Lesser Sun Gods of the Modern Day
The way they dragged us out of bed,
tore us from the roots of one night’s growth,
the incorrigible muck of dread and wishes.
How they lit each furnace, each cold eye
drawn to the mirrors and coffee machines,
to news that crackled open with the voice
of news on fire.Something in our caution,
the genuflections of our looking up
as one might look at a steeple of flame
above the courthouse before both crown
and chamber crumble as one. It felt like fate.
The heat that oils the keyhole of the eye.
Needs that follow suns and sun gods still
who fall, like us, and, in their falling, rise.
A lamp then is a thing at prayer, an homage
to the slow immolation of stars turned
monstrous as they age. A lamp is one
part sun, another an elegy to sunlight.
An acolyte made of what it worships,
flames that fall to earth and just keep falling.
Light smolders through the flesh at dawn.
Another day, another obit for a stranger.
Each visual breath of print gone dry.
Each sentence cinched with small black hole.
If you look deep enough, you see a sun,
a temple, a temple on fire.I see myself,
a child, who followed a father who followed
the news as some follow rules, and others
bitterness, doubt, or any of the small-boned
uncertainties that make us us, gods gods.
Long ago the one and only Father
and Son said, some things must be unclear
to appear. They must be campfire-clear
among the lords and branches of the pines.
They must be clear as dark between the stars
to camouflage the gods. Long ago
I ate the bread, and I was hungry still.
I was a kid caught in the crossfire
between day and night, day as day
and night as the harvest of daylight.
My father taught me dreams were mine alone,
and there we were. Eating the daylight.
The new dead were everywhere. Alive
in us, in every unclear kid who thinks,
isn’t it a little cruel and lovely to say,
drink of this, my blood. And so, I did.
It takes a full eclipse to see the deep-
red flash of the chromosphere, the hidden
sun inside the sunlight. It takes the black
plate of the moon to see what bodies see
when they open both vein and eye to give
to each an image. What I do not see
longs to speak the language of the seen,
as a child’s hurt longs for lips that bind,
or a killing field for an April harvest.
The many mothers of the savior look up
to bear witness to the cross, to Christ
as mother, lifted above whatever history
and its dispensations. What remains
remains eclipsed, crowned in thorns and blossoms.
Suns rise and fall and with them bodies
in the laps of mothers whose blood is stone.
Some images of kindness are neither
cruel nor kind, but sepulcher marble,
cold to the touch, if the warden lets you.
My grandfather died in a chair because
beds were painful, and he had no faith
in medicine and angels of this world.
He died of faith, which was his choice,
all of us in different chromospheres
beneath a sun that travelled one direction.
One plow to cut the sky into flower.
It takes an eclipse of the particular
sky to see the rose in it as mirror
of our own. Alone and cast out west,
each in the fate of all. The many gods
in one killing field, one believer dying
in a chair. One shadow chair pinned below.
My grandfather’s house was a mansion,
its many doors laid open in the bones.
Say paradise floats above our stories.
Does it take a story to get there still.
A mother unveils her face before the child
with a boo.One word. The speed of angels.
Somewhere the carver blows a puff of air.
It just might be his final gesture, his boo
over the names and dates laid in stone.
It just might blow the invisible candle
to clear the stone of flame, the flame of smoke.
To make the cut appear. More deep, more clear.
They came here long ago, the great observers
who watched the many suns rise and fall
into images they made, papyrus scrolls
that went the way of the pillager’s torch.
They came and rose as did their monoliths
whose faces crumbled in the desert wind.
And what they watched watched them on the altar
as the widow who talks talks to no one
at the grave. The great observers of night
read there a story full of gods because
the spirits of dead fathers and mothers rose
through their eyes and pinned them to the heavens.
Even the horror brought with it the comfort
of pins.Like talk. They came here long ago,
those who saw in the conquistador an angel
fallen to earth. And he just kept falling.
And over his grave, they laid the shield he came with.
The bright bronze cross on fire in the night.
I know the loneliness of being two
who cannot find each other in the dark.
They cannot find the dark, the lone ghost
who would carry their abandoned parts
from the killing field to a widow’s door
or place of rest. Or passage in between.
Always somewhere a war between the gods,
a great pillar of smoke, the wind that sweeps
the remnants of a home across the border.
Is it any wonder god gets personal.
Our Mother of Perpetual Abandon,
I pray this finds you with the other spirits
whose solitary god is one part man,
the other the figure of a man in flames.
One part eye. The other the light that falls
and just keeps falling. And not a god at all.