Even with so many things resolved as they are, I am still looking, still willing that God use me as He can if only what I get in return is the use of His Eyes for just a little while once again. Even with so many things resolved I still bargain though I know that we cannot. I still argue though I lose. I still wrestle, even with this broken down obese mass of flesh I have become. I, still beautiful in the sight of God, am no longer the beautiful youth I once was. I notice that I turn very few heads any more. I never was the popular man in any way. There used to be some who called to me. Now no one does, though many are kinder than I deserve.
To save my life God raised me up and placed me on His lap. That was so long ago now, forty-six years. I gained that much life beyond my coming certain death, all in my opinion a bonus, a second life.
What I do now, I record my passage in the facets that rise up in my imagination, my poems and thoughts. As I write, I don't really know what is important. I have been wrong about that so many times that I assume anything I know is subject to major revision tomorrow. I am a scientist in that spirit, but prayer works, you know, and I need a myth, many myths, many gods and goddesses. And if my life is any proof, standing toe to toe with God and holding a stare down also works. Like Jacob with his wound, I am wounded and carry sacred scars. Like Job, I live a naked life and carry the buffets of an indifferent and crazy world. I too have been told that I should keep to my place, and yet I do not.
There is the sin of pride and there is the grace of integrity. They both reside in me. I am, I believe, mostly the right size, though I am on track only by faith. By any other measure I am lost, a total fool. I stopped housing the terror of this position decades ago. I hold many phases of passion regarding my place but terror is no longer among them. There are many moments now that I stop spontaneously and rest so still that I have to push to rise back up into my life. This is suspiciously like a meditation state, though I have always felt I had little capacity for meditation. I have chanted for years in hopes chanting would be an acceptable form of entraining my spirit since I could not meditate.
Sometimes I feel the presence of the others on the path. I know they are there. I read the work they leave as traces as I leave my own.
You invited me,
offered your life and I knew
the bargain I was
making, a secret
kept in a copper box, latched
and locked tight on pain
of death, never told
until you passed that way, when
it no longer mattered.
Some years ago my poetry took on a mythic flavor and I became a character in my own poems, a mage, "the man of the Northern Wall". This apellation is not completely fictional. My middle name is Noordwal, a Dutch term for north wall, though in current Dutch it mainly means north bank as in riverbank. I was told that an ancestor, a Portugese Jew escaping the Inquisition, settled in a small Dutch town and took this name from where he settled, near the north wall of the town. I have thought for a long time that -wal meant wall, think my mother told me that. A linguist might say that my usage is no longer common, is an older usage, but then the Inquisition happened in Portugal a few centuries ago, right around the time the Moors lost control of the Iberian Peninsula and the Jews lost the modest protection given them by Islam. Now I write as this mage, my poetry persona.