Tag Archives: Christianity

Regular Poem: Jerks

21 May

the other morning I listened to
one of my fave Bible stories
during my daily routine
God blessed me with it
and i chose to throw away that blessing
like esau despising his birthright

(of course that king james terminology doesn’t quite
line up with the modern meaning of the word
despise didn’t exactly mean he hated it
so much as he
didn’t value it enough

as we’ve discussed previously
jacob is a total dick
and therefore
takes advantage of his brother’s weakness and foolishness
but esau
to jacob’s credit
is a melodramatic little bitch)

he sold his inheritance for lentil soup
and i traded my blessing for riling myself up

but anyway
i was blessed with it and
enjoyed the blessing for a moment

it’s the one where
jehoshaphat king of judah is hanging out with ahab king of israel and he says
“you got a prophet of the Lord in this joint?”
and ahab goes
“yeah but i hate him
because he always tells the truth
instead of what i want to hear”

they visit him anyway
and at first the prophet’s like
“you’ll win the next battle for sure”
and they’re like
“really?”
and he’s like
“lol no there’s a lying spirit in all the other
air quotes
prophets
and you’re gonna lose big time
sheep without a shephard
the whole bit”

and of course he’s right
because he tells the truth
hears what God tells him and relays it
truthfully

it’s one of my faves because
it’s funny of course
but also because
we know ahab mostly because of jezebel
his lady macbeth
enticing him into power struggles and idolatry
her lifeless decadently adorned corpse consumed by dogs

ahab was a wicked king
and his wife was even wickeder
but at least she had some agency

and here’s where the riling myself up comes in

it’s okay for david to effectively murder nabal
so he can fuck abigail
because nabal is a bad guy
but it’s not okay for david to effectively murder uriah
so he can fuck bathsheba
because uriah is a good guy

it’s okay for david to have a lot of wives and concubines and
to show his junk dancing in a street festival
but it’s not okay
for michal his first wife to think it wasn’t proper for her husband and king
to show his junk dancing in a street festival

he’s blessed and she’s cursed
for it
the intention of it
the selfless or selfish
ness of it

(also michal was jonathan’s sister
and jonathan
was the only one
david really loved
and in a super gay way

look

i don’t think God is arbitrary
but saying a bisexual dude
[jonathan’s love “passing the love of women”!!!]
[bathsheba’s naked bathing body “very beautiful to look upon”!!!]

possesses God’s own heart

is enough evidence for me
that God is different than we conservative assholes might think)

i rile myself up

i’m as angry as elisha
as he summons bears to devour children who mock him

it’s not the concubines that make one unholy
it’s what one believes because of those concubines

throw me out a window if you must
but know

someone has told the truth
a prophet is somewhere in the wilderness wailing

and an oft-divorced gentile woman
is the person
Jesus chose to speak to the longest

“did right in the sight of the Lord”

those kings didn’t abolish high places
weren’t the husband of one wife

but their hearts were somehow right

so what does a right heart even mean?

i answer the question and don’t answer

i believe
but

we’re all such jerks

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Regular Poem: Double Portion, Please

27 Apr

i had a prophetic dream the other night
i hadn’t had one of those in ages
and so wasn’t prepared for the effects

i started awake at 4am
sweating and aching
hands and feet swollen
stumbled to the bathroom
reached for my toothbrush
but then realized it wasn’t yet time
to be performing tasks

i fell back into bed
and back into dreams

of swamps and trudging through them
cautiously thoughtfully but confidently

when my alarm went off
and i reached for my toothbrush at the appropriate time

i still felt
the heat and wet of the swamp
the teeth of the alligator

my prophetic dreams contain
just small truths
but if i were to be perfectly obedient
listen and do
even twenty five percent more

what could my dreams tell me then

it’s a scary
powerful
thought
i’m here at the edges of the sublime

elisha commanded an unseen host
and it frightens me to think
that could be me

at least i’m not an old testament prophet
i’ve comforted myself by saying it so many times
but what if i’m meant to be
but i’m indulging myself in being a piece of shit too much
to realize my full potential
and i’m just getting vague hints through bizarre dreams and weird interactions

of course it could be coincidence
but i don’t believe in coincidence
i’m a calvinist after all alas

i can’t just sit around and wait
for a mantle to fall upon my shoulders
dropping from a chariot of fire
so obvious too obvious
for my modern sensibilities

but surely everyone
has a prophetic dream every now and then
surely i can just live and be

if i really believed that though
i wouldn’t be paying so much attention to my dreams
would i
if i really believed that
i wouldn’t be begging for more

