Download PDF of Edify Fiction’s “Christmas in July” 2019 edition.
“Mall Santa” is on page 40.
Download PDF of Edify Fiction’s “Christmas in July” 2019 edition.
“Mall Santa” is on page 40.
I hadn’t been home long enough to take a shower when there came a pounding on the door. I knew only too well who it was:he was the last person in the world I wanted to see. I answered the door.
“Ah, Heartache, my old friend,” I said, “come in, you son of a bitch, come on in and make yourself at home. You know your way around. There’s beer in the refrigerator. I got to grab a shower.”
He didn’t say a word, but he headed for the Hotpoint refrigerator next to the Frigidaire gas stove. I got in the shower and washed off the grime from the roofing job I’d hated for the last month. (continued)
I was there and your portrait hung in front of me, the 1886 one I’m sure it was, an exhibition at the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, Mass., late June early July 1973. I came once a day and sat there and looked at your art and I would generally smoke some pot before I did. There were many other paintings of yours—“Irises,” perhaps; I don’t remember the others. Your paintings now are as familiar as my heart.
I was apartment-sitting for my English professor and contemplating a move back to Oregon, where I thought I could work for a year and then return to school. I remember all of it too clearly, the Fogg and my own fog of swimming in the exciting oatmeal of the 1970s. You, however, are there. They say it is your last self-portrait. Auctioned in 1939 at Gallerie Fisher in Lucerne, Switzerland. It was one of the works branded as degenerate by the Nazis, confiscated and sold. The winning bid was $40,000 by a Dr. Frankfurter. You had given this painting to your brother as a birthday gift. I must tell you, if it is any consolation, my father killed Nazis for one year all through the landscape that you loved. There is a picture of your painting at the auction. Some asshole in a white coat is holding it up. It is better that it went to Switzerland I suppose, but it was bad that the Nazis profited.
So, Vincent, this is of course not about you but about me, perhaps a little bit about 1973, and me telling, among the things I tell, this horrible thing I did. Unlike you and the unfortunate incident with your ear, you could recollect none of it. I remember this all too well. At the same time, your painting of yourself seared me somehow. You clearly painted your aura. Blue shimmering pale blue through your coat and your red, red hair and beard, the air was on blue fire very clearly.
I broke up with Jane there in Cambridge, my lover my good coed girlfriend, my lovely woman companion paramour committing adultery we were, in my car, in motels, and eventually living together after I left my wife. And my wife divorced me a matter of weeks later. I walked around Cambridge, mildly hipped out, two years of college and the Army behind me. Literature, art, film slipped through me—I saw The King of Hearts a dozen times at the Central Square Cinemas with its then-novel two screens. Most every day while your exhibition was at the Fogg, I stopped by and sat on what I remember as a marble bench and looked at you. I knew the thin blue air was on fire all around me. I did not know if I was partially responsible, but there was an inkling inside me that I was.
I paid for Jane’s abortion in late March. She came to me, told me she was pregnant, said she wanted to have the child to carry on a part of me she thought she could not be a part of. Mildly, gently and in a seemingly caring manner I explained I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t ready. Then I did a despicable thing. In my college-boy English-literature assumption I closed the deal by reading her James Joyce’s “A Little Cloud” from his book of short stories, The Dubliners. The protagonist, a news writer in Dublin, meets in a bar with a friend back from his journalist job in England. The story ends with the protagonist coming home to his small child wailing an infant wail signifying the end of his opportunity as his friend was capitalizing upon his own. Domesticity stopping the pursuit of his art. This closed the deal for poor Jane. Scarcely sixty days after Roe v. Wade, an English professor’s husband who was a gynecologist set up an appointment in New York City, as abortion was still verboten in Massachusetts. This is how I, an agnostic college boy-man, sacrificed my first-born child on an altar of convenience and self-absorbed selfishness. My Celtic ancestors were required to crush the skull of their firstborn and bury the infant under a cornerstone of their first home, to achieve prosperity. I believe now, Vincent, that what I did was virtually the same thing, though I knew then of no practice and no such intent, thinking the child just optional protoplasm.
