Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ash Wednesday Collection

collecting lent
Harvey S. Mozolak

embrace us
in this bruised season
where the cold has broken branches
and allowed our tears to seep beneath
rotting the rooms where we live
make Lent a shelter
to weather our worst
under your sparse 
but protecting rafter 
offering a holy hereafter 

stroke of ash
Harvey S. Mozolak

passwords they say
ought to include
letters like found in a word
numbers perhaps three
and at least one symbol
the carbon code on the fore wall
before the thought and thinking
above the eyes and mouth
between the hearing
the choice of God
divine secret shown in Christ
of the three
his cross
stoking the fires of hate
the ashen stroke
printing in the dirt
the earth's opening
beyond burial dust

Harvey S. Mozolak

over the years by decay 
dense and darker 
the topsoil grows 
with dead matter 
rotted flowers and wilting weeds 

in the corners 
behind and in the seams 
the dust deepens 
like a quiet indoor snowfall 
from unseen drying clouds 

parched where we were placed 
make and take refuge 
wood-raftered room 
under the endless roof 
stars and hair 
flake away like layers 
of skin sloughed 
by what we are 
do and do not do 

draw intersecting lines 
rigid right angled to each other 
in the dirt 
breath expelled 
will gather us there 

blow the trumpet in Zion 
Joel 2. 1-2, 12-17 
Harvey S. Mozolak

clang the alarm 
ring the threat bell 
not the weekly check of the system 
followed by the all clear 
to move into Monday 
sound the trumpet to arms 
caution the careful to care 
alert the fragile 
the young and occupied 
even the baby and bride 
high from the community pole 
change the code color to red 
dripping down its wooden stem 
entering dangerous days 
the nearness of the Lord 

left hand ignorance to right doing 
pair of gloves, left 
Matthew 6. 1-6, 16-21 
Harvey S. Mozolak

absent-heartedly my hand 
reaches into my pocket to check 
the security of my wallet 
walking toward the man 
in the tattered brown coat 
thick wiry beard 
strange wide eyes 
on a rusty face 
of wind-sanded skin 
three stores down 
if he moves toward me 
will loose change do 
to step around? 
my shopping list: 
sauvignon blanc 
red peppers 
bathtub spray 
dilled cauliflower 
accidentally comes out 
with the two quarters 
three dimes a nickel 
and seven pennies 
and a twenty sticking to the grocery note 
stealing my secret fear 

pair of gloves, right 
Matthew 6. 1-6, 16-21
Harvey S. Mozolak

her story is of no interest 
it will be sad 
long and demanding 
she with her gaunt children 
their stringy hair 
untied shoes and misbuttoned shirts 
how can she afford to wear a watch? 
mine says 12:40 in the afternoon 
their faces stained by the street 
this small thin trinity 
mother with boy and girl 
offering me 
a chance for a hardly noticed fast 
on the way to lunch 
in the closet of my chest 
my heart flutters for a moment 
a moth rousted 
escaping the light 
for an alley 
there to the side of that store

a Wednesday before
Harvey S. Mozolak

encroaching on laughter
descending at merriment
disquieting contentment
and veiling our pretty faces
with the visage of divine suffering
Lent leans into the week

Ash Wednesday arrives
a date the printer knew
last year and sold to us
on the glossy page of a calendar
several months ago
for a recent turn or rip

—we have done no shopping for the holiday
no baking, cooking or cleaning
and the only decoration—

the dust has settled more slowly
but names can be written
deeply on the covered wood
walling us from the mere counting
of time
in a dusty day

the storage chest
Matthew 6. 19-21
Harvey S. Mozolak

the hinges rusted
needing a rib or cane 
a stick to pry open
a coronary-shaped lock 
that can be by-passed
loose hanging
its curved metal artery barely
holding a silent cold steel fist
in frozen defiance
that once held the combinations 
of minutes moments hours and events
the lining moth-holed and torn
and what is stored there
within is the wealth
of being buried and uncovered
by the seeking heart of God
restored as ardent and abiding treasure

almsgiving, prayer and fasting
three devotional legs of Lent
  Matthew 6. 1-18
Harvey S. Mozolak

music for trumpeting 
the giving of alms:
with the refrain in silence
the tone 
a tune handed 
by an anonydextrous giving
to those who are songless

standing like a little cathedral
on the corner
the minister in a dark blue suit
with a golden cross on the lapel
stands loudly
praying for pedestrians
that their shopping be fruitful
their business successful
and lunch longer than an hour
off to the side down the alley
leans a stubbled face
stumbling legs
blood-shot eyes
and a mouth that smells and mutters
“O God, O God, O God….”
the door to a closet prayer

fasting can not be done quickly
one skipped meal
the arch in the belly
a slightly lightened head
and somewhat heightened senses
the emptiness must deepen
stretch the skin of the soul
a hunger must house the hidden
oil the thoughts
clear the vision
of a God within 
a filling with an ache
for more

wednesday marking
Harvey S. Mozolak

on my head
enthorn your image
rooted with the soil
where sharpened pain
grows dense
as thicket
barbed enclosure
around your thoughts
forsaken in human words
fence of forever
unangeled now ungated
burns the brow
bloods the head
blinds the strength
of God like Samson
to a pole
column of all who crowd
and celebrate the earth
by whose fall
will all come down
oak to ash
dirt to dust
mark our ruin
in this destruction
judge of our salvation
a barren brown tree-cloud
above your closing eyes
each drop of red
the fruit replaced

thumbing God
Harvey S. Mozolak

ride on ride on
in misery
can we hitch
hike along
with you
to the crossroads
where we will thumb
our noses
at how you carry us?

criminal smudge on plate and cup
Harvey S. Mozolak

ashes burned
from Jerusalem branches
so fine they fill the furrows
of the thumb print
following marking the foreheads
of the faithful trudging 
toward the place of the crime
corpse of the murdered 
modeled on the wood
lined like accused before the judge
to kneel as if before their graves
for fingerprinting the guilty
the broken dead and shed
on their tongues
and flaming their throats
with declared innocence

Harvey S. Mozolak

burned branch
thrust into a hole-shadow 
plugging the soil
smudges of dust 
bound to our brows
we wear this cross 
on which he wore us
as nakedness
breathless blood
dripped into the earth
his hidden wet roots 
crowning the way
walked below the heavens