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Stemmle & Moreth – February 2023

Michael Moreth and James T. Stemple traded art and words. Michael shared this piece, titled “Hawk,” with James:

In response, James wrote this poem:

The Sun is Setting on the Church

The sun is setting on the church 
that bird you see hovering 
is a hawk not a dove 
whose mode is violence not grace

the steeple still points to god,
not the small god above the clouds, 
the one of tribes and nations 
but the big one in outer space, 
in all directions, 
creating new planets in remote galaxies,
not by abrogating the laws of nature,
but by accretion of stardust.

We are stardust too it turns out,
god creates by recycling. 
Who knew? 
God is an environmentalist,
   recycling repurposing reinventing. 

The sun is setting on the church 
which finds itself in existential crisis
needing to play catchup in reinvention

* * * * *

James shared this poem with Michael:


lay me out naked under
a bed of last year’s leaves
mourners could gather round
recognize themselves 
from a different role

there’s enough respect
we don’t need no
stinking funeral parlor
death should not be made pretty

there could be hymns
music is good

if inclined 
someone could try eulogy
there’s at least one thing good to say
he may not have amounted to much
but at least he made good compost

no need to cry
I want my passing to be a gift 
an excuse to party

why not just bury me with
a light covering of last year’s leaves
a donation to vermin 
they have a job to do
they need love too god knows
who made the process
and here I join

if you could use my
skeleton in your anatomy
classroom, inquire 
at this same compost pile next year
it should be clean by then
full disclosure
you’ll find two screws
in the leg bones
one titanium and one plastic
that held my jury rigged 
anterior cruciate ligament
when you think about it
you see the beauty

In response, Michael made this untitled image:

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