Caution, Catholic Crossing Ahead:
Gone the waves
A need flies
Blue this time
I was always writing
In orange and
Star lit meadows
The slow Georgia hills
Lay flat then curves
Forever into the far North
A peach tastes so sweet
So much like sunshine
And I raise a peace sign
Of hope to the clouds
Everything is changing
Much too fast
Fast fading fast alive
Loss To Grace and Rage to Life
How many different journeys made up my life and death?
This is just a tale of where, when and how.
Of the loves that were woven into the green iris of my eyes,
How magicians were challenged until there was no magic at all;
How when one day while shredding the hedges that lined the waterside
Of this small pond, a place in the woods, a home of cinder blocks,
These waters where I floated in a dark grey metal boat,
A two seater, no motor, just paddles, a quiet slide from one end to the other,
This little boat, born of this small pond, this dark rainbow body,
Gliding over where catfish languished in summer heat,
As though written in by a young Cormac McCarthy,
As if only he could find the words to make believe this was a place
That was never at all. This was a landscape of one among the many,
So alike and yet so isolated, so much the same but then again not.
But it was, sprinkled with angry bream that sparkled back at the sun,
Who shone with fearsome blue, black and silver flashes, broad side,
Pushing the water upwards, blinding their prey, rising to strike
Slow stone fly nymphs, maybe even grab a taste of occasional tad pole,
A feast at dawn where life came to live, a funeral at dusk where it came to die.
On this long day while shredding the hedges that marched
Off into the woods, I raised a fist to the heavens, and cursed
God on every sweaty breath, on each diphthong and cluster of vowels
That I could muster, that I could holler, filled with hatred for a lost childhood,
Broken by phrases locked in brackets, wanting even then to be freed
Of memories dark as darker than miles from any home,
When all I wished was to find was a way to live and to describe…
That only woman “who was to be my love”, and in return that I was hers.
It never came. It never happened. Each curse came upon me.
Each was driven by poisoned water, of soured wines
And rust skinned potatoes, brown and wilted lettuces. No real food.
We would pour three fingers of wormy mescal, then drive away
Up the winding asphalt that moved along among the short leaf pines,
Cruising with an ease most described by the winds,
Most alive in the breezes of a Georgia summertime.
What was it that I wanted, what was I proving in these scorching days
And even hotter nights when I stood alone by the pond,
Screaming at God, begging, then demanding to show me something real.
But we all know how these things go. They go nowhere.
Just a tied fly floating downstream into the rapids.
Down there where no catfish hang around, where silver carp
Pass by and hunt further and further for dead and rotting things,
Things that litter the bottom of every stream and body of water.
Was I really there standing and shouting? Hell yes.
Cussing out God for leaving me to figure how this was “I am”,
A life of struggle, of loss, of slander and success, of always being
Almost then gone. But He was patient. Letting me run the wild
Out of my soul, laughing at this arrogance that lived to destroy,
Standing back when it was certain the next cliff would take me,
Coming near when my hands fell off the wheels, turning
Just enough to live another hour. This was how it started.
This was how all this spirit hunting came into being.
These were the moments when a great love of all things woman
Sublimated every text, every conversation that was to follow.
A life’s tease. A significance lost on ordinary dissertations
Of subject predicate, subject object, thesis stated antithesis sworn in,
Brought back home and lost again when critical theory,
A post Freudian exercise, a means of thought built for the analyzed,
It hatched more anger than love at all, and why, why did it go back to the night
When I stood unsteady by a spring in the forest, a place so wonderful
Ruined by my childish raging, a place suddenly dangerous
When hurricane winds marched over from each distant coast,
They met and blasted together in the woods of West Georgia.
The thin pines bowed and snapped, threatened back at me,
As though remembering the night I hated God
And swore not ever would I be among the faithful.
Years later, here I am, just as tormented, just as isolated
As I ever was, but everything is different, everything is by the erratic,
Welcome and worthy Grace of God. I count by the dozens
Those who ran when I changed, when I said God is Love, is patient,
And is all things dark and light, Crayola colored,
Hand painted and chisel formed, swaying back and forth
One moment on the winds, then floating along the brownish waters
Of a hot September pond in the woods, the last before anticipated Autumn,
When pleasure returns to cool this porous South, that the lakes do not dry up,
Nor the springs stop giving life, the pleasure is real, Real Presence.
What can I say? No longer alone cursing at length, now I pray.
