Emerging from dream
Disappearing syllable
Daily walk in song

Song in many stops
Invisible second line
Breathing counting beats

Beat-counting mourning
Summer stop into waking
Second line of song

Where does the missing line walk

Jim Bodeen
21 July 2017



Working a gift-bag of Kiawe Charcoal,
kee-ah-vey, from Hawaii, hard-wood,
the chicken goes on just after breakfast,
nobody's coming, trying to shorten
words simple. To say,
My hair is not on fire, or, My hair is on fire,
and know the difference.
(This, a praise song to the Senator from Montana.)
Weber Kettles have three vents that turn down heat,
and I'm a small part of Weber nation.
Jubilee Year for Karen and I,
reunited between Panama and Vietnam
during The Summer of Love. All debts off.
Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed Girl.
Making love in Karen's Chevy.
Where I started for this morning
when responsibility and chaos
broke through my fire-wall.
Those new digs you're in, Google                                                                                                      
has photos of that grand park.
Lucky strike, your image for this life.
Transistor radios. Remember?
Music we hear, not fit for the oval office.

Jim Bodeen
18 July 2017

Alt-Light Arrival


Morning shade-light
sun-in-front, happen
Shade with me
waking, chilled
some, blue quilt
warmed, head clearing
from parenting pain
child-strike slight breeze
urging me, urging,
Walk the yard
Go in and out
by all light
Last night
late notes
Harper's margins
ink stealth
second pen
in middle
of Jeremiah

Lightnin' Hopkins
black diamond vinyl clear
these are the Monday Morning news
my feet sandalled,
naked no shoes to tie
still life in blues

Jim Bodeen
17 July 2017



            --After Brueggemann

That each breath is a gift from God
remains real strange these years later
after first stumbling and fall. It was me,
arguing, the Bishop only smiled. The book

that breathes new life re-surfaces
in my own garden. My own?
Where tentativeness ceases,
listening never does,  So says

the Biblical scholar raising
language to alter that
which defends me,
a liberating way. What

is required? Walking
the poem across the abyss
without a net. What is required?
Of the man: Withholding

nothing of his being. Not me
looking for God, rather
God seeking me out.
Terror is anything but domestic.

Just breathing, already edited.
Fall down in joy and blindness!
Fulfillments already exceed the promised.
So many ways to read when new.

In, with, under, against.
Turning and returning.
Imagine the one who would protect God.
The one who calls Saturday the longest day.

Jim Bodeen
14 July 2017



Takes my breath away
Three edited syllables
Gathering sunlit sticks

Jim Bodeen
14 July 2017



Freedom from  miracles
freed me for breath-words.
Forming like crickets--A
Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.

Burning with freedom
and on fire. Others saw
something they wanted
nothing to do with. Anger

sent me off.
I was in wind
that allowed me entrance
to sky. Over

and over I sang
gospel, breaking lines
on the half-hitch
just before placement

of the comma. Tiny
coma-breath tick
of songline. Jesus
sitting on a stone

with others,
smiling and safe,
listening to whispers
talk truth

to reason.
of a great feed.

Jim Bodeen

12 July 2017

Triptych for Rudolf Bultmann


            Dedicated to Father Stanley Marrow, S.J.


It starts like this.
I'm thirty years old.
Returned GI from Panama, from Viet Nam.
Finish school on the GI Bill.
Married. Three small children.
With questions.

Forty years ago I found that man
who took on those questions.
Me. A protesting protestant.
Stanley Marrow, S.J. Iraqi.
Living in community with priests and nuns.
Three summers. Three years.
Stanley rolled away every stone.
He took every question.
He took every security.
Every turning point.
It all happened.
That life.
Over and done with.
That fast.
It all began then.

Then I came home. That was 40 years ago.

This will take some time. I still have six days
before I turn the two books back in
come from Interlibrary loan. One came
from George Fox University in Portland--
the thesis of the young man from Princeton.
A thousand pages and a hundred bucks.
One paragraph from Christian Century--
a starting point. The other one,
Other, bless your heart,
the biography of the man come to me
across cultures and closed doors--
closed, if not forbidden. Six days.

