Circumlocution

Why does it take so many words to express a thought?

Round and round my words go, more and more.

They generate more words, but come no closer to the truth.

I can only get so close to the fire.

Any closer and I am consumed.

 

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Right Now

right now, a white haired man is laying on a hospital bed, thinking about the close of his life, with slow breathing
right now, a form of flesh is passing through its mother, and being held up to her face, and opening its eyes, taking into its little soul the universe for the first time,
right now, a soldier is splayed out on a hot battlefield, holding his guts in with his hand, anxiously wondering if he will die, and if so if this is the end, and thinking of his loved ones with a bursting heart,
right now, a young girl is behind a wall in a playground, blushing as a young boy hands her a flower, and feels a sweet rush when they touch hands like she has never felt before,
right now a father is sitting in an aisle with the sun on his face, watching his daughter, his little one, who he taught to walk and coddled in his arms, pledge her till death do us part to a man who seems to him so young,
right now a teenage boy is standing on the edge, desperately hating with all the energy of his spirit that he is not normal, not knowing that that standard, when he is older, will cease to be rememberable,
right now, a new college student is scribbling on paper, with books piled high (or a hundred tabs open in his browser), trying to figure out what is true about God, and what he believes, and trying to parse his wishes and his upbringing from what is really the case,
right now, a woman sips her drink at a table of friends and laughs with sparkling eyes, and feels a perfect warmth in the airs of society,
right now, a rage envelopes the heart of a youth who learns that his lover has betrayed him, and the redness drives him to hatch a bloodthirsty plan of murder,
right now a widow is making her bed alone in her house, feeling an emptiness that has only grown these last 15 years, but who for all the world feels most blessed to live, and knows beyond argument that life is a good thing,
right now a resolve is being made with an atomic strength of will, which will be broken tomorrow,
right now a conviction fills the breast of one so strongly, that she will carry it throughout her life unshakeably,
right now happiness and sadness, peace and anxiety, horror and joy, pain and pleasure, wickedness and virtue saturate the spirits of this globe, all in the same right now,
all in the same mind of God, who’s experience enfolds everything,
in his right now.

A Curious Light

if you look for it,
it doesn’t come.
it hides itself,
knowing that you look for it.
if you try to call it forth,
you get no reply
except a nothing or a blankness
that causes a hitch or stammering
in your thinking
that feels like trying to breathe through a straw
after running hard up a hill.
yet halfway thru the doing of some task
which you have planned to do
and wish you could finish
like the reading of a book

or the doing of a chore
or in the midst of driving on four lanes of interstate
where you go nervously but smoothly
until tail lights flash ahead
and make you go as slow as a snail
inching across the edges of the universe
or while sitting on the porch
watching the birds chirping in the trees
jumping from one branch to another
for reasons unknown
and keeping an eye out for the red one
that sometimes show up
or in eating an egg
that you have scrambled in the microwave
and sprinkled some salt on,
with a dab of ketchup
or while taking a shower

and closing your eyes
as the warm water massages your oily morning skin
and getting some  of that water in your mouth
and spitting it out –
sometimes in these unlikely places
inspiration strikes
(and by my now calling and naming them
i have robbed them of their fertility
for i have openly acknowledged
that these such places are bushes hiding secrets
behind their leaves
and now the secrets will move)
i say inspiration strikes because
i know not how else to say it.
it hits like a slap in the brain
that instead of causing pain
or even shock
causes an injection of curious light
like a momentary flooding
of a color never seen
or a smell never smelt
from outside mysteriously.
thus sometimes it is sudden.
but other times it is a rising up,
a slow coming-into-focus
of something somehow not more well defined
even though it is more well known and felt
right then than before.
how odd that
just like its coming
Inspiration’s staying
depends largely on the minds
periphery.

A Taste of Existence

The loudest and most convincing voice

that rises up above the others

when different thoughts challenge the existence of God

is the one that asks, honestly:

why the evil?

A brother chokes on a chicken bone

at a holiday dinner

to enjoy family

when he took off for work to be there.

A new mother dies in a car accident

when a rock flies through the windshield

and goes through her brain

while her baby sleeps quietly in the backseat.

A father outlives his son

who had the potential to conquer the world

but instead for some reason

has a heart attack on the basketball court.

And yet we are told that God intervenes

in the world of Nature.

That he suspends its laws

or sticks his magic finger in

and turns water into wine

or gives sight to the blind

or brings back the ruler’s daughter

who was not dead, but only sleeping.

If God can do this once, he would be able to

a thousand times

or a million,

or every time, logic would imply.

Thus he must hold back flexing his omnipotence

for some wise reason

and permit the evil to occur

rather than intervene.

Yet would this not mean

that each evil that comes to pass

is justified

and that it were better that it happened,

than not?

Yet here, I believe, we slip.

For the Creator creates

the whole

and so what we call

his intervention

is as much as part of his entire work

as what we call

his permission.

It makes no sense to say

from his perspective

“what could have been”

for he works at once, at all times,

creating a single Creation

enveloping every moment of all,

which makes a Singular

absolutely unique

and unable to be compared

with anything else.

Comparisons take place within the universe

not without it.

Each whole – which is what universe means –

stands independently.

Take away suffering, and, true

you introduce a good.

But what finite mind

that cannot see the goods of the whole

could tell what other is being sacrificed

by the omission?

Take away all suffering from love.

I have something good

but is it something I would recognize

as Love?

The goods which spring forth

in the soil of pain

are so connected to the pains themselves

that the two cannot be separated,

like how a marriage

which is composed of two people

ceases to be a marriage

if but one person stands alone.

Who knows what fruit God is seeing

in the soil of a suffering creation?

Who knows what mighty tree springs forth

from  what appears afterward

such a small seed?

I am not saying that

God could not make a world free of pain.

Perhaps he could – I see no contradiction.

But it seems quite a logical necessity to say

that if he were to make this world

one in which the good is asserted

over and against the evil

and which good is born and raised and purified

in the midst of pain and horror

then he could not make it without these things

for they are part and parcel

of the whole of creation.

All we must ask

and all we must decide

is

whether this world

even with all its pain

is still something we would say

Yes to.

Is it still something

when

taken as a whole

and balling up all its good and its bads

we would still want to taste

on the palate of our spirits.

And if so

then it seems strange

to see a contradiction in this process

of God making us into things

that have a certain appreciation

for existence.

The meaning that God is giving us

is what it is

infused with goods and bads

inextricably connected

like a drink of different flavors

that cannot be parsed

but only tasted and enjoyed

and then assimilated into

oneself.

Sifting

Who said what is nothing to me,

but rather it is what is said

that binds the allegiance of the heart.

As a man sifts through the sand for jewels

and gains pleasure at finding

a new one, rare in color, odd in shape,

as of yet unseen

if not to the world, at least to him –

so too ought we to sift through thoughts

to find the good, the beautiful, the true

and the virtuous, the lovely, the strong

and care not that we have to leave

the sand behind.

A Year and A Day

Into my room I went, for a year and a day

books piled high, a mind obsessed.

Poured over them I did, for a year and a day

bent over, pencil in mouth, oblivious to the world.

Back and forth I changed, for a year and a day

one moment holding

the antithesis

of what was held before.

No closer to truth I came, for a year and a day

except it were success

to make a map of dead ends.

 

That which is contradictory

is impossible to conceive,

and so for a year and a day, my studies – for all I can tell –

were no different

than trying to imagine

the impossible.

Yet

the spirit grows, even in this labor,

so it is not wholly vain.

The mind gains a seriousness, a respect for thinking.

It becomes slow to judge

and eager to shine light on dark places

which it has not yet explored.

It cares little for authority

or ties to men

but rather seeks newness and solidity

and finds these more refreshing

than an army of arguments.

It also becomes able to stand

silent before the world

in mystery and awe

without demanding answers to an infinite set

of questions

which may or may not have meanings.

 

What was once a stony pillow of ignorance

has now become soft

and liberating.

Perhaps I should go and rest my head upon it,

and enjoy rather than analyze

the great wonder of creation

for a year and a day.

Birth – Struggle – Victory

It comes to me.

From where I do not know.

A thought

a new feeling.

Or an old one

not felt for years.

Where were you?

If you were within me

how is it I did not try to bring you here?

If you were without me

how did you become so present

now closer to me

than my own flesh?

Birth – newness

a spontaneous mystery.

You, thought, come to me

ex nihilo.

I turn you over in my mind

to get a feel for you

and to see all your angles

like a figure which may on inspection

have a crack, or be perfectly smooth.

I try to encompass you

to assimilate you perfectly into me

so that you are seamlessly undifferentiated

from Truth.

For that would be most satisfying.

Yet a discord arises

a violence

a shriek against the universal harmony.

An incongruity rubs against the laws of metaphysics

like sandpaper

on the skin of an infant.

How can such a thought be?

How can it fit

into the ensemble of my life-mind?

I must digest it.

But how?

What is false cannot be true

and if true

then some overthrow it will have

on other Truths lodged fathoms deep

in me.

Yet to run would be the cowards way.

So I must face it.

Perhaps

if I stare long enough

it will come into focus.

Or maybe

it will lose its power

like the stars

which no longer hold captive the middle aged.

Obsession – mulling

chewing on the thought, like a piece of rubber

without nourishment

and no progress.

Denial – anger

cursing the practice of thinking.

For what good does it do

if you understand how the stomach works

but have no food to put into it.

Rebuttal – arising

laughing at former despair.

The very food I need is Truth

and so I cannot stop the search

even if I would.

Thus I must keep trying to find

a fitting place for the puzzle piece.

Yet

it is not the not-finding

(I may fail, after all)

but the not-trying-to-find

which is unacceptable

and leads to defeat

rather than

Victory.