Joe Jackson, June 23, 2017, Kansas City, Missouri

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Stumbling into Grace

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help, Kansas City, Missouri.

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Religion made simple

At the Catholic Church in Nebraska City, Nebraska.

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A glassed-in exhibit of faith

Someone’s house on South 6th Street in Omaha.

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Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska, March 24, 2017

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We come in peace (Bayliss Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa)

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Somewhere in Iowa…

cattle

…an admonishment to keep the cattle out, while those within slumber peacefully as they have since forever (Grandview Cemetery, east and north of Sidney).

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Sojourn

Driving home from Brownville Sunday night on the old 136/67, I passed a Mennonite church. I am not the least bit religious (and you should ask me sometime why I’m no longer attending church), but, oddly enough, I’ve never passed up a church whose doors were open. This place was lit up and had a few cars, so I U-turned and hesitantly stepped in. A woman with a delightfully plump baby of about 8 months came over to me. “Please come in,” she said. “I don’t have anything to cover my head with,” I replied. “It doesn’t matter,” she assured me, “you are welcome.” Welcome. What a lovely word!

Mennonites are the people you see at county fairs and reenactments: with bonnets and calf-length dresses, selling delicious jams, jellies, breads. The men usually in the background, bearded, with hats. This was a traditional service — women on the left side of the room, men on the right. Almost all the women had their hair pinned up, covered by the small bonnets.

The elder was talking to the kids about a man who acquired a rock for every time someone hurt him, or every time he held a grudge. Pretty soon his pockets got so full, he had to dump them all out in his front yard. People came from miles away to see his rock collection. Finally, someone asked him, “where is your other collection?” The man didn’t know what he meant. “The collection you have when people did you a good deed.” So the man began planting trees for every good deed bestowed on him.

I wanted to hear the rest of the service, but it was getting dark and I had at least two hours’ drive left. I left as quietly as I could, thinking about rocks and trees.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent, Reconciliation

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Mary Elizabeth and Dolly (lower left) did not want their faces to go on the internet, but they did want to tell you that rituals are important and  beautiful — and they also wanted to wish you the most joyous … Continue reading

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Dirges, songs

My intent is to write poems about all my recent days (10) in the hospital and put them here. I was battling a nasty, filthy thing called mycoplasma pneumonia. Maybe this will help me update more often. It may have the opposite effect.

PART 1–To the ICU

swathed in what seems to be

opaque plastic wrap,

you ride with jovial strangers

to the fifteenth floor.

A clear mask pushing

oxygen at 100 pound PSI

is placed

over both your mouth

and nose. You are the queen of all,

flying, laughing. Suddenly

everything goes black.

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