Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dog Night

Tonight, as my dog, Strider,
walks me through the silent shadows,
I sense a dull pain effusing from the stones,
a weird sensation of unnatural old cold
rising through the soles of my boots,
seeping through the marrow of my leg bones,
and weighing me down
like a  frozen skeletal rider.

The air is not uncomfortable,
but the ache that I experience is.
It is cold, oh, so,
cold and horrible.

My friend, my only companion,
leads me onward to that junction
in the road
that I may release him
and let him run without harm,
without caution.

It is just ahead and
around the bend
where the graveyard,
the fenced cemetery ends
and the open fields begin.

“Slow down, boy,” I grunt.
“We’ll get there soon enough,
I warrant.
Ain’t no rabbits out tonight anyway.”
I lie.
He huffs and strains against the chain.

I puff, short of breath and
have a feeling of not being there,
still, I am completely aware
of that which surrounds me,
to that which I am inextricably linked,
my environment within and without me'
Yet, somehow events seem kinked.

It is a gloomy night, but I do not fear,
for my dog can her
that which I can not,
and I depend upon his senses
for my protection;
because tonight,
this night of expectation,
I am far from the traveled lands
of my own,
my humankind.

We reach the point of release
and I command my friend to halt
so that I can unclip his collar from the leash.
He is off.

I stand quiet in the night, listening.
It seems a gentle late October evening.
I hear the rustling of the dried oak
and hickory leaves that my friend pads through.
The breeze cause decaying branches
to rattle against each other, too.

Far away, a lonely coyote calls once,
just once.

The moon is just a thin crescent
low in the western sky,
which leads me to believe
that the coyote
has not that much for to cry.

 Strider barks, not in that inquisitive,
“What the hell is this?” way,
but frantically and frenetically
as if at bay.

I turn in the direction of his sound
and barely see
his running form back to me.

“What is it, boy?” I ask.

His answer is the shaking of his body
against my knee.
I kneel down and hug him.
He still shakes, then gives a little whine
taking me to task
for not being there for him,
he knows he's mine
and I am his chap.
I sit down Indian style
and Strider crawls onto my lap.

This night has no shadows now.

Peering Through a Glass Darkly

I climb exhaustedly,
hunched over,
in tears,
as I gain the summit
of a hill of years,
and from my elderly
vantage point I can barely
distinguish through a
hazy distance a lonely
church spire from which
I dimly hear the tolling
of a muffled bell.

It beckons me,
as would a doorbell ringing,
or laughing children singing,
or ice cream trucks dinging
around my old neighborhood.

Slowly shambling down my hill
then with an ever gradual springing
in my stride, I begin to run and
sooner than a burst of a
lightning sun
I am at the the church building
with the spire
soaring into the
golden blue heavens above me.

My limbs are tingling
with the vibrant feeling
of an energy
of a new youth.

Straining my legs
and pushing higher
onto the tips of my toes
I can scarcely peer
through glass stained
The inner light is dim,
yet the sun shines
through all the windows
enough to show me
nobody's home.

An old hand and
rhyming game runs
through my perplexity.
"Here's the church,
here's the steeple.
Open the doors and
where's all the people."

Then I awaken.

The above is a poetic allusion to the fading Christian congregations that the increasingly secular scientific Western societies experience today. Some people believe that it must be that great ogre SCIENCE that is to blame, when actually, I believe: it's the amount of time we spend every day seeking money, things and amusements. It is true that the more educated among us have become more secularized and cannot believe in a loving other that is here, there and everywhere--religious superstitions­­--quite as wholeheartedly as did our ancestors. Yet, this post-Enlightenment paradigm has not supplanted the "wow factor" from our present perceptual experiences. No, it has been replaced by an artifice beyond the imaginations of the greatest ancient Epicurean philosophers. Why go to a church when there is a great game on or a groovy movie playing, not to mention the hundreds of schlock filled cable shows saturated with ads we all absorb via the Internet?

Our primeval awe has gone, that jaw-dropping sense of personal humlity, yet seeming always imbued with a buoyant sense of wonder that manufactured gods and dreams from the stuff of nature and ourselves.

And that's another problem; we no longer live withIN nature. We live insulated from and withOUT it. This explains why a large minority of us seem oblivious to our surrounding environmental degradation.

