23 July 2015

stone of help

a heart.
this one a charles bukowski going forward at a tent revival sort of heart,
cursing every step and everybody,
drunk crybaby faced,
walking to grace,
or from it, 
hard to say,
every third step looking backward and forward 
unable to measure the easier route,
but then you see some grandma smile
then they sing here I raise my ebenezer
and you think fine, I don't drink on ice but I'll take life on the rocks over no life at all.

Are there two mes?
probably not.
but that answer might be hopeful.

dad always said he was a baptist existentialist.
kierkegaardian altar calls
Jesus every moment
there is mercy now
not yesterday.  we all know how that went.
tomorrow is a pipe dream at best
what you flirt with putting off will never be consummated.
 you take to the dead now.
you follow Christ now.
hung dead on a tree of His now,
and on our yesterdays and tomorrows which cursed Him.
these old ladies won’t be here again
this is theirs and your only moment
the tree outside blooms today.

so stumble up 
and answer him when he asks
why have you come forward son
so you say it, 
i need to be saved
you pray the ritual, line after line you follow the preacher,
through the wordly token,
sacrament of the sacramentless. 
well, that is not true, 
now is the sacrament,
but light empty, not heavy, so that’s nice.
then the hymn ends.
preacher says this man has come forward to be saved
old ladies pull out handkerchiefs.
soon as the music ends you are thinking about drinks at
the jack'sstop tomorrow night and jenny’s legs, maybe tonight. 
what the hell kind of saved man are you you ask yourself?
preacher whispers back,
the only kind there is.
oh. you said that out loud.
mornings after an all-nighter with tommy don’t make for safe repentances.
you look at him.
he looks at you.
alright then, 
you guess.

you eat the fried chicken and leftover funeral potatoes and mud cake downstairs.
drink two cups of percolator coffee in a styrofoam cup
look down at the black inside white and hope God isn’t trying to make some point.
people smile and shake your hand
prodding with eyes a mix of surprised and not sure.
talk about the weather and friday’s high school football game 
and the the millers’ place getting tee-peed last night.

after church you help old llewelyn change a tire on his truck.
he pays you with a can of snuff,
already opened.
you listen to some radio.
old mrs. branson calls
tells you how blessed her heart was this morning,
and can you look to her hot water heater tomorrow?
yes ma’am.
you read a few lines.
can’t write.
the dog is restless.
you sit and watch the brown of pine needles carpet the back corner of the yard.
the wind is hot.
you’re on your second reading of
four gospel fingers into a fifth of cutty
when jenny comes over after the end of her shift.
she talks too much and her prime was a half dozen years ago but she’ll do.
you don’t seem to enjoy sin any less.
she does raise an eyebrow and half smile
as you say the word marriage 
of your own accord
having ascetically avoided it for months.

is this all saved is?
a little bit better?
a step better than yesterday?
well, yesterday did go....
so say two and a half steps better.

jenny leaves.
you fall on the couch
the dog jumps up and licks your feet
you remember Jesus and His feet perfumed by a whore
though you owe the dog as much as he owes you so bad analogy,
plus you hope you're not about to be killed,
you pray,
Jesus, you NotBastard,
You come from Somewhere
You’re going Somewhere
i’m barely here.  
i can't say for sure where i've been,
and if things go as they have, 
where i end up is the bounce of dice in a crap-shoot I will lose as usual.

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