Jupiter up, higher and more southerly the last few weeks, and Rigel and Betelgeuse, the winter stars you forget, through the thinnest of clouds. Cait’s very pregnant now, her belly button half-out and belly taut; I help her out of chairs. I haven’t been publishing here in part because my energy is other places: activist work has me thinking about how I can teach through service instead of opinions. Striving to be alert, show up, be humble, sit with my feet closer together, modulate. When I feel the most hopeless—the week of Obama’s shit debt-ceiling deal, the night the cops klieg-lit Westlake Plaza and dragged the Occupiers out of their tents—I think of what my dad told me, “the new society is being born inside the old one.” Activism as creating the beloved community, not in some emerald-lit down-the-line time, but in moments and encounters here and there in this very life we’re living now. And my own child, quiet then busy in Cait’s body, motions only now volitional, able to hear me play Lester Young and Jherek Bischoff records and maybe wake up to my voice, born in a world of Tumblr feeds and topsoil erosion and soldiers fertilizing the desert. Dear commitments. Sara Grant, RCSJ,—I was put on to her by Fanny Howe’s prose book Winter Sun—says Catholics should admit not knowing what God has in store. They must no longer take for granted “as still sufficient for us today the myths and symbols which satisfied older and less scientifically sophisticated generations than our own, who moreover recognized them for what they were—myths and symbols which had to be transcended.” Theology which isn’t “reborn in every age and culture in terms of contemporary human experience” isn’t theology; it’s necrophilia and Odin-talk. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard.” Salvation through knowledge: my baby doing somersaults, a flooded field, my hairline receding and this rind of moon catching light. In “Of Soul and White Folks,” Mabs Segrest calls whiteness an anesthetic—a chosen inability to feel and connect that numbs even our connections with other whites—and racism a form of paranoia, an externalizing of an internal unease and terror. We live this way and are unable even to mourn. To share in the world’s self-knowledge will bliss and break us, says the vinegar-smell of my block’s rotting apples. The last lines I loved, Whitman: “If you would understand me go to the heights or water-shore, / The nearest gnat is an explanation and a drop or the motion of water a key, / The maul the car and the handsaw second my words.” I’m waiting for a poet who won’t simply repeat the horror and disorientation of the world to me, but will take them as the givens to underline a poetics of joy. Or a poetry of the encounter with Mystery that invites us to join the encounter rather than to worship it. Jupiter like a friend you run into at the grocery story, a book by firelight: Sara Grant says what “rivets” modern readers of the Upanishads is their sense of “me now,” with all history scraped out. Who wouldn’t see their own son in their arms when they read a sentence like “the knower of Brahman enjoys all delectable things simultaneously, as amassed together through a single moment through a single perception which is eternal, like the light of the sun,” blind cavefish and aggregates of stellar dust?

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1 Comment

Filed under poetry, spirit

One response to “

  1. H. Rippey

    Dang Jay. You make me cry this is so beautiful.

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