Another major impediment to church attendance is the insidious hierarchical structure of organized religion. It is a turnoff for the young and the free-thinkers among us. It seems the only way to get folks into a church nowadays is for the elders to appeal to the selfish natures of our worst angels. In other words, promise the new coming tithers plenty of pie-in-the-sky dreams, controversies and MORE amusements. Something that is antithetical to the teaching of any prophetic savant, whether Christian, Judaic, Islamic, Buddhistic, take your pick. They all preach against what is happening now in our mega-churches.

It seems such a shame, although I have to confess that I don't go to church, either. My reasons for non-attendance are manifold.

The primary excuse goes like this: there are two churches in my small town, Southern Baptist and Roman Catholic. I have been baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition and this occurred when I was nine, not a truly responsible, nor reasonable age to understand the complexities of Protestant dogma. Yet, I truly believed then and as far back as the age of five years old. Yet, my soon discovery of the racist founding of the Southern church led me to disdain the fellowship.

As for the Roman Catholic church, I have not been catechized, therefore I cannot partake of the Eucharist. I am limited to these two choices, because I do not drive and the next nearest group of churches is fifteen miles away, a fairly long walk.

Besides this excuse, I have another; I am not really into the doctrine of the Trinity, which I consider a Nicaean human compromise endorsed by a Roman imperator and not what I believe comes from the "hand" of the Father, the "God" that Yeshua of Nazareth taught his disciples to love. But, what I truly miss is "fellowship." (A term that is tinged with the shade of male chauvinism, yet is the one commonly used.)

To me, fellowship is the raison d'être of any church gathering. To be with sisters and brothers surrendered to agape IS heaven on earth.

And that's what I want to see, when I climb that hill; heaven on earth.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Arrière Pensée

I stood there...
That was all that I could dare,
or would do;
only stand dumb and numb,
as Cephas, weeping,
and stare at the man,
seemingly sleeping,
whose life was
from a
carmine seam
neatly sewn
into his left side,
just below his Adam's bone,
a thin,
surgically incised
by a fiendishly honed

Beneath the distant howls and
clangs of the diminishing battle,
I heard, what I believed
to be a moan.
No, my hearing conceived,
more or less,
it to be a groan,
but I doubted this
and I soon perceived this
to be a sonic mirage,
a delusion
spawned by a hopeful
for I knew him to be dying
or already dead.
An overwhelming desire
urged me to rush to his aid,
but due to my reason
I knew it to be folly,
and I only stood
heavy footed,
for the wound was too deep
and too fatal;
and because of my arrière pensée,
I was as rooted,
as a cedar of Lebanon,
to the ground.
A stray sound...
Frederick asked and beckoned me nearer.
"Am I alive?"
I nodded,saying,
"And, I am here, Sir."

Le Sang des Fidèles

Of a sudden,
a cold and mighty surge of shame
washed over me.
I felt an urgent need
to flee from this realm and
ride down this dry Wadi of Ignominy,
and fly into the furtive domain of Hell,
then crawl into an adamantine shell
to hide myself,
to hide my name.
My dishonor?
I could not,
or would not,
thwart the sword blow
that maimed my lord
and felled him to the earth.
But, I did not go away.
With my bloody claymore dangling
from a gauntleted,
enfeebled hand,
stained with the blood of the faithful.
I crouched near
to better hear
his command.
I was afraid that I was witnessing
his last moments drawing near,
afraid to exist
without his might
to guide me through
this darkness terrible,
lost his beacon light
agleam on my sea of night.
I lightly braced him so he
could slightly lift himself upon an elbow.
I feared further pain to him,
so I only knelt,
young head bowed,
as would a man much older.
Then, I felt his huge hand clamp my shoulder.

"Karl?" He wheezed.

"Yes, my lord. I am here."
I answered again,
but I swear,
I was losing all sense
of reason and rhyme,
the season in time
and whether or not
I was really here,
or there...

Ostium Apertum In Caelo

I soared upwards,
yet I looked down,
as I was floating
like a cloud,
to see my body
on the ground.
I heard
the Logos
sounding loudly;
like unto a thunder,
like unto a waterfall,
like unto shofars
resounding beyond number.
Said one like a son of man.
"What do you see?"
Pointing toward
a latten sea.
How can I tell this tale?
Where to begin?
And where is the end
of this fable?