Thursday, March 17, 2022

In the Belly of the Whale

Jagged pines atop low hills beyond which the river runs under buckling ice. Oxen in winter, moose in winter.

Waking early to drink coffee in the darkness, an old pleasure. The world opens - a seam appears as the sky - and light pours through, redemption-like.

Jugs of wine, getting ripped at poetry readings, getting thrown out, walking around Burlington hooting the way bears did in Worthington - me, Chris and Andrew in the late eighties, beautiful, strong and innocent. Something slipping inside, some psychic grip loosening.

The Devil in Rachel Pollack's new deck. Moss on the north-facing arc of maple trees, green as Saint Patrick's enormous mystical cock. 

Smoke rises over the village, still billows floating towards the stars. In the belly of the whale are many books, many stubbed candles, and near the baleen, a yellow thread.

So much of childhood was pain without context. I remember praying, I remember how luminous the world was, my faith total and the Lord pure but distant, like prisms before I had a means to gather them.

People being helpful, the old mandate. Distant mountains on which snow appears blue, a loveliness my heart swells to accept.

Lake water whispering near the jetty, always an invitation to take her hand, blend the many darknesses into starlight. The Latin root of "redemption" taking us to "buying back," God as a retailer of grace, that old fiction which Jesus worked so hard to upend.

Because it is a gift, there is nothing you need to do but say yes which, oddly, is a very hard thing to do! Dylan's Up to Me, a song that always made me sad, the truth of it an emptiness forever grating. 

A crow flying all alone north over the city. Standing under the apple trees at two a.m., listening to the river, prayer bringing me forward as a song someone else is learning to sing. 

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