Bolder: A Poem

wearing soiled gloves and grimey coats that stink of maddog and night-train,

on a cold october night, we can see our firey breath.

we’re 12 scruffy long-beards huddled round a barrel in the alley behind the oddfellows hall on pearl st.

4 of us used to have crew cuts and still have tattoos of eagles, globes, and anchors on our arms.

5 of us need psychotropics and counseling  – but don’t have anyone to prescribe them.

a newspaper blows our way, but before we throw it in the fire to briefly add to our warmth,

one of us reads the headline:

“East Coast Prepares for Monster Storm.”

“A year after being walloped by Hurricane Irene, residents rush to put away boats, harvest crops and sandbag board-walks as Eastern seaboard braces for rare mega-storm that experts say will cause much havoc and destruction…

…Hurricane Sandy, moving north from the Caribbean after causing 40 deaths there, is expected to make landfall Monday near the Delaware coast, then hit two massive weather systems as it moves inland creating a hybrid monster storm that could bring nearly a foot of rain, high winds, and 2 feet of snow.”

ha! we laugh!  a “frankenstorm” for halloween! ha ha ha!!

but, BOOM!!

you kick the barrel and tell us to shut the F-up! this is serious!

as your sonic boom lingers you say you spent some time on the internet at the library by the creek yesterday and that your suburban house-wife sister who lives in philliy says that her meteorologist husband says:

Remember the so-called “perfect storm” Irene? The “worst” of that storm lasted for 6-8 hours. With Sandy, we will have FOUR TIMES that–24-36 HOURS of “worst”. With the record-low pressure, he expects the SUSTAINED winds to blow 50-60 mph FOR 24-36 HOURS. And for heavy–HEAVY–rain to fall for 24-36 HOURS. For those of you who know Brad, you know he does not get excited or panic or get hyper. He is VERY concerned about this storm. HE has stocked water and food and batteries and done the other recommended preparations. The only other time I’ve seen him like this was with Irene. And he says this will be much worse.

you take the paper and you read aloud the words of an insurance analyst: “The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I’m thinking a billion this time, Yeah, it will be worse.”

the veins twitch on your forehead and spit spittles from your lips as you proclaim — thisain’t somethin’ to laugh at.

you tell us that the atlantic ocean is 5 degrees warmer than average.

and that warmer water means stronger storms

warmer water means more evaporation, which means heavier rains

higher sea levels means higher storm surges – and add to that that it’s going to be a full

moon this week and all of that means

a storm unlike any that meteorologists have ever seen is heading for the east coast of our country

and when it hits we’ll jolly F’n know why!

what do you mean we’ll know why? we protest. weather just happens man!!

yeah, you say, but this isn’t just weather, this is because of us man!

it’s called human-aggravated global warming man.

you can look it up man!

and those dudes that are running for president?

puppets of the coal and oil industries.

during the debates neither of those corporate suits said anything about global warming.

instead they boasted about how they’re planning on increasing american oil and so-called

“clean coal” cough cough production!

well they can stick their head in the sand; they can pretend it isn’t happening.

they can run, but they can’t hide.

‘cuz that mega-storm is headed smack straight to 1600 pennsylvania ave., right to the

front doors of the white house… and it’s gonna be a white house when it’s covered over

with 2 feet of snow and lit up only by that full moon ‘cuz the power’s gonna be out all

across that marble covered swamp of a district!

and in 50 years they’ll wish it was still white, ‘cuz d.c.’s gonna be aqua!

it’s gonna be under the blue-green ocean with just the statue of lady freedom on the top of

the capitol sticking up above the waves.

e plurbus unum – in many we’ll be one people with pruned, water-soaked toes that are

beginning to grow webs between them.

but even though the candidates are all beholden to the coal and oil industry, they aren’t all

the same.

some of the candidates at least mentioned solar and wind energy, some didn’t.

22% of the children in America are living in poverty.

some of the candidates have a plan to deal with that, others don’t.

our country spends obscenely on our armed forces —  as much as nearly all of the other

nations of the world combined.

we’re the most weaponized empire in the history of the world,

with 761 military stations in over 100 countries across the globe.

some of those would be commanders in chief want to reduce our military spending, while

some want to spend and additional $2 trillion on the military that the military hasn’t even asked for!

and to make matters worse, that franken-storm might end up screwing up our election because studies show that bad weather means fewer people turn out to vote.

a “perfect storm” indeed…

but you know something? you say. i’m not worried. i ain’t scared at all!

you say, it’s been said that christianity is one beggar telling other beggars where he found

bread — and fellow beggars,

I have some bread for you!

yes things may look bleak,

yet lo!

lo! i tell you that though it may be friday, sunday’s a comin’!

maybe it’s a good thing that the power will be out on the east=coast!

maybe that’ll mean people will have to vote with paper ballots because they can’t use

diebold’s unverifyable electronic voting machines!

the good news is that even though about half of us are mentally ill, we’re created in the

image of God – and that means God is too!

the good news is that our nut-ball of a God, is like a Shanghai Knight who knows crazy and

isn’t afraid to use it!

when ancient judah was under siege and about to be taken over by the babylonians

the almighty mad-hatter told jeremiah to do something bold.

as his nation was being over-run and decimated, God told jerry to buy a field!

and jerry demonstrated absurd, over the top, ridiculous faith in God and in the future of his

country by investing in judah when the wisdom of the world would’ve suggested to sell,

abandon ship, and flee.

jerry bought a field and his deed demonstrated tangible physical hope that God would

ensure that a faithful remnant would survive the dark days ahead and that they would

continue to be his people and that he would continue to be their God, who assures that

houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’”

fellow beggars, our nation is under siege – but it’s under siege from within… and that

storm out east isn’t the real storm.

like bobby dylan, I pray for God to be our shelter from the storm.

i pray not for a shelter from the sea, or a tax shelter overseas,

i pray for a shelter from   ourselves   when we’re at our worst.

my prayer for us isn’t for our economy or for a return to a time when our middle class was

more stable and upwardly mobile.

i pray not for a return to a time when many of us strove to increase our incomes and keep

up with the jones’ assuming that wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and that it trickles down to

us as the rich get richer.

instead, i pray for us to step back and see the bigger picture – through the eyes of faith.

i pray for us to do some soul searching,

and to reconsider our true priorities, commitments, and goals.

i pray for us to remember who and Whose we are,

and to play well in the global sandbox.

i pray for us to truly follow the one whom many of us claim to follow and to not try to serve

two masters.

it’s hard to serve God and mammon — it’s counter productive, conflicted, and leads to

jealousies, death, and diarrhea  — like I think your johnny walker red is better than my 2

buck chuck! well who gives a chuck?

now i’m not calling for us to become nudists, or amish, or naked amish dudes,

but i pray for us to be grateful for what we have and to trust that God will provide for our

needs, though perhaps not our wants, day to day — and to remember that “it’s a gift to be

simple.”

you may think me crazy, you may think me foolish, but I say we pitch-in our meager means

and “purchase a field” during our unlikely time.

let’s provide a witness and reminder to our nation that God will ensure that a faithful

remnant will survive and that the future is bright and beautiful.

yeah, the housing market is finally beginning to recover, but we’re not purchasing a literal

parcel of land or inspiring a remnant that is only concerned about “the resumption of the

buying and selling of properties once again.”

we’re purchasing a parcel of spiritual cajones, a field of faith, a plot of authentic following

of that madman from nazareth.

About Roger Wolsey

Rev. Roger Wolsey is an ordained United Methodist pastor who serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He's the author of "Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity."


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X