the second coming of easter (I Corinthians 15)

For over 20 years, Jim Perkinson has been riffing on lectionary selections in spoken word mode and often presenting the same at worship services of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church just outside downtown Detroit. This is the third in a series of collaborations between Jim and Tim Nafziger putting this poetry in video form with text below.

the second coming of easter (I Corinthians 15)

jim perkinson
4-12-20

empty churches preaching empty tombs
to empty pews, a vision of gloom, 
the doom of the poor now creeping close 
in corona-spoor knocking even at the door 
of the rich and who would have thought 
it all could upend in a single dash of air-splash, invisible, carrying not quite living code 
from animal to our abode everywhere, 
leading all but rash, bible-brash evangelical hubris
to hunker in shelter, or fear-trembled,
in hovels or dense-packed streets 
of homeless retreats or refugee tents
a world of babel towers and fake news showers 
and glowering, bulge-veined purveyors of cover 
for the bankers and oil exec wankers to push profit-margins to the edge of the cliff . . .

three lone crosses on a hill 
of old canaan, granting 
red-blood palliation 
like a drug-fix 
for the powers’ thirst, 
for the hundred-million-bezillionth 
time since cain first raised hand 
to disappear
indigenous abel 
from the land

in years past we have sat tired
and glad the week was now at last 
culminating in the elusive last 
show, a corpse from a rock copse, 
angel-freed and rising so we 
could in-tone hallelujahs
and go home to a fried-chicken
feast and sunday nap-rest
but now . . .

now . . .
we are locked-in to the corporate
green-light domain, our every word-grin 
and slim key-stroke-toke in search 
for connection on sale to the google-facebook
collection of algorithm-hungry bakers 
of our next fantasy of drone-delivered 
commodity-hope and their prison-industrial 
cronies hot to incarcerate everyone not matching
their own white-fetishizing pallor
or perhaps we dare scope 
the democracy-now litany of latest outrages, looking for a little help-me-cope trip of comfort 
in shared dread of the next round 
of disaster-fed lockdowns
of liberty in the necessity of
capital’s ceaseless take and imperial
desperation to aerosol the entire planet
in control and bullets.

but the day does not do other than
its duty, the sun rises, the squirrels
cavort, the birds romance on the wing
in celebration of a coming we simply
take for granted, as we coat the waters
in plastic and the soils in our lifestyle-
effluent without relief

and we have long now 
looked for magic
we have long now 
boasted an overturning 
of the tragic 
in a stone pushed back 
from a grave defying 
the logic of gravity 
and all other known laws 
of this home-base we have thought 
we hallowed with our presence 
and sagacity but behold
—the resurrection we have held 
so sacred and unique to our own species’ 
confection of self-elevating evaluation is not 
a lesson in christian-exceptionalist-salvation
—it is simply how life functions
season after season . . . 
and the question now
the question now
the question for us now
is this:

is it enough that we embrace
being part of the grace that
attends everything else
in the stunning rhythmic
syncopation of death and rebirth
running from 4 billion years 
before adam to the very core
of whatever we possibly 
could mean by “second coming”? 
that coming is happening 
right now outside the window!
but can it be—as it used to be 
for all our ancestry—
once again, 
enough? 
can it be enough 
that we are
finally, 
simply, 
magnificently,
fragilely, 
for a brief lifetime,
just like the wondrousness
and temporariness
of everything else? 

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