We, the hip, we the revolution against our material culture, all of us disgusted by modernism gone wrong in the 20th century, we thought the burning blue open sky around us then, a static insouciant deterministic notion driving all—what we were, was all we were. There seemed no possibilities of an inherent intellectual mistake about who we really were.
There was, of course, much more to it. I sat there daily in front of you, I suppose, knowing that was the closest thing I could get to greatness right then, and that it was tangible, and that, of course, did not work out so well for the either of us. I saw what you got in the end was a continuum, a colossal imprint.
Much later I knew it would have been more honest if I had cut off my own ear and wrapped it in sterile gauze and taken it to my first wife and apologized, and told her the truth of her IUD and the countless abortions we had together contrary to her own Catholic, go-to-Mass-every-week Catholicism, and I should have been regretful of that even if the IUD was her idea. She, a nurse looking a little like Jackie Kennedy, would never have divorced me had I not strayed. She met me by the Charles River to serve divorce papers because she now was in a love affair with a man who four months later would leave because he had impregnated another woman. Oh, we played loose and fast and listened to wild rock and roll, Vincent, and slept around and tried to out-bohemian any of your colleagues, but this is how we failed.
Ah, Jesus, Vincent, I’ve come to see this as my socially venial act of murder, unconscious of the reality and void of moral consequence. I premeditatedly pulled the switch as an out-of-touch warden in this prison we have outside of jail; pulled the switch without a sentence, without due process, pulled the switch by paying with my GI Bill check. As I watched some asshole in a white coat take lovely Jane away into a white sterile room in New York City, I and others began the phalanx that now totals sixty million for our nation. The necessary modern notion of family planning, unhinged from premodernity and the time of ancestral contiguity—a thinly veiled eugenic notion of choice preempting responsibility.
I stopped something that had a purpose that I was not actually unaware of. Yes, it took Jesus to forgive this in the near-death ether of spiritual expanse—it took thirty-three years for this to happen. It took me raising two sons and loving them above all else and reflecting on how could I have not loved this one as well. I wonder: Would I have thought differently had I read Ken Kesey’s take on this in 1971?
You are you from conception, and that never changes no matter what physical changes your body takes. And the virile sport in the Mustang driving to work with his muscular forearm tanned and ready for a day’s labor has not one microgram more right to his inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness than has the three months foetus riding in a sack of water…How can abortion be anything but fascism again, back as a fad in a new intellectual garb with a new, and more helpless, victim?*
This comes finger-pointing out of the past. Abortion had been challenged by Christendom since the Didache of the first century. Abortion was anathema to life. But we had captains in our revolution to give us a hand with abject morality. World War II made life and death arbitrary and relative; Vietnam continued this nightly in our living rooms. Life has become in America similar to what the Nazis thought, in the sense of an orderly deterministic march to and over the edge of humanity. A clean park was more important than a babe in the arms of its mother. The Liberal Fascism that has held sway was nailed by the father of hipsters. Sadly, then I was lock-step with this march the other way.
published in Rock & Sling Winter 2018
*Excerpt from an interview with Ken Kesey by Paul Krasner. The REALIST Issue Number 90 – May-June, 1971 pages 46-47
The old man’s house was falling down ten years after his death; twenty-years after, the whole south face of Lyman Mountain and Ernie’s place by the Rogue River, was divided up and there were expensive homes built at various river viewpoints and no notion of Ernest Lyman, who had lived there for almost a century—was in anyone’s mind. However, one year after he’d passed, on a hot August, dusk evening that was beginning to cool, I waited for the red glow down river and Vaux’s swifts darted through warm air and willows along the river. Swifts in the red day glow off in the west and evening light.
