I'm sorry I was late. I was pulled over by a cop for driving blindfolded with a raspberry-scented candle flickering in my mouth. I'm sorry I was late. I was on my way when I felt a plot thickening in my arm. I have a fear of heights. Luckily the Earth is on the second floor of the universe. I am not the egg man. I am the owl who just witnessed another tree fall over in the forest of your life. I am your father shaking his head at the thought of you. I am his words dissolving in your mind like footprints in a rainstorm. I am a long-legged martini. I am feeding olives to the bull inside you. I am decorating your labyrinth, tacking up snapshots of all the people who've gotten lost in your corridors.
The Church of Michael Jordan
The hoop is not metal, but a pair of outstretched arms,
God’s arms, joined at the fingers. And God is saying
throw it to me. It’s not a ball anymore. It’s an orange prayer
I’m offering with all four chambers. And the other players—
the Pollack of limbs, flashing hands and teeth—
are just temptations, obstacles between me and the Lord’s light.
Once during an interview I slipped, I didn’t pray well tonight,
and the reporter looked at me, the same one who’d called me
a baller of destiny, and said you mean play, right? Of course,
I nodded. Don’t misunderstand—I’m no reverend
of the flesh. Priests embarrass me. A real priest
wouldn’t put on that robe, wouldn’t need the public
affirmation. A real priest works in disguise, leads
by example, preaches with his feet. Yes, Jesus walked on water,
but how about a staircase of air? And when the clock
is down to its final ticks, I rise up and over the palms
of a nonbeliever—the whole world watching, thinking
it can’t be done—I let the faith roll off my fingertips, the ball
drunk with backspin, a whole stadium of people holding
the same breath simultaneously, the net flying up like a curtain,
the lord’s truth visible for an instant, converting nonbelievers
by the bushel, who will swear for years they’ve witnessed a miracle.