Spiritual Crisis Blues


Spiritual Crisis Blues

Found my way in by a cracked and solemn weeping willow stump,

Straight into the woods of Oglethorpe County, straight into a cluster

Of wildlife singing, briars tearing into my arms, bleeding,

Bleeding through thin skin, these blue veins growl,

And it reaches in, this “IT”, it tears my soul from my body,

Hangs it in leaves among the water oak trees along the banks

Of this tiny river in the woods, where I knew right then…

What it was like to have spiritual crisis blues.

Standing on a foundation, white clay and red maple mulch,

Spongy earth bouncing. Strangely colored crickets start to gather,

Jump and disappear, but not too far cause I hear their legs strumming

A gipsy chorus for lost loves in the forest.

Me, in this walk alone into the wood. A stroll into my own unknown.

A full sun burns blue down, down into this haunted stream,

Turning muddy waters clear and clean. Crisp they say, it’s OK.

I have the Blues no one wants to hear, and not a friend is near,

Forget family, forget Church, they just back away and say: “it’s yours”,

But I don’t want it, not again, not this splitting soul from bone,

So I dig my hands deep into the blue sands and mud,

Bathe in this clinging soil, and then color this body

With lavender and thistle, blue of my hill people dozens of centuries ago

Fighting Rome and then fighting the King; and finally fighting

The One Christ King. alone, trying to draw near, reaching to pull

The trees lower, and lower so I can grab a bit of the spirit

I lost a few days ago, a few days ago this Christ was just a memory,

A haint, chasing me through groves of dogwood and pecan,

Naw, it would not let go, it would not let me go, this banshee

Screaming my spiritual blues, a blues clutching like Death to my breath

Like there was no letting go, I tried, I ran, I doused my hair with lemon,

Stuffed pepper up my nose and salt in my shoes, begged Lord come back, please.

Expecting something different, something different at least this time…

But the spiritual blues came, wrapped around my body, and I was alone.

I asked the priest, I asked the friend, I asked the family and then no one,

It didn’t matter, they figured these shadows were mine to claim,

They knew this time the spiritual blues won, but what they knew was wrong,

I just wanted to sing, I wanted to purge doubt, doubt like black sulfur water.

Bring down the cypress and water oak trees, find the clean springs

So I can live again, so these screaming doubts between love of the flesh

And love of the mind and love of the soul I thought was mine

Would stop, and turn and go away. Would find itself flowing…from these springs.

These spiritual blues are never easy, and one day someone will listen

And understand, understand, that my soul is at stake and I am tired,

And I am a man: Alive with God. I am this man. I am this man.

A man trying, a person, trying to make peace with Trinity and self,

with all that is here and even more…Peace…Can we make peace?


Tomorrow Fades

Gone the waves

A need flies

On sunlight

Blue this time

Why blue

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

Open above

And I raise a peace sign

Of hope to the clouds

Even though

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.

….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.

…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.

(Once again, back home to God, thankfully born into this life.)

But I Cannot Say Her Name

               (I miss)

A voice.

This piano.

Once maybe twice

But more than thousands,

So many songs

And meditations,

Nocturnes formed

On miles of sky

Lain out on grasses

Disappearing.

Disappeared.

Hope.

Each time

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


Tomorrow Fades

Gone the waves

A need flies

On sunlight

Blue this time

Why blue

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

Much like sunshine

And I raise a peace sign

Of hope to the clouds

Even though

Everything is changing

Much too fast

Fast fading fast alive

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