Go to Fiction Attic for the entire story:
by James Ross Kelly
At seventeen I was driving my
Newly restored & shiny red 1951 Henry J
I’d worked on for 3 years,
With its rebuilt, “Kaiser Supersonic 6”
Down Highway 62, it is 1967 &…
Go to Silver Birch Press:
A Memory of a Memory
by James Ross Kelly
At four, my parents’ divorce had moved my father and me from Rock Island, Illinois, south to the small Kansas town where I was born. My father had gained my custody in an era when men were generally not given custody of children. He accomplished this by getting my mother drunk just before court. His justification was that, in his absence, my mother had gone on a binge and left me alone in our apartment for almost two days. I have no memory of this. He had no apologies. My father was taking me to my grandmother’s house with my grandmother in his ’48 Ford. I had been excited about the house, and had a memory of it as glistening white.
Before all this, I had moved from Kansas and my grandmother’s house at two years old with my mother. We…
View original post 352 more words
I was once paid
To survey Yew trees
In Old Growth forests
In Oregon near Crater Lake
Mammoth Douglas fir & White fir
Covered the landscape, rolling sides
Of Mountains, the Yew were generally
In wet areas, crevices of creeks
They grew as attendant soldiers to the large conifers
Only the fifty to sixty feet the oldest of them
Lining the feeder streams that stretched downward
To Creeks that all ran to the Rogue River
The surrounding clearcuts were littered with their
Brothers & sisters as they were sexed male & female
Into large piles to be burned as unmerchantable
In Canada they made them into beautiful hardwood flooring,
After closing a bar in British Columbia I was drinking beer
At a timber fallers home & complemented him on his floor
As it was gorgeous red hues & blond running throughout
The lengths of the boards, & I asked him what kind of wood
It was, as I had installed wood floors for about as brief a time as
I had logged, “THAT,” he said, as he waved his Molson,
“Is Canadian Yew wood!” & he said it as if it came from the Queen herself
The females have tiny red berries but were no different in appearance
Than the males, but that they were dioeciously conifers with separate sexes
Was something that seemed an oddity, yews were generally few & far
Between but in the right conditions they would form stands that followed
The creeks downhill & appeared as un-uniformed limby
Gnarly red barked ever green twisted with holes & grown
Over defects that were as old as the tall Douglas fir
Their large European counter parts were used as chapels
By early European Christians who took them from
Pagan worshipers that found their otherworldly appearance
In deep forest to be contingent with forested landscape as a being
Rather than separate commodities, & I who had formerly spent
My short forestry career in clearcuts where all this had been raped,
Well, the three weeks I spent with Yews, kind of sealed this notion
That yes this separate place was an amalgam of earth, with a presence
All its own, we were surveying Yew because its bark had been found
To be a cure for breast & ovarian cancer , the worry at the time was
That we had cut too much of it & the need for it for medicine would
Be its demise in a few short years—perhaps every incurable disease has
Its counterpart, the European Yew were almost wiped out because of its
Prize as the commodity for long bows, this is really more understandable
Rather than the overuse because it was “just in the way,” of D-8 cats and
The ever present need to tidy up & burn the left over’s so we could entertain
The notion of growing back trees like corn that
Rather had, in an elegant fashion been growing to cure
The beloved’s: the grandmother’s, the mothers, the young women whose
Lives were to come into an age of live out of balance
All of us reductionist drones that corporate the lovely, & the obscure
Into spreadsheets & bottom lines while the checkerboard square clearcuts
Of Pacific Northwest took away the great bands of yew & the spotted
Owls—who were never seen as created harbingers of loveliness,
& health & the sure goodness of answers to all our problems
My father never drank
While he was working
When he was not working
A bottle of Jim Beam appeared
On the dining room table like a Roman pillar
And when it drained down another appeared.
