Wednesday, November 14, 2007

After the ambulances

FAITH

Faith, that boogey-word of this boogey-age
with all its tricked out apocalypse
and all its gleeful dissembling, faith,
come now to mean slightly more than
pained concentration, but only slightly more,
faith. Maybe my fascination,
my long penance, my secular flirtations,
comes from a born taste for
fried okra and fried catfish
scooped from the riverbed’s latrine murk
and fried cobs of corn
battered before being lobbed in grease
and fried anything. Maybe
I want to believe, even in Baptist
theocracies which demand
all sin be committed in airport bathrooms
or rest stops abandoned
by the state, consigned to Dante’s shade,
maybe I want to want
to want. To never stop.
I think I have said that before.
To every woman who in her mind agreed
to wake to a tandem disappointment
beside me, to knuckle sleep
from her green-flecked eyes
and fall through her clothes
away from me, to every one of them
I spoke, somehow, of faith,
and even by the strength of her ribs
swear a fealty to her
or that moment or mess
or whatever we made of things.
It is hard to live happy
with one’s couch and dead microwave,
with one’s brick wall,
with one’s spinning class, its twill of irony,
when one learns how
the Pope is verified to have testicles,
no woman or eunuch
or genetic klutz. Latin I can’t recall
but it includes cupping
and a kind of vouchsafing
for his pendulous netherness
and all night long I could not sleep,
hating books, hating the Vatican, you can imagine
why.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes. Perfect.

hundredsofbillions said...

I keep thinking about this Flannery O'Connor quote: "Mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind."

Not sure if she's talking about love or faith, or the messy urge for both.

Sandy said...

Very, very nice. Faith is not all it's cracked up to be...is it?

S

Anonymous said...

Faith is a slippery slope upon which reason slides--yet hope remains.

Anonymous said...

the in and out of history, interweaving the present and memory...and the section about the catholic church, pope, and its laconic? sexual history, mixed with your own, is an unnerving, condensed, window in to one man's odyssey...

Something happens at "It is hard to live happy", something like a drum roll for the perfect list that is coming, dead microwave, one's spinning class, its twill of irony. This moment is timeless, and then you manipulate your language so much like one would manipulate the body of a woman. And then you end in honesty.

your critic

Anonymous said...

Hi, Paul,
This is Misha Morozov, who you may even not remember. I am that fat guy from Russia who was at one point friends with Terry Olsen. I am an avid poem performer, and I am writing to ask for your permission to translate some of your work into Russian and perform it. I do these performances only free of charge for charity events, mostly for Parents and Children Against Cancer foundation. My e-mail address is mbrg @ yandex.ru. If you should want to give your consent, please e-mail me a short note.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Paul,
This is Misha Morozov, who you may even not remember. I am that fat guy from Russia who was at one point friends with Terry Olsen. I am an avid poem performer, and I am writing to ask for your permission to translate some of your work into Russian and perform it. I do these performances only free of charge for charity events, mostly for Parents and Children Against Cancer foundation. My e-mail address is mbrg @ yandex.ru. If you should want to give your consent, please e-mail me a short note.

Pamela said...
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