Sunday, January 25, 2009

Double Message, Predicament

These poems were written just an hour apart. This just goes to show something about the creative process I think. That or mental illness. Or how close they really are. I read an in depth study one time that pointed out that "a little bit crazy" is required for a creative personality, but "really crazy" screws it up worse than having an ordinary "normal" mind. Having been badly twisted once or twice in my years on the planet, I can pretty much guarantee that at the extremes I cannot create, or even pray really.

That has pulled me up short more than once, I can get so sick I can't even pray. That means I have to rely on God without calling him. This reminds me of the game where you have to fall backwards blind into the arms of others, not knowing if they will be there for you. That reminds me of the times in my life when I had to do exactly that. And that reminds me of what gets said in AA sometimes...that God sometimes has skin on. Sometimes you get the clearest sight of God when She has skin on.

She showed up tonight. Both were he before. Would you like that better?

Double Message

I listen to him.
He preaches warnings to me.
He is manly, stout.

I remember another
Who took me up and away.

I sat small and safe
In her lap while she showed me
Luminous true things.

Both teach me. Both see.
One is keen, abrupt and stern.
One is kinder, close.

One stands heroic.
One reclines in sweeter beds
Flowing like water.

And me, I bow near this one,
Sing duets with the other.


The poem is not the poet. Remember this. There was a photo I saw of an old tire used as a form for a concrete anchor. The anchor was resting at a slight angle on the bottom of a shallow body of water. There was a round steel bar bent in a u-shape poured into the top of this anchor. It was chained to something not in the photo. It was abandoned, apparently. This is as I remember the photo.

Oh yes, for all you poets, once again the final revision was left for now, changing one word in the third line, and the whole fourth line. For me it is far more important to get it down than to finish it at the first go round. I am an editor as well as a writer.


An odd thing to see
My soul chained, rusty handled
And resting on its bed
Aslant in shallow water.

Beseeching me, "Set me free."
My soul seeks release.
I cannot answer.
I do not have the power.


  1. I love these poems, Christopher. It's so nice to be able to see you again for the moment and read your beautiful work.

    I love how you describe your creative process in a lot of your poems. That is very interesting to me, because I often wonder if other poets have the same "demons" that I do.

    What you say about craziness is interesting, too. I'm trying to learn to accept my crazy, instead of fighting against it. It's not easy, is it? You have produced some fine work through your search.

    I love these lines:

    "One stands heroic.
    One reclines in sweeter beds
    Flowing like water."

    Both "Double Message" and "Predicament" are excellent poems. They don't appear to be created in a short amount of time, so I'm assuming you were writing them subconsciously before you put them to paper.

    Beautiful work! I enjoy your site very much, my friend.

  2. Wow. Thank you Julie. I do consider you a friend.

    As for the idea that these poems were in process for a long time, I think there is a way you are right. I didn't know of it though. I didn't say to myself, "I will now put poetry down for the third time in my life and let it percolate while I pay attention to music and my new lover." No. Poetry just went away while my life focussed in a new way.

    And because I was actually more than half expecting a marriage to happen, I never really thought one way or another about poetry returning. The rest of it, what is in my vision, that has been going on since 1966. I have expressed it in many ways and in many forms.

    As specific poems, they indeed were written both in an hour, but then were minimally revised tonight.

  3. a predicament indeed..... an anchor from the motor vessel "Christopher's Hope".......

    the anchor be an icon of Hope, matey..... even if it's just a concrete formed tire with arched reinforcement bar for a teary eye!

  4. Thanks for that, Ghost, you delight me sometimes.

    Actually I am pretty sure it wasn't rebar. I toyed with using the word but round bar was better. If it was rebar it would have to have been #8. It was about an inch in dia.

    I have email now.

  5. Re: the first poem: I met her too, once. And I don't believe in God. Where does that leave me? Pagan, I suppose.

  6. Rachel, it leaves you human. And the first cultures that left cultural remnants also left goddess figurines, fat ladies, apparently made to signify fruitful abundance. It would seem that our first instinct for the sacred is animal, then female, then male.

    Personally, I have no trouble with any of it and have this inner life that involves me in many aspects of possible spiritual lives. My story is what I am telling here, of course, in this poetry and other writings. So when coyote shows up, or Death who rides my left shoulder, nearest my heart, or all of a sudden I break out in a Sanskrit chant, Om namah Shivaya! or I remind whoever reads this of ahimsa, or the Bodhisattva ideal, all these things figure for me one way or another as doorways to the sacred.

    Eric Butterworth once said "God loves to be used". I think he's right and that God's trappings, the shape He might take, uppercase or lower, English or Sanskrit, this picture or that, is all about reaching the heart or mind of the next one He can touch. And He will leave you be with what you have if you want. That's called you having free will.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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