Saturday, November 20, 2004

Psalm 6

Note: I have been trying to make these psalms basically companion pieces to the real Psalms. This is a definite exception. I found Psalms 5 & 6 to be hysterically contradictory (in the KJV, that is) and just couldn't quite get my head wrapped around writing companion pieces without them being laughable.
So. This psalm is a specific follow-up to my fifth. Please read the fifth first. I hope they stand alone, but I think it casts a pretty good contextual light on this psalm to read the other first.

I just remembered.
At a concert last
I balled
up with ill will
upon sight of the
2nd opening act
who looked just
like an educated
and kindly version
of the kid who
lives next door to
my parents.
I do not remember
much of his performance
but I remember that
my anger welled
and I wept hard
bitter icy tears.

It is time to
play benevolent.
I am forgiven by
God and should now
be forgiving:

My parents were busy
with their first and
and it seemed to me
they forgot the third

until he disappeared
and by then it was too
far, much to far,
to retrace all the
millions of steps.
My parents love me,
even if I baffle them.
I love them, for
they are people of
simple and fervent
who try to make
sense of the charnel
house the world has
become around them
I forgive my father
his vocation
and my mother
her devotion.

My brother was
alone and awkward
as any boy

and his anger spilled
onto me for the first
thirteen years of
my semi-visible life.
He hurt me,
fierce fists and
brief suffocations
and contempt for
the fuck-up I was
bound to become.
Hate is learned and
my brother attended
public school
I do not begrudge
Michael his
former youth with
dreams of escape,
I see that we are
more the same than
any could imagine.
I forgive my
Brother his image
of me as
Surrogate Effigy.

Jessica at five
years old, and
Annie at fifteen.
And every desperate
clutch thereafter,
23 years in
concentric circles
of loving more
than I knew how
Yes, very terrifying.
I forgive them
all of their
collective contempt.

That girl years
ago, so fragile
by the end, who
loved someone
else in secret for
those 3+ years.
The same girl who
slept while I'd
smoke and cry
in the other room
bathed in blue light
and radio static.
I forgive-
and who wouldn't-
her longing for
a stability I'd
never heard of.

And my friend
who took my place.
My friend who
filled every gap
in my absence.
Who did secretly love
the one who I loved
and love tonight.
My friend who
became on one birthday
a stranger.
I forgive his
for it was
my own.

And you who
isn't witnessing
who abandoned
me only in part.
Who abandoned my
scent and my child-
worship and my
early senility and
my Gentile Judaism.
Who abandoned my
abandoned Self-Control.
I forgive you
your absence
because you were
ever-present during
my own, and
no person deserves
to inherit such


My shitty,
Shitty ex-
who accused and
hated. Who lied
and stole children.
Who refused and
wounded and never
looked back nor

I am convinced
that you led with
your heart.
Corrupt it may
be, but your heart
was as good as
it could possibly manage.
I forgive you
your appetites, for
Flesh is Flesh.
I forgive you
the courtroom, for
I think you believed
I was a monster and
I believe you were
mislead by your mother.
I forgive you
the Appalachians
and the distance
from home you've
taken your son, for
I know that his
world is much bigger
I forgive you,
and it's taken
me years.
Know that if
you damage that
frail spirit any
more than it's
been, I will,
with certainty,
destroy you.

Jerry Falwell and
George W. Bush.
Bakker and Swaggart
Red-staters and
Border People.
Television personalities
and corporate whores.
Policemen and
Barkeeps and
Harlots and
Chimenysweeps all sad and lonely
You are Forgiven
Your unwitting Debts.
You are known and loved-
though perhaps not by me-
and I cannot show
forth my contempt.

My contempt
and my loathing,
my impotent rage,
my longing and longing
and selfish despair.
As long as these
As long as I serve
two masters
my forgiveness
may never flow

Unforgiven by
Unwilling to accept
these sacrifices.
Grace is simply
not enough.


grace is simply not enough

Psalm 5: The Enemy

I've been thinking
a great deal

(a sure sign of trouble)
about enemies.

I have no
corporeal enemies.

God be praised
Knock on wood.

God, I hate my job
and all the
dolour and decay
inside of me
from doing it.
My job is an

As is my laziness,
my obdurate refusal
to do my dishes
or volunteer,
my stubborn disinclination
to hang up my clothes
or telephone
old friends.
My laziness is an

As is my anger,
my blind rage at
inconvenience and
the failure of
Rural Populism
my choking indignation
at selfish women
and arrogant men.
Yes, and so much more
(my God, so much anger).
My Anger is,
most certainly,
an enemy

And there are
other enemies
locked into my
spirit. Like
ramoneurs and
whores in the French
, my enemies
exhibit an old world that
by rights should have
disappeared and been
nearly forgotten

But no enemies



so much more
than this to say

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Psalm 4- A Song of [what is called] "Mercy"

I think of mercy
and find myself at a bit
of a loss
"Mercy" has a cognitive resonance
as Concept and Denotation but
a crucial experiential
While I am certain I
have experienced Mercy
(for example, I have
awakened outside
after a bad drunk
unhurt and unrobbed)
and I hope I have
Shown Mercy
by taking blame
(for bad relationships, perhaps,
with friends and family and lovers;
always I am at fault).
I presume-
and essentially believe-
that God has shown
me Mercy.
I must ask God to do it

I've been wasting
chances to see better
and to live a life I could
countenance in daylight.
I live filthy.
(God has seen it.)
And it must be a
shame to God

to see me fucking up
like this,
when I was given more than
enough tools
to cope with the
Grand Hassle
of living.

I understand that
God loves me,
as God loves all
small and backward
But it seems to me
God loves me more
when I'm doing
(which ain't that often).
Now. I'm not
Right, but I've
been Right-er
lately than I think
I've ever been.
So I think God's
going to help me
with this.

I'm being surprised
pretty constantly

these last couple
of years, as dark
as it's been
Pretty amazed
that there is still
some goodness to be
found, even in a few
dark places.
I think about it
at home
by myself
trying not to die yet,
and I find my
waking hours,
at length,
devolving into sleep,
sometimes restful.

(man, mean it:

There are so many things
in every new day
that I know
I need to put away
for now and ever.
No smoking
No hard drinking
No more paralyzing rage.
The sacrifice that's
left for me
is Doing Things
That Are Good
There isn't self-
denial enough
to merit all the
Grace and Good Favor.
Never enough that
I could do to
turn this ugly
stupid world around
but trust
as Dr. King
that the Universe
Bends toward Justice

(praise God)
Not only can this all
be better, but
it Must and
Will Be.

Now. I, as most,
demand to see this
arc toward justice
and I want to see
it now.
But as I wait
and try to work
(Remaining vigilant!
This must be key!)

to complete this
bend, I must ask
my God to give
me sight that
recognizes the justice
being met today
to sustain me
(it is oh so dark
this week, GWB

I see!
My practiced poverty
is practical in prelude
to the service
I must seek.
Trusting that I
can serve well,
this is the happiest
I've ever been.

Not only do I
swear to live
this Justice-
to do my
level best to
Live Out the
Peace I know
Will Be-
I swear that
my life will fit
me best on the
days that I
And, yes!,
Sweet God, I
do know mercy,
and I know
my only source
for Mercy, God,
for Peace
is that which
I find in


so hard
to be so positive