Mall Santa

The crowd looms
& I’m a mild spectacle
Ho, Ho for dough
I smile, wave, & shout,
“Merry Christmas!” yes I believe & I
Tell some of the nose miners
As I’m led, that Christmas is really
About Baby Jesus, some of them know this, yet
I am forbidden to do this, by the hucksters from
New Jersey that run the photo business here,
The parents are generally having a good time
The Mall is reasonable, making
The concession folks let the parents take pictures
On their phone camera, without buying & all
Can sit on Santa’s knee, buyers or not,
The poor are challenged by the $40 dollar snapshots
Insatiable consumerism? Charlie Brown might think so,
Then, there are the little ones that
Really believe, the college students
Running the set are intelligent & need
The money, I’m old and still,
I think intelligent, & I
Need the money, though I can’t every time
Remember all the names of the damn reindeer
I rattle off the ones I do know at that moment & it always works
No one tests Santa, had I walked by this scene
& some other white bearded fat man was doing this, like in a Brueghel painting,
About Icarus, I’d take no notice, & the line of children daily winds around,
Some of children want toys that total more than
Two months pay for a middle class family & some, like a small smiling boy, from
A humble household by the look of his smiling parents,
Asks only for new slippers, and his thread bare brother asks for a new coat,
& hearing this my heart wells up and the parents smile & I know
They’ll get them & I say,
Why yes!  Santa knows you are good boys!”
& I say the same to most of them & even
To the affluent, knowing if the thousands of
Dollars of tabulated excess does not all work out
Disappointment will actually help them,
& near Christmas after a lunch break I stride in the Mall with
A confident “HO, HO, HO,” & a little guy streaks away from his mother
& runs a hundred feet to me as fast as his 15 inch legs will take him &
I sweep him up in my arms & he holds tightly to my neck
& won’t let go & the next day
This scene is repeated by another tyke exactly the same way &
Now, approaching 70, I may not do this next year as
I sometimes long in this exact same manner, to
Run to the arms of God & hug His neck.

High above at this moment

The last two pieces of oak have gone

Into the stove

& it’s too dark & icy to get more,

Inside the stove a chunk to the right

Smolders & pops

To the left about thirty seconds

Ago the other said the same

 

It is getting cold—a jet

High above at this moment

Is taking someone

Toward a sad occasion

We all suffer

 

Iris in a water carafe

Is stupidly trying to bloom

In December

 

On the hot stove I dropped Frankincense

This after noon

& a Holy odor

Pervades this cabin

No priests on this mountain

Wind chimes however

Announce epiphany

Unrecorded

 

Lovers embrace in

Immaculate numbers

All over the planet

Genetic material furthered

To be exactly what they

Are, themselves, guiltless after Christ,

Either by love or some other reason

 

Life brings on abundant life &

His own purpose

& like the tides, surges connection

Recedes, then surges again.

Now, let-me-tell-you-this-story..

I was in Peter’s cabin in southern Oregon, in the summer of 1981,

Peter had finished Seminary in 1965, & having done a stint as a

Chaplain in the Navy, or maybe it was the Army, he declined  to be ordained,

& went to work selling books for New Directions,

In 1967, he’d been hitting up book stores for

James Laughlin, & he stopped in

San Francisco—took LSD, & tried briefly

To become King of the hippies & realizing there

Were too many pretenders to the throne, he

Then retreated to southern Oregon, where

He bought a very small cabin in the woods & went on forays

For Amanita mushrooms every fall and spring on the Oregon coast,

He’d dry hundreds of  them & step into an altered reality most every day, then

Run ten  miles &  in his mid-forties he looked like an athlete in his twenties,

Peter had an estranged wife in  northern California & a young daughter

& was dating a nurse from the Psych ward in  a Medford hospital,

When I met him, & the first time I was in his cabin, on a round oak

Dining table was a copy of Wasson’s, Soma: the Divine  Mushroom of Immortality;

An ethno-mycological study—the cover a stark-white layout

With two   bright red  Amanita Muscaria  mushrooms w/white spots,

You will see this entheogenic mushroom in illustrations

Of Grimm’s fairy tales & even Disney’s Snow White, but Wasson’s contention

Is that this mushroom was instrumental in prehistoric world religion

& that is widely held now, as a naturalistic explanation of religion

& the summer after college I house-set my English professors apartment in Cambridge

& read this book, & Peter, impressed that I knew anything about it

Proceeded to let me sample, his stash of Ammanita Pantherina’s which were not red

but the color of gold leaf  & fruited out in the springtime & stronger than the Muscaria, &

two weeks after I’d had several small doses, I came over one morning for coffee,

&  Pete fed me six dried pancake-size mushrooms

I went up on his roof  & about an hour later he gave me five more with water,

I laid down and looked at the forest, took in the madrone trees and Douglas fir

over Pete’s house & though slightly nauseous I began to get really high,

I moved slowly off the roof from a ladder &

I came down & made my way around his house & out to a postage  stamp size

Lawn of about hundred square feet that was adjacent his house, & then

Down a path, beside his driveway & a small pond he’d made, with a pole

Bridge arcing over the top & transplanted river iris in the bank where a spring fed in

& I continued up the path where there were  a number of  Washington Lilies, whose

trumpet shaped white flowers on stems five to six feet tall, exuded a fragrance

that can waft 50 feet or more & these radiant lilies are named for Martha Washington

& walking by this air filled  florescence in white flowers nodding  facing outward

pale-lavender on the outside & tiny purple spots on inside, tips slightly curved back

I continued toward & into a stand of Ponderosa pine with black oak & Douglas fir mixed in

