Winter 2002
Volume 1, Number 2

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Veni, Sancte Spiritus
When the broken hearted spirit arrives, no one knows
how it enters the room, what to call the groaning ghost.

It could be flame, could be wind, could be song, or syllables
arcing on lips like sparks, arching tongues
to unfamiliar diction, speech so inarticulate and pure.

Wind, flame, words rush over us,
out of us, in a humiliating gush,
until the air bears the sounds of wings.

A dove hovers, trapped in our room,
its rounded, translucent blue head
dazed against the windows.

God is a small, brown-grey, beautiful bird
beating wings against unbreachable glass?

The comforter’s voice vibrates in the spirit-drunk:
Shut up and listen. Lift up the sash.

Let the dove loose, a flame to singe the streets and sky.

Let untamed language fall on a thousand unsuspecting tongues.
—David Wright’s poems and essays have appeared in The Christian Century, The Mennonite, and re:generation quarterly, among many others. He teaches writing and literature in the Chicago area. February 1-3, 2002, he will be featured poet at the Mennonite Arts Weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio (see http://www.mennolink.org/arts-weekend/).

Forthcoming in A Liturgy of Stones, DreamSeeker Books, 2002. Published here by permission of author and future publisher, all rights reserved.

A Selfish Sonnet of Thanksgiving
A cluttered, quiet home, paper stacked high
On every horizontal plane or chair.
A child whose greatest trial is her hair,
Tangled without mercy, every day. Why
Not sing slight psalms of gratitude when light
Pours onto hardwood floors? Or when coffee
Scents the middle of the day? I can see
From this window twenty sturdy, square white
Homes where grief arrives at night on colored
Screens that one deft finger can transform to
Happiness with a click. I say thank you
These jeans pockets hold just four creased dollars,
And when my wife comes through the kitchen door
We argue about laundry and not war.
—David Wright

Forthcoming in A Liturgy of Stones, DreamSeeker Books, 2002. Published here by permission of author and future publisher, all rights reserved.

Electric Glossolalia
(The Neighborhood Boys Speak in Tongues)
We would sometimes hold
a red battery, nine volts,
against our tongues,

pressing for interminable moments,
until power’s metal flavor,
its stunning signature wrote

itself into our neurons,
flared across synapses.
But Sam always recused

himself, always went to fix
something to eat, maybe a slice
of cheese between parallel

slabs of white bread.
We dared each other to endure
longer. We worked hard

on the nuanced expression
that can mask a ten-year old’s
crazed kaleidoscope of pain

and glee. And Sam stood,
chewing his sandwich
savoring American cheese

and Wonder Bread
while his friends tasted
electricity and explained

to him how it felt to dare.
Still he stayed mute and stared,
unwilling or unable to translate

our numb tongued languages of joy.
—David Wright

Forthcoming in A Liturgy of Stones, DreamSeeker Books, 2002. Published here by permission of author and future publisher, all rights reserved.

       

Copyright 2001 by Pandora Press U.S.
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