Now I wonder if I am a better man, if there will ever be that She
With whom I can walk by the dawn bright rye grass, to speak sunrises
And mental exercises, that maybe one day, I will be forgiven,
Maybe one day I can see it is I who must forgive myself,
Not by God, not by Mary, not by Lord Jesus Christ,
Not by meditations on right action and right faith where Compassion rules,
Once by the tears when I walked into the Hall of 500,
Deep in Guang Zhu someplace China,
500 incarnations of the teaching soul of Buddha,
Later, for me, it was 500 saints,
and above them all they were led by Saint Raphael, sweet Raphael,
Beloved archangel, led onto the bridge from life before Christ, to the one after,
The one opened up by John the Baptist, then Lord Jesus Christ salvation,
The one where it all started to happen. By mortal death came life after death.
…Please don’t leave me… Faraway is too drear and cold.
Let me be here in this always becoming life of conversion, always moving
Towards God and never from, lead me on my Love, forgiving and patient,
Faithful and alive, for some it takes a lifetime to awaken.
Conversion and Salvation are dynamic, sublimating everything.
And me, I am surely one of them. Thank you my beloved, hope and desire.
….And not by Faith alone, but by Faith with Action…Believe!
But wait, maybe it is by faith alone….Yes. By these ways, by this life lived.
Finding, climbing, rising, doing all I can to find a way back home to God,
The place that is, just is, is always home, that place of Life.
(Once again, back home to God, thankfully born into this life.)
But I Cannot Say Her Name
Once maybe twice
But more than thousands,
So many songs
On miles of sky
Lain out on grasses
We were together
These things sustained.
How I wish they were now.
You were all.
This was desire.
And it is here
Passion is alive
NOTE to you all yeah Poetry is alive and I say the name, Jesus Christ.
There are these three poems I have been transcribing from dream, notes and words hammering away, on events from undergraduate scenes where it turns out terms of Faith have been in my poetry all my life, it is just that now it is infused with all that I can as Grace and Real Presence. These things expose the beautiful, supernatural, Gospel alive, embracing the great studies and life in Buddhist and Catholic contemplations. To say the dangerous, forbidden, sacrificial and salvation wise to sundown and light mornings, it is by seeking it live in Imitation of Jesus Christ in these times of isolation and introspection, of examining Faith and the crazy miracle that I woke up one day sitting in Mass and a happiness more subliminal and pervasive than any I had ever felt. I apologize to anyone put off by expressing the Beatitudes, Grace and Gospel, of intense readings of Isaiah and the Songs in my life and poetry.
The promise was that life would get harder, that the closer to God the more the stones and diversions, fear and at times pain just beyond pain, and yeah, it’s all true, it does get harder, more difficult, but at the same time there is the development of what I hope is becoming a better Man and a better Artist, and that maybe if I am lucky someone will feel this pulse and agree, or argue against, how this living in Imitation of Christ has found life in my poetry, in the place it has always been, it’s just that now I am writing from a perspective of being towards what has been here all the time. Blows me away. It is OK to say Lord Jesus Christ. It is perfectly fine. This is the center of the Mass, when Heaven and Earth meet, this one moment in the Eucharist when Christ is here in the sacraments, in the body and blood.
Deeply, and sincerely, I don’t expect a bunch of people to read or even care, but I do hope that someone, anyone, anywhere has a conversation that just wants to burst out, that wants to be born, an argument or agreement, anything, anything that tests or supports the reason Why. I dig it. I am as surprised as anyone. Ask any friend past or present, I do believe and it grows stronger. Pretty cool. But it blew me away when I saw it in my poetry. Modern, post Whitman, Strand and Wright, in today a poetry as it always was not blast off rhymes and memory beats. I often write, automatic writing, and edit later, but it is all studied and edited, manicured and fashioned into a certain way afterwards but the meanings and intentions are unchanged. Oh well, if anyone see this and has a good conversation, please, please I am starved for insights and similar explorations, but not starved to be swayed to Protestant or agnostic, even back to Buddhism, and there is a lot in the teachings that foreshadow Jesus, that send a similar message, but nothing equates to the Salvation, to the gift that are the teachings, prophets, sayings, life and death, ascension of Jesus Christ. Those who’ve known me all my life, you understand, I know you do. Don’t be afraid. He really did say “I give you this, this 11th Commandment and it is Love, to love one another as I have loved you.” I hold this dear. This is as naked as a contemporary writer can get. Don’t hate. Turn from evil. I honestly love, even in the margins, always in the Church, so interested in our parish and parishioners, all the emotions in Mass, I love my friends and family even more, there is love.
And I think this finishes off my week of total exposure and raw heart. To top it off a bloody migraine got its claws into me Saturday morning and has not let go, but I have to write, even through the kaleidoscope and purple star thistle memories…