On the other hand

The state of my soul, and my rational concepts about religion, are sometimes (maybe always) two very different things (or in two different places). On the other hand, it seems to me that what I believe, and how I act (or don't act) on such belief, largely determine my future.

I am not a Christian fundamentalist; that is, I don't believe in the "literal truth" of Scripture - transparent, beyond interpretation, devoid of symbol or irony. On the other hand, I put great store by the literal meaning of the stories & sayings found there; and I think that within the much-scorned & so-called "right-wing Christian" (sub)culture, there are rich dimensions of experience & understanding which are often outside the range of mainstream mass consciousness. These dimensions have opened up simply because these "fundamentalists" have a serious fascination with the Bible. They read it carefully; they apply its old wisdom sayings & exempla & exhortations in surprising contemporary (everyday) situations (for better & worse). (I'm not just theorizing here... I've met & talked with many such people.)


Lanthanum, anew.


Lunar Lanthanum

New Lanthanum.

re some obscurities in this poem -

1. Yesterday was 40th anniversary of moon landing.

2. I went to school with now-Sen. Al Franken. We were on the wrestling team (sparring partners in the daily practices), & in the literary club together. Franken & classmate Tom Davis were already a budding comedy duo then. One of their first shows together was a dramatization of a short story of mine, which was staged in the school chapel. The story was titled "The Movie-Maker"; the Shirley-Jacksonish plot involved an intrusive TV film-maker & his entourage, invading a small town in order to document "real American life" (barging in on town meetings, picnics, ball games, funerals, etc.). They are finally undone by 3 ancient codgers, usually found seated together on a park bench, "as still & silent as stones, and old as the trees around them." The story was published in the school literary magazine, Talisman, around 1968.

(I'm not sure what the phrase "Al Frankenstein", in the poem, means, exactly; but it's certainly not meant as a personal put-down of Al, whom I like & admire a great deal. I'm thinking about how public figures & political personae are to some extent fictional creations of the public "mind"....)
Happy Moon-shot Day!


Riddles, enigmas : an answer in the form of a question.


& some more Lanthanum.



Lanthanum 2 by 4th.

L'homme avec le guitare bleu

some more chords, mes semblables...


Henry the Rolling Stone

trying out camera on computer... must work on sound quality, I guess...


Thundery ruminations in July

Rainy, dark, thunderous. Quiet in the library. Ruminating my usual crop of enigmas.

Relentlessly, in my thinking, I try to reconcile theological concepts with what seems reasonable or true to me.

One of my stumbling-blocks is the patriarchal/sometimes-misogynistic language and ideology in traditional Christianity. (Presently re-reading Susan Haskins' fascinating book, Mary Magdalen, which confronts some of these issues.)

The language about God and the Trinity is, indeed, enigmatic. The misogyny in much of the Bible & in ecclesiastical history (in contrast to what seems to be Jesus' own attitude toward women as depicted in the Gospels) runs deep.

I put this in sort of abstract/discursive terms here, which don't represent very well the inward (or psychological?) realities - where thinking & poetry intersect...

My view of the cosmos leans toward "idealism"... reality is psychic, "personal" - constructed deep in the mind - and the human mind sinks down at some deep layer toward a cosmic Mind or God (the "I Am")... (see the wonderful Erwin Schrodinger on this... or that sometime Rhode Islander, Bishop Berkeley... or Einstein... Coleridge... Nicolas Cusanus...)

The prophetic "plan of Providence", or the revelation of the divine Word in Israel & Christ, is a deeply dramatic event, a "disclosure" (see Hans Urs von Balthasar on this).

Part of this disclosure involves an element of spiritual power or authority - the authority of the truth itself, the authority of authority, the power of power, the truth of truth. I understand the "plan of Providence" in part as a disclosure of the spiritual rulership or authority of the divine Mind (or Person(s)) at the roots of the sentient soul. One of the consequences of this disclosure involves the instauration of human freedom (since - in the disclosure of spiritual authority rooted in the human soul - all tyrannical, "earthly" powers of human beings, over other human beings & creatures, are overthrown). The "kingship" of God & Christ - as worked out in history - shows itself to be a kind of anti-kingship (going back to the Mosaic opposition to Pharaoh, and up to Roger Williams' "soul liberty", or Martin Luther King's mission...).

(This is the kind of anti-history, by the way, that I have tried to juxtapose, in my poetry, to other, competing or parallel, "epic" visions - in Pound, Crane, Olson, David Jones...)

I think future theology (already underway) in both Judaism & Christianity (though I can't really speak for Judaism) will see a re-fashioning of gender perspectives and symbolism. Maybe the muse of poetry will have something to do with this. Yahweh & the anointed (king) Jesus will be seen as (male) "actors" in a political-historical drama, which also includes a somewhat subterranean feminine presence, influence and (stage) direction. (This is part of my interest in the (perhaps suppressed) role of Mary Magdalen.) Let's call it (after Harold Bloom's notion of a female author of the Bible) the deep Book of J (still in ms. form)...

The cosmos will not fit neatly into ancient human concepts... but I'm a conservative, I don't like to throw out old ideas just because they're old - I like to try to find the newness hidden in them, the enigmas.

I can imagine a Jesus-like figure emerging on countless various planets across the universe, with different forms of conscious life. Because what it represents is something (remotely) analogous to what happens when Alfred Hitchcock walks through his movie, or Durer paints himself in the corner of a crucifixion scene. That is, the incarnate, embodied figure is the living signature of the Maker : the sign, the seal of cosmic Presence and purpose. This is a very deep thing, at the root of Christianity (& perhaps Judaism too). Creation is indeed a work of art - a drama - one in which our Maker steps on stage, and in doing so, makes us one with the Maker...