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

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 . . .

Continue reading “the second coming of easter (I Corinthians 15)”

the gospel (John 18:1-19:42)

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 second in a series of collaborations between Jim and Tim Nafziger putting this poetry in video form.

the gospel (John 18:1-19:42)

jim perkinson

god weeping 
broken bottle slivers 
on the cheek of time
blood cheek dripping 
in roses of divinity
under the fallen street lamp
god is a broken light-shard 
of shattered moon 
in the midnight of neon
a swallowed sun
giving birth 
to black burnt words
and charcoals of ghost 
sucked like a water pipe 
of lost manhoods
god is smoke ring solitude
the profile of dead factory pipes
incinerator ash falling 
on pale skin
the dream of stars 
in the orange night 
of city
and the eyes 
of sleeping mothers
hearing moccasins 
on the path

the wail is low
the howl is heard only under the skin
the groan is your own
the taste is flesh
the touch is bone
the shiver is red
the wind is hawk
the owl is waiting
the rib is broken
the treaty is gone
the father is underground
the finger is cold
the ear is dried channel
the tongue is choked with nothing
the head is cracked
the arm is slack
the leg is bent
the back is supine and down

Continue reading “the gospel (John 18:1-19:42)”

if the donkey could talk (Matthew 21: 1-11)

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 first in a series of collaborations between Jim and Tim Nafziger putting this poetry in video form and adding commentary and footnotes flowing from their conversations.

if the donkey could talk (matt. 21: 1-11)

jim perkinson
original: 3/27/99
updated: 3/30/22

so what do you think
mister flop-eared ferry-back
carting the precious cargo across
palm-covered dust and
peasant boys shouting
messianic manifestos
in the ears of pilate’s guard
shouting terror in the tone-deaf ears

of old-men-arrogance
the priestly pomposity
the scribal-orthodox heresy of

Continue reading “if the donkey could talk (Matthew 21: 1-11)”

The Wrong Question

By Deb Watson, flickr, cc

By Kate Foran

“The pandemic has got me thinking a great deal about how the vulnerability our species is experiencing could be an opening to imagining the threat and constriction that is the reality for so many other species and often at our hand. What about the grief in the chestnut blight or salamander epidemics?”
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

At the height of the viral bloom, our travel circumscribed,
we wander with our girls to the patches of woods that still remain
between the housing tracts and industrial parks of our neighborhood.
In the scrubby, choked lot behind the schoolyard where children never go
even when school is in session, the path winds and we stop short

as the leaf litter gives way to green-gold

spring ephemerals, trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit preaching Continue reading “The Wrong Question”

Mender’s Mud

Flickr, cc, Protopian Pickle Jar

By Bill Ramsey, April 17, 2020

0nce, on a dry and rocky footpath,
a dab of sacred saliva dampened dust.
Silently, the mender’s hands kneaded,
molded and applied the curious blend.
Mudded eyes opened. Vision restored.

These days, we walk mired down,
slogging mucky tracks, traversing
our first New England mud season,
distanced, sheltered, masked, waiting
for healing, solace and renewed balance.

April’s earth underneath our boots
is dew dampened, drizzle drenched,
thaw soaked and oh so mud mucked.
Bogged down in this deadly pandemic,
we yearn for a closure, less muddled. Continue reading “Mender’s Mud”

The Gospel of Paranoia

Gun with flower
Photo by Marco Verch

By Jordan Leahy

On January 20th – the 34th observance and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – approximately 22,000 people (mostly white men) rallied in Richmond, Virginia, to protest proposed legislation to address and decrease gun violence in the Commonwealth. Their numbers, and the accompanying threat of violence, was so great that many other annually held rallies were cancelled.

Content Warning: sexual assault imagery

The Gospel of Paranoia
Convenes them.
Foreboding presence
“Come and take it.”
They cling to
White supremacy
Their own exploitation.
All more indicative
Of what
Their respective childhoods lacked
Than of ideological coherence
Or historical literacy. Continue reading “The Gospel of Paranoia”

What the Waters Know: Re-Reading John 1:29-42

Photo by Erinn Fahey

By James W. Perkinson

He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure (Ps 40:2).

I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel. (Jh 1:31)

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” (Jh 1:36).

So we sit today in bit of snow here in Motown, while our news feeds show weekly pile-ups of cold precipitation elsewhere across the land—and pile-ups, as well, of twisted metal in our stupid infatuation with cars and speed—as the Great Stream of Jetting Air bends south and brutal, from the Arctic Circle to Arizona, in announcement that Change, with a capital “C’ is not future, but here.  And we wonder about the upheaval of an entire planet.  Australia become a living kiln, cooking up a billion-fold of living flesh, involuntary offerings to our wanton refusal to heed!  In Puerto Rico they sleep outside, as the fracked Earth, heaving from a thousand cuts, here, there, in Oklahoma now grinding Her teeth in warning hundreds of times per year where She used to rest soft and fecund and quiet, but in our little cousin island to the south, slipping and sliding the soil into great fear and one more sheer nightmare.  Last time—it was the sea and sky as Maria roared through.  Now it is rock and sand, all serving notice they do not plan on being raped and plundered, forever.  But it is the poor who are first forced to hear and bear the pain.  The rest of us sleep-walk in daylight and pull the covers of night over our oblivious heads.  But our time is coming as well, I am afraid.  And we are far more culpable. Continue reading “What the Waters Know: Re-Reading John 1:29-42”

Santa’s Surprise

12600-illustration-of-a-christmas-tree-with-presents-pvBy Liza Neal

I know a child
whose Christmas tree
was packed so high with presents
you couldn’t see its base,
and after a few hours excitement, he was bored.

I know another child.
“Santa Claus brought me a backpack!”
She told me with shining eyes.
And frankly I was surprised,
because I didn’t think
Santa Claus would come
to an asylum seeker at El Chaparral.

It was of course
the only thing she owned,
which did not diminish the joy, weeks later,
of a Christmas gift received
by a child fleeing death. Continue reading “Santa’s Surprise”


Rembrandt, Dream of Joseph, 1645, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

By Ken Sehested

Obscured brother
consigned to the margins
of Incarnation narrative.
Carpentry-calloused hands
now shield the shame
of sagging face, drooping, disgraced.
Chiseled lines prematurely sculpting
age in youthful countenance.
Thoughts of Mary smudge the heart
as tears smear the face.
Mary. Beloved. Betrothed. Betrayed?
Mary. With child. Whose? How, and why?
Joseph, companion in confusion
over God’s intention.
No multi-colored coat for you as for
your scoundrel namesake of old.
But who dares answer, much less complain? Continue reading “Joseph”

Prayer for Wednesday


By Kateri Boucher

Do you remember when
all that time ago
last Sunday
you asked to be held
in the
Said yes, I will stay in
the tension
And the wine and pita
and big old
orange moon
were your friends
and witnesses?

Well now it’s almost Thursday
and you haven’t even looked
for the moon all week,
much less
seen it,
and the tension feels lonelier
tonight than you remembered
and half the power’s out
and the mice have found the rice
and left a little trail
down to the basement

But even now I suppose
it isn’t too late to crack
a smile at the whole damn
light a candle in the kitchen,
sweep up the rice,
remember that you asked
to be held because you
already are,
and anyway
it’s just
3 more days now
til next Sunday