Thursday, April 30, 2020
beside your shoulder
beside your furtive glance
God is with you
like a toothache
would make you feel
testing and training your let go muscles
what in your life
would you feel
Test and train
your let go muscles
I wish my voice was better
I never smoked
I was a better father of my first two
I wasn't pale and freckled
I could be more generous
I cared more about the gospel I used to believe
I didn't have such a predictably aloof and self aggrandizing father
the coffee here was tasty
people could and would not work for money
smart phones did not emit ionizing radiation
and responses to
living on auto-pilot
characterizing the overwhelming
proportion of self
if you really know me
then you wouldn't really love me
I want you to love me
therefore I won't let you
know the real me
Throw this guy overboard so we can enjoy conversing again.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
every time I think
of you I churn cream
like wringing your nose
as the proverb goes
just an unpleasant
wonk high on ego
choking the life out
from those bringing gifts
your highs are too high
your lows are too low
but what do you say
to those tenured clowns
with no competence
cats they are, choking
the plagal of tone
nine with our ears plugged
with our eyes blinking
from the burning stench
of their shite bemoans
but please correct me
instead of pressing
mute on their TV
please excuse me too
I'm the one with no
please forgive me
oh gracious master
who cares so much for
the sheep of his flock
who tends to their needs
and does not call them
oh listen kindly
you who think highly
of his innocence
oh good and kind lord
bring some recompense
to this narcissist
stop being such a
snob who loathes children
as the proverb goes
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Thousands of them crowd together
Most are not wearing masks or keeping at least six feet apart
In defiance of the Governor’s orders
Some people are carrying long guns to this “stay at home” protest
We know who’s hoarding all of the toilet paper
Covid-19 overwhelms hospitals
In overwhelmed hospitals, people die
You can save lives too. Please go home
I’m proud that in my state there was such a small turnout
I hope they all get sick and die
It truly feels like a gut punch moment where no matter what we do, there’s a minority
determined to make sure millions of people die
We are in the middle of a pandemic
These people disgust me
Your haircut is not more important than people’s lives
If you’re participating in these protests, you’re part of the problem
Lockdown effects me and my life, so I go to Madison to protest mean bad Evers
I’m a moron who should die
You know how they use helicopters to drop water on forest fires?
Trump said that bleach kills the virus, and this is way deadlier than a forest fire
I wish we could blast each of these fuck faces to the moon
It’s like a where’s waldo for idiots
Lots of MAGA, camo, and guns
Spot the trump impersonator
No social distancing. No masks
These people are absolutely nuts but whateves
Thursday, March 26, 2020
The dog barks; the caravan passes
We can see you breathing
It's not good
... Pause ...
... Pause ...
Like a dog, only with fewer rights
Stimulate each I with your pound sign and tweet
I can't protect my family with collective idiocy
Am I safer at home?
The best askesis is staying in your cell
May I please move along?
I can't without a fine or imprisonment
I'm tired of waiting
We just want you to stop
... Just pause ...
... Heal ...
Like a dog, only with fewer rights
Silence is the canvas, not the painting
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Obey them, we must
Help save us from plague, they must
Stay inside, we must
Masks, hospitals need
Prevent cough mist contagion
Germ sweatshops, they are
Covid nineteen, bad
Fast forward to the fifth Gen
Must track pandemic
Make stats big they must
Trusting agency's reports
Truth it cannot be
Germs and viruses
Everyone with smartphone knows
Science tells us so
FCC needs more
Good bandwidth, no more
The gospel, they say
Stab arm to eradicate
To argue, no time
Allow them, we will
Get away with it, they will
Deserve it, we will
Saturday, March 21, 2020
There are many things that we don't know and have yet to discover
How long will this pandemic last?
