SEVEN LOVE POEMS
We were green incisions
breaking rocky sand after huge, hill slipping rains
Then the blue hills on long stalks, and golden orange sweeping to a climbing sky
sweet horse-breath tough muzzles
long hair, pulling lips and yanking teeth, naked and bareback we rode over cliffs into a peaceful ocean…
Wolf purple and Indians brush the slopes with salt skin sweat enough to lubricate the long soccer run across high school into
College, friends forms shapes
Color that keeps to itself to inspire only in love
Love that leaves and comes back and leaves
…Then, only God, but God doesn’t want ‘only God,’ or why us.
Now try this,
sidle up close so your smell can be known
Come up in green stalks so wild and thick they inspire blood
And pour over geography with the defiance of leaves…
And water courses
Green and diamond
Drops glisten and treasure like grease gravy on mashed
lightning in our subtle hearts.
Ride your bike like hell down this side of the hill now that you’ve given up drinking poison and have a smooth voice that would calm the UN
Charm to wed mist-hung climates and my power to change the weather.
I’m not sorry we never got electric
Weren’t meant to I guess,
I can enjoy the memory much more
When the green oats covered any spare place in southern california, in san francisquito canyon… Or with you in that filthy valley full of fornicating banks and used car lots spangled in prim wrapped banners of red and white strips—barbers gone wiley. Wouldn’t have mattered-- could have been in that flooded field with water up half way to the wide empty mouth/you squatting on top of that great drain without anything but a leather and fleece aviator’s jacket atleastyourpectorlswerewarm that night with moon slivers sliding down the trunks of oak trees and walking on water like the Lord!
Hmmm… that wasn’t you, but it could have been.
I can see you all umbered up,
Engorged with ochre
Lethargic and green gold-- a great frog’s eye ripe with eggs in sacks of flem and cool streams
fragrant oxygen fumes and freshness/green grey shiny brown moss on treacherous flagstone flickering pond striders and every curious scarred turtle looking for a good time.
We could have whispered and giggled beneath those stubborn trees while brawny brothers and short but powerfully stacked dad carted rocks for our garden and patios. I was too young, but I was learning the ways of the weak. How light glints and scatters across the waters and the mud gleams as it rises to temples and pyramids.
You could have helped but some-body-else stepped in
On those bales of alfalfa and horse blankets with that underage banker…
I guess it doesn’t matter that you loved somebody else, (or a whole string of DNAs),
Though, though, though well, well, well… one of the last was a beautiful boy. Yes, I know he’s like your son... But I still wonder about love. Where are the boundaries? They’ve over lapped like the tap tap tap of that river pump on the frontier stream ‘tween Ecuador and Peru. Didn’t matter then, I still sunk down knee deep in the river’s bed until I made love to streams and clouds--jet trails across my stream of conversation and still enthuses a jungle burn. For c o r n? With all its deities? I still worship… but now I think I prefer friendship.
All I see is those long stalks and feel the sticky sap that seeps and weeps when we picked their great blue bells—much more variegated in its person than the name can tell. Now it’s a knife of a thousand revelations that I was a lucky kid in our hiding place and willing to pay the wind for its bite and the long walk up those rocky hills to know its love,
Once I lay on its side writhing that migraine out, so that the old school bus driver got out on his way home and climbed up to take care of me, though I was a quarter mile off the road and up the side of our hill that dad built on—all gone now. More of what I learned to do as they were brawny and bold with those big flags of stone-- More of light glinting across my ball the eye to my soul and sent now to save or kill.
I could still be had by love… there are bigger definitions—though not better, I suspect. Rather remember those wild flowers so few and far between--would that I could walk-on, once again, to walk out across an electric grid infini-
mally small in its brane, eternally grand in its largess-- Intimate kimono of embroidered grace, gold and midnight etched across the sky.
And you I still love but now still you’re sober in your corner room with a view (and its noise tolerated for past sins) and capable of memories even now…
So now the choirs still –sing
and rock and roll still guides your soul, inscribes your face
but there’s Something still
that will hold us dear
in its star-encrusted black,
and empty space.