My father was generally working
Sixteen hour days in the oilfields
Seven days a week until
A well came in or there was a dry hole
In between in the moving of the oil derrick
He was off, & he would drink, in the
Mornings there was beer at Lyle’s
& later at the St. James Hotel
Where there might be a card game
& I’d drink cokes and stare at the
Huge painting of Custer’s Last Stand
On a barstool I’d sit & his pals
Would call me little Jim Beam, I took no
Notice of this but liked the smell of stale beer
View original post 396 more words
Four pelicans on a log downriver
Sit like squatting men
this crimson Sacramento River evening,
& one rises up a sleepy watchman
& slowly waves his wings,
As a good breeze blows up river,
Paired mergansers begin to move away
As I sit down and look at the pelicans
Whose white through binoculars
becomes pink for a moment
With changing clouds & sunset
I’ve never wanted flamingos,
I’ve been waiting
For these damn pelicans to show,
& they sleep on the log
All the while I’m sitting under cottonwoods
That release a snow like namesake floating &
Blowing up river, & mallards
Begin to sound and take air across the river
Two pair wheel & move up river
Then turn again, reverse & land
Near the shore below me
Across from the pelicans,
By me the wild grape from
The cottonwood hangs dead
View original post 266 more words
The universe as
We know it, may be contained
In a large room where doors
Open and close, & exactly
As Jacob observed, Angels
Are busily rising or
Descending to earth & perhaps other galaxies,
& that this, quite contrary to any cynical view,
Is the most important of rooms..
& our entry and exit—all of us..
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 920 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.
Stepping out into
The crisp night air under leafless
Oaks, there is a clean
Smell that can only be
Had in certain places,
Venus shimmers off mountain
Horizon, I thought maybe
You were looking at her too
Glimmering off your Bodega Bay
The pliable ivory of your face
& red hair
& connected pervasively,
Venus occluded with moon
Four days ago.
While you know
I don’t buy Astrology
& for you that’s part
Of your faith & that’s all right
For you then
I wonder about now
Three days before this evening
I’m told of twelve people
Three of which believe
That they are from Venus
& have video tape of
Venusian space ship
Landing on earth
Life is preciously beautiful
& we are part & parcel of
Gaseous formation of the adjacent
Planet & I would never want
To break up their meeting, & laughing
Though I am
Knowing that voiding time
All of this is a togethered thing &
While Botticelli’s art
Which we accept unlike
The Venusian space ship
& how he
Put her so delicately
On the half-shell
With your red hair
It is more like
A dream this art as life
Than a reverie
But there in imagination
We loved each other
& shared our last name w/out marriage
no relation & states away
A decade apart our
Birthdays, yet the same?
We astonished each other
You were swooped off
To California, but
In this cabin, this damn
Cold Oregon December,
Your red hair spilled across
My chest, your smell like
Lilac must, your
Touch soft, is soft &
Warm air becomes heavy
Acrid smoke fills the air,
A cabin, or a cave,
Or a peat heated shanty above
A wind-swept cliff & the sheep bells
Clang in the mist?
I saw a reflection in your eyes
Dim light, our bodies move,
& then we were still, & your
Touch again, it should not be
A dream, yet it was
& that’s all we had
My heart surged
Not from desire
But from wonder &
Though we never made love you
Were many times on
My arm & we many times kissed
Deep spit swapping passion
& one night we slept together
This imagination makes what it will
Yet you were always a person
Not to be worshiped
But to be known & we knew each
Other in some kind of morphic
Field that came together & said
I don’t buy reincarnation either, but
The neo-paganism you seemed to love, hey
The playful part I get,
Masks &drums & the anthropomorphic
Notion of animals, like coyote, but
The old gods have always been
Pagan playfulness, still has a black ribbon
Running through it to the diabolic,
As did the inquisition,
Or any religious spirit
In every camp—waiting
For the wrong move away
Presence interior & from
The dimness fades
& the light grows
Too, too bright
I close my eyes
Black ice on asphalt & fire
On the moon
We were both void of direction
& then I see again your face
Then calm, your face changes, again &
Ten out of ten of us die
& you were eventually gone
I named a son after you, &
Though you died in Kansas during cruel April
& I was in Oregon, but I was there with you a
Long time..I have no idea what kind
Of funeral you had—or even if you had one
The brother of my mother, your wife
My Uncle, told me that spring, during a
Drive in the station wagon where he could
Deliver bad news without looking at me,
I’d had these trips before, had some after, but I was
In my 20s when I figured out they’d
Kidnapped me from you—it may be that he hated you, however
His Father my Grandfather always had something good to
Say about you & you know he visited you when he went back
To Kansas, my Uncle with pride and perhaps a little senility showed me
A letter in 1974, but written in 1963,
Threatening a law suit if you came out to get me, the Uncle thought
that would demonstrate how much they loved me—but it was always
I waited for you to drive up in that ’56 Buick & thought of how I would pile in
& we would drive all the way back to the flat land with all the windows down!
