28 December, 2009

The Last Meditation

Though I am neither confident enough
(nor cocky enough) to call on god,
of this I am fairly certain: no bad deed goes
unrewarded. If I seem cynical
it is only because
I have watched the world
erase itself and (then)
redraw itself
after the manner of mediocre talents
whose seminal work
lacks depth perception
and who themselves
lacked the appropriate vices
that would have kept them humble.
All the good and noble songs
have been transposed
into obscene hymns
written in sick key signatures.
And though I do not (still) call on god
I am often left wanting.
I am often left wandering.
I am often left – and the only voice
I hear is a child’s asking me
“Are we there yet?” (There’s no use in answering.)
A thousand years from now, that child
will live somewhere on a forgotten South Pacific
island where he will
stare at the ocean,
listen to himself
inhale and exhale, and,
wrapped in silence, try to recall
even the simplest prayer
(Our father who art called Fred
Hollowed out like that old rugged and forgotten tree…)
and then
he will close his eyes
focus on the sound
of crystalline blue waves
crashing on a sun baked beach
waiting to be washed away
when the tide goes out.
Though I am not confident:
(and though I am cocky)
I do not call on god:
though I still sometimes look for him
hidden in abandoned libraries
where there shelves are caked
in 50 year old dust, encrusted
with the tears of failed penitents
and the semen of a thousand lost souls
in search of the adult arcade three streets over.
The kids, they come
and then they go
and sometimes they leave
behind things no adult
would ever think to miss.

Though I am not confident
I am sure
there is nothing to be sure of
while all the grand prestidigitators
sell certainty for a 20 percent tithe.
People are worried – the wealthy tithe
a little bit more, and attend quite a bit less,
and by doing so, more or less
assure their place in the
hereafter. In this scenario,
god is an unemployed switch board operator
played to perfection by Yul Brynner – though nobody thought
he’d be able to pull off the beard. Jane Blondell plays
a coquettish devil, always cutting telephone wires
and whispering sexual advances in god’s left ear. Somewhere,

buried deep in Eastern Hills,
a devout ascetic prays for my soul
and burns dandelion leaves
in search of answers. When I see her again
she will tell me stories
and we will laugh
and she will see through me
down to my lack of penitence
for all I have done. And this
will leave her disturbed, and she
will return to her bible
and her dandelion leaves
for further instructions.

Although I am confident
and while I may be cocky
I do not presume
to summarize the universe; instead
I grasp at honest straws,
feel my way through rhythms
and patterns that (in the end)
will leave me with only
one last question to ask
before I run out of breath.

19 December, 2009

Alka Seltzer Communion

Bless me for I have sinned;
plop plop fizz fizz
early AM Arizona mornings
cold couch nights stretched
too thin because you are
too far away. This morning you call
anxious in the face of a dream
because life can’t be Too Good.

I am sick and not up to the task
of telling you (again) you’re wrong.
I know you’re lonely because
I’m lonely too. These mornings are
three times too frequent since you left.
Early morning midweek hangovers
is the price for an hour or two
of dreamless, unsatisfying sleep.

We’ve been here before—
but it never gets easier.
You call me crying
(Bless and forgive
my inability to cry) and
I know your loneliness only means
as we walk through the world
we are not so alone.