Steve Frost 2.22.’08
05.49--01.08: Some Early Morning Thoughts
1. ..., there are also advantages to being alone here in OK. I have time to challenge my thinking... What I'm trying to ring from my life is at least a direction beyond the pathos of where I've gotten to-- Sobriety (Nepsis), or Altered States of Consciousness, or Ritual Drunkenness, arduous, long, (very sober) Pilgrimage-- Trying to maintain the wonder of one's youth is impressive only to youth. It makes sense to them. There is a glory to being what we are, and a grandeur to 'going beyond' even that.
2. The point of making claim to do extraordinary things is not if ‘I can effect the weather or not,’ for example, but that there is something about human nature that does--either spiritually or technologically--most likely, it is the whole effect entirely that impacts creation: Individual identity as it relates to corporate identity. ‘Who is initiated into what,’ certainly is one of the primary elements of the SPELL. (GOS-SPEL if you like; and I hope.)
3. That issue of identity is how the genius of the Church Fathers was able to recognize and philosophically justify or explain the identity of Christ (through the Sacraments--I.e. the symbolon, art...). This, because this particular corporate identity is reasonably capable of 'taking on the sin of the world' simply because that is part of the corporate identity of our humanity—it is part of the fullness of who we are—that needs redemption, completion. Realizing that, i.e. making it one's life is, I truly believe, the Christian Way. The ‘Fullness’ of humanity, of nature, is the ‘Holy.’ Others, no doubt, also...
4. Beyond that, salvation, redemption, absolution is inherent in the long 'is' of Being, along with everything else. (Now that's an ontology...+) Buddhist meditation is a wonderful means of access to the inheritance, for instance...
- Those were the titles of my first adult 30 years of inquiry. I’m not satisfied with yearning for the ‘wonder of youth’ since most of that is based on ignorance and energy. So, I’m looking for the ‘wonder that passes understanding.’ That admittedly still requires patience.
- Its important to embrace the whole of human consciousness: Ordinary and extraordinary.
- This cannot be reduced to an intellectual formula, but requires the full grandeur of Consciousness… the full Liturgy, word and image, action, Emptiness and prayer.
- Access between various parlors of Being is the whole conversation.
AND THINK OF THE UNIVERSE:
Someone recently made the fairly normal comment that Philosophy is not Poetry in reference to my Animist leanings expressed a few days ago. I agree of course. Philosophy is limited to its one tool, reason or logic. And a great thing that is. Western civilization is enthralled by the notion that human reason encompasses everything. This faith is so strong that it becomes a myth-- some faith statement that one does not even question-- for many. However, emotion and intuition also help us evaluate reality. Of course, that emotion cannot be corrupted by sentimentality or nostalgia, but must be characterized by clear, clean, strong sentiment. And that intuition must be developed and honed by gift and training. Careful distinctions need be made in such states as visionary consciousness, dreams, prayer, meditation, the many roomed mansion of the psyche, including a stolid dose of rationality. Emotion can take us to in-depth appreciation of color, nuance and feeling that construct the experience of reality. Reason, Science, the scientific method plays its part, but if pushed far enough has to admit that its limits stretch along the barbed and electrified fence of the tangible. To go further requires a 'shining through' from the other side.
That being said, 'sometimes the wind is just the wind. But other times the wind is a communication from ineffable quarters of being.' Thus, Creation is sacred not in itself but in its ineffable origin and because its Creator freely inhabits and animates creation as a parent or agent loves its offspring or intention. The Spirit is so potent that its mere presence animates every cell of being with its personal character. And reasonably, 'innocent as a dove and clever as a serpent,' the Spirit is not trapped by its own Creation. Instead, the Elohim, 'speak' through its creatures not just one species alone.
...And think of creation. We are circling a black hole that is so powerful it holds our Sun in its orbit from such a vastly incomprehensible distance. One milky galaxy among billions. With no evidence but probability that there is a consciousness like ours anywhere. It is a worthy endeavor to develop our line of awareness that includes kindness, compassion, generosity, goodness and educated intelligence-- as well as careful good sense. What do you think? The whole is precious as well as the individual...
The core Church would have no problem with this. But Real Estate agents and developers are another story and resist the notion that nature should not be profitable. In a similar way, the slavery of fellow human beings has been justified for millennia by saying that the slave was not a person, a sacred being, but an investment.-- Something to be exploited.
I doubt that we are far apart in this, so far...
