I have neighbors who like to say, “Be careful” whenever I leave my house and head into Center City. The cautionary words annoy me. They anno...
The Local Lens Published• Wed, Oct 23, 2013 By Thom Nickels When I ran into my friend Eric in Center City recently, he said he wanted ...
What does it mean to talk like a Philadelphian? Unfortunately, having a Philadelphia accent doesn’t carry the same cache as having a Boston...
Tom Trento, Director of the Florida Security Council , was in Philadelphia last year to showcase the film, “ The Third Jihad ,” and to shar...
I’m sitting with Broadway diva, Ann Crumb, in her parents’ home in Media, Pennsylvania. This isn’t just any home. Beside me is Ann’s father...
MATTHIAS BADLWIN WAS A VERY NICE MAN Will the City--and his so-called friends-- uphold that ...
She's not in films, but she could be. She's the one on the left. The guy in the middle is my nephew Kevin and his wife Tiffany i...
The global economic crisis has put many of the world’s skyscraper projects on hold. In Philadelphia, architects Gene Kohn and Bill Louie of...
In Philadelphia’s Morris House at 225 South 8th Street, I extend my hand to Julie Morris Disston, whom I am meeting for the first time. The ...
Why Not Philadelphia? By Thom Nickels, For The Bulletin 11/16/2008 Many questions have been asked about the proposed American Commerce Cen...
Saturday, May 11, 2013
At the Grave of Thomas Merton
By Thom Nickels
Odd to be standing on The Seven Story Mountain,
Here at the Abbey of Gethsemani, 2012,
A simple cross marking you
The June sun framing your hermitage, site of Joan Baez picnic lunches & theologians in slanted berets toasting Vatican II voodoo--
So much has changed since your electrocution in
Bangkok, that religious conference with nuns
In white, your new Zen attitude
Announcing a Coca Cola break
A day when hope seemed limitless---
The marriage of Buddhism & Catholicism, the Oneness of everything
But not the fan that killed you--in an instant hopefully before
They brought you back in a box
So much has changed--- even the nuns, decked out now in stretch pant suits & Macy’s jewelry, some raising a faux chalice to Germaine Greer---
Or the male clergy, caught in the sacristy with Ganymede, being led away in handcuffs. One pope even kissed the Koran & called it holy,
while another abdicated, paving the way for St. Malachy’s Peter the Roman, bishop of the New York Apocalypse, three days of darkness or helter skelter on the streets of
Camden despite whimsical intermissions by the Shake it Up liturgical dancers of LA cathedral fame, the temple Cardinal Mahony built when he wasn't busy covering up semen spills- Still--- don’t go thinking they’ll make you a saint
Too much sex in those journals, Tommy
That Louisville nurse, Maggie,
The one you called late at night when
You thought the other monks asleep,
Sneaking around like Portnoy’s Complaint,
Though the world honored you
“Leave the monastery,” Joan urged, “marry Maggie,”
But how many marriages last, really? Look at Dorothy
Day, her Marxism & one abortion--
No, they won’t canonize you two though how soon they
Forget St. Mary of Egypt, 1st century Lolita girl addicted to
Sex, giving it away, selling it, Can’t get enough—bad girl
Trapped in the shadows of Allen Ginsberg. When she tried to
Enter the church of the Holy Sepulcher an invisible
Shield shut her out —she’d just had sex in a
Jerusalem alley, after all—“I will give it all up if I can enter,” she pleaded & so the NO became YES & paved the way for a lifelong desert retreat of fasting & prayer till she became as the sun baked armadillo--- ugly, transcendent, but saved.