Regular Poem: Naked but Also Clothed

7 Apr

it’s not exactly
pointing haphazardly to a mugshot of somebody who looks suspicious anyway
but it’s not exactly a measured intellectual enterprise
either

it’s i like that face
it’s i like that joke
it’s i like that vibe

it’s i like that person and
that person will be my friend
whether they know it or not

it’s dramatically collapsing into the guest chair of someone’s office once a week
tell her jokes
make her tell me jokes
until i miss a week and she complains about it the next week

it’s blocking someone from going to the bathroom and telling her when she’s done
she needs to come back and keep me company
and she does
and she tells me the exact kind of boringly domestic stories i need to hear
to calm my nerves blunt the razor edge of my restlessness
she tells and i listen and we both win

it’s an emotional nudity that is as
uncomfortable as it is necessary

it doesn’t work all the time
or as fully or satisfyingly all the time anyhow
but anyhow
it does work
to varying degrees or
i wouldn’t still be using it

it is what it is
and i am who am
but
what really blows my mind
is when people use my own tactic on me

when people decide rather arbitrarily
or from some breath from the Holy Spirit
that i am
their person now

their person to watch over
and care for
cultivate and edify
look at and look after
force
into positive interactions

i hardly know anything
especially what to pray for

groanings which cannot be uttered

i try to exert my will
and i might succeed
but any success is ultimately
providence

it’s out of my hands
it is what it is

why do i like these people in the first place
why am i the way i am

what is man that Thou art mindful of him

i force friendships
have friendships forced upon me
and i love both
cherish both

it’s an emotional nudity that is as
uncomfortable as it is necessary

Regular Poem: Perceptions

2 Apr

it’s like that girl scout game telephone
where you sit in a circle and a person whispers a secret
and the next person whispers the garbled secret she heard to the next person etc.
until the last person says out loud the supremely bizarre new secret
a rumor filtered through nine-year-old mouths

sometimes it’s like that anyway

a reputation built on one person’s hero worship another person’s hatred another person’s apathy
filtered through half-remembered incidents colored by individuals’ individual emotions
and subjective construction of events

it’s like that old samurai movie that pioneered the multiple-narrators thing
it’s like cubist paintings
all the perspectives different and coelescing

i watched a video of myself the other day
and i was struck by my own body language
facial expressions

i look good on camera
i move well and have good coloring for it
but
i have to admit
i did come across as rather a bitch
my posture pedantically rigid my eyes haughtily suspicious
my voice controlled yet edged

this isn’t what everyone sees all the time
that samurai movie was right after all

would the woman at the grocery store who asked me for money and then told me her entire life story have treated the woman in the video the same way?
well
grocery-store-checkout-line me is a far cry
from prepared-to-be-attacked-by-a-full-grown-man me
but also
a lot of people who dislike me only ever see
prepared-to-be-attacked-by-a-full-grown-man me
and neither a lot of the people who trust me on sight nor
a lot of the people who dislike me
see high-glam-church me
who elicits a very different type of reaction
(that me is helped and catered to and indulged and complimented)

none of these mes seek these things
their intentions are buying groceries, not getting murdered, worshipping and fellowshipping respectively
and people perceive them how they perceive them

i have a face that whispers different secrets in the telephone circle
plays different parts in the samurai movie
gets sliced up and rearranged into a nude descending a staircase

the samurai movie wasn’t the first to try the technique
the gospels all give slightly different accounts of the resurrection
but you know what?
the core message remains the same

Regular Poem: Ditch It

29 Jan

“Ditch the poetry blog,”
she says.
“Record an album of country-western covers of selections from The Messiah instead.”

