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Posts Tagged ‘religion’

And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God

Matthew 19:24

In chess, we all know the bishop by the shape of the bishop and that it indicates a bishop’s hat.

Priesthood sounds wrong, but maybe that’s because I know what they’ve been up to. Then here’s the disturbing culture of repressed sexuality and misogyny, not to mention the rampant, hypocritical, life-damaging cover-it-up-to-protect THE PRIESTS AND NOT THE VICTIMS pedophilia.

I have seen the film The Magdalene Sisters and so should you. Since it’s a work of fiction, I urge you to google Magdalene Laundries and see what you come up with, all on your ownsome.

Of course, there is the Inquisition and the Crusades, but this post isn’t about the old-style tortures and abuses. I’m a modern woman, capiche?

We talked the other night at dinner about who makes the vestments and hats for the Catholic celebrity class—popes, bishops, archbishops, cardinals. I did find this, which is sort of interesting, but he is a collector, not a milliner.

When I see vestments that indicate a person is of rank within the Catholic church, I typically have a piss-poor reaction. This happens less here in Western Mass than when I lived in Ohio. When I grew up, you’d see the occasional group of nuns out to a restaurant or at the grocery store. I even used to work in a Catholic orphanage one summer when I was home from college. Yeah, me.

I did not set out to write this post today. Punning on the two cardinals set the ball rolling. Rolling right into what I have long pondered: how how how. I don’t mean to insult any of my Catholic friends. I want to respect your religion, but alas, I can only respect you and trust that you know how and why. That I much I got in me.

Now witness:

Is it real? Do these come in pink silk? That is something I could get behind.

I also like the hats that look like yarmulkes, the history of Catholics and Jews marrying each other in such great numbers right there (maybe you don’t know a lot of Catholics who married Jews, but HELL YES I do).

A fleet of pink silk hats with tassels—like pasties, you know.

And why aren’t the nuns allowed to wear bright colors like the rest of the clergy? Penguin suits, my god.

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There was a time when I did not know what the word apocalypse meant. Then, in my late teens, I suppose I felt embarrassed or ashamed. I am older now and I realize that I will always be learning new words if I am lucky. The older I get, the less well I seem able to retain them. But guess what, my turtle doves? My memory is improving of late.

I thought that all of my friends who grew up with church or religion, who went to Sunday School and who had Confirmations, the Catholics, almost the whole lot of them (this was Ohio, after all, chock full of Catholics), all knew all of the stories and words from the Bible, New and Old Testament. I realized at some point that I knew more than they. It was all a sham. They did not know how to spell apocalypse, nor its etymology. They didn’t know what Jesus said, what the Jews said. They did not know any of it. I still wonder what people do in Sunday School if not learn these stories. I do not know what real testament is for anyone and I think most people don’t know this for themselves.

Each time I become anemic, the wear and tear on my face is more dramatic. This time I look older. Though I approach 50, I have some mistaken notion that my youthful body will last. The flesh of my face will stay. The frown lines, which aren’t so much from frowning as exhaustion, grow more pronounced. I used to push up on the apples of my cheeks with the thumb and middle fingers of one of my hands when I was driving in the car (safer than texting!), but now I’ve forgotten to try.

I wrote a bit of something just now, some words gathered around from tonight and before. There are problems, so many problems. I usually refrain from saying what they are, but now, I will tell.

There is the title which is pretentious, but which I like anyway. I like the Dutch vanitas paintings and I like the Latin.

There is always the overdoing, the more than I need. But that is what blogging poems is for. To pare down later.

There is the mixing of metaphors or images. There is the land and earth and there is the sea. But I love them both and I am not confused, only enthusiastic.

There is this which harkens to another poem, one which remains incomplete in my computer. The barn and the harvest, the emptiness and me.

There are the too many and the mixing images, again, of the body and death. This is what yoga is for and this is how the poem takes shape.

And there is stealing. Or snatching. Sneaking the words that came before, sometimes knowing whose, sometimes only vaguely.

Here you go. Here are the words.

Memento Mori

After I am vaporized
the imprint of my body will remain
flattened on the wooden slats
the barn
barley-filled

swing  open  the  gate
swing  open  the  gate

After the apocalypse, the burning off
I am drained of blood
my skin deflated
my bones a fine powder

My skin sinks
but finally

I  remember
I  remember

It boils down
to this

Goldenrod, my ovaries
the shining
harvest
in the hollow
of my groin

I  remember

the coiled snake
the quaking stalk
the base of my spine

Plough  the  ocean  blue
Plough  the  ocean  blue

*

Tonight, I got to hear Tim Eriksen play in a small coffee/deli/bakery in downtown Amherst, The Black Sheep. (The Black Sheep, btw, was one of the first things that caught my eye and attracted me to Amherst. OH! the bakeries. OH! the bookstores. OH! the bakeries. OH! the bookstores).

I have been in Amherst since August of 2000. I have put down a few roots. I can feel them.

I have been singing shape note since August of 2004. I am rooted in tradition.

I didn’t go to this particular concert, The Newport Folk Festival, in late summer 2006. I wanted to but somehow didn’t manage it. Tim organized a big group of people from our local Sacred Harp sing. Here is one of the things they did on the big stage. He played it tonight at the end of the concert and we all sang again. This is NOT a song from the Sacred Harp, by the way. It’s something Tim likes to refer to as “Northern Roots Music.”

And just so you know, my turtle doves, I don’t believe in the apocalypse.

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