Thursday, January 22, 2015


I perceive God as Creator in Everything:
Animator of Earth
Instigator of Heaven &
believe in Jesus Christ
the Son of Man
Prince of Peace
Liberator & Lord
Poet & Prophet of Revolutionary Love
who is conceived in the fire of the Holy Spirit
born from the sacred feminine embodied in Mother Mary
suffered & persecuted & crucified
for his external & internal Mystical-social Rebellion again empire
who died & descended into darkness to unlock all gates & limits
fully resurrected & risen from the dead
just as all death feeds life in eternal regeneration & return

He unites heaven & earth
God & humanity
In cosmic Oneness &
Kingdom consciousness

From this cosmic unity
Jesus offers universal salvation &
Grace, love, & mercy

We are One in the Spirit
United in the ecumenical church
& Communion of Saints
Fulfilled by the forgiveness of sins
For the resurrection & restoration of all creation
& life everlasting


Saturday, August 3, 2013

I don’t have time for poetry.

I don’t have time for poetry. I don’t have time for anything but poetry.
Upon compiling this collection of work written between 2009 & 2013, I had to draw heavily from my roots in the DIY zine & chapbook scene that were nurtured & cultivated in downtown Detroit & rural DeKalb County in the 1980s & 90s. Self-publishing has both benefits & drawbacks, but as I completed this project during late July 2013, I honestly faced the fact that I don’t have enough time to adequately & thoroughly edit a collection of my own work. But do I have time for poetry?
This work drinks from many streams but its primary springs bubble-up from the poetic scriptures & wisdom rhetoric of the Bible as well as the work of the Beat movement writers, most specifically Jack Kerouac & Allen Ginsberg, as well as less noted William Everson (or Brother Antoninus, the ‘Beat friar’). Second-generation Beat writer Anne Waldman not only influenced me but tutored me, & it is her efforts in the ‘chant genre’ that will show the most obvious impact on my style. It’s amazing how a handful of writing workshop exercises may morph themselves into a steady literary & spiritual-poetic ritual that I’ve now practiced for more than 20 years.  
It’s with some worry of offending my readers or my colleagues in the Beat studies community (if any of them decide to read this collection) that I declare this book a work of Beat literature. The scholar in me realizes that Beat as a literary movement is historically & socially situated. But insofar as I feel I have had the spirituality of that movement transferred & taught to me directly from the likes of Anne Waldman & Allen Ginsberg, the poet in me wants to claim that direct lineage, much like Allen taught us how he claimed his connections to William Blake & Walt Whitman.
Of course this is also a religious book, & its preaching section has been influenced & nurtured by the ‘emergent,’ ‘emerging,’ & ‘convergent’ conversations, by contemporary writers too many to name here, by my work in the Come ToGather (C2G) collective, by my studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, & by my mentors at First Presbyterian Church, the righteous reverends Patrick Handlson & Richard Neil. Dick Neil in particular is to be thanked not only for his vast knowledge, deep wisdom, & steady encouragement but for noticing the major influence that Kenneth Patchen has had on my poetic work.
Transcribing the poems for this book from scribbled journal entries reminds me of its autobiographical component, even though the verse & sermon styles are not inherently confessional, these rely for me on frank disclosures quite intentionally, which reminds me of the disclaimer I borrow from the Rev. Otis Moss III: “Don’t edit your testimony.” So much of this book centers its topical weight in my recovery from alcoholism & other addictions alongside my reconversion to Christianity. Although some self-censorship obviously occurs in the writing process, I’ve tried not to cut too many of the explicitly honest or deeply expressive parts in the editing process. But my previous immersion in hippy, punk, pagan, anarchist, commune, & poetry subcultures should be obvious, & it’s the overlap of radical Jesus-following Christ consciousness with these other moods & movements that distinguishes this book from others. If the progressive politics or theological perspectives purveyed here offend or bother you, I welcome your feedback & want your forgiveness.

From the Anarchist & Situationist movements as well as from Buddhist & Christian monastic types, I’ve learned about the enchantment of everyday life. That is, for me, poetry is not so much these chants & rants but my life lived in gratitude & with attitude, with guts & gusto, with love & longing. In that sense, I always have time for poetry, & if I don’t, I’m really in trouble.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jesus Keeps Me Sober

"Jesus Keeps Me Sober" from the prequel to Beat Is Beatitude, called Manger Chaser, and released late last year. Interpreted as song by Michael Humber.


 Jesus keeps me sober
The one who turned water Into wine
Turned it back into water for me

He turned it into black coffee
Carbonated water
All natural soda

 Jesus keeps me sober
One minute
One hour
One day at a time

 I used to think communion Sacraments
 had to be spiked
That the disciples must have been stoned
 But the gluttony of Christmas cookies

Is more than I need tonight
To dance around the evergreen tree
In the bliss of childlike ecstasy
 Christmas got sober Jesus is clean
Purged from sin
Or being mean
He’s the hope
That children dream

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beat Is Beatitude

(after Jesus in Matthew 5:3-11 & Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac:
“Beat doesn’t mean tired, or bushed, so much as it means beato, the Italian for beatific: to be in a state of beatitude, like St Francis, trying to love all life, trying to be utterly sincere with everyone, practicing endurance, kindness, cultivating joy of heart.”) 

Blessed are
            the beat down, broke down
            rock bottom, belly up
            hung over & hopeless or
            strung-out, stretched-thin,
stoned, drunk & desperate
For yours will be heavenly when
            the healing comes

Blessed are
            the eyes-red, grandma dead
            brother locked-up in the fed, angry-lonely
            in the head, another man
            in your darling’s bed –
            for comfort – and I’m not
            talkin’ about that Southern Comfort—
            God’s comfort is coming for you

Blessed are
            the nerds & nobodies
            who never got picked first in sports,
            who never got asked out on dates,
            who never thought anyone noticed,
            that always did the next right thing
            blessed are you & all this bounty is your reward

Blessed are
            the low-blood sugar, haven’t eaten all day,
            worked & weary
            hungry for hamburgers & hot dogs or a home-cooked
            meal of any kind,
            blessed is that ravenous appetite when focused on love
            for you will be fed some soul food,
            some of the best greens & cornbread & BBQ around
Blessed are
            the big-hearted & mind-blowingly gentle & chill folks
            who don’t judge & just give love
            because love gives & just gives again
            loves loving in a loving way

Blessed are
             the people that purge their power trips &
            ego grips & cleanse the clutter of their souls to see
            the soft love that liberates all
            by letting go

Blessed are
            the peacenik, pacifist, ban-the-bomb, tree-hugger types
            & blessed are all the types of people that hate
            the peacenik, pacifist, ban-the-bomb, tree-hugger types –
            may they sit down for some sweet tea & apple pie &
            pray the rosary until the road to war
            ends in God’s group hug of all humanity

Blessed are
            the picked on, kicked around, bullied, beleaguered, & teased—
            outcast & misfit & misunderstood—
            for you are just like Jesus
            who took the bullying for all of us &
            broke through the bully consciousness
            of the world to show us
            the kingdom of God

—Andrew William Smith
October 2010, Cookeville, TN