“Ditch the vampire novel,”
she says.
“Write the gothic horror romance featuring the necrophilia we all deserve instead.”

They’re both
both right and wrong.

I trust them and don’t.

I write for myself,
whoever myself is at that moment.

And sometimes they like it,
and sometimes they don’t;

sometimes they suggest.

I like the feedback,
the attention,
the knowing
that they know.

But still
I will write what I write.
And I will like it
whether they suggest or not.

The trope of selling one’s soul
is so strange to me.

A soul is given.

There is no capitalistic transaction
in my experience.

There is no cost and benefit analysis.

One sins
gives
lets

is embarrassed later
is shamed later
regets.

A lot of anxiety is there
in the remembering.

One walks in the flesh.

One walks and walks
limping one moment,
speeding the next.

How does one sell what has already been given away?

I’m the class slut.
I desire men with good triceps,
women who dress like repressed morticians.
I satisfy myself haphazardly.

I am vocal,
loud,
obvious.

I’m the class slut
who in real life
gets laid very intermittently
and remains

unsatisfied.

If only someone would drag their fingers through my hair.
If only someone would–

I often think and don’t think.

Ditch this, ditch that.

One walks in the flesh.

One walks,
glides, runs;
as much as I want to be pious–

the Holy Spirit walks, glides, runs.

And yet here I am.

I want so much.
I remember so much.
And yet there is so little here.

Ditch this, ditch that.

I don’t know what I love.
I don’t know what loves me.

It ought to be easier.

But ought is ought
not should.

I ought to ditch a lot of things.
And I should
ditch more.

Regular Poem: Liminal Spaces

8 Oct

it’s one of those

words

that means something
and you know it in jolts and spasms but not in

words

you have to look it up every time
before you use it for real

but you think it
feel it
all the time

***

a corner to turn
and you double check the street sign as you do it

a door to open
and you double check the address as you do it

a pond to jump in
and you double check the depth as you do it

***

certain spaces are heavy dense
full

of something not themselves
but what they’ve been before
and what a sense of them is
or might be
or could be

a hot car on a rainy night
fog and shadows and smears of reflection
tonight
thoughts jittering and skittering

a rainy night four years ago
drunk and upset
same car
different roads
same person
different different same same

a rainy day ten years ago
same car
same smell
a passenger who said
it smells like mocha
maybe it did
maybe it does
maybe that’s just cheap leather seats and smoke and
me

surreal encounters
a wet sheen over everything
hazy and hopeful faint and foreboding and on the cusp of something

***

she and i
talk about a lot of things
but it always
sooner or later
turns to murder
theoretical hypothetical intellectual

an exercise of wits
but still

she knows

my preference is
(would be)
physical intimate
rage and release

i know

her preference is
(would be)
tactical efficient
clean and clinical

we run on parallel tracks
but one of us is freight the other passenger
i don’t know which is which
but the coal is burned the same

***

she and i
talk about a lot of things
but it always
sooner or later
turns to how brains work
how we think what we think when we think
of certain things we think of

i pry into her mind pick apart question analyze
her mind is such a mine
coal copper silver gold
all stunning and worth so much

if i could live in someone else’s brain for a day
to experience the cogs
to calibrate the gear ratios
it would be difficult to choose
i’ve known so many bizarre individuals
but i would ultimately choose her

it wouldn’t be as much of an adventure
so much as an equal and opposite force
we come to the same conclusions different ways
love the same things for subtly different reasons

a dining car on a train
a mess hall on a battleship

***

i wouldn’t know how
to exact revenge

i am a woman bound to temporality
i know the now
and have vague feelings about the then

sharp pangs of acute memory
encased in murky impressions
cloudy
foggy
and then
a lightning flash of something stupid

i read an article once
about a woman who
survived a lightning strike because of the underwires in her bra

