Posts Tagged ‘pain’

Shifting Sands Sublime

November 3, 2018

Beneath the appearance of things

behind the wonder that contemplation brings

there lies a universe of joy and pain

entrained upon whatever relics still remain

of a world colored by some eternal stain;

and wherever that stain remains

things are not and will never be the same

provoking some to surmise it’s just a game

that they can play and then refrain

from any effort to name

or explain.

And yet,

so many live for what they can get;

they allow no time to pause and let

life just happen along the way

so they can soon look back and say

what a joy it is to pause and stay

in the lingering light of a well-lived day

while the world just turns on come what may.

Oh, history breaks on sands far away

while here we enter into the fray;

we laugh or cry along the way

tomorrow and today,

I say, I say:

If I could comprehend this troubled world

so creative, yet destructively unfurled

I’d grasp the mystery, so sublime

that slaps between the sands of time

on this ever-shifting, long shoreline—

this consciousness of mine,

maybe it’s in or out of line

and maybe with a little sip of wine,

yes, I’d dream up some silly little rhyme,

and whether it be sublime and fine

or not worth a dime,

it nevertheless is mine,

and yet it can be thine

if you take the time.

 

King of Soul

Spain

September 13, 2018

Espana.

es Passionata.

For five hundred Moor years

than the Iberian Catolica peninsula

could ever have estanded

to be Islamically commanded,

they endured Ummayed demands

until Aragon King Ferdinand

came conquestering and demanding

with Castile Queen Isabella, remanding,

to fortify their  Catolica position

with a a goddam Inquisition,

stringing up dissidents in their Inquisition power

thereby crushing the bloom of heretical flower.

But with Isabella’s demise mad king Ferd devised

that child Queen Juana should be misused:

She therefore became abused and confused,

being married off to a Hapsburg prince

so that Empire hegemony could commence,

thrusting power over in-between freakin’ France

so Spain would achieve victory in their great Power prance.

Thereby Poor Juana had not a chance

her youthful passion to enhance,

being named an infernal loco heretic.

Therefore history defined her role as lunatic.

While Jews were being unlisted,

dissidents still resisted

although many heretics persisted

while being so unjustly inquisited.

 

That was then but this is now.

Spain still bleeds; that was how

it happened long ago  

when Ferd took on the  holy Roman Catolico

Hapsburg Empire show.

Down through history from page to page

As monarchs wage their contests age to age

Spanish blood flows through impetuous action;

it then bleeds out as Spanish soul passion,

moving los manos y voces to music and song

to celebrate what’s right and lament what is wrong.

Flamenc2

Through the ages, ask the sages

what is right, what is wrong?

Who knows? The priest, the pope?

The poet? the socialist?—who offers hope?

Remember only: life is grand

despite our ruins beneath the sand.

So offer up a sacrifice of song

in notes so potent and passion strong,

while over in the sacrificial ring

a different living sacrifice they bring.

Matador leads. Bull bleeds.

Bullfight

Newfound blood in ongoing sacrifice

echoes ancient cross of crucified Christ.

Priest leads. Jesus bleeds.

The Faithful chant Apostles’ creed..

Sister Maria prays with beads.

But Falanga franco used catolico creeds

while dispatching policia on steeds.

Still saints were interceding

Flamenco singers pleading

Spain is forever bleeding

suffering behavor

even as the Savior.

SagradaGosp

In ’36 Las Artistas pled while Spain bled red.

Still the flamencos emoted, saints devoted,

peasants toted. poets wroted.

democrats noted. republicans voted.

Socialistas revolutionary

v. Royalistas  reactionary.

What else is new, not from the past?

So you might have asked .

Here’s what: Thermite bombs in 1937:

Hitler’s luftwaffe over Spanish village  heaven.

Spain bleeds through Guernica saints.

Pablo reads; Picasso paints.

Dali droops. El toro drips

The crowd whoops; the leather rips.

El  Guitarist heals. Flamenco dancer reels.

Flamenc1

As the eternal note of sadness peals,

La musica heals when dancer reels.

Spain handles the pain.

It falls mainly on the plain

people in Spain.

Smoke

The Bang at Trang Crossroads

September 18, 2016

Here’s ann excerpt from chapter 11 of the new novel, King of Soul, now being written; the scene is Vietnam, about 45 years ago. . .

(Warning: viewer discretion is advised. This passage could affect your feeling of well-being in the world as it presently exists, and as it existed then. . .)

