A flustered who behind every fizzle with a top popped-off for each submission. Submit? In fact you have. Long ago, with adornments pronouncing validity and verities unearned.
I suppose I should have added a note to this piece since it is ripe for misinterpretation. It is not, dear friends, a lamentation of the effects of life/society upon the religious. Rather, it is a lamentation of the effects of religion on all the rest. Here, “faith,” is a reference to those who continue to strive for the greater good, not because it is a decree from on high, but because it is the worthy aim of their lives. Religion has so permeated the highest levels of power in the United States and abroad that I would find it difficult to write a lament over its having lost anything (other than sight of its stated aim).
All that said, let me assure anyone reading this that people of all faiths, political persuasions and identities are welcome (encouraged actually) to read and discuss my writing. I look forward to spirited commentary everyday and would be hypocritical if I didn’t explore various viewpoints.
One sad and slow for the martyrs of the faith, us all. A retread of the trodden, where wisdom whistles its low longing. And the good are forced into order with a march maiming all their deeds. They step too. They step over. They step on. The martyrs of the faith are we.
Forget child? The human remains. In all those ways that feel disturbed and incongruous. In all those moments of triumph and resounding delight. The human remains and silences the murmurs of elevation living in the great sea of collective intensity.
Humanity; oh, macrocosm of the human. Say, please, that it is not so. Be not an association, but the hope of something finer.
What with the wind of the power universal at your back, Yet you whither and fragment! So gentle a breeze as against the streaming tide of omnipotence Yet you blanch and regret! How must the stream of ages sputter when corrupted, So will you screech and moan! Set for the seedlings the flexible arena, take them apart And falsehoods shall your voice intone.
Phillis Wheatley holds the distinction of being the first published female African poet in the American colonies. Her story is a dizzying tale of enslavement, achievement and the unpredictable nature of life and talent.
It’s nearly impossible to do her justice in poetic form. While her life seems a lesson in the righteous power of the human spirit, her story is rife with irony, which makes it exceedingly difficult to honor.
Though born in West Africa, (either Senegal or Gambia) she was kidnapped, transported to the colonies and sold into slavery at 8 years old. By all accounts she was treated *kind* and given an education well beyond what most men and women (white or otherwise) received at the time. While developing her talents she embraced Christian dogma and the societal conditioning of colonial life, going so far as to decry the “pagan” nature of her homeland.
Her major work, Poems of Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), was published prior to both the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the commencement of the Revolutionary War, putting her at the vanguard of a movement of independence that would offer no immediate relief to those in her position. She corresponded with George Washington at the start of the Revolution (he rather obnoxiously referred to himself as her ‘obedient humble servant’) and was remarked upon by Voltaire in European literary circles.
Wheatley eventually tasted freedom upon the death of her master after which she married a free black northerner. The couple had three children in all, two of which predeceased her, the third died only a few short hours after Wheatley herself, in 1784. Unfortunately, her husband had not the ability nor financial wherewithal to grieve her properly. At the time of her death at age 31, he was serving out a sentence in debtor’s prison.
I wrote the piece below in an effort to explore Wheatley’s life with its many tragedies and triumphs. I don’t pretend the piece is fully reflective of the woman — no one poem can ever do justice do someone whose life was so complex and so curious. I do hope, however, that the work serves as an homage to her many struggles and successes and brings to light some of the complexities of a woman history all too often neglects.
**Author’s apology — please excuse the .jpg formatting of the poem. Due to its length and style I found myself unable to post it directly in my blog. Hopefully the image form will not dissuade otherwise curious readers. I believe the read is worth it.
And so shall the settled remain affected. Caught unaware in the blister of the street. Summer time, winter time, that holly holy, slim lined fleet... Oh, the settled shall decompose amid the bones of those with nothing but the rancor.
Heartbeats and shadows patter, beating out the cadence of the ancient lover's cry. Tense is the refrain secret endearments claim, a melting of resolve does not such deceit absolve. Were all our failings so, better that we might perceive enchantments and phantoms. Oh! The tacit consent of sweet and innocent, erectors of sturdy lore set to avert the bore. And then when uncovered, pitiful in undulations, left to strip a quiet thrill. The last of those to feel may know of shadows real, such as is plain for lovers without name.