of course i don’t remember the details
the how and why

i remember deciduous and coniferous trees
i remember adverbial objectives
i remember bogs and fens
i remember a certain kiss

but i don’t remember all the specific slights

i exist in a temporal plane
alas

***

joke’s on you
she laughs

she uses my phrases
now

we’ve come to be
allies
teammates
friends

i’ve always thought
in spite of myself
her hands were sexy

and now
even though we were meant to hate each other
even though they wanted us to somehow balance each other
we

see each other
match each other
protect each other
care for each other
know each other

love each other

we exchange words that express this
but we also
and more offen and importantly
exchange actions

i wouldn’t care to spend time in her brain
she ought to have something that’s hers alone

i don’t wonder how she thinks

i know

she’s smart
and thinks things i think and things i don’t

i simply
love her for all of it
regardless

***

i’ve been trying
to tell people

i’ve been trying
to show people

i love you
you’re worth something

i say to him
you can share the gospel
without sharing The Gospel
if you don’t cultivate a relationship

you have to care for and love a person for that person
to wonder about
the care and love inside you
where does that love come from
why do you care so much

he likes it
but it’s platitudes

i wish i could be as good as i sounded

***

it’s one of those

words

it’s one of those

feelings

i heard you want to buy a houseboat
she says
but that’s not here
she also says

perhaps she would miss me if i moved away

but that’s so fake and fantastical

it’s just
one of those things
that engenders that sort of reaction

it’s just one of those

words

***

dictionary definitions
lack

i have a lot of feelings about dictionaries
i have a lot of feelings

i have a lot of words

i have a lot and so little

Regular Poem: Pipe Organ

1 Oct

a pipe organ:
the flaps open fully
the sound blasts
fills an auditorium
reverberates and resounds
vibrates against molars
sonic energy palpable in the pulmonary muscle, arteries, vesicles

open and breathing
breathing such wind
as to blow through
such pipes
yards tall
sustained
to the ceiling
every wall

i don’t know how it works

i know the fundamentals:
air and vacuums and
vessels air moves through to produce pitches

i don’t know how it works
but i know
it works

it works aesthetically thematically musically

i know who plays it
but i don’t know how

(the organist gave a concert
she didn’t play organ though
she played piano
because
she said
she didn’t want her glory to surpass His in our eyes
she merely
wanted to play music
that would induce us to praise Him
she also said
it was easy for her
because
her hands were so big
she could span an octave and a third without even stretching
so it was inevitable she would be proficient at keys)

the valves open
and the organ blows
its notes
the organist taps keys
and the organ organs itself somehow

but before that absolute fortissimo
the choir is mezzo forte
just a soft regular before
LOUD MAJESTIC

to be cliche
a calm before a storm
a humdrum before a THE MOST

“did you see all your shout-outs in the company newsletter” (2.5 compliments, to be precise) a coworker says
“yes,” i say, pensive, tentative, suspicious, “but
i’m wondering why everyone’s extolling my virtues
now”
the coworker laughs, says,
“maybe because everyone’s been so shitty to you lately”

i laugh, baffled,

“but everyone’s been shitty to me for years; why should anyone like me now”

we all shrug
and laugh

“i feel as though i should print this out and get your autograph on it” another coworker says
she’s a coworker but not
similar frustrations
similar reprimands
different circumstances

same rage

we laugh
we scowl
we carry stress in our necks
get migraines in the same season
for the same but different reasons

i get a text
and then i make a call
“you’re a tough nut;
you’re so confident;
you know yourself”

it’s all the same validation:
so true and also
so useless

what i don’t say to all these people who believe in me
is that

this validation feels good
and right
and true

moreover

this validation
is valid
objectively
categorically
empircally

true

but fruitless nevertheless
i ought not
revel in these revelations
as soon as i feel good
people tell me i’m bad

we are a postmodern society
truth is meaningless

what is forte
if not tried against piano

the pipe organ blasts
but is it loud
if not compared to
when it doesn’t

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