Ahnika was terrified; she was so scared to turn around and then see that plane coming at them, but she turned her head  anyway. The pounding of her bare feet against the road made everything in her terrified vision seem to bounce up and down with insanely out-of-place energized chaos and this only compounded her terror. The planes that usually zoomed above their village had never come this close before. Why was it flying so low, so fast, so directly toward them. And why, since it was bearing down so close, so fast–why were bombs coming out of it, tumbling projectiles? This was not right. There was something wrong. Then came the explosions. It was no bad dream. These bombs were exploding; the smoke was billowing faster than the villagers could run; it was covering the whole world. Her brothers were just ahead, running faster than she could. But Auntie was behind; that’s why Ahnika was looking behind, because Auntie was back there, with little brother in her arms. There was a part of herself–a part of her family–a part of her Vietnamese life still behind her, trying to run, stumbling, falling. Falling?! Auntie had fallen. No No No No!, but no, Auntie had not fallen, but little brother had fallen from her arms; little brother was down on the road. Ahnika saw the look of confused desperation on Auntie’s face, and just as Ahnika was about to try to do something, maybe stop, maybe try to get little brother,  a soldier grabbed him and then little brother was in the soldier’s arms but he was still wailing while the soldier was up and running again. Go! go! he yelled at Ahnika. Just ahead, other villagers were coming fast out of a the hut by the side of the road. Yellow and purple smoke was swirling as they ran through it; now there was bomb smoke behind and yellow and purple smoke ahead where the men had set off the smoke markers that were supposed to mark the temple grounds so their pilots would know where to not drop, but something was wrong and these explosions meant for the Viet Cong were hitting us instead something was wrong. After the first marker plume had fanned out but failed to prevent the pilot from hitting the wrong spots and so after he had dropped his loads off course something was wrong and while the ARVN commander was trying to stop the next drop, Auntie buckled at her knees, reached back behind herself to find out what was wrong with her leg and her pain was registered on her face she was clutching at the back of her leg and now her fingers were stuck together with the sticky napalm and so Auntie did not see it when the soldier who had got little brother took a direct hit of the stuff he was incinerated. But then the white-shrouded Caodai man who had earlier been in the temple with them picked up little brother he was not crying anymore and the whole scene was darkened with smoke and roaring noise and pain so bad you couldn’t even tell where it was coming from but then Ahnika was struck with such a force from behind that she was down on the ground gravel in her mouth in her face and the worst pain ever felt by woman or child behind her, or in her behind in her shoulders, her arms but then she was up again desperate energized by the fear and running, running, pulling at the neck of her clothes because they were too hot, too hot but when she pulled at them then suddenly their entire cloth just fell away and she was up again running, running, wailing naked, crying with the pain, past any understanding of what was happening to them all or why or why or how this burning world could have turned out this way and she had her arms flung out to the sides , like a cross while she wailed and cried, like a cross she appeared and she felt like the pain of the whole world had fell on her shoulders but it was not her shoulders it was somebody’s else’s in the nightmare, somebody else’s writhing, stretched out in pain and taking on the shape of a cross. It wasn’t her any more it was somebody else in that cross, in that Trang crossroads as they ran, ran, toward Cu Chi, but she couldn’t remember who it was taking the brunt of so much pain could it have been her or somebody else as everything in the world is going wrong and the weight of the whole damned world falls on those shoulders stretched out like a damn cross.

King of Soul 

A Strand of Providence

June 27, 2014

One of my favorite things to do in this life is visiting the sea strand. The beach. While growing up in Louisiana and Mississippi, our family had many excursions with fond memories to the Gulf Coast at Mississippi and Florida.

After graduation from LSU in 1973, I took a job in Florida and moved to St. Petersburg.

In my year-and-a half stay there I spent many days and hours at the beach, becoming intimately familiar with that setting–that expression of nature’s wonders.

Through many hours of studying the interaction of tidal water and surf-sand, I noticed a few things about the cycles of our life existence.

In the forty years since that Florida time I have visited many beaches throughout the world, from Calabash to Rockaway to Dover and Calais, from Hawaii to China, from Tel Aviv to Cayman to California and Carolina. I love experiencing beaches. Doesn’t everyone?

Today is our first morning in Costa Rica. We got into Liberia airport, then drove to Tamarindo, on the Pacific. So of course I got up early and walked a few hundred yards to the beach. Perfect beach: wide, flat, smooth with very pacific waves, arranged in a classic half-moon arc with nearby low mountains in the distance. Clear morning, not yet hot.

As has happened on may beaches before, the first thing I notice while approaching the surf is that cycle of dark and light bands of sand at the water’s edge, where the waves roll in gently and do their artwork in the sand. My favorite beach characteristic to notice and contemplate.

