The old theologian

The old theologian trances and preached
   through his scowls and deepest profundity
   “You are, this our life,
         like a beetle on a string,
         suspended nigh above a scalding cauldron
         of relentless, eternal flames”
That damn old fool, I scoffed,
      that isn’t my life
Little did I know at the time that
      what he had mind was the approach
      of old age and senescence

The circumstance of birth
   tells us most of what we need to know
   about a person and what that person
         will achieve and be
         Most of us become
         what we were born to be
The other day, while doing nothing
      in particular, he caught
himself in his otherness
      as though he was another,
      in a moment lived over and over

Don’t be so needy she said
   as though the desire to cuddle and touch
   is some kind of weakness
         that she couldn’t, wouldn’t abide
         Be your staunch and crusty self
         Don’t you dare be needy with me
Meanwhile, she’s always leaving her stuff
      at my place, the stuff
of herself that she leaves at my place
      Don’t misunderstand— she loves to fuck
      She just prefers not to cuddle or otherwise touch

Why do I feel this sense of distance
   from my fellows?
   I’ve done nothing to warrant
         their disdain
         They’ve done nothing
         to warrant mine
We’ve nothing to be ashamed of
      The mysterious, ineffable difference
between that which is alive
      and that which is not
      Our mysterious, ineffable distance

A cacophony of voices in the bar
   Stray words—the rise and fall of words
   Senseless sounds
         Democracy here is a small bunch
         of fucking billionaires
         who feel entitled to put
their stubby white thumbs
      on the political scales, and
their fucking lobbyists who flock
      to congressional fund raisers—
      All the cacophony of our monied politics

I should never have gone there
   I should certainly not have brought
   my mother and my friends
         All the humiliation of not being chosen
         shared in shame with them
         I went back to my hotel room alone
I put my headphones on and listened
      to music—I didn’t want to talk
I couldn’t talk about it
      After a while I shut my eyes
      and went to sleep

The dread of the other
   its presence and features
   would come out of nowhere
         when I wasn’t doing or feeling
         anything in particular
         That one resonant moment lived
over and over, when I finally gave up
      on my most obsessive desires and wants
Our dark holy gods don’t just die once
      Like old wounds and frustrated dreams,
      they die again and again and again




-April 11, 2015-