Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Rap On John 4

By Jen and Calvin Hunt

Jesus goes to a Samaritan well
(Which most Jews wouldn’t find so swell)
He asks the lady who draws at noon
For help to wet his whistle soon.

He says “Hey, there, woman, before you go
I sure would like some H 2 O.
In return I’ll give you living water
That satisfies like nothing other.

“The drink I got doesn’t come from a spout
But it can change you from the inside out.
So, get your husband and come back
Then I can give you the thing you lack.”

“Sir,” she said, “I’ve got no spouse,”
(Failing to cite her live-in louse.)
“Right you are! That’s why I asked,
I’m all over your five-groom past.”

Well, she’s quite impressed by his prophetic powers,
But the conversation’s going sour
So she shifts to something less risqué
Like, “On which mountain should I pray?”

Jesus replies, “All hills fare the same,
Spirit and truth are the name of God’s game.”
Now she’s sure he’s the real McCoy
Who won’t treat her heart like a toy.

So she leaves her jar and runs to town
To give all her critics the honest low-down:
“Jesus knows everything, that’s a fact!
If you want the Messiah, just follow me back!”

Of Gum and Shrimp and Machu Picchu*

After his four day adventure on the trail of Machu Picchu
Joseph returns to the hotel in preparation for his return flight.
He drops his pack
Props his feet
Finds a piece of gum
Turns on the TV
Spies some American cartoon featuring a smoking baby 
Subtitled in Spanish

This reminds Joseph
Of the figurines at the museum at the base camp
And of the archeologist’s lectures
About these people who sacrificed grown children
Here and there along the mountain trade routes
Before DO NOT LITTER signs
Littered the trail 
Way back
Before wrong had existed
Before wrong disappeared

As he watches the baby
Joseph rests his head on his hand
Leans into the loveseat
Thank god I come from civilized people
Who do not sacrifice children
On mountains
To make the gods happy
Or make things better for the rest of us
His feet throb
He could never have reached Machu Picchu
Were it not for his sherpa
The Dead Woman’s Pass would have been the end of him

Near the end of the show
His gum unflavors
So he swears and spits it out
This gum no bigger than
An embryo
Or last night’s shrimp
Carried to the top of the Machu Picchu on his sherpa’s back
Gum that has lost its taste is
No longer gum
You can and should discard it

Recumbent, Joseph rolls his eyes back and remembers
The way his hands felt
Against the firm stone walls
Remembers the stones put together tightly
Stones carried long distances uphill
Stones carried without wheels
No space between them for so much as a fingernail
How was this done
Before paper? Before lasers? Before autocad?
He wonders
Feeling a little smaller
Almost as small as the gum he just spit

The drone of the cartoon of the smoking baby
Coupled with his own sore limbs
So tire Joseph that he begins to sleep and dream
Whether or not he had a nightmare
He will decide when he awakes

From inside the television
A woman stares
Into the core of Joseph's soul
As one might stare into the face of a cleft-lipped child
Both pitied and adored
No, you do not sacrifice children on mountains in the daytime
Instead you take little melon scoops out of your face
In the dark
I can see the pock marks on your face
Tiny gum-sized divets
Where the parts you threw away used to fill
And now you are so dimple-filled
Your skin is like a golf ball’s
The melon rind is all that is left of you
It is a wonder someone has not throw you out
If they could find
A tall enough mountain
Or big enough trash can
Joseph, still dreaming, and wishing he had an earlier flight
Brushes his cheek with his fingers then
Raises his arms, his voice in defense
You must be mistaken
My face is smooth as marble
I come from a civilized people
We do not sacrifice children
On mountains
To make the gods happy
Or make things better for the rest of us
And the woman answers Joseph
Again, from the screen into his soul
You do not sacrifice them on mountains--
You do that
In hospitals
And alleyways
Where the cans are
And the gods
Are not
*This poem was written in honor of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

Why My Husband Deserves A Raise

An Appeal from “The Wife” or Why My Husband Deserves a Raise

Some employees who come along quite rarely
And deserve to be reimbursed squarely
Permit me here to tell what and why
Graham Hunt deserves from Humana’s pie

A modern day Mike Mulligan
Finishing four weeks’ work in one
Unassuming, diligent,
Trustworthy, vigilant
Hardly ever leaves his desk
Seldom flirts with opposite sex
Dresses plain, not debonair
(You know, the guy with the tow-head hair)
Modest and clever, a true problem-solver
Would never think of becoming a door-revolver
Loves his boss, his boss loves him
Situation’s a real win-win

