messiah will murder this enemy,
to give my life and, more, to wait
for the moment in which I might escape.
The crowd assembled. I listened to its power
measuring his weakness. As I watched
from the pavement we were each alone.
To attend its attention is always best.
I distorted the distance that divided it
from his life, from one most like ourselves.
I had no power to persuade, my words
rendered useless as his faltering silence.
I tried, slowed the process by dressing him
to calm its taste, a defeat become a voice
swallowed by its voice. If only not to be
so similar to something weakened, shown
before the image of my hid belief.
When its too hungry it must be left alone.
Were already growing less creative
as we strive to lighten the trying, try
only to be blessed, and with our lives
well shy sightlessly from that light.
Were trying not to see our possibility”
if we were birds wed not be flying”
the act of inertia before us
to carry the splinters of our human heart.
Were falling, the sunlight in our eyes,
earthly, were trying to rise again,
realizing weve fewer things to decide.
Were tired of striving not to trust
our need to rest in the fine soft dirt,
and in this way we keep ourselves alive.
To be the first to hold him in my arms,
to linger on him while he has to rest,
to repair wounds and his torn skin,
to confirm his shattered body into place,
to hear a stillness haunt and leave his lips,
to see for certain that he finally sleeps,
to feel alone and everything Ive felt,
to please him as I please and not be seen,
to bury evidence of his defeat,
to hide in tombs in these fresh hours,
to free myself from thoughts I have to shun,
to crave a quiet that will devour love,
to understand why only I believe,
to cover all the damage I have done.
” Neil Azevedo
As I see the body, I believe its parts,
as I prepare its presence and final place
praying against the rigidity, as I
confirm each cut and document his death.
I anoint with balm and Jewish rite.
How can these things be, our need
displayed among his torso, head, and palms?
Im healing when its too late to forgive,
cowering in psalms Ive tried to live,
as the cold harrows the skin, the linen
bloodless and dry and beautifully stitched.
In midnights pattern Ive come to believe
in how to keep his image fresh and here
while we suffer. While he needs to sleep.