PRAYERS IN WINTER

Baba Hand Writings for USA

 

There is no difference now between faith and unbelief.

Words are bloody rags placed on an altar.

“I believe, I believe…”

Dead men slow dancing with worms, ashes raining from their eyes.

Every prayer, including this one, a tsunami of self pity

a rogue wave in a daub of spit!

 

 

All day our faces are gulfs of green undrinkable water.

At night coyotes hunt the river bank for lives more quiet than their own.

Ten years ago you told me

“Come to the river in morning, among grass widows, in blades of light.

Come repeat a name composed entirely of water.

Whisper these syllables across the river not as prayers

but as breath let go of, not expected to return.”

Now you say

“Don’t try to find me where I’ve always been.

Look for me in dangerous places where the poor cook their own hands

for food.

I am the poor and the dead.  I am meat in the fire.

Only when your tongue is taken back into the mouth as ashes

can you speak my name again.

Only when the roof of the mouth collapses in fire

when the skull is broken into, robbed of everything

it possesses.

Only when you are empty as the endless canopy of sky

can you kneel down like a drunk man

amazed to find the full moon floating in his cup of wine.

When you can see the mountains of the moon

bearing witness to a light only the blind may see

and sing words only those can sing whose throats are cut

then speak my name.”

 

 

There is an oak tree planted by the river

so old only its leaves know the world still exists.

When I sleep, I hear the west fork of that river

and smell it in the fine hair on my wrists.

There is something in me wants to be that cold

wants to come back to itself in deep water

where the river curves and the bank is undermined.

There is a quiet that goes on gathering in the river

until it touches a man between his shoulder blades and he wakes.

 

But there is no meaning in this world.

There is heaven. There is hell. There is purgatory

and there are hallways leading between them.

You tell me

“Every house is on fire!

The moon is dancing naked on the roof ridge

with all her feathers fallen to the ground!”

You say

“Throw off your blankets! Your sheets are in flames!

Look up and see the bed where you are sleeping is now the unmade sky.”

 

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5 thoughts on “PRAYERS IN WINTER

  1. I’m momentarily stunned Charlie! Highly emotionally and tantalisingly evocative yet bittersweet! This is on of your most engaging I’ve read in the time I’ve known you. The images and word weaving captured each ounce of my imagination and attention! I thank you for this.

  2. Wow. One of your most remarkable poems. Dissertations could be written about this poem, and perhaps one day they will be. It makes me think: a new dimension or chapter in Charlie’s poetry. But it reminds me some old ones including “Prayer Body” which I love so much. If a dry spell was needed in order for this to gestate, it was worth it.

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