Yet, underneath the hood
Lurks one small bug he’d fix--if he could
(Allow me to explain
Before you divvy up the grain)
It’s that . . .he rarely ever buys a lunch
Rents a duplex for his bunch
Let’s no penny run away
And still can’t travel unless others pay
Cannot save for his kids’ college
Retirement savings? a sad mirage
Helps everyone’s computers go faster
But earns less than he did as a pastor
Is this fair? Is this right?
Could this be keeping him up at night?
Might a little bump in pay
Keep him singing through hard work days?
You could help, you could try
To recompense this fine tech guy

Some employees, honest and smart
Deserve to be paid well right from the start
Thank you for letting me go on and on
About Graham’s slice of the lemon chiffon

My Yogurt Warns Me

My yogurt warns me of urban sprawl
My cereal bemoans the orangutan’s fall
It’s enough to make a girl depressed
To find she’s halfway to hell before she gets dressed

How do I know if the cause on my milk cap
Is truly momentous, or just someone’s pet
I want to be faithful without being foolish
Can someone please sell me a litmus test
Tell me which way is up in this save-the-world mess?

Because I want to save the world
But what world are we talking?
I want to save the world
But whose lifeboat will float?
I want to save the world
Tell me where are we going?
The waves are all high and the mountains are quaking
I think it’s because somewhere God’s heart is breaking
As we run around shaking fists at the ozone
Saving trees and ignoring our souls
Oh, can you tell me which way to go?
Before my corn flakes get soggy and my feet get cold?
Can you tell me which way to go?
In this runaround black-is-white show?
Because I really do want to know
Jesus, I really do want to know.

From the sermon on Matthew 8 on November 30, 2010

Lord, I am not worthy, but you say the word
And my servant at home will healed
Just say your will, don’t bother to come
If you speak, his recovery’s sealed.

The centurion man lived accustomed to clout
Bidding hundreds to come or to go
If he but required it, no matter the task
His soldiers would dare not say no.

Jesus applauded the level of trust
Of this seeker outside of the realm
At that very hour the servant was cured
For his master knew Christ had the helm

That is why I trust you, Lord,
You are God of the great and the small.
You care for the servant, the troop and the Jew
With a word you can soften our fall --and heal us all.

What Good Are Bodies

I have a body
It’s solid, liquid, hard, soft,
And everything in between
The inside me and the world

My thoughts have nowhere to go
Without a body
If I think a thought, it is only a matter of time before
Anger speeds my heart or slants my brow
Fear dimmers my eyelids or tears my hangnails
Love tingles my back or swells my belly
Joy turns my lungs to bellows, my eyes to crescents, or
My steps to skips and swirls

Sticks and stones and
Words hurt bones
Whatever you say bounces off my insides and
Sticks to my flesh
Like a cave creates stalactites from the tiny, drips
Flesh forms patterns
From the drips of thoughts over time
Time over time, ages on end until
Heads ache
Hands itch
Flesh groans
Sleep fails
I decay

When I don’t listen to my thoughts
My body turns up the volume
I may kick it like a mule
Carry on!
I may treat it like an enemy or a stranger
But it is always a friend
My conscience when conscience fails
My own truth test
I can count on my body to become
Who I truly am

(There was a man at the post office, maybe 70
Bent over, back like a turtle’s shell
I held the door so he wouldn’t fall as it swung back,
He did not become a humpback overnight
He did not go to sleep one day and wake up bent)

Bodies erode quietly and slowly
Yes, gravely and grandly, like a canyon
Through neglect, decay and a million distractions.
They are the main attraction
What we get when we’re born
What we shed when we die
Our trade in on Judgment Day
The wand in our hand
To bless, to curse
Wage war, make love
Our closest, surest tool
For forging the kingdom of God

Apples are hard, peel and core, that’s all.
But people are soft and solid with a soul in the middle
They are meant to house the fullness of God.
Bodies are how others know we’re really here
Or He’s really here.
The outline of our spirit,
The edge of our effect on the world.

(Jesus was real before he had a body
But it wasn’t until he got one
The word really got out that
He cared. He calmed.
He wept. He walked.
He bled. He died.
He came back to life.

He’s off to a better place now. So I haven’t seen him yet.
But he still has that body.
And we still have ours.
Scars and warts and all.)

God thought up bodies
He must have had a good reason
God has a body--
There’s something to be said for that, too.
I have a body--
Enough said.