Two Poems by Howard Winn

Untitled, Robert Casella

Holy Cross Church and School

in South Portland, Maine
planted an evergreen in front
of the mosaic portrait of
the Son of God as they defined
him with eyes rolled back
as if he had been struck in the’
back of the head by a lead pipe
so that as the pine grew it
gradually covered what local
wits called “The Ugly Jesus”
because this artist’s gift would
not be removed no matter how
repellent the portrait was when
it became clear to the majority
of church members that their
religious symbol had become
the focus of jokes and derision
just drive by the Ugly Jesus
locals would say when giving
driving directions to newcomers
and turn left onto Broadway for
the bridge you cannot miss it
even though now it is masked by
that pine of Maine that has
beatified the neighborhood in
a non-sectarian manner while
at recess the innocent school
children play and gambol in
pure non-denominational play

Churches for Sale

the headline proclaims for
in June dozens were deconsecrated
by the New York City diocese for attendance
fell in the face of loss of faith
as well as the loss of the faithful
who may have moved out of town
unable to afford the price of
living in a city where real estate
is being taking over by oligarchs
who need to laundry Russian or
Chinese money with Big Apple
buildings perhaps even labeled
with the President’s brand therefore
impressive cathedrals are on the
market for imaginative use except
I wonder what the Church will do
with this left-over holy consecration
a blessing left without form or focus.


Howard Winn’s writing, both fiction and poetry, has been published by such journals as the Southern Humanities Review, The Galway Review, The Dalhousie Review, The New York Quarterly, and Beloit Poetry Review. His novel, Acropolis, and poetry collection, When Marilyn Monroe Met Edith Sitwell, have been recently published. Academically, he received a BA from Vassar College, an MA from the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University, and has done doctoral work at NYU. Currently he is an English professor at SUNY.

IMG_4320Robert Casella lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.