I promised myself, given the chance,
my devotion and waking hours for the time
I have the books, if they came at all.
Their notice of arrival comes when I'm on the road,
costing me the first two days totalling twelve.

This is crisis. Deciding makes me smile. A president on a battleship.
No time for insider joking in code.

The yes and the no.

I was young and back from the war. The one in Southeast Asia.
During the bad time. To be fair here, I already belonged to literature.
I don't know. I was Medevac Sergeant at the Evac Hospital. In personnel.
Everybody counted, and we counted them sending them out.
I can't say to safety, because most of them were going home,
back to the States.  Round the clock new year. This way home, GI.
In those months. That time. Those poems came years ago.
GI bill. Following literature.

I found Amos. Hosea. Couldn't find Jesus.

Before Bultmann, before Stanley,
the Icelandic pastor hounded me. Both of us with North Dakota roots.
Rural. Small town. Town family among farmers.
Diaspora on the front end.
Him, into the beyonds. Beyond psychology, beyond religion,
wanting to write it. He wanted what the poem gave me.
I found Merton and C.S. Lewis from others.
He gave me Heschel and the prophets, he couldn't get me to Jesus.

First blush. Euphoric. Post-Bultmann. Pretty cool dude.
I'm the one liberated. Oh yeah. Look around. I try to tell it.
I try to say what happened. What I know.
I try to say where I've been. What happened.
I knew better coming home from Viet Nam.
I knew to shut up.
This was so much bigger. This was given to me.
Not a pastor now. Not anybody in pews either.
Sounding his name. Tongue explosion. A bolt of the blues.

The best that ever happened became the worst.
Name recognition. Oh. Yes. It turns out he doesn't matter.

The librarian calls. Both books, Spanking new. Never been opened.
Bultmann's eyes on the cover of the biography
dominate--the right eye directed at someone not identified,
the left eye in shadow. No attribution for the image.
Konrad Hammann. Marburg credentials. Translated
into English by Philip Devenish. This book presented
to The Guesman Collection for Biblical and Ministry Studies
at the Beverly Library, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

A Lutheran convert to Vatican II.

Let that one play out.

I've been with the Chinese poets. The ancient ones.
And others. So many beautiful ones.
Always asking about Stanley.
Stanley says he talks with children to learn the language.
Bultman's name under my breath.
It's been, well, it's been good, it's been,
what it still is, a wonder walk.

And now, the surprise of these books.

Jim Bodeen
1 July 2017--11 July 2017


            --and to Philip Devenish, English translator

American Christians here have POTUS' back
in Germany this week at G-20 talks.
A starting point of sorts. A context
for my reading of your Bultmann.
Delights come early countering depression.
Yesterday Donald Trump says three times,
Nobody knows for sure. Kerygma?

Early delights, Professor Hammann, as I said.
I expected treasure, but to be giggling on page 11!
You first, Emancipation from received tradition,
followed by Bultmann: Deliverance without compromise.
Stanley Marrow, four decades ago, my teacher,
in an auditorium of nuns and priests: We swoon
imagining Jesus on the cross for three days,

not seeing those on crosses for thirty years.
My context. A married Lutheran. Aversion
to traditionalism myself? I write from arrested
development, your book a medicinal purge.
The way you bring us Bultmann: Faith
not making truth claims, but personal experience
making contact with unconditional power.

