Livid * – a poem of Holy Saturday

In the night after Holy Saturday – an angel. But before?
An original icon in the collection of Charles LaFond

Livid: A poem of Holy Saturday

Livid bruises cover your still body.

Plums. Blues. The resulting purple.

The garden. The arrest. The savage beatings.

And then in that cold, stone tomb

in which your blood settled in

heels, buttocks, back. 


The ways it does in corpses.

Off that cross and into that cave ledge 

you became so very cold.

Mouth gaping a bit.

Body clean from the tenderness 

of the women.  Of John. 

Washing, wiping, wrapping.

After it all, your body was livid.

Were they livid?

Angry, I mean?

Purple with rage

or just with power?

Aflame with rage like the angel’s wings,

pointing plum as they do to elsewhere.

The elsewhere of Jesus after it all. 

Hard like the rocks 

pointing as they do to elsewhere.

The elsewhere of Jesus after it all.

“He is not here.”


But he WAS there. Now. Between.


While people walked in the desert

Singing Hallelujahs 

very discretely so as not to offend the very pious.

Between the wood of Friday 

and the stone of today.

In that darkness.

In that cave.

Inside where blood settles and we simply wait together.

In there where it is quiet

is where I want to be.

I have questions.

And I’ll have your full attention.

I don’t want to be at that cross.

It’s PTSD inducing

and my doctor advises against it.

I don’t want to be at that rising.

All the shouting and drama.

All that food. Lilies. The hats. The gloves.

I want, most of all, to be here 

on the day between.

In the space between

the stone cave walls.

Between the music.

I want to sit on the ledge by your corpse.

I have so many questions, you know and 

here I have you all to myself.

And you, well, you are indisposed.

Is it impolite to shove you over a bit?

The cloves and myrrh smell good.

I mean, before all the noise of trumpets 

And liturgies. 

I want a quieter Hallelujah.

A New Mexican Hallelujah.

A breaking bad Hallelujah.

A desert Hallelujah.

A cold-stone-slab Hallelujah.

A defiant Hallelujah.

A livid Hallelujah.

Black. Blue. And the requisite purple. 

Poet’s Note: To see Hallelujah by the kind of choir I think Jesus might have chosen…

* The adjective “livid” comes from ancient French and Latin root words for a blueish-leaden color.  The translation can also be “black and blue” and has roots even before the 15th century in Old Church Slavonic and Russian from the root of “plum.”

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