Theodicy

He picked up his guitar and said, “I want to strum these chords so that they sound like the yawning wings of angels, a pristine sound of strings ushering in the dawn.” When they told him not to use such language, because there was no god, and by extension, neither were there angels, he said in disenchantment, “but there must at least be something, so I will sing with aching harmony ahead against the devil who by his hate has made us slay our fathers, in annihilation of our faith.” They told him again that there had been no devil to begin with, that it all began and ended with him – a self-referential, lonely image as he might see in the haunting feedback of his microphone.

“Then if they are naught, I will send my itinerant voice to both the lowest throbs of the profane and to the highest screech above our heads, until my mutilated voice becomes a lie that fills the hearts of heathens with the grating thrall of demons and the stirring amplitude of saints.”

Lemon Avenue

The glitter girls let the smell of swollen
berries from their hair, dangerous fruits,
growing anxiously and cool, to be picked
out of the air. When we ate them
our hearts became precipitous and full,
and the diesel boulevards ran warmly
with the river of our souls, as we let out
eucalyptus sighs into the dark, receptive
night, and could not imagine being old.

Einstein, 1905

I woke up in the middle of the night,
and in the way that only the night can
fill you with total and utter conviction,
I saw a city with all its infernal lights

scattered like stars across the black,
heavy sky. They dipped and heaved,
as if following the contours of a valley,
and the sky itself felt like a fabric

draped over a thick and breathing thing.
There were more stars than I could count,
spawning endlessly in patterns
of more confidence than could be

mixed by any artist, and I felt a sudden
loneliness. Sleeping beside me under
this desert sky were my closest friends,
beloved company, and their eyes were

closed, with not even a glimpse of a glow
escaping from underneath their lids.
The air was cold and brittle and the stars
winked out, like individual secrets.

I.

It is the case that I, too,
under the light of this reflective
eye, need a prolegomena.

The night is no longer to be
feared, because its blindness
is the aridity that evokes
and fosters dreams.

I am the citizen of a virtual
city, buffeted by a million
languages competing to be
genuine. It is a city of
cameras that destroys those
who are too scared or
self-conscious to begin,
but before I speak outward
to those hardened skeptics,
it is I who must be convinced.

Awesome

Watch this storm with me.  It rains fists of rock on this comet night, streaked red stardust falling like drops of dew on parched, dead blight, chaos closing the infinities between you and I.  In the distance, the wild walls of granite sing, bringing the warmth of ancient, sagebrush nights.  In the shadows, the winds whisper a message from the other side – and starlings explode like lightning from the lavender.  We are all at once outside of time, no words needed between us as you look, I turn, and the bristle of our sacred flowers reminds us that the universe is one, and of one mind.

I Am

I am the cosmos, the cosmos inside me, I am the benevolence of history, I am the warmth and love of billions and souls, of an endless stream of mothers cuddling their babies on land and sea and stream, I am the product of violence and chaos, I am the swirling in the chaos, I am the baby and the womb, I am the silent whisper between lovers, the tilting, undulating breeze that brings memories of places never been, I am the cosmos that stretches with yearning, encompassing all within its arms, I am the planet, the stars, the bond that links every thing with everything, I am the seaside taste of home, the soft bosomed light, the miracles, the hand pushing you from beyond, the spirit who moves you from within you, the love that can only come from being open to great mystery, the gecko on the ceiling, the dim roar of distant waves, the streaking light, clairvoyance and conviction from the universe’s arms.  I am.  I will.  I see.  I will be.

The Litany

I fear not the raft of styx, messenger of wrath brought quick.
I fear not the battle’s pitch, flood, famine, or pestilence,
Pale osiris, eris, nyx, demon furies, and the succubus.

Give me not nepenthe nor opiates, all they do is enervate.
My will is epic.  Bitterness bestows me gruesome strength.

I fear neither death nor judgement, I fear never having lived:
A small room, a mighty chalice.  The judge who points and says,
I filled your cup to overfloweth.  And all you did was take a sip.

Prufrock’s Bad Friend

Let us go then, when the evening is spread against the sky like a circus tent blooming orange trees and maples, under this raging blaze to our first stop where we will feast on these victuals: tender steaks, warm crispy bread, heapings of cheese and salad, a pitcher of absinthe, maybe I’ve ordered too much?  No, our young hunger is monumental.

Stuffed, we’ll watch the smoke from our pipes curl sinuously indigo, singed by the orange lamps that will light one after another, glowing in adagio.  We will wait, counting the bell toll ten times, until the galactic city beneath us starts looking flammable.

Think no longer of the girls speaking pretentiously of Michelangelo, or was it Mario, or Luigi, forget them, because here in our own savage town I bet you’ve never seen the taverns or the speakeasies, set amidst the broken lanes and skewered crossalleys.

Let us go then, because there we will meet your mermaids, lots of them, and you will no longer worry if they come and go or deign to speak to you, for it will be dark and hot and rank with youth, and they will show you matters in which there is no use for so much anxious thinking, much less underwater speaking.

My Guide My Soul My Shepherd

The moon is my guide my soul my shepherd.

The air was thin and cold, my heart was big and bold, when I packed my bags to leave my home.

I followed the spring, a brush and tumble with love, and wet with the taste, thought it was all and it was all enough.

Staking it all, I lost it all, and I took what I could to hit the road, dreaming about the warm lights and hearths of home.  There the lights would glow, just like the moon I know, my guide my soul my shepherd.

Under the torrid sun, and endless din of work, I lost my youth but gained a place, for I shared bread with princes, merchants, and rogues.

My bags grew heavy as I grew old, my legs grew weak and slow.  I paused a while, and it was quiet dark, and cold.

I emptied my bags by the light of the moon, my guide my soul my shepherd.

To whom do I owe these memories of laughter, love, and life?  To whom do I owe the ones of shame, regret, and bile?

Do I need these things, these things that compose the measure of my being?  These stories of evil and schemery, these stories of strength and hope?

I took them out and chose, and chose to leave some there, under the light of the moon, next to my glowing home, by the side of a snowy road.

I chose to explore, under the light of the moon, my guide my soul my shepherd.