The uncle told me many times when wanting to correct my behavior
That he’d send me, ‘back to your father,’ oh please know I always wanted to go!
That day in the ’53 Ford Station wagon, about a quarter mile from
Where the dirt road to our farm met the pavement & then south on
Highway 62 toward Eagle Point, he began to tell me that you had died,
The story had been that you were coming to get me
In about six months—& that had been six years, & you called twice,
Wrote three times, sent me a pocket knife & a rattle snake rattle,
From a snake you’d killed in Nebraska, who knows what happened to the snake rattle,
I lost the knife in basic training in Fort Ord, California in 1967 when drill instructors
Yelling that any of us with knives would be court marshaled and sent to Ft. Leavenworth
You had told me at about 8 years old not to go in the Army
& to never work in the oil fields,
I took your advice about the Oil Fields, the Army had me
Four years I didn’t have to win any of the Medals you did
I did get a Good Conduct Medal and an honorable discharge
They did not send me to Vietnam while it raged and others went,
I often thought, that was a direct result of what you had to go through
& with noted exceptions, I’ve led a somewhat honorable life, when we got back from
The station wagon ride my grandfather told me that Winfield was
A little Kansas town where people could get away with murder,
& he did not believe the newspaper clipping my Uncle had shown me in 1964,
That having found your body in the river with a railroad iron tied on
The back of your belt—what an awkward thing to do! He, your father-in-law
Did not believe you committed suicide as the police said, in 1970 when I was back there
For the funeral of your other son Dennis my brother, & Lyle your good friend told me the same thing
& that none of your friends thought you’d gone by your own hand, largely because
You’d have shot yourself —they reasoned, “being and outdoor man—& seen the worst of WWII.”
Still you’d been down, my Grandfather
Commented on that the last time he saw you—you’d not been able to work in a while
Because of your back, you must know I had the same problem 3 back surgeries on the job
Lifting injuries & one bad car wreck, I made it through 25 years of pain & six years of
Addicting prescription drugs, that when I tried to cold turkey out of it made me
Humble and knowing I’d not have any thing over a common junkie, a year after
The last operation they stair stepped me off & that was 12 years ago, still I thought of you
& made it through, I’ve visited your grave twice, once when Dennis died &
Again when I had to deliver a 1963 Impala convertible to Wichita in 1983
I met your friend Bill Husky on an out of the blue phone call he made to me in 1996, &
A year later I went to meet him in Florida; he told me WWII & I’d always wondered
What you had done, then I knew there was some kind of miracle going on that
You made it back to make me, after D-Day plus 13 to Cologne, Husky& his other buddy that
Knew you said I looked like you, I had little Joe with me & they were happy to see
Me and said, unabashedly you were a hero, & they were damn lucky to serve with you,
& told some stories how there were 300 landing on that Norman beach & only 50 left at Cologne
So now I have to tell you the part about how it was, that I realized about that time
What was going on in my own life, as it relates to you death—I blamed myself for your death
I somehow thought from the time I was 13, that if I’d been there
I could have stopped it—or it would not have happened, I took that
Into my soul & packed it around with me like a ruck sack filled with cast iron skillets— for 32 years,
Took this darkness to the Army & to college & through two marriages & a bunch of what we now
Call relationships—all the time trying to drink like you, & smoke like you, hunt & fish like you,
with every awful injustice I knew of, I wanted to kill Nazi’s like you,
& then, I took it to God & He showed me it was not my fault
But instead— a lie whispered to me all those years ago, & the next day
Husky called telling me about you, & I knew this connected & was true &
Since then, most all of the drinking stopped
& well I’ve had my life back & good humored it is, I laugh a lot
Pretty sure I’ve raised two pretty good boys into men
& now have a wife that does all the ideal Betty Crocker things that somehow
Escaped us back in the 50s, except for my grandmother, who cooked
Cottontail rabbits you killed & made me bacon sandwiches & chocolate cake with white frosting,
You drank Jim Beam with Coca Cola chaser, & always brought a Coke for me
& me even tagging along
To your beer joints & the dusty Kansas humidity that I did not know was oppressive
& it all left me an orphan & now knowing how dysfunction
& PTSD are oppressive, but I have to tell
You that I, like Husky and his friend, never thought ever of you as anything but a hero,
I retired in Alaska then went south for the mild winters in California,
& six months before I left, you came to me in a dream
With your Humphrey Bogart fedora hat & leather jacket
& picked me up in amongst a pile of old boats & we both went on a journey
south without the Buick, across the sound, & a road, & the sunset
& I walked just a little behind you.
