Walking in Winter, Part 2

Horizontal rain

Skips across the rooftops,

Below the grey sky,

Above the grey concrete,

And across the rooftops.

Wear three layers:

One for each tier.

Frozen,

each tier shakes

With each footfall.

Shattered, each tier falls

And rises and falls,

onto the grey concrete.

 

 

 

Walking in Winter

Cold cuts

Through your coat

Like a blunt machete

Pulling, stripping away

The cloying warmth

Of fashion and function.

 

Step outside,

Onto the grey concrete

And hard-packed wet cigarettes.

Listen to the wind:

“Prepare to meet your God!

He’s sitting on the corner

Wrapped in a blanket.”

 

Walk around the corner.

Feel the music of eight,

Nine, ten different bars

Fight for possession of your ears,

Life and love and sex and death and sex,

Fight for possession of your ears.

Listen, instead, to the wind:

“Prepare to meet your God!

She’s hunched over a fading phone,

Waiting for the bus.”

 

Walk past the bus stop.

Nearly home.

Everything hurts more when it’s cold

And sore feet turn blue.

Nearly home.

It’s raining now,

Beads of firmament

Clatter to the ground.

Nearly home.

Listen to the wind.

Its final howl:

“Prepare to meet your God!

Flickering on each screen,

Every screen.

Flickering,

Flickering,

Flick-er-ing.”

Home.

It’s a bit cold.

Voices

 

Graham-Greene--009
Graham Greene, circa 1950.

Everything I want to say

has already been said

by the voices, clear and erudite,

of the living and the dead.

 

Their melodies crowd the airwaves

and their thoughts weigh down the shelves.

Oh, I wish they would be quiet,

I wish they’d keep it to themselves!

 

There’s no room on the shelf,

the stage,

the radio,

or screen.

Everything

has already been

written,

acted,

seen.

I remain backstage

and think

“Oh, what might have been!
If  only I had happened upon

a fresh and empty scene!”

But, if the stage were empty,

how could I move ahead

without incessant prodding

from the living and the dead?

 

 

Paperless Dreams

 

spongebob the
Spongebob Squarepants, “Procrastination” (30/11/20010

My eyes snap open

Sleep will not take me

My eyes snap open

And rest cannot win

My mind, fragmented,

Keeps my eyes open

Oh, where

Oh, where

Where do I begin?

 

My eyes snap open

There’s more to be written

My eyes snap open

Where do I begin?

My eyes snap open

What have I accomplished?

My eyes remain open

Idle hands? Tools for Sin!

 

 

My eyes remain open,

Hooded and weary.

And I envy the sleeping

(How lucky they seem!)

I’ll remain still

Until sleep comes a-creeping

And blesses me with

A paperless dream.

 

Whose Flesh? Whose Word?

 

rembrandt feast
Belshazzar’s Feast (Rembrandt)

 

Begin with the Word

Word became flesh

… Became flesh, became Word.

Once above us

Whose Flesh?

Among us.

Chapter and verse across the skin.

 A later addition.

The word made Word made word again –

Look for silence.

Word, in love, first spoken.

Now, in anger, comes forth.

Now, in conversation, continues.

Now, in print, lives again.

The Word became Flesh became pulp.

It lines the long corridors, closes wrought iron gates.

It closes wrought iron gates.

It howls like a dirge in an empty coffin,

Drowning out the coarse cries of the veiled.

Word on the mind, flesh in the mirror.

Every move marked.

The mind, the mirror,

Watching.

Watching.

Every move marked

By the clank of a machine that will change the world.

Each word-

Whose Word?

Being-in-itself.

Word unspoken, Flesh underfoot,

Pages as curtains torn in two.

Word unspoken, Flesh underfoot,

A rough wooden throne

Above a company of thieves-

Word declared, Flesh sanctified,

Amid Great Darkness shining.

Word and flesh and fire burn,

All mortal scars refining-

Whose Flesh? Whose Word?

Whose Flesh? Whose Word?

What is this darkness growing, growing?

Take this cup away from me

For it is overflowing!

 

 

 

Not one blot!

Not one blot!

Not one thing will pass away-

Fulfilled

Within.

Fulfilled

Within.

Begin

Begin

Begin with the Word-

Whose Word?

 

 


I wrote this poem as part of an assignment for my Postcolonial Literature course. I wanted to write about language and authority, and theology seemed like a natural entry point into this discussion (I am, after all, a man of limited interests).  This piece draws on the work of the poets Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze and Mahmoud Dawish, as well as the theology of Jurgen Moltmann. 

Quite unintentionally, one of the stanzas in this piece closely resembles a portion of To Be King.

 

Bach on Demand

bach
Portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann. Desecration by me.
I put Bach on

(The St John Passion)

And I turn the volume up

And I think

about eternity

From my armchair

On the edge

Of the infinite

Herr, unser Herrscher…

 

I put Bach on

(The St John Passion)

And I keep the volume low

I don’t want to think

About eternity

From my armchair

On the edge

Of the infinite

So close

To the edge

Of the infinite

Herr, unser Herrscher…

 

My walking sticks

Are the first to fall

Off the edge

Of the infinite

I wobble

Back and forth

And fall

Off the edge

Of the infinite

 

It’s just like the dream

That I keep having

 

It’s not scary

It’s strange

I’m falling so slowly

Into eternity

And I look back

At my armchair

On the edge

Of the infinite

Herr, unser Herrscher…

 

Just think:

For only $9.99 a month

I could fall

And fall

And fall again

Ad-free!
 


My fascination with the two Passions was galvanized by Alex Ross’ piece Bach’s Holy Dread.

 

From Babel, there came Pentecost.

qi-he_pentecost
He Qi (Chinese, 1950–), Holy Spirit Coming, 1998.

From Babel, there came Pentecost

Setting tangled tongues alight

And casting flame upon darkest night:

A beacon, burning, for the lost.

Behind the curtain

(Ripped in twain)

Angels gather once again,

“What love, what love, what love, what cost!”

From Babel, there came Pentecost.