Thursday, March 3, 2011


Just because God betrays you

eloi eloi lama sabachthani

doesn’t mean

it’s a guarantee of your divinity

or that you can bring anything back from the dead.

Whatever gods I’ve lived through

divinity was never the issue

but how to elevate this human agony

into something that even heaven is not worthy of.

To hold all this suffering in large and small

up to the radiance of the stars

like a waterlily rooted in a swamp

and say Do you see?

This much is ours.

And our powers are great.

We can hold death deeply within us

like the dark flower

of the watershed that blooms

like the fountain of life

and transform the taste

of unimagineable suffering

into something brief and beautiful

that astonishes even God’s expectations.

We can take all the tears and the blood and corruption

and work an alchemical spell upon them

that turns the base metal into gold

when the suffering becomes intense enough

all you can feel is sulphur and mercury

turning into stone.

Medusa waxing philosophical

at the bottom of her black hole

where there is no base metal.

There is no gold.

And maybe this is a good state

but here space slashs me

as if all my feelings

were edged with broken glass

and belief in God were just another way of kissing ass.

And it’s terrifying mystically and physically

to realize how unimaginelably alone I am

in this place where even my solitude

doesn’t cast a shadow.

Dark night of my soul

on a nightsea of awareness

with no sail on the horizon

and I can’t tell

whether I’m a shipwreck or a lifeboat?

Or the usual poetic heroics

of a desperate man

walking his mile of quicksand

on his knees?

Don’t know where I’m going

but I know

this isn’t the road to Damascus

and it’s more than a stone’s throw to Sodom and Gomorrah.

But it’s not really a beef I have with God

because I wouldn’t trust me

if I were a god either.

And I’ve been too radicalized by compassion

to be a reliable heretic.

But to judge from the number of angels

dancing on the heads of the pins

they’ve stuck like insight into my eyes

I’ve got real potential as a voodoo doll.

A fool.

A clown.

As it is

tonight I am trapped in the illusion of having a self

that looks upon the universe

and feels like air in a collapsed lung.

And everytime I am randomly happy enough

to crow in the dawn of my spirit

the sun comes along

and blows whiskey on the rooster.

And though nothing’s a hundred percent

it doesn’t take me long

to grow angry and bitter and willful enough

to steel myself against giving my detractors

the satisfaction of seeing me feel sorry for myself

even when I do.

Boo hoo.

And that’s it.

And then I get back to pretending I’m a Viking or a Mongol.

I put on my wolf’s hide like a polyphrenic shaman

and dance to the music

of my howling at the moon.

Dance like a mad hornet

around my heart

I eat to give me courage

like honey from a hive on fire.

Dance to the dithyrambs

of the warrior minstrels of the forlorn hope

getting ready for their last assault

against the unbreachable walls of heaven in the morning.

Putting their horns on.

Their chain-mail haloes.

Dipping their spears and arrows

in the toxicity of their tears

to make every wound fatal.

I position myself like three hundred Spartans

at the gates of heat in Thermopylae

ready to fight to the death

to keep the fraud of my freedom

from being overun by betrayal.

By a treacherous shepherd

from a neighbouring village.

O Ephialtes Judas Brutus and Abu Sufian

nothing is forgiven.

Thirty pieces of silver.

Thirty faces of the moon.

And I’ve tasted my own incomprehensibility

on the lips of them all

as if they had a secret in common

that hated what’s sacred

about being a human

and could find nothing holy about the wound.

But they don’t know how the lies can heal

like fingertips on torn skin

or how imagination can fake the world

and make it real.

They are kept far from human and God alike

because they have yet to discover

the power of their own vulnerability.

Let he who is without sin

throw the first church.

Let he who is without imagination

not fear the last and the first

as a dress rehearsal for the worst.

Let she who has lost

the innocence of her beginning

find it unstained in the depths of her heart

like a black pearl that changes phases like the moon.

Let her exalt in the arts of her spirit

and the science of her body

without making amends to anyone

that there’s more compassion

in her imagination

than there is God

in the lack of your sin.