Battle is all I know
& I count myself dead
Beginning with each war
There is no other way
There is no wife &
There is no life &
I must end life that comes forward to me.
War is not a backward motion
I never knew
That I knew
But I knew perfectly
When my company of men pulled away..
I was always ready to die for this King
For I am one of his 40 mighty men!
& I, a foreigner, a Hittite, as is my wife
Our grandparent’s grandparents settled in with
These Hebrews who treated us well, & many of us
Like myself & my wife became proselytes
Their faith now mine, is now mine own battle dress
Today is no different—except today I know
Just as these dogs are before me— I will die..
But not before this one who charges out of the
Throng, & oh how I love spilling his blood, & cleaving
Half through his neck & chest— he never saw it..
Now they see me ready again,
“Who is next of you— dogs? Who of your slime is next?
He brought me out of battle! Battle!
This is shame! To leave battle,
I know of no other guilt I could be guilty of
& not ask for forgiveness from this their mighty God
Because it is so vile and shameful! To leave battle?
I, Uriah the Hittite shirked no battle afraid of no foe?
To leave battle? Sent from battle like some load bearer,
Smelled fine food and his perfume in his palace
But not my brothers sweat!
What could be the reason?—this King is my life?
When each war ends, but not until it ends
Until then My life— is always Battle!
War when it begins is a linear series of horrific acts
Each death an immoral, yet honorable action until war ends.
This one is not over; we could lose, the battle King
Could lose, simply because he is not here
That men would rally to his standard as the standard of the Almighty
My queen death by my right and left
Hand is the end purpose of my blood!
I sacrifice a lamb for every man I kill.
He set me before table of feast & wine
Then bade me go to my wife? To my wife?
When it is my oath to kill the dogs set before me
& there they remain and my brothers without me at their side?
That is all I could fathom.. I slept at his door & never saw my wife.
Heh, you, you Ammonite scum, die as you run to me! I know your slime
Ridden brothers will soon bring your archers to bear
Until then, this is two of your Hundreds
That taunt, dead & the blood still spilling out of that one now,
His tunic floating red now..
“I want more of you, like a hungry man wants his dinner!”
Three are running toward me now, one to the right, he will
Make a flanking move, the others come straight forward with
Lances, I will kill them all with these moves the Most High
Has given me, we 40 men were schooled in the difference between
Killing and murder—I am a killer. It is so. Yet I have never murdered.
But he the King? Why does he murder me? I thought Joab could never do this
Had it not been bidden by the King
I carried the message that ordered this treachery—I saw it on Joab’s face
My brothers would never do this, Joab placed me with
Young men, first time in battle & when they withdrew on orders
As I led the charge and these dogs quartered in and have
Boxed me on this rocky field I saw them Leave in tight formation
—the King was angered
When I refused to go to my wife
Perhaps he slept with my wife & brought me
Home to assuage this guilt? Yet I cannot believe that.
Did he not know that the most shame I could bare
Fiends take my wife who bathed on the roof below the Kings’ window
I joked about the King seeing her private parts!