Dear Sir or Madam,
Pretend you are drinking a cup of coffee somewhere with a sweet pastry, perhaps a cinnamon roll. You are sitting at a little sidewalk table, slightly chilled without breakfast, such that hot coffee or tea is a treat. You over-hear a conversation from a nearby table, or is it the quiet voice of an old hobo talking to himself, sitting on the sidewalk outside the rail:
“... In my recollection, I give Athanasius credit for the sacramental vision of the Church. It is of course, more complicated, but could one say that?
...its the visionary consciousness that interests me, as you know. The maintenance of a vision of the Divine Spirit engaged in a world- light drenched and warmed by the curves in a line, forms- shapes allowed a third dimension. shapes that describe a breast fed baby and mists that disguise passage from the end of night's inky blue, to aqua twilight's turquoise-limpid acceptance of a new day. Of course this changes with each evaluation -armed education from Mother's knee, such that there's much potential for God's insertion into one's private space. ...and the tidal lays crashing around the world.
... that's Art. A bridge between here and heaven. Clever people like Athanasius co-oped the ancient insight and wove an ingenious spell of Sacraments- of populations and generations spun around a Stone Age idea/discovery/invention. God, both intimate and illusive among such insights keeps going as impatient with ‘only stillness’ as the rest of us. So yes, Raimon and I are in communion with the See of Rome and the Ganga and the Sand Spirits between Mecca and Medina… But how does one unweave a spell when it becomes a Golem, a monster? Is there a name for someone who unweaves a great spell. It requires something more than a shaman or thaumaturge now...
So, Sir or Madam, do I have to be in a place like this monastery to unweave a spell, a great spell--Civilization having got to where we directed it in our schools and liturgies- White magic whose light casts various shadows enough to engulf the world?
It is not in reaction against the Modern Era that I finally rejected the novel and short story forms among others. It’s because the material world has no discernible plot, nor characters, nor moral message. Wisdom, Compassion, Caritas and like/related phenomena, I suspect, derive from a different vale entirely. I returned to mythic, even surreal cycles of short fiction, research, image and picaresque narrative, dream-like in composition as a more accurate means of discovery and expression for this research-- and is closer to my pertinent interests than sophisticated cultural constructs, novel from a dark enlightenment, current for the last 500 years in the West.
February, 2006. I started from Morro Bay, on California’s middle coast. I first just took a drive east over those beautiful hills between the sea and California’s San Joaquin (Central) Valley. Then, I decided to stay over night near Button Willow in the Valley. Then, Bakersfield where I saw a young Harvey Canady, a close college friend (who had died years before) walking down the street. ...
... as I approach Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly, to be in tears of mourning for the deaths of my mother, and brother the previous fall. I’d had a worrisome dream Christmas morning about my mother in the afterlife. I’d made little offerings at this place because Grandmother Spider, a creator deity, is reputed to live there. I’m a believing Roman Catholic Priest, but I’m still reverent of the old insights, personalities and symbols. Many visits in the past wherein nothing happened....
This time Grandmother Spider took over my consciousness, and indicated I should look up the right hand canyon ( Canyon de Chelly splits just there at Spider Rock). I did so. And there benevolent Changing Woman, also a Navajo deity, appeared standing behind my mother. My mother was protected (saved) by these two representatives of feminine deity. Georgia was holding a box with golden light inside. She was well.
This story is interesting that a believing Catholic can experience a complete transliteration of a salvific moment. That is, my mind and heart spontaneously translated a salvific intuition through another religion's symbols and divinities. Rather like Bernadette did with the Immaculate Conception and the Beautiful Woman! Goddess?
Psyche of nature: Combination of spiritual Presence a human mechanism that immediately?? Interprets spiritual encounters into familiar images and ideas.
It took 4 days to get home- OKC to Santa Fe/Chama. 4 days of migraines, night tornadoes, huge thunderstorms, and the wind was a happy maniac, blowing to bend the trees and grass across the panhandles between here and OKC. Up along the Kansas border its desolate country. Though a town called Liberal was a busy place at the time of my passing- after half dozen towns as quiet as their graveyards that morning. Had prime rib special there in an old railroad restaurant just as newly weds celebrated their reception in the next room. I was entertained by noisy children and frazzled mothers happy to be out of their houses, it looked like, and desperate to control their babes. The desolate sense of the land changed to charm just as I crossed the border into New Mexico to Raton and south from there to the ‘ceiling branches.’ Now home again in Chama Canyon, I feel as if I've been to the Holy Land. (I, a Knight Templar... guarding the head of St. James and the pilgrim way!)