It's peculiar the way that carrying out can usher in: Burdens. I've seen a swell of burdens carried out the door. Burdens that fill bags-- literally fill bags-- beautiful bags that sat at cross purposes. I saw a beautiful being tote those beautiful bags, swelling with burdens, out my front door. Such a sight and such a sensation.
For those who show distress, utter the refrain: Veni Vidi Et flevit Wheresoever is the value in those tears?
Trace BBs as they kiss the luminescent peak of waves; parabolic explorations observed by a bright eyed boy cognizant of the limits of their destructive power. See them arch through the midday malaise-- Tuesdays wasted in repetition, that's the state of this young boy's heart. Here is now and is forever, never mind the decades that slip past and the many meetings with one mind.
This is a funny little piece I worked up after I heard an interesting story about the first use of forensic entomology — yes, using insects to solve a crime.
In the smallest nooks live the slickest crooks, using sharpest wares to strike at maidens fair. Bet that evil hounds plumb the open grounds as day turns to night to exercise their might. So in a village green far from active scenes, came a man who stood beside a newly minted bride. The man, filled with temper, did her body half dismember and escape like a breeze before the break of eve. But the foulest must admit that sharper minds do acquit the cause of justice fast and pursue until their last. As county men took over, staunch as that county boulder, and lined up all existent observing each with insistence. "Drop your wares friend and let us not pretend that the vile and refuting will halt me in my duty." So all spilt their wares upon the township square. They did look for a savior and divine, merciful favor. Ah, twas not god on the brain for county copper plain, but the nature of a buzz around a man of woolen fuzz. As copper proceeded toward he soon spotted his reward. It seems flies cannot resist where fresh blood doth persist. That resounding buzz upon the knife told a tale that must be told: the slick and vile murder of a wife who never shall grow old.
There is a moment after the moment when all reside with self. The excuse that enervates wanes under its own gravity. And all the compulsion that sells evaporates like the joy of so many fleeting beats. But this life, judged always and everywhere as if chosen, is not joy in form. It is the catharsis -- the release of the unwished for and eternally unbecoming. Watch even as they wield the grand attempt, so unobservant where the passion spreads thickly. Curses! For the moment after the moment when the energy that enervates dies its trivial death.
The quick twitch of the double take imbeds a moment and the solidity of stunning attachment causes eyes to place themselves at the world's disposal, happy to dispense with responsibility. Take 'em wherever to places grand and small. To faces, legs, hips and frames short and tall. Let loud voices find their homes (but far from me though). And let the cities and towns rebound from so much emotion, concussed from so much commotion, that they reset the great play. Starting again in the hopes of a vibrant, stunning attachment.
I do not believe in the cheap trick and I would not say but that it needs to be said: far more unsettling than the predictable end is the reflection of us as we live.
The mirror woes and the mirror waves, present unsettled constitution in sedentary haze. Poor boy! Poor us for living. That he might know pain and pain alike, and that hate is forgiven. In every moment a reflection. In each a rattled nerve less sense, scant affection. Poor life! Without meaning nor worthy lament. Grant that we might blanche, not persist and persist; yet from birth defiling only innocence.
Few are the mild mannered men living lost among these seas. (the fruit of friction - being and observance) Wispy fellows, fearful of nights, and in ignorance expressing concern for their kind.
I was inspired while listening to Donald Trump insist upon the need to “restore” law and order. I hate to attribute too much inspiration to any one political blowhard, because the fact remains that the circumstances that created today’s demagogue existed yesterday and will, in all probability, exist tomorrow. So Donald, don’t let this go to your head.
The restoration in effect, of that ever-elusive state. Where restful nerves and leery eyes stick fast to hallowed ground. How the calamity came to be many manic minds never settled. It was, it is, may be unto forever, but no never mind. The restoration will spread like seeds along the distended bloat. And endure the sensation of prophecy fulfilled, mouth agape and hands stolen still.
Style myself a bard? No. At least not of the inspirational tones. No soul, no super human form will ever fill my work with joyful praise. There are sights to see, no more, no less. Connecting -- only to make of this life a lucid whole.
I stood nearer that star than my frailty might allow. To breath in its quintessence; to know that which constitutes its whole. The dark star of shimmering beauty fixed fast my motor, and the flighty is subdued along the elliptic of such a joyful pull.
Heed the comfy word friend and let it settle upon your ear. For calm and easy rests the mind, blessed with words of softest hear. Never mind you, life and struggle, nor burden full and great. For you have distractions mild and aplenty, to occupy your fate.