Back and forth of dance. Compatible daring.
Redemptive. Eternal forces revealing themselves
in temporal events. Do you ski? Professor Hammann,
you and Bultmann descend through snow
on alternating edges. The right sort of foolishness
and high spirits. Trouble reveals divine strengths.
Alone in the pew, this was my time of testing,

but I couldn't see it. Crisis of the bourgeois world.
The faithful person, never the natural person, always
the person killed and brought back to life by God.
The two of you together crossing time.
Free from every entanglement. Sitting with your book
I say to myself, I'll be funny, exploding in tears.
Across time, I held on to Stanley and Vatican II

as doors closed daily. Reading poems, writing.
Tracing sources to their source in primitive form.
Whose voice here, authentic? What has been redacted?
Who are these fools? There is no 12-Step Program
for Bultmanians in America. After the euphoria,
I begin asking pastors about Bultmann. Who?
Oh. He doesn't matter. Young theologians

at the Master Narrative workshop? No.
A perverted state is at enmity with God.
Persecuted Jews, Gospel of John, the Demythologizing Lecture.
I spend three of my 12 days with your book here.
How many hours looking at photographs?
Can I thank you again without condescension?
Muzzling decrees and the confessing church, No.

At Eucharist once, in community, common cup
turns into a vineyard at harvest, with wild dancing.
Years later in Lutheran marriage encounter
the pastor takes the bread from my mouth.
The Catholics tease me relentlessly.
Ask Jim, Lutherans know their Bibles.
Word encountered in proclamation.

Crisis occurring in the moment Jesus comes.

P.S. Baseball game tied: 13-13.

Jim Bodeen
3-8 July 2017


Blue Bultmann painted by Oliver Crisp is a good start.
Sunrise hues on forehead and under the left eye, reach
beyond paint and into text. Promise of light to come.
Mission to modernity. It's about time
someone from your generation writes this thesis.
After 12 days, your big book on interlibrary loan
on its way back to George Fox University Library.

What is the condition for a modern theology?
Be sure and run it by those suffering in pews.
They're waiting, David Congdon, Dr. David Congdon,
Welcome. Here, everything fabricated
is banished--Bultmann at 28.
Mission turned towards interpretation.
Wave to your friends. This will take awhile.

Tension and pull, back and forth.
Paradoxes testing metaphors to breaking points.
The poem gets to yes only after saying no.
Tergiversator they called him? Tergiversator.
We know that one without looking it up.
Resurrection occurs identically with faith itself.
Hidden, you say--the Bultmann appeal.

A word clear in itself Bultmann says, asking Barth in a letter:
How do I say this to my children?
Dr. Congdon bringing the next two:
How do I say this to myself?
How do I hear it to myself?
Entanglements, ideologies, and guarantees.
Free of these, the word clear in itself,

beginning. I write from the pew,
liberated 40 years ago, by an Iraqi Jesuit,
who took every false teaching he could find
before giving me back to Luther. My wait?
40 years-plus, from Fr. Stanley Marrow to here.
I write from the edge of gratefulness,
a garden, mostly poets, but this weekend,

a pastor, in his 70s, low bullshit tolerance.
Cooking Mexican. Corn on the grill.
Chiles--de arbol, pasilla, habanero,
with Nopales, scored, like fingers.
Once you start telling people the secrets,
they sit up in their chairs. Isn't keeping secrets
sin as much as the fear? Who carries more fear?

Laymen or pastors? The pastor remembers
Arthur Võõbus, in seminary. The Estonian
carrying manuscripts on his back.
Every seminarian killled. Looking at him,
Mr. Dean Stewart, I am very disappointed in you.
I expected more than a book report.
Only being open, not created, self-revealing.

The unnumbered dead never counted in pews.
Laying out the Bultmann program. How big, this wait?
Some of what's remembered isn't remembered right.
What froze changed in the storage. What took root    
grafted itself seamlessly. How it gets heard
reveals the eschaton.  No guarantees
in the poem, walk the image to the abyss,

I can be wholly other, only when the dream
is wholly other also. How many times do we die?
How do I tell you this is real?
Time to soften up under an aging crust.
Your companion Bultmann's on the shelf.
When God arrives, he's already here,
been here forever, already beyond.

God's word is money that doesn't spend.
I'm reading my margin notes
inside the art of understanding.
May we, in your words,
take this strange world seriously.
From here, I find Hammann's biography,
one way only, love, perpetually beginning.

Jim Bodeen
10 July 2017