TRIP TO JERUSALEM 2006
My Jewish friend took me to the 'Wailing Wall', inside to pray. I never wanted to go to the Holy Land. I'm a supporter of the good aspirations of Arab peoples. Political and military control of Palestine by Zionists is not justified in this preference. Though, there is nothing written in stone that says they shouldn't live there. Zion was a holy place before David took the city. It still is. None-the-less, I love my friend, so we stood before the Wall and prayed. In my mind's eye I saw blue lightening arising from the stone foundation of the mount. And green… Enormous psychic power. Later, I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. A Christian monk (Coptic I believe) was selling religious knick-knacks out of a closet behind the crowded shrine. The candle stands around the shrine were filthy. I wandered down to lower levels and found a place of naked stone foundations beneath the tomb. There was only one person there- An Ethiopian man in street clothes but wrapped in a shawl of white gauze. He chanted quietly and prayed for a long time. His quiet prayer moved me, so I joined him there touching the bare stone. I felt that I 'saw' peace. Absolute peace.
On another day we bathed in a chilly cave pool near another cave once occupied by John the Baptist, not far from Jerusalem. My Jewish friend also took me on a tour of the Golan Heights and surrounding areas. We hiked the hills and fields and swam in the river that feeds the Sea of Galilee. An Arab Christian friend showed me Caesarea by the Sea and other places on the way back to Jerusalem. (The very places, when I was with my Jewish and Christian friends, now under bombardment from the north as IDF armaments pound the hills of Lebanon.)
DREAMS: I had many dreams in the Holy Land. All but one were wonderful, verdant, lovely, dark and green. There was one of terrible aspect. A genius locus? Horrible, still, boring tan brown, hot antipathy. Me or the place? Can’t say, but it suggests much about that place and my perceptions.
My time in Jerusalem was like standing on the frontier of the 'other world.' One feels timeless in the presence of time. This would be so with or without all those buildings and peoples, I'm sure.
I suppose a significance of my experience in Jerusalem was that the sensibilities developed there are particular to the place--the genius loci of that place. Which might be why so much of Christianity always seems alien to other places. Though one must still consider such passages as the "Sermon on the Mount" as more universal, but still consistent with the spirits of that locale.
Religious people in America should seek out the spirit that dwells here rather than imposing Middle Eastern or European ideas about spirits. One can do this as well as acknowledge the significance of the Christ, the Buddha, and so much more the gift of what Christians call the Holy Spirit. What loving, peaceful person who cares about Creation as the Creator made it would not make this choice. 'The spirits also need love and completion...'
One other event of this journey was a thoroughly happy trip to Petra in Jordan. I stayed in a 'native' hotel in Petra. There was a gay person on the staff of this small hotel on a hillside above town. It was more a guesthouse than a hotel, with lots of students and other economically challenged world travelers. As I was checking-out on the morning of my departure, this androgen was in charge, indeed was the only staff person present. At one point, he seemed to gaze to the right up towards the ceiling and said to me “you have a white heart” and as he went on seemed very positive and favorable in his estimation. The ‘divine androgen’—the Berdasche-- is a figure of nearly universal importance in religious and cultural history of the world for tens of thousands of years. This is a figure cruelly repressed in the Modern Era and especially among Old and New Testament peoples for the last 4000 years. Though, there is nothing negative about this persona in the Gospels… (The Gospels which recast the whole meaning of the scriptures by the way.) Usually, they mediate between the worlds of Spirit and Matter and Psyche. The importance of this figure cannot be over estimated. Human culture will never be whole without this role. None-the-less, for me when I was a young pilgrim on the roads of the world, in the early stages of this conversion, to have a 'clean heart' was a value of highest esteem. I think that’s the translation from the Arabic of my friend’s thinking in Petra. A ‘clean heart’ is an expression of accomplishment beyond compare in the spiritual life. I'll end my story with that aspiration. For my sake and the world's, I hope we’re right.
A voice to my mind's ear whispered
“Turn around and you will see them!”
in that moonlit meadow
and it's made all the difference.
Why don’t you look?
Just behind you.
Hills above Assisi, Italy
All night vigil for the great saint
The Reverend Stephen Frost PhD