& now a  dry balsam smell  & now I was about a hundred yards from Peter’s cabin

& suddenly there was a man walking ahead of me I’d not seen before

He slowed, I got closer and I noticed the man was in a grey robe &

He turned around & I saw clearly this man was Jesus, & as

He turned I noticed a demeanor that was not one of annoyance, but

Yet it was as if he had been distracted by me,  from some other more pressing  intention, &

He had looked like this was going to be a necessary explanation for a too

Inquisitive child, & I had said nothing  & yes

there was seemingly white light  when I got close, much like the lilies

“I’m going to show you something,” He said,

“that most people don’t get to see until they die..” &  then

He touched me on my forehead with the flat part of a right forefinger bent slightly inward,

His hand making a half fist, & instantly inside me & every atom, every molecule of every plant,

& every rock,  & every tree & the water, the air & the bright blue summer sky—became

Love, as a base of experiential reality more real than anything I’d

Ever known, or have known since, & love was very apparently— the construct of  everything

& it was all pervasive & all around me,

& in me, & then breathing deeply, Jesus having since departed,

I staggered back to Pete’s house where there were now three people sitting on his lawn

&  I  loudly announced to everyone that,

“All there is, is love!” & they laughed as

I  announced this over & over—& I told no one about the Jesus

Part of this story—for about 35 years,

& I do not think I was supposed to..

I did assume this was a drug induced phenomenon, a vision none-the-less,

This phenomenon in the charismatic world is called an open vision,

Then after having  again, my own subjective yet, extra earthly always unexpected

Sober encounters with this same Jesus, though not as Christophany, as I’ve described, so

Eventually, I discounted naturalism as a notion & a base construction of reality

& just accepted that yes, of course it was Jesus,

& yes, I needed that, & I needed to know this was so, once & for all & always

You see, one week before this encounter  I was in Rock Creek Canyon & I—a stoned hippie,

Had scratched in large letters, on a rock, “God is Love,” & I knew this was true, only as philosophy &

Left it there for someone to find, & that this Jesus found me, & straightened this out &

He has been finding me in my own wondering ever since,

Now a reality & then a notion, but that notion now brings barrier, while this other is

As faith, eternal sustenance, sure goodness, & loving  kindness, &

Because it really is true that despite everything else, really,

Love is all there is.

 

 

In the Spring When Kings Go out to Battle

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!”

Believing

Our love
Our love is all of God’s money
Everyone is a burning sun

-Jeff Tweedy

Belief is the locked up tangible thing,
of law that the dust can be blown off of,
taken from a bookshelf, objectified, crucified
pointed at, solid repository of ideological contusions,
Gnostic misdemeanors, white lies & black ones of unreality
no different from the adulterous
first degree murder of guilty abrasions on your soul & woeful
finger-pointing wrong in legalistic right…

“Liberals and fundamentalists are both humanists,” said the old preacher grinning as he cleaned the carburetor of his Buick with Joy from a yellow plastic bottle & a tooth brush

“One believes there is a better day a coming, all with a strong right arm of correct politics, & culture change.

“The other believes there is a better day a coming, if you do everything the Bible say; both have made Man’s action the operative & left out God as the agent of change. ” Then after putting the air cleaner back together, he laughed and said, “Isn’t it interesting that moralism gets us only so far!”

Rolling up through time & space containerized in

This bone-bag existence of drunken pleasure & pain
& psychedelic sin
& death…

Thankfully,
Believing is..
alive
the BE Living,
the BE loving
Believing is..
Holy Spirit..
Who is…
fluid active running down the river & the red fish
in the river & the same thing and is this River of Life flowing from us..
living water of life on this planet flowing from us somehow..
that gets us to the other side
& brings us back
A-gain,
A resurrection
A dilation of time, in this space–from another one.
so the bone bag has some kin
w/ the reddening sky,
mist on the mountain
bird song, moon rising
star twinkle ’round Orion’s belt
& sun setting over placid ocean
& laughter of a four year old son,
keeper of His kingdom
the Life is..
the forgiving cry of the first born Son
Who is…
the Truth, blessed Yeshua
the Way, to get though this life w/joy,
perseverance, love &
everlasting knowledge..
“Our Father in heaven..”
Who is…
& because His name is..
so Hallowed
this is…
within us &
all so, “On earth as it is in Heaven.”

The Green Flash

She started a conversation
& then said, “There isn’t any
More wine,” then that finally
Ran down too,
With an economic ocean evening
& I looked, but it wasn’t there
I’d seen it before, & looked
Again, & some haven’t seen it
Some don’t believe & others
Have never looked—but I’ve seen it
& it is there & sharing the similarity
Of being as sure as Jesus
& like Him it may appear when you
Aren’t looking, & it’s said to be the
Phenomena of the tropics
& a bright by horizontal
Green flash that takes from a beach or boat
A good portion of the ocean horizon
Outward from the sun momentarily,
Then leaves as we twist round the corner
Into night & our own devices
& I’ve seen it in the Pacific &
In inhuman humidity where
Papayas ripen daily instead of in seasons
& there for some, just like Jesus again,
The knowledge of a cool northwest
Misty moss covered forest or apples ripening
In the crisp fall, once-a-year— is unknown,
Except for the telling..

The Chink-oh-pin

 

It would be before
the gurgle of water
in streams clearing
after rains of after
stillness of the movement
of snowfall where
the chinquapin
& lodgepole take the first
winters weight of whiteness
all standing before moments
pervasive & there
my heart leaps out for You
as a child kicking deep in
bellied womb, waiting as
the Cascades wait for each
winter’s snow which is
cold slow birth of
every mountain spring