Friday, October 6, 2017

Maintenance Field in August

Twice, on my rounds,
I smelled the warm stink of death
and saw the vulture rise
simultaneously.

Lucky. To have someone
to pick your bones.
Hidden by the tall grass,
my body could decay
discreetly, in a diaspora
of ants, worms, wasps, and larvae.

But let a burnished beak archive,
a bright eye survey,
this bald coroner, a cleric,
cross my body to enact the liturgy:
Dust you are,
and to dust you will return.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Artist's Date in the Cemetery, September 13

Today I went to the cemetery for my Artist's Date.
The idea came to me last night when I went to pick up L. It was rainy this morning, and I almost changed my mind about going, but then realized that my inner romantic would LOVE to walk barefoot in the cemetery in the rain. Under an umbrella or a shawl. In a long dark skirt.

It was worthwhile. Nothing epochal, but thoughtful and good. Seeing old gravestones (18th-19th cent.) and new (the earth still raw and ruddy). Walking in the quiet solitude, but surrounded by stories. Minnie, who lived to be ~97 and was buried with her husband, who had passed on 41 years before. In the old section, lots of babies and young children, with lambs on the tops of the gravestones.
I was impressed by the number of veterans, with flags marking their graves. And struck anew with the pathos of wet, sun-bleached plastic flowers on solemn headstones.
Rebuke and denial. Manifested in Galadriel's gesture toward the East and the Eye. Our response to death, to evil?
There was a gravitas, but a sweetness, to this cemetery. I'll probably go back.
"...Up the long delirious burning blue..."




Ref. to Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring"
Quote from a poem on a cemetery monument, by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 


A Joke, September 11

Isn't it amazing that you are a living thing? That you stir the air, and change the motion of atoms when you look at them? Isn't it incredible that your lungs expand, and compress, and that the air you exhale is different from the air you inhaled? And your heart has been beating for hours and days and years and decades, without your instruction or consent?
Isn't it noteworthy that your fingers aren't raw, after all you've touched this week?

I don't understand. And I have so much - so much freedom and goodness and capacity to enjoy, to assimilate and cultivate. But I can be blighted by things as slight as moods. Or the amorphous, generalized concern that others are suffering, and what right have I to enjoy - anything?

Heaven forbid I laugh when hell is screaming.

Part of me believes this. Believes that for my faith to mean anything at all, suffering (especially eternal damnation) is so deadly serious that I should be willing to drop everything to save those in its path.
But part of me also believes that death is a joke. That I don't understand the matter at all, to look at it so drawn and wide-eyed. Methinks I saw the mask wink; a joke was played on hell, and Heaven still rolls with the wit of it.
What creeps up my esophagus is a sob that chokes on its own freakish laughter. I've gone mad and wild somewhere - but the sense and sanity is all on the side of love. On the moth blown off the hand outside, the woolly bear avoided on the road. On the quick kiss and the glass of water and the smile at the tired stranger. On the cheerful cleaning up of things, even the trash and the public toilet.
A joke has been played on hell, and the clang of Heaven's bells rings down and drowns my fear with joy, if I will let it.

Today at dinner Mom said, "God loves you," and I absently said, "I hope so." She said, "I KNOW so." And I realized how morose my inner thoughts had become. How circumstantial, or not: based on the most impersonal abstractions. The things I can't control or even experience, to say with authority that God was there or not. Lord, help me.

Clouds and thick darkness surround him; 
righteousness and justice are
the foundation of his throne.
-Psalm 97:2

Let me love You
and be obedient,
and leave what only You can do
in Your hands.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Little Bird II, September 5

Settle my spirit, Lord Jesus. A couple of days ago I was prepared to find a dead body. Yesterday I was a hostess. And today an artist. But make me Yours. Your little bird, Your child, Your love.

I dreamed last night that I had married a Chinese man. And he was very lovable and touchable, and our little boy was just like him. The other night I dreamt I was fighting and tearing apart a wolverine with my bare hands. Last week I dreamt I was racing a guy friend to get a seat in a van, and running with everything I had and saying fiercely to myself, "I WILL win!"
And I actually pulled ahead...

Rejection, September 1

I really don't have any updates. What I'm feeling now is that small uncomfortable pocket of rejection - the nothingness that hurts, like air bubbles inside. Like gas. It's embarrassing, and you hope it ends soon and nobody has to know. So that's my update: I've been swallowing air, and ended up with gas.

No, that's too simple. Too ultimate. No ultimatums allowed. Except that one.
I must be allowed to change, because I am only human. And things are not always what they seem.

Help me, Jesus, to rest in You. To trust Your mercy over all my slovenly housekeeping/bookkeeping/heartkeeping. Help me to be a lover. For a while now I've grown wary of the words. But that's not what I want. I want to mean them and SAY THEM if I mean them. 

Edible Day, September 1

It was an edible day. The air was cool and decidedly autumnal, like the two ends of the month met and kissed. I woke before my alarm, rested and edged
with a chill.
I relished my sweeping and mopping - it felt like such an intimate, sacramental way to close out my time in the store. Cleaning out its corners and washing it, inch by inch.


Pull, August 29

Why is there so much in me that wants to pull away from You right now?
And yet, the You in me keeps pulling me toward You. What a mercy.

Help me to be a friend like Job's friends weren't.
"Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend 
forsakes the fear of the Almighty." (6:14)
Make Your love undeniable to these hurting people.

Lord, make me willing. Break me.
Because I don't want to be broken. I'm afraid of being useless. But You have to break me to use me.
Let me feel Your hands, without a doubt.