Letters

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lines drip bald-faced

down a seemingly empty page

after a daring jailbreak

from an unfiltered unconscious

angels & angles

demons & dreams

crisscrossing

while memories insidiously

waltz their way

around the edges

masquerading as mothballs

dipping & clinging

to paper particles

how can an incurious vowel

here

a crooning consonant curve

there

possibly hope to convey the bottomless

endless spectacles everywhere unfurling

/a riot of humanity throughout history/

what scribe or scholar

could tame the beast

with the sideline stroke of a pen?

not i, said the fly.

still,

what better way

to grasp for the moon?

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Both

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are we oceans or stars?

earth or fire?

clouds or crowns?

sigh skipping breeze

or bold, blustering monsoon?

on the surface

we are urged to

divide,

 divide again

until all that’s left

are labels + shelves

but i say

i’ll be demon and angel both

my flaws are also my strengths

my pain also my joy

so i refuse to choose

i accept my

contrast-checkered coat of arms.

shapeless shades

of red rimmed judgment

no longer shackle me to

the tainted well of my inhibitions

+ deserted back alleys of doubts

now

i stand free

What do Yetis, Jesus & Judo have in Common?

LAMB: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Image soure: goodreads.com

Image soure: goodreads.com

Moore weaves humor, poignancy and humanity together in a delightful commentary on religion and the ‘missing years’ of Jesus Christ.

Joshua of Nazareth is an unusual child living in ancient Judea during the time of Roman rule. He is well liked in his village despite the occasional accidental miracle. His best friend is Biff, is an irreverent troublemaker with a distinct lack of respect for authority and a face full of pimples. They both fall in love with Mary Magdalene, a bright girl who charms them despite wetting herself at their first meeting.

After a childhood that is far from normal, Joshua starts to attract attention from local villagers, rebel forces and Roman officials. Suddenly, his powers are flaring out of control. Dead bodies are coming back to life, the village bread magically bears his face, and wild snakes follow in his footsteps. Lost and seeking guidance, he is visited by a divine messenger. It turns out that God’s pizza-worshiping guardian angel Raziel had lost track of time and forgotten to instruct him on his holy mission.

The forgetful Angel gives him a cryptic message: he must journey to learn his destiny. The result is a search for the 3 Magis that takes them across the Middle East, China and India. Along the way, Joshua decides to learn about sin vicariously through Biff, who is more than happy to sample different vices. An unforgettable encounter with a Yeti while inventing the discipline of Judo, taming pirates after being cursed with the evil eye, and hunting a deadly demon all test Joshua’s resolve. Biff, grumbling and starting fights, stubbornly stays by his side in the face of untold dangers.

With the help of mysterious courtesans, sorcerers, monks, gurus, hermits and questionable merchants, Joshua and Biff discover humanity at its best and worst. On their return home after more than 15 years, they link up with Mary Magdalene, Joshua’s moderately insane cousin John the Baptist, and draw closer to the fateful conclusion. Ultimately, Joshua faces his toughest challenge yet: how to sacrifice himself for a greater cause.

Moore is unafraid to comment on many religions, but the biggest surprise is how he manages to make Joshua both divine and utterly, heartbreakingly human.

Book Review by Nicole Edry

How to be an artist

To be a writer is to guess at things hidden. To prod and poke and tease until our truths come out. Our truths are not the truth. They are our beliefs, sometimes our lies, our little dramas in the unabsorbed spectacle of the universe. Writers’ block is really just a barrier we put up to keep from painting an accurate self-portrait of ourselves and our race. From descending into the unresolved, creeping overgrowth of the intimately self-aware.

It is the canary that sounds when mines are probed too deeplyas our lungs desperately exhale and choke on the fumes of the demons we all carry. To be a great writer is to ignore the call of the canary and plunge further into the abyss. To Fall with open eyes into our ghosts and Hydes and chained memories. To view the panoply of humanity in all its overripe savagery without the delusion of social constructs.

Those who are Fallen go where the rest of us are afraid to go. Most of us are unwilling to see the glorious ills, blinding injustices, eleventh-hour births of hope, and faithful destructions that pepper everyday life. Pleading ignorance, we prefer to activate our spam blockers, guarding against any such serpents in our well-manicured Gardens of Eden.

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Why are Da Vinci, Michelangelo, James Dean and their peers revered above all others? Their work transcends boundaries of color and race and religion and language. It is because of the Fall.

The rest of us are grasping at the chaos of our core, trying to tame it into symbols & pictures & summer blockbusters. To capture it within cages so that it can be assessed and analyzed. We live in a world of titles, a world where we’re constantly asked to label ourselves. What a perverse mockery of identity.

Why do we need to build bars around something before we can understand it? Why are we so afraid to Fall? To claim those terrifying caves and unending jungles inside our skins? Instead, we hunt and erase any such unacceptable blemishes until we can pass for functioning members of society.

It is time to love ourselves and heal our society, damages and all. To all those in the Nomad Generation and beyond, I think I may finally get it. In order to Rise, we first have to Fall.

Gladiator


They are watching me.

released from my cage

blackened fingernails reach for a dullbright sun
terrified pinkies curl around like question marks
rusty with abandoned hopes

Hands unsure how to survive
how to be touched
useless now.

barred teeth bloody tongue
helpless sentries
against the Words
bursting through flesh
like overripe pears

scared alone confused open
reaching too quickly
wanting too badly

Gloating eyeballs revel in
flaying the surface
sand soaked skin

not all

some sympathetic pupils wink
flashes of caring strafe the gray
stale stark madness

Words caught like broken waltzes on my lips
swirling and choking
pieces falling
carefree crashing into each other

take me away
swan dive into blinding oblivion
gun shy loneliness calls

my opponents crawling embrace

daggered touches slip past
peppering the night with apocalyptic sparks
woven out of faltering heartbeats
I cradle the left-behind

Words

escape me
snarling liberators
sneering deputies of a charred justice system

They bind and destroy
make bare my half-bitten prophecies of a future
the revolution
that condemned me

The mob smiles
and duck their heads
ignoring the reflective gleam of the broken gladiator

Safe in their arena stands
mud-wallowing in joy savage discord
eyeing the spectacle

as I lay unveiled

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