SACRIFICES OF A GRAD STUDENT

The others are out partying
Cruising in their urban assault vehicles
One night they shot chicks in the ass with a plastic dart gun
Outside the neighborhood convenience store
And a girl panicked and the police showed up
They told them to put their toys away and go to bed
After the bars closed but the night wasn’t done for them
But I stayed home in my apartment reading
That night I heard about, it was Blake
I was deep in the wailing and groaning mythic Giants
And Sunday afternoon I was explaining
An ethics paper I was working on to a girl I picked up Friday night
About love and state public policy, bussing and race
And she asked me how long it took me to write the poem I gave her
It didn’t last because, she said, I wasn’t in business and it was the ‘80’s
We’ve already made terms with living impoverished
And not being able to afford a lot of beers
But there are still ways to get into trouble

A DALLIANCE WITH ATHEISM

Atheism, the Greek alpha privative applied to God
A simple letter that would negate
The Word
Fashion has that apparent privative power
Belief is hard come by these days
In my day I’ve dallied with atheism
More as an academic posture, professional pose, poseur’s profession
Impressed by express academic probity, I professed an inculcated cultus
Grew unprofessional regarding the confession of God,
Like professors I grew to like, I grew like
Fashion dressed up as sophistos
Quite unlike my younger years, when I didn’t know
In my gut
I didn’t know and I don’t know now,
I believe
It’s hard to keep faith in mind and heart and life
In my gut
With a thinking mind, overthinking, ubermentation
Entertainment of doubts
It’s quite a thing to believe in things unseen
Unseemly, out of fashion
In fact, a factitious cultural cult
As if my mortal soul would matter as does a hemline
Lifeline to eternity the believing mind, heart, life.

God whispers

Aethereal evidence
A veritable mass of evidence opened upon open-minded assent,
Heaven sent, yet evidence, still solipsistic criteria,
I cry tears in this wilderness, this wildness
This worldliness, this world view, this zeitgeist, the spirit of this age
The Spirit and Words that give life
Life in a time and place in which belief is optional
Optimal
Words, Spirit, life, script for acting good, scripture
Inscribed on the heart, covenant, conformity to script, solipsistic criteria
Information for theological formation not Positivist logical formulation

God whispers

I hear upon open-minded assent, prior ascent, priority assent
Ascent out of that which is for this world alone
That which Is
That which makes this world
My faith in a doubt-filled world, the denial of the world, other world

THEODICY

“Hey Laura!  Lookin’ hot!”  Jackie exclaimed at coffee hour after church
Broadcasting her own bisexuality, which struck me as attention-seeking
And I thought about her mother’s own attention-seeking behaviors
Of her childhood abuse she now struggles as an adult to survive
And her several marriages, separations
I wonder how many generations down
The iniquities of the fathers are visited
And I have to survive the iniquities my father visited upon me
Complicit with my mother’s silent abetting

Once riding with a Harvard friend in his boat off the coast of Atlantic Florida,
Which we were able to enjoy through his wife’s wealth,
We glimpsed the mansion visited upon the young Kennedys
—I think I saw a yacht moored in front of the Kennedy mansion—
And try to wrap my mind around why, from one perspective,
Some don’t seem to catch a break
The Aqualung types hanging around the convenience store down the street
Made something by Jethro Tull’s ‘70’s rock album, otherwise despised
And to discourage them from hanging around the convenience store
Scaring people by being who they are or were made to be
By iniquities of vague, distant Fathers
The cashiers won’t let me buy them a sandwich
Won’t let me practice Mi’kmaq Star Teachings
Won’t let me care

From one perspective, the fates spin an unjust thread
What a cheat life would be were that myth exclusive
A shade drawn on the glimpse through ultimate reality’s greater window
Vanishing lines that converge upon the perspective of conviction
That an ultimate equity may yet inhere here, inherited curses be confounded,
Or else redemption were a vacuous term,
Rebirth but a rabbinic dialogue written in a Sacred Text
Close the embossed leather covers and lock the words in silence
Yet were there another perspective, vanishing lines of inquiry pointing to
An unjust inquisition’s verdict denied, then there were another perspective.
Swedenborg said he saw it;–what if temporal goods matter
Only insofar as they remain eternally?  What if matters of soul matter
As much as material goods in this material world
And the Madonna of antiquity means more than a pop star
Even now relegated to antiquity
Then the ode to Jackie, her mother, the Aqualung types, and I is composed
in quite another key.  Overcoming the iniquities of the fathers,
The iniquities of vague, distant Fathers, we see the material of humanity
when our eyes meet, and belie Blake’s HUMAN ABSTRACT
Rise up in new birth, reform into new selves, new souls, Arise all Souls Arise

The vanishing lines of ultimate reality’s perspective converge on
The crucified One
I try to wrap my mind around how He just couldn’t seem to catch a break
And look where He ended up
Have I tried to squeeze the universe into a ball? 
To roll it to an overwhelming question I can scarce conceive:

Really, where did He end up?