Every one feels the test, and most know they'll survive; it's the elderly we don't want to put in harm's way
Yet their owners added a bandwidth between 24 and 28 gigahertz regardless of the harm
A lot more information can be carried on them
Radio waves will be supplemented with millimeter waves
Enabling data to be transmitted in larger amounts and faster speeds, with shorter lagging
Low latency enables near instantaneousness communication
Yellow buses won't need drivers for long
In less than ten years we will achieve the fourth industrial revolution prophesied back in 2017
No one can stop their plans to roll out more and more big tech & big pharma
Global economic output is banking on an estimate of at least 250 billion dollars more annually by 2025
That is only five years from now, and most won't receive education about it's health risks
Once the infrastructure is up and running, we won't be able to opt out
Ushering in a new era of computer-assisted living is the goal
Smart cities will be reaching into every living cell, containing every virus
Sunday, March 1, 2020
The last time was when she died
A piece of me died with her
And the life I now live is
by loyalty to the one who raised her
You miserable and rotten soil
Nothing blossoms in you
Nothing grows in your darkness
Shitting and pissing on it is fit for graveyards, not gardens
This is what you expect us to work with
Instead of tending your garden
Miasmas of despair rise out of your pettiness
Your refuse and dick outpourings dug up and dumped from buckets onto our laps
Where is the encouragement and joy?
Where is the love and understanding?
Where is the gratitude or compassion?
Where is your sincere interest in others and their gifts?
You're just fucking rude
You're suspiciously insecure, too
No one here enjoys you, and you sure don't seem to enjoy us either
No one sees you look into their eyes, unless you're being crotchety to their faces
You're aloof to everything we need
You're just not a pleasant person
Why are you immensely tolerant of that eponymous fluffy canine's negative approval rating?
Why are you immensely patient with the maintenance man's guesstimates and deafness?
Why are you immensely disinterested and uninvolved in our concerns, opinions, and advice?
Why do you disregard our voices yet expect us to memorize every mumbled, haughty breath released through your trachea?
Here we are again, praying for miracles
from the God of heaven and earth
skies and land, above and below
to have this puny little rod of yours bud
Let my prayer rise like incense before you
And the lif.... "STOP!"
"If you would just shut up and stop asking questions, I'll explain why."
Here I am again
Another piece of me has died
and you don't seem to care
Please interrupt me again so I can send you to her
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Last week a friend of mine, who converted from Christianity (Lutheran) to Islam, asked me directly if I pray to Mary. I looked him straight in the eye and said "Yes, absolutely." He looked shocked by the content of my answer, yet somewhat refreshed by my clear and concise confidence in the appropriateness of such supplications. He knew that my answer to his question was sincere and thoughtful. I didn't mince words. But I also was not interested in explaining what I meant by what I said, any more than he was interested in explaining what he meant by what he asked. He asked a simple question and I offered a simple answer.
Praying to Mary means a lot of things to lots of different people. To me, it means something very specific, and very practical, because I believe Mary has been raised from death to eternal life, bodily. Mary may be an idol to one person, a imaginary goddess to another, or a celestial vending machine of favors to someone else. But she is not any of those to me. Moreover, I do not obsess over her willingness or ability to intercede for me. Nevertheless, awareness of her intercessions has become profoundly sensible to me.
Her existence as both fully alive and fully human this very moment, I am persuaded that her eternal share in the Divine Life with our risen Lord changes everything. Being one whose continuous free will and faithful fiat provided for the definitive salvation of mankind, to be raised up to God for eternity, to rule and reign and intercede with God, it is not difficult to wonder at the great change God has brought to the world through her intercessions. (I also consider the many great Christians whom I know have been raised with Christ; but those are not the point of this post, so I will only focus on Mary for now.) Those who do not meditate on the reality of Mary, her virgin birth, her motherhood of one who now remains both fully human and God for eternity, her death, resurrection, and ascension, often do not appreciate prayers to Mary. Many cannot even imagine what prayer to Mary could or should look like, any more than they can imagine what death, resurrection, and ascension to eternal life really looks like right now. There are far too many cartoonish, futuristic, eschatological imaginations of intermediate existence interfering with interpretations of Holy Scriptures and their surrounding histories.
In this post, I want to sample one illustration from the life and liturgy of the Byzantine Church, to challenge contemporary cartoonish fears about prayers to the saints who are ruling and reigning with God. Below is a poem of Theodore the Studite, translated by Maximos Constas, and found in Mother of the Light: Prayers to the Theotokos. In this translation, three things are worthy of notice:
1) There are three people with free will who are invested in this sinner's prayer, and those who are raised with Christ have also become aids to those who are not yet raised, and are still working out their salvation with fear and trembling.
2) The pattern of prayer is one of ascent and return: the child of God petitions Mary, who in turn Petitions her Son, Who in turn advises and delegates to his mother, who in turn advises and directs the child of God. The pattern of each ode is also laid out as a chiasm: A, B, B', A'
3) The salvation of the sinner depends upon the participation of the Theotokos in the life of God. Without Jesus's ascension to the right hand of the Father, Mary can do nothing. Jesus could theoretically do all without Mary, but He chooses not to, because he has raised up his mother to his side, to rule and reign with him among the Divine Council.2 The sinner could go directly to Jesus, and even should go directly to Jesus. But the mortal sinner of this poem is also free to express his faith in a Savior who has been raised up from the dead-ones in Hades, and has also raised up fallen Adam all the righteous saints with him, who were formerly held captive in Hades. He is therefore free to petition the risen, glorified saints --like Mary-- to intercede with Jesus that He grant this sinner great mercy. This is what I imagine occurs when supplications and petitions of the like (for mercy, forgiveness, favor, etc.) are offered to God and received through the intercessions of those whom He has already raised from the dead.
Below is a poem expressing the possibilities surrounding such truths. My purpose in sharing this is simple: I hope this helps others recognize that prayer to (or with) Mary, the "God-Birther" (i.e. Theotokos), are not how Protestants imagine them to be. Protestants still might not be comfortable with this, but I am still confident that not many of them imagine prayer to (or with) Mary to be like the poem below.
O Container of the Uncontainable, entreat Christ to deliver me from the dreaded fire devoid of light, and show me forth as a sharer of His kingdom.
Receive my entreaty, O Son and Word, and deliver from punishment your servant, who is crying out to me from the depth of his soul, and make him worthy of your kingdom.
You, Mother, know that I am a font of mercies, for even at this very moment I am showing mercy to sinners who transgress my commandments. But this man severely provokes me by his shameful and evil deeds.
By many disgraceful and shameful misdeeds you have provoked my Son. Thus, being greatly vexed by you, His compassion has been turned to wrath.
Truly I have squandered my whole life in evil deeds, and therefore I cry out to you: O pure Virgin, entreat your Son to call me back from sin and save me, just as He called back and saved the prodigal.
O Lord of all, who was ineffably born from my womb, take pity on your servant as on the prodigal long ago, and place him, O All-Good One, at your right hand on the Day of Judgment.
Hear me, O Mother, as I discerningly respond to you. The one who long ago spent his life in prodigality, returned in ardent repentance and cried: "I have sinned." But this man, even though he now cries out to you like this, will subsequently prove to be a liar.
I told my Son the things you said, entreating Him to make you worthy of His kingdom. But He opposed me saying: He has not drawn near to me with ardent faith, and therefore I shall send him out from before my face."
Understanding your strength, O Virgin, I cry out to you in my hour of need, even if my repentance is not completely ardent. But by your supplications to the Master, grant me the complete amendment of my life.
O Master, who by nature is God that loves mankind, hearken to your Mother who earnestly cries out to you, and deliver your servant from condemnation. And if he does not possess perfect faith, I beg you, as God, to give it to him.
O Mother, I have given him every opportunity to be saved, but he does not cease sinning and now draws near to death. And this is why no man can be saved unless he passes through the fire.
I now know you to be, as my Son said, the cause of your own perdition, because you have completely surrendered to sin, and have entirely given yourself over to slothfulness. Who shall now raise you from the place to which you have fallen?
O Virgin, I long to walk always on the path of repentance leading me to eternal life, but immediately the grim ranks of demons drag me down and seek to cast me headlong into an abyss of sin, and into the harrowing pit of perdition.
O Savior, you first put death to death, and then freed Adam from his bonds. Therefore, I implore you, my Son: pluck this man from the hands of the demons who afflict him, because they have never let him repent.
O Mother who is praised by all, I too cry aloud to you: It is by prayer and fasting that the multitude of wicked demons will be driven out of him. But he has not cleansed his body by abstinence, prayer, and chastity, and thus, alas, has become a cave of devils.
