Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grace, Works, and Fire

The place where grace abounds is the space between us

But that space is filled with the fetid damp exhaustion
Of the city and its traces
That space is rotting
Out beyond the crack in the pavement by the empty basketball courts
Under the shattered cathedral window
Where the rain bores down toward purgatory

This place is where all of our relationships come for healing, prayer and therapy
It has become a swamp
The very space between our faces
Has begun to grow mold
So intricate in its strangulating patterns
That we can't figure out where it started
Or where it ends
So we just call it eternity

Around this place lie the records of our histories
Half-cleaned recycleables
Precepts of the law
Open letters
Activist flyers
Court injunctions
Manifestos
Child support payments
Psychologist appointment insurance company reimbursement receipts
IOUs
Good intentions
Appeals for Safe Spaces
Threats
Anarchist skill shares and
Leninist Party edicts
Betrayals
Lesson plans
Church missilettes
Unfinished parts of missