Visions of God: Seven Poems


1. Text
circa 1965

In the doctor’s office
Waiting eternally to be called
Studying the Child’s Illustrated Bible,
Or in Sunday school, fingers tight
Around old broken crayons
adding color between the lines:
God hid behind the clouds
Except for fingers of light
Slicing through the air
To illuminate some distant goal
Some promise to come soon
If the people pictured, Caucasians
Dressed like Arabs, standing in verdant
Fields of sheep, if they would just
Keep moving toward the picture’s
Vanishing point, then they would
Arrive like the nurse at the door
Calling me by name.

2. Summer 1980

We had eaten them like the Eucharist
A communal act draped in mystery
Trusting our hope to be transformed.

Soon I was kneeling at the toilet
Every bit of blood and bone of my body
Crawled up my throat like porcupines

I was in my own level of hell
Every atom of every strand of hair
Screamed through eternity for release

Then a voice outside of myself
Like my sixth grade science textbook
Spoke in sonorous reassurance

“This too shall pass . . .”
And within that instance, it did.
I rose again,

Brushed my teeth
And walked back out
Into the bedazzled day.

3. Flying on the floor
1984

the words outside had become too much
too many perspectives to follow
too many bunny trails into the briar patch

inside only music, no people
to twist my thinking past coherence
inside only me, calmly breathing on the floor

so I lay there, breathing, watching the ceiling
like clouds, creating patterns of possibility
vague, comforting, whimsically transitory

the Rolling Stones sang on the stereo
of time, sympathy and power
a perfectly simple single narrative

when splayed between the bumps and lines,
a full-color Byzantine Jesus manifested
hands open, stigmata dripping love

before I could wallow beatifically in blood
silent gunfire pocked the fresco
plaster dust coated the air like fog

I stood quickly as the song changed
Stepped back onto the sunlit deck
Back into a conversation with the living

4. After Being Apart
Burlington Airport, 1989

I wandered aimlessly about the terminal
early
with little to do

I found the gate again
checked arrival and departure times
again

watched the model airplanes,
the history of flight,
that hung above the terminal floor

I returned to the gate
sat next to a pillar near the escalator
I waited, pretending to read

then there they were again
her eyes I fell into
years before

5. Silent Cliff
1991

Rain and light fell from the canopy.
In the air, patterns of shadow danced
With the mist falling from the leaves.

The deep green immanence of the trees
And brush darkened the light
Into dusk along the thick forest floor.

The humidity flowed like rivers about the path,
as I negotiated between the trees slowly
moving up the side of the mountain

The trees were unrelenting and oppressive:
the sky obliterated behind the thick green;
I trudged on switchbacks toward Silent Cliff.

I crouched over a creek on an improvised bridge;
Tired, frustrated, claustrophobic and almost lost
I pushed on through the never-ending woods until

Finally stepping out beyond the tree line to cliff’s edge
And nothing but empty air for twenty miles but
The blue haze of the Adirondacks on the horizon.

6. Improvisation
New Orleans, July 2005

In the cobbled grey streets slick with rain
Lilith slipped her shoes off and
Walked bare foot across wet stones
Near the St. Louis Cathedral

As she slapped her feet
The rain still swirled
Lightly dancing the afternoon sun
Like glitter through the air

The world widened like an iris in delight
Gathering the light from my darkness:
In that
I live forever still

7. the eyes

her eyes, always her eyes
dark brown spattered about an iris
which I fall into forever

to watch them as she speaks
to see her mind move within them
a bright dancer between her words

during sex their sudden widening roll
as she leaps and sings beyond herself
eternally fuels my desire

(January 2011)

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