Friday, August 14, 2015

Distant Discography

I gave myself to the world
on a silver platter.
I played myself to the world,
like a song, on repeat, with a melody discrete,
but words that mean: words that matter.

Then, I waited on needles and pins for an answer
to the musicality of myself;
the unkind world treated me
like a record on a shelf:
out of style; scuffed with indignity.

I played myself louder;
they played me less and more
until my own song was, even to me,
a burdensome bore.
I became, even to to me, distant discography.

The Beginning


It all began surreptitiously. You don’t know what that word means? Well, then, I advise you to look it up. I looked it up after I wrote it, and for the record, I just gained your attention, dear reader, surreptitiously.
            Still, I’m not gonna tell you what ‘surreptitious’ means.
            When I was in grad school, I carried a dictionary around with me for a couple of years. I’d come to find that there were many words I did not understand. Not just words in books, but words people said. Basic words. I was ashamed of this, and hard on myself. Inwardly, I maligned my own pedestrian erudition. Yes, you are definitely gonna need a dictionary to read this very short story. Admit it, and just go buy a pocket dictionary. You'll thank me later.
            “He has good character, though not the erudition,” one of my professors said early in my time at grad school.
            I so lacked erudition; I did not know what erudition was. 
            This brings me back to the beginning, but now I am bound to ask, “Which beginning?”
            The beginning of all things occurred when The God called forth the universe with a simple, “Let there be.” They will not tell you that in school. The will not play this single on the radio, unless it is religious radio, but I don’t suggest anyone reading this listen to religious radio. Too irreligious. Anyway, The God called for the heavens and the earth, and that’s what happened in the beginning. Every other beginning comes after that one.
            So, I am not talking about the beginning, but a beginning. I'm not even talking about the beginning of my life, but rather the beginning of the healing.
            A single teenage mother was desperately pacing outside a hospital room. Her infant son was sick with a high fever. She, the doctors, everyone really, had given up hope. Then, a pastor came by and offered to pray. He had just lost his father. Still, he identified with the single mother. He prayed for fervently for his own loss. He prayed for me, and the fever broke, and I lived to write these words.


She said hello, I play the cello,
I like to wear yellow,
and I live a crazy life,
always wanted to be someone's wife,
to be Mrs. somebody.
I like to go out, scream and shout,
but I'm also a homebody.

I like to wear yellow,
and dance in the moonlight,
and run through sprinklers.
I will tell you the truth here,
but to tell you the truth dear,
I am, oh, um, not so sincere.

My Christmas

My doubts turned sudden to surety:
false fears, to confidence.
Your true eyes were a cure to me:
the past’s sickling, long hence.
Affections flourished, undesigned;
true friendships blossomed. unelected.
The Sun on varied virtues shined
like dawn on night beauty new detected.
I found goodnesses unsought: unexpected.

Your enchanting beauty grows upon inspection.
My feelings have grown upon reflection:
the logical end of your beauties reason;
the welcome arrest of my hearts treason.
With all around within decay, you were my perfection.
You were my Christmas in a cold, dark, season.

The King and The Father

"And the king said, Is the young man Absalom well?"—2 Samuel 18:29.
And the king said, Is the young man Absalom well?
So said he, after a brutal battle
wherein many fell  too many, yet, to tell 
at least 20,000 of his foe's  his Son's  men
were numbered with the fallen;
these perishing, not only in the field, by blade,
but also in the forest, where a fearful shade
concealed, like coffin, the death within.

When the route set in, Absalom's men
panicked, and flew, like frightened pigeons;
no more soldiers then, more children 
They plunged, in the fever of fright
— just before the peace, just before daylight 
into the forest in hope they might
escape the edge of the sword;
instead, they faced jaded cliffs, and bottomless caves,
that swallowed them, alive, like graves,
and barbed briers, and tangled thorns,
that tore their skin and stole their breath;
they ran from death to death.

But David thought not of them;
or, rather, he thought more of Absalom
than the destinies of all men and all Kingdoms.
His eyes rose, searched, and fell,
and he asked the question, like an argument,
"Is Absalom well?"
The father's anxious question
concerned his betraying, but still beloved, son;
He was a king, but in that moment,
he was a Father first,
and he feared the worst.

He did not ask, "Have we won the day?"
Nor, "How fare's Joab, the captain of my host?"
Nor even, "How fare I?"
He asked, "Is the young man safe?"
Had he been a more just King,
he never would have faced his son
on a field of slaughter.
Had he been a better Father,
he never would have faced his son
on a field of battle.

How strange: to be at war with one's own son:
the heart of one's own heart;
how strange to be more concerned with an enemy,
than your own men;
how strange that this enemy would be
your own son;
feelings conflicting: he chose his first love.

not unlike Absalom when
in his boyhood he mimicked his father,
and played at war
using sticks for swords
like death was just another toy.
How little do boys dream's true life touch;
how sadly do a father's dreams for his boy
sometimes turn to dust.

had  showed here more of the father than of the king—more of affection than of wisdom; and that is, doubtless, a correct criticism upon the old man's absorbing fondness. David was no doubt, in this case, weak in his excessive tenderness. But, brethren, it is much more easy for us to blame a father under such circumstances than for us quite to understand his feelings; I may add, it would be wiser to sympathize, as far as we can, than to sit in judgment upon a case which has never been our own. Perhaps if we were placed in the same position we should find it impossible to feel otherwise than he did. How many there are at this present moment who have, no doubt, other very weighty businesses, but whose one only thought just now is, "Is the young man safe?