Perhaps that was my sin, perhaps she will foal Hebrew blood and connect
To a lineage unknown to me, there is more than war, I know now that
This is the day I die, I would want nothing but warriors for sons,
Still.. was leaving my brothers in arms for his table a thing he thought I could bear?
Ah, but those days he commanded us in the field!
I would follow him anywhere and do his bidding
No matter the course, so I left battle hoping to be
Assigned a particularly dangerous duty..
Oh! How, I love to side-step a shield & with a feinting move
This flanking bastard coming close will soon die & while these two get to see me jump!
Up so my sword can kill from the height of his shoulder
I plunge it straight down with the quick stab which parallels down the neck
Passing through clavicle quickly & down quickly down..
Down into the vitals & as I come back to earth tipping the living falling corpse back he falls
The air leaves him & my sword is out and now & as he topples—I kill the other two!
The look on his face when I left the ground is still in my mind
As I now smell them all bleeding—& it is strange that now I wish the King was watching.
“I, Uriah the Hittite Servant of King David—of his 40 mighty men will go to my
Death with joy this day—as a warrior I’ve never looked for rescue!”
My brothers backed off leaving me cut off & the wall over there..
I’ve known since I was dispatched from the King
Some one thing was wrong, & if it be betrayal—so be it.
That I’ve fought valiantly for this King no one will ever deny
This has been my great joy when it was I knew he
Voiced daily with Almighty, I’d seen him as a youth
When he’d put down that ungodly beast behemoth Goliath
Stinking philistine that he was—I admit it I could not fathom it
Yet I saw it, I saw it at 18 and he was 15, & he killed him
With stone from his sling, dead, in the dirt
The giant that smelled of excrement & ate raw meat
& entrails unclean & putrid & gargantuan as he was—he bloated in half a day
David cut off his head with the Giant’s own sword!
Oh how we rejoiced seeing the Philistine dogs run after this &
When I heard that the prophet named David the anointed of
The Almighty I knew of no other thing I could do
But serve him— David, and shortly swore my allegiance
To him and only him, that my old uncle
Betrayed him, & his traitor son who infuriated me, & when I
Saw Absalom dead my heart swelled with the joy
The justice of it, yet I saw my King weep & grieve
As if he’d lost an infant child, I thought him
Beyond human with tenderness that day
I, Uriah the fierce Hittite was moved by
His loss and his ability to love
Now I see that they are
Sending five at me… Ha! I give it to these dogs they
Have not brought archers nor javelins to bear even now & will
Try showing themselves men! Ha! I’ll kill these five!
I’m now leaking red blood & that was a little harder
Than I thought—my age? I’ll have no gray hair after this day!
Ha! This Day of my death, no old man tottering before a grave for me!
I am a warrior & death has always been my mistress.
That keeps me true to my wife!
I’ve always been true but now there are
Other arms of Sheol reaching to receive me —I go there with honor!
If there is resurrection as some of these Hebrews believe,
I desire to march straight for it.
But not before I taunt them more, “Dogs! come spill some more of your
Entrails that I Uriah will make you whore mothers weep! Dogs that
Defy the Mighty one of Israel! Come die with me today so you
Will see Sheol and bark for even dark mercy!”
These Hebrews taught me Job & He Who is Mighty
Test men—I’ll be true to this test
Ha! & now I see the archers being placed, & a phalanx of
Infantry to take my arrowed corpse, Ha! Today I die!
The morning sky is red, & a hot wind blows in my face,
My doom is this day will not steal my joy of this
My final battle—a wrong done against me never-the-less
Through a cause of which I’ll never know here.. yet I smell Hyssop
I smell olive oil, I smell savory, and Basil, and Aloe
Their clang of armor sounds paltry,
Now I’m hearing distant symbols, tambourines & trumpets
Bah! I throw down my shield & pick up a lance!
In thirty feet the archers will have to shoot round their infantry
I will charge them!
He has some reason not privy to me, & so as said Job
& now I charge them! & I’m yelling:
“Even though He slay me, yet I will praise Him!”