Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't Read This One, It's Really Long

On the Transfiguration of Grape Juice


When paradox saved my life,
Chaos ensued, and peace.


And you sat there, holding my hand,
And worlds and worlds were at your command.


If you want to become human,
A stor mo chridhe,
You may have to die to yourself in order to rise again.


Ceilidh framed in painted glass,
Changing colors with the shadows that pass.

A stor mo chridhe,
I told you,
Though maybe I failed to love you or know you,
And all the things I showed you,
Glittering fireworks on eagles' wings,
Scamping hedgehogs fighting over gems of emerald green,
A bounding doe,
Suspending in the snowy air,
Eyes wide and dark like pits of chocolate.
All of this was a glittering monstrosity,
Like 80's New York as envisioned by the 50's.

And the same with you, a stor:
For you we must live in order to live,
Must change before we can change,
Change before we can change
Before we can...

If you want to become human, love,
You may have to die in order to rise again.

Shall these bones live?

O believer, I was told,
God died for you,
So that you could live for Him.
O the glory of your obedience when
In the waters of baptism
You come to Him,
In obedience,
In submission.

I was told, O
You must do
You must do this and that and these,
You must live in order to live,
You must become a true son
Of the living God.
You must believe, and do,
and serve.

When you throw off the artifice
Of symbol that has polluted your life,
And decide to decide,
When you learn to live in order to live,
Then your real life begins.

Ceilidh framed in painted glass,
Changing colors with the shadows that pass.

See this grape juice?

It is a symbol.

See this bread?

It, too, is symbol.

Have you made your decision?

Then you may partake.

There's a boy in an old chapel,
In an old chapel where the stained glass
Was entertainment, all entertainment, all you!

O Believer!

Leap to leap and live to live!
Come and obey!
Drown yourself in God's water!

Ceilidh framed in painted glass,
Changing colors with the shadows that pass.

O shadows, please pass,
Please stop smiling upon me,
Please stop showing me the chinks in the armor
Of the world.
And yet, if you do,
I fear I will waste away.

And the boy, sitting in his pew,
Picks up a rock, and shatters the glass.


And there you sit, there in my memory,
Holding my hand;
And worlds and worlds
Are at your command.

And in my memory, I throw
Down your hand, I run for the door
Throw myself into the sea,
The water washing over me,
But it is cruel, it is stinging,
The brine of the salt is in my mouth,
My nostrils,
Tearing at my skin,
But not making me new.

I had to find a loving God.

I climb from the sea and a man
Drapes a towel over me
And offers me a snack;
He calls it a snack.

I had to find a loving God.

O man, I said,
Your grape juice is an illusion,
And your bread is a conjurer's trick.

If your grape juice is but a symbol,
If your bread is not a body
If the body of Christ is not a body
But wax paper merely,
Why bother?
For the sake of obedience?

I had to find a loving God.

The works were too much,
And the weight of doing tore me down.
Shall these bones live?
I could not leap in order to leap
I could not leap
I could not
And I was not obedient
Never obedient
Shall these bones live?
For all my efforts, all my fights,
All my storm-winged glittering jeweled flights,
Under the halo of the stars
My tending of others' scars,
I was not good enough, I was not strong enough.
Shall these bones live?

And you, a stor, there in my memory
Still hold my hand,
And still you have worlds
At your command.


I had a pyramid once,
A grounding-place between skull and earth,
Death and birth,
A great thing made all
Of stone, and dirt, and dead men's bones,
New flowers and old skulls,
The smell of Orion,
The dust of Demetrius.

The Trinity was there too,
Three points uniting all,

A bird perched upon my pyramid,
White as a lily,
A desert flake of snow,
Small head darting about in quick-step with itself,
It chirruped and tweeted,
Then cackled,
A deep throaty rumble emerging
From its tiny neck;

And upon my pyramid, the dirt trembled.

And deep inside my pyramid
An evergreen started to grow,
Branches spreading, budding,
Splitting the earth and the dust and the bone and the dirt
Inside my pyramid.
A trickle of rocks and dirt skittered down
My pyramid's side,
Then with an explosion of salty mist
The evergreen burst forth
Flinging dirt and rock and skulls,
Orion's belt and Demetrius' dust,
Lily-blossoms and orange petals,
Out across the land.


When paradox saved my life,
Chaos ensued, and peace.

I love you,
But maybe that's not enough.
Maybe you have to love me too.
And if you do,
If you do,
Maybe we have to leap.
Do we have to leap before we can leap?
Do we have to leap before we can even get there?

That's it. I refuse.
This labyrinth, self-created, where
All the Minotaurs are sleeping,
Where Perseus' shining thread
Is but the dust of dreams and uncertainties,
The thread ferrying our fallacies,
This labyrinth is not worth the sacrifice of navigation.
Sometimes the soul lives in sacrifice,
But sometimes sacrifice must cease to live to save the soul.

When paradox saved my life,
Chaos ensued, and peace.
Then it was that I saw,
Saw the deep love and grace at the bottom of the universe,
Saw the transfiguration of grape juice,
And, thank God,
It did not depend upon me.
The symbol was the thing,
The water was the blood,
The body and blood
Were the bread and wine, not
A symbol, not a snack,
Did not depend upon my belief,
And, thank God,
They did not depend upon my obedience.
Light will issue from the sun,
The stars will pinprick and then go supernova,
The lilies of the field will be clothed,
And deep grace will reverberate
Throughout the universe,

Without relying on me,

Thank God.

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