Accessibility Gate

They say you shouldn’t stare

At those who look different

And everyone did

Who came to the Gate Seven,

 

Images minted like

Coins of other nations

Than that of those lined up

At all the other gates.

 

And people stared as

Their difference, so marked,

Joined with the rest of us

With differences unseen.

 

But as they passed the Gate,

I saw a miracle:

Saw difference disappear,

As for an afternoon

 

All our wealth was mingled.

All us coins together

A stadium filled with

Every kind of treasure.

 

Their faces lost among

The faces in the crowd

Sunlit, squinting to see

How far a ball can go.

 

They say you shouldn’t stare

But how can you not stare

At the most lovely thing

Your eyes have ever seen?


Evening News

When the kids are in their beds,

I sit on the porch and look

To where the gods are warring

Just over the horizon.

 

See their distant lightnings

Silent, scar the southern sky

Too far to be heard, but I

Feel a tremor pass beneath.

 

When the chill sets I turn

Back to book, and mug, and chair

To a house so deeply still

I can hear the children breathe.

 

But when I lie in bed at last

To surrender to the night

Lightning flickers on the wall

And the tremor follows it.


Tactics

Love, to you, is laying siege,

So you ring your armies round

The citadel that is my heart,

Triple-walled and Byzantine.

 

So hurl yourself upon my walls

Day after day, unceasingly

Until every son and daughter’s spent

Against the cruelty of my gates.

 

All my treaties are rejected

All compromise is scorned

Your terms are simple:

Joyful surrender, or the sword.

 

But I am old in love and war

And hold the secret you can’t guess:

That by the breaching of the heart

All you hoped to hold is slain.


Act Of God

Come quickly Lord

To kick the doors

Out of my locked

And alarmed heart.

 

Break the windows,

Weather-sealed, and

Let your winds and

Rains awake me.

 

Let your lightnings

Terrify, though

You are God of

More than thunder.

 

Call your children

Through the doors and

Empty hallways

Of my vacancy.

 

Fill every room

Beds with weary

Tables with starved

Silence with song.

 

All buildings burn

Down in the end.

Let my ruins

Be a temple.


Intentional Stuttering Episode Two

Listen to me read and discuss “Red Stuff” on episode two of Intentional Stuttering With Mike Bonikowsky, if that sounds like something you would enjoy. You can hear it right here.


Sabbath Beach

I could see that you were tired

Though I knew that you would weep

I took you from your mother

To walk with you and make you sleep.

 

You break on me like a wave

Pitched between your grief and fury

Wailing out your love for her

Howling your hate for me.

 

Against your will I rock you

To the sound the breakers make

Cradle all your love and hate

Up the shore of this great lake.

 

I walk all your weeping out

Until you are sleeping in

The hollow place between my

Aching shoulder and my chin.

 

Just another year or two

And then I will not be strong

Enough to carry you

For so far or for so long.

 

Just another year or two

And then I won’t be able

To force you to take your rest

Sabbath bed or banquet table

 

And I fear that no one will

And I fear therefore you won’t

As I find that I cannot

And as then I find I don’t.


The Podcast Is Here!

I’m super excited to announce that my poems will be forming the basis of a podcast. “Intentional Stuttering with Mike Bonikowsky”, a spinoff of the Geek Orthodox podcast, will have new episodes every other Sunday. I’ll take one of my poems and answer a series of questions about it, and discuss whatever should arise. You can listen to the first episode, “Canis Familiaris” here!

If you would like to request a poem, or have any questions or comments or furious interjections, email my producers at geekorthodoxpodcast@gmail.com.