CostaWvCy

I consider these waves, their perpetual rearrangement of the sand grains, and it takes me back to the time when I first began to notice this universal cycle, back in St. Petersburg. A meditation on nature to revisit. I think I’ll linger for awhile.

Being a civilized animal, I prefer to sit in a chair while thinking. So I go back to the condo and get one.

A few minutes later I am sitting in the chair at the water’s edge, considering the ocean, the sand, the wave motions and their visual record of rearranging dark and light bands of sand, the cycles they indicate or perhaps represent, the universe, God, and ignorant armies clashing by night and Dover Beach and all that stuff.

I think the first level of such thought/meditation is analytical. Is that natural to me as a man, or is it an acquired habit? just something I was taught to do in school? I don’t know. Put that layer of analysis back in a file somewhere in my head and wait for the deeper, experiential level. I am looking at the Pacific beach, which is right in front of me now.

Wait a minute. What about all the stuff of my life that came before?

Now I am a Christian, have been since 1979, or maybe even before that when I was raised Catholic.  So, to base my analyses and judgements about life, its consequences, priorities and outcomes, etc on an ancient Revelation, the Bible, the church–what is that? How does that affect any objective analysis I may attempt? Well, sure it does.

Hey, It’s what I am. I was born into a specific place and time, with all the cultural baggage thereof.But let’s not get too analytical. By grounding my judgements on my own experience as well as ancient Revelation that was handed down to me through the ages, I am utilizing the best of both worlds– the experience of those prophets of old, primarily Jesus himself, as well as my own experience.

Now, back to the here and now. Over here in the sand, dark bands are alternating with light. There is some kind of cycle going on here, some kind of process. Been going on a long time, seems to be universal. Seeing that cycle of sand bands with my eyes is objective. Relating them to other life cycles is subjective. Can I do otherwise? No matter what theses, hypotheses, or conclusions I come to, I am a subjective man, and I will make use, in this life, of both the objective truth that is really out there, the cumulative wisdom of other men/women, and my subjective experience and evaluation of it. I’m going for the best of them all. Do I have any other choice? My options are limited.

To be human means to understand that our options are limited, so we would do well to make the best of them. Rather than dwelling on what we don’t understand, consider and act upon what we do find to be true and workable.

By the way, and I didn’t tell you this before. Yesterday, I experienced the worst pain I have ever had in my life. This was no small thing for me, although in the big picture it is insignificant. It’s over now. That’s the main thing. But the pain experience has produced an aftermath.

How did this pain happen? I had had a bout with walking pneumonia or something like it before we left North Carolina. My head was all stopped up with mucous or sinus fluid or whatever that stuff is that’s stuck in your head when you’ve got a cold. While were in the plane descending to Costa Rica, I had the most terrible half-hour of pain in my life, because I had not done the cold medications effectively.

Now this is getting pretty dam subjective, talking about pain and my health condition, like the 62-year-old-geezer that I have become. I hate it, don’t want to go that route. I’m not stuck in the wheelchair at the nursing home yet. So fuhgedaboudit.

But I do have to say something about all that physical health report stuff, because there is a lesson in it.

So I’m sitting here on the strand with my old thoughts about the universality of the surf and sand, and my right ear is still clogged with that stuff from yesterday’s struggle against walking pneumonia. I’ve been trying for days now to get rid of that mucous.

I tilt my head to the right. Something–a liquid–shifts inside my head, and suddenly I can hear more clearly.

Thanks be to God!

Maybe you think that crediting God for such deliverance from pain is a naive assumption. Who cares? It’s my life, my ear, pain. I will deal with it. I am not only going to thank God for this little relief that came in the tilting of a head,in the blinking of an eye, but I am going to use my God-given hands to begin to solve the problem.

What will happen if I gently put my  little finger in my ear and manipulate that ear canal ever-so-slightly while my head is tilted? Could such intervention, perhaps, release some of the fluid from the ear and thus alleviate some pain? I’ll try it.

I do it.

It works! Clogged ear now clearer than it was.

Praise be to God. Thank you Jesus!

Pretty subjective response, I know–this burst of grateful praise,  but I’ll gratefully accept the little strand of divine deliverance, even though I was the one who administered it.

Now, as for conclusions and evaluations about this  insignificant event while contemplating sand, waves and the universe:

The cycle of pain and absence of pain–it comes; it goes. When the pain comes, it’s hell on earth, but when it’s gone–Thank you, God. A man’s gotta roll with the tide.  I’ll take it. Not bad for a Friday morning.

CostaWvSurf

Glass half-Full