Songs of the South: Corpus Christi

I thought after the discussion I gave on communion as prayer, it would be fitting to share a poem I alternately call “Corpus Christi” and “Ongoing Incarnation”.  Would love to know what thoughts, questions, and responses this poem raises for you.


your progressive redneck preacher,



Corpus Christi


breakbreadI lift it up, firm yet pliant, aromatically doughy

hear the rip of it tearing in my hands

and think of the calloused skin

of men toiling under the hot sun

often with little pay

in constant threat,

ever asking themselves:

Will I be sent back as illegal



despite their long labors

and searching for hope

toiling to plant and harvest the grain that bore this loaf.


As I open my mouth, ready to whisper ancient words

I cannot but think of the body I watched

chaplain 1laying still and quiet

a tangle of cords its shroud

entombed amidst white hospital walls

just as sure as that fated Galilean lay

in rocky borrowed grave

the only sounds surrounding it are

the constant beep of machines

we call life support

which instead of bringing life

simply delay the inevitable

freeing of that one woman’s soul

from a body

transformed from a house of joy

to a stifling prison of pain,

a sound that mingles with

machine-borne labored breaths

which together resound in that room

like water dripping

on stalagmites

deep below Linvern caverns.


“This is my body,” my lips whisper

and I cannot but have my mind transported

revelation idi aminto the hills and seas of Uganda

where Idi Amin left bodies

piled in the sun

of little girls

just like that African princess

who is like a daughter to me

whom he thought defective,

and the smoke clouds of Aushwitz,

which rose engulfing all those

whom madmen called unworthy

while good people watched unmoved.


“Broken” I whisper

Child Abuse Statisticsand think of the man

whose life remains shattered

by one he trusted as a boy

who left scars no , nor time itself, can heal.

“Broken” echoes

as I remember little girls and mothers

hiding for their life

from the ones that left them bruised.


I take the cup, I raise the glass,

and realize

in each of them the Sacred Light burns bright

inner-peace (1)just as surely as it shined in Mary’s baby boy

and in me.

This is my cup, I hear him whisper as I say his words

poured out in you and many.


As I hear Him, I remember

how often we fail to see.

We say “keep those dirty souls out of our parks”

not letting love win for the likes of them.

Stop-Hobophobia-Front-Black-Copy-21We say “send them back”,

forgetting that it is in their eyes,

eyes of the stranger

the broken

and the poor,

that the Savior’s eyes shine back upon us.

We say “they are too far away”

while so many baby girls

fall under tyrant’s tank

and terrorist’s bomb

their fathers likewise

helpless to save them.


And I fall to my knees



breath prayerall those I turned away

not seeing

calling crazy, faggot,

wetback, and gimp

heart broken wide,

face wet with tears.


And somehow, somewhere,

in the music of the moment

I hear a whispered reminder

This, broken, is my body.

This one poured out bears my life.

Be my body, broken with the broken,

be my life, poured out to the empty.

Let us lay a table together

in the valley of death

so your cup overflows

with drank of healing

for all my who lie broken

trembling in fear.



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