Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dear Paisley

Dear Paisley. No, it is not enough, and it is not all.
But it is dangerous to talk about God and joy.
The Jealous One is waiting for an indiscretion,
A misstep, to seize and pull us under. If God
Is real, the Devil is too.

People think that shamans work to call spirits,
But mostly they work to keep them away. Keep
The gods asleep. Don't wake the powers. Keep
The dead in their graves. That's their daily work,
Their bread and butter.

This morning, before sunrise, in the metallic dark
Drenched with rain, I watched the light
Pouring from streetlights and headlights like steam,
Huge plumes of light, hanging, like giants' breath,
In the cold air.

Who was breathing there? Don't ask, don't tell;
Keep your head down. How many of the dead
Are waiting to speak to us? Admit that, yes,
You have been introduced, then how many audiences
Must you have?

Evangelicals are a foolhardy lot,
Urging everyone, unprepared, unblessed, unwatched
To open his or her heart to God, to pray,
No matter who might be listening. Open your heart
To Jesus, they say,

And he will come. True enough. But you better be
Damned sure it's Jesus you are calling
And not the casts of envy, pride, or greed.
Any of them will come, if called. It's not just Jesus
At the stand.

Still. Beyond the sodden filthy blanket of the sky
The sun walks in the shining air. Every flaw
Is filled with love, the world aches with its burden
Of divine desire; two slippery hands are not enough
To hold it.

The cup wobbles, and the hot fluid
Runs down the sides, burning, burning, burning
Scalding us with love; we are branded, blistered,
Shocked and wounded, bitten and torn
With the love of God.

Dear Paisley. No, it is not enough, and it is not all.

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