POETRY PAGE FOUR
COLUMN NINETY-SIX, SEPTEMBER 1, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
THE JESUS ACTION FIGURE WITH POSABLE ARMS
is sold, sealed in clear plastic. He waits, you suppose fittingly, on a shelf at the comic
book store next to the Moses action figure with removable tablet and staff. The Jesus
figure glides on hidden wheels, while Moses just stands and stutters. You imagine your
years glide by, too, on hidden wheels, and what testimony there is to suffering, seeps
into the rhetoric of standup comedians. The package looks rather absurd from a
postmodern point of view, yet, overlooking the audacious claims for divinity, you must
at least pause and consider how this man from Nazareth turned out, how his good
intentions, even those debatable miracles, which never made jewels or gold, but just
advanced life from the grave, or made loaves and fish so we could eat, or wine from
water so we could marry and make more life, how that one life ended: nailed, stabbed and
crowned with thorns. Try it. The posable arms move up into a gesture of blessing; and
then you think about your work gone bad, the office arranging circuits without you, or
your lover, the one who only held you with the soft hands of a sniper. Good and evil,
charity and super powers, or the vanishing vapor trail of our names are all balloons of
words above your head. You can make the posable arms move downward, too,
wounded, like a hand trailing in the river of sorrow, where the water flows from inside,
emptying you out, always the puzzle of desire with a piece missing; clear water,
something like the resignation of ice, the glycerin of tears, the alleluia of dew. ##
* * *
THE RARE MUSIC OF A RUSSIAN ICON
"It is the season of shaking loose.
Trees, still green, have in their leaves
a whisper of retreat. It is a season of shrinking---
September---long blue shadows on the wall.
"Sometimes it is a pinprick, sometimes a sword,
the way memories of loss come back--
and music makes it bleed so much the more.
Accused of being barren, forced to take the veil,
I play in musty rooms with icons of the saints.
“What is it that pulls me back to these melodies---
A summer house, a stockade fence, the road,
a dry time before the shroud of snow?
I did not want my love to end with treachery.
"We grow to awareness, as the great fir tree
grows into space above the cloister, spreading
here and there, filling the air around its home
with needles---this is how I filled my space---
that is all---that is all our grave demands.
“Abandonment is the only music:
father, friends, husband, a world of faces
darken under soot and smoke and wax.
How years of yearning spread a veil of ash.
"In dreams I realize I set my life so that
this theme will play itself again and again.
Victim, sacrifice, the sea abandoning its shells,
the sky its birds, the trees their leaves---
all players toss their music to the wind.
"My loss, your loss, those are the only dreams
we clutch at midnight with the pillowslips.
In sleep I say his name, in life I note it well,
and balance both upon the figure of a cross.
"The melody moves, measure by measure,
into the sorrow we come to love.
It holds the pulse and pause of autumn's age,
and every now and then, a sullen youth
who reads the notes, gets up to turn the page." ##
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN NINETY-SIX
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