Sunday, April 03, 2011


Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart,
You quoted from Deuteronomy.
And no wonder you feel ghostlike, you said,
when the convenant at the root
of the three great monotheisms,
which you can't accept and yet
can't leave alone, concerns
a body part that you don't even have.

And I said -- made stupid by anger --
are you really all that anxious to join
the genital mutilation club?
I don't think it will fix being a ghost.

I don't think it ever worked for that.
I hear you, but the whole
business, even
watered down to a bris, is a piece
of self-defeating self-ghostery
if I ever saw one.

And you said “Am I speaking Klingon?”
And that was that. No conversation to ensue.
Fair enough. It's not my faith,
not my gender, not my business.

One does soon start to speak Klingon
when one picks up the terms of another's faith.
I've seen it often enough, the bizarreries
of karma misconstrued as justice,
or selflessness as nihilism; it might be better
if we all just bit our tongues. But

this I am passionate about, this business
of ghosts. Once out of your body
you will do no good: no pope, no holy lama,
no blood-ritual however tender the part
to be torn, can change the ghosting
into something good.

And it's not so hard to lie down naked
and let a servant touch you humbly
(I'm lying, it's the hardest thing of all)
And know that you are nothing, nothing
but some scraps of flesh, until that
homeless, wandering thing,
is called back by the oiled hands,
the lavender or sandalwood,
of some quite ordinary creature:
and the scraps themselves begin to talk
or possibly to wail: ghost made flesh,
or flesh made ghost, it doesn't matter,
never mattered, never will.


Lucy said...


Deb said...

Ah. What a rich conversation of ears, heart & hands. No matter who did/did not the listening then, it is comprehensible now.