JUST BECAUSE GOD BETRAYS YOU
Just because God betrays you
eloi eloi lama sabachthani
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
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.
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.
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
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.