Listen well to the words of my Son, and understand what needs to be done. When the disciples had not the strength to drive out the evil spirits, He cried to them saying: "This kind of devil is driven out by prayer and fasting."
I am not rich with words, and am poor in virtues. I love neither to pray nor undertake fasts, O Bride of God. Therefore I seek refuge in you.
Attend to me, my compassionate Son, for it is your Mother who implores you. The man running to me is devoid of good works and cries out to me: "I have no other hope but you, O Lady."
O Mother, who pleads so ardently, cease speaking on behalf of this man! For while he says that I am compassionate, he continues to defile himself, failing to see my wrath.
On your behalf, I entreated my Son and God that you might obtain mercy. But he cried out to me to cease interceding for you to be saved.
All my hope I place in you, O Lady, cast me not, the wretched one, into the pit of perdition. But return to your Son and cry out to Him: "Do not destroy the work of your hands."
O Master, since you are a sea of mercies without measure, I implore you to receive me yet again, for you alone are quick to reconcile, and so take pity on the work of your hands, O You who of old took pity on the woman of Canaan.
I show mercy and save everyone who comes to me filled with longing, and I never want any of my creations to be destroyed. Indeed I was born from you in order to save them. But this man is very far from my works.
My Son, eternal pre-existing as the Wisdom of the Most High God, became perfect man through me, in order to save those who, with ardent faith, preserve their divine baptism. But in this you have utterly failed.
Taking courage I approach you, O Virgin, for I have seen your Son saving the harlot and the thief. They had done no good works under the law, and performed no good deeds in life, yet they both obtained forgiveness.
Look down from the heights and hearken to your Mother, for I entreat you to deliver your servant from the fire, just as you formerly delivered the harlot, and on your Cross redeemed the thief.
The thief who long ago hung upon the Cross cried out in faith: "Remember me." And, again, the harlot poured forth streams of tears. But this man is not like them.
Christ saved the weeping harlot, likewise the thief on the Cross, who showed faith in Him. If you desire to attain the Bread of Life, then run to the Lord with tears and faith.
O Maiden, I have shown myself a greater sinner than all other men, therefore I am ashamed to approach your Son. But I beg you to implore Him to take pity on me, and to receive me drawing near to Him with ardent faith and longing.
O Word, deliver your servant, who draws near to you, from punishment. I implore you: Remember not his transgressions. For though he sinned, O Savior, he turned to me for refuge and I entreat you. Through me receive this man, for you fulfill the petitions of all.
O Mother, he is not worthy to take refuge in your mercy, for no man has provoked my wrath as much as he. But by your precious prayers, I will not punish him on the Day of Judgment if he brings me fruits of repentance.
Though you were in the depth of Hades, through my prayer and intercessions you have been raised up to the heights to my Son. See that you do not fall back into your former grievous sins. Depart, and stay on the path of repentance, lest you be cast down into gehenna.
1. There is no second ode in this canon.
2. For those interested in learning more about the Biblical view of the Divine Council, see this post.
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Alithia. Why does that sound crazy?
Phronesis. What sounds crazy is believing in billions and millions of years of ancestral existence, or, roughly, only six thousand years of existence before the historical figure of Jesus arrived on the shoreline of Galilee, prior to which everything banged bigly into existence by some Trinitarian voice.
Pseustis. I'm not sure what you mean.
Phronesis. Here's an idea, a picture that's worth a thousand words. (It's a big picture, so brace yourself.). Everything we need to know about history past cannot be contained in a singular book, cannot be traced between biological father to biological father through all genealogies of all history past. That's also not the point of the "Biblical" genealogies. Also, origins cannot be explained by Darwinian evolutionary theories of millions or billions of years. We actually know very little about history long ago because history books and historical standards are mythological. Even contemporary history is thoroughly mythologized. There is so much guesswork and entertainment built into the reports and standards utilized around the clock that they are surely only right twice a day. The "Science" of history isn't as scientific as we are catechized to trust. The certainty is not as epistemologically sure as it is subjectively confident and manipulative. The story of mankind's genesis need not be knowable according to contemporary priests of culture who pontificate back and forth between science and the Adam/Eve narratives.
Pseustis. Don't you believe in Adam and Eve?
Alithia. You know that's a loaded question, right? Why would you ask that, as if a simple and concise answer would satisfy your concerns. Can you please ask a more helpful question?
Pseustis. It is a simple question. Do you believe Adam and Eve were real?
Phronesis. I believe Jesus was real.
Alithia. How is that helpful, or relevant?
Phronesis. I find it difficult to imagine what you mean by Adam and Eve being "real", like Jesus was real. I mean "real" like historical people, exactly as the "Bible" narrates it. I believe human life began with God's creation of one man and one woman, yes. Does that satisfy your concern?
Pseustis. Did they live in a garden?
Phronesis. That's like asking me, based on the oldest record of that narrative being preserved in paleo-Hebrew script (which is not true, by the way), if I believe Adam and Eve spoke Hebrew. I realize that the Old Testament is contained in Hebrew manuscripts, but I do not personally believe that the first human beings spoke Hebrew (although I suppose it's possible). They could have also, theoretically, spoken English.
Pseustis. So you don't believe the Bible is true?
Phronesis. That escalated quickly.
Pseustis. What do you mean?
Phronesis. I mean, I thought I was very clear. I guess I was not. That's probably entirely my fault. It might be best to just speak translucently from now on.
Alithia. Yes, what did you mean by that?
Phronesis. That was partly a joke.
Phronesis. Could you please ask that last question again?
Pseustis. Sure. Do you or do you not believe the Bible is true?
Phronesis. Yes, absolutely, without any doubt, I believe the Bible is true.
Pseustis. Now I'm confused.
Phronesis. Philosophy, in general, is confusing; but that doesn't excuse me completely. I'm not trying to confuse; I'm trying to speak precisely, knowing that you can't read my mind and I can't read yours, and yet we each carry a lot of unspoken assumptions and pre-commitments of what we believe and why we believe them. I'm just trying to remain faithful to God with what I know and what I don't know, and to communicate to you the best of what I know in spite of all the frustrations that occur because of what is unspoken or misunderstood. I'm attempting to be precise for the sake of clarity.
Pseustis. Now you're really confusing me.
Phronesis. I believe you.
Pseustis. And I don't even know how to believe what you're saying. It sounds illogical.
Alithia. What do you think he's saying?
Pseustis. You're saying that you believe the Bible is completely, infallibly, unerringly true, and plenarily-verbally inspired of God, and that the Biblical history of Adam and Even and the Garden and Creation-account is untrue, untrustworthy, and useless -- just like Darwinian evolution.
Phronesis. No, I'm not saying that.
Pseustis. Yes, you did say that; and you denied the pre-incarnate existence of Christ.
Phronesis. No, I didn't.
Pseustis. Yes, you did say that.; and you're crazy for thinking that anything you're saying makes any sense at all.
Alithia. Why does that sound crazy?
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Fear of living long
No time to think about then
Do the best I can
Fear of dying quick
Reward myself with leisure
Take another drag
Fear of living quick
You're petty and controlling
And high maintenance
Fear of dying long
No time to think about that
Do the best you can
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
What kind of world are we leaving for our children?
Questions from Hades bubble up from its pit
the living dead overflow with words
Patience and fortitude are not virtues
silence and stillness are
kindness would not be
when empathy could be given
being intelligent is also not
not thinking less of yourself
or thinking of yourself less
Thinking rightly of yourself
Being clever is also not
boldness would not be
when turning the other cheek could
erudition and cajolery are not virtues
actual, clear, and concise communication is
The resurrected soul decants works of art
querying apples of gold in necklaces of Sardian stone
What kind of children are we leaving for our world?
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
only a few are watching
no one talks about it
we were trained to take in what was dished out
it gets ignored or whined about and denied
there's a breakdown in communication
nothing was ever read before
this notepad finally got your attention
others were willing to listen
they didn't flip out
their world didn't come to an end
their temple wasn't threatened
their priesthood didn't change
they rarely chose to punt
muteness tastes stale and boring
obsequious politeness looks runny and insipid
eternal niceties feel worse than purgatory
everyone knows it's in the room
it's gotta leave the room somehow
no one wants to do anything about it
i'm the only one suggesting it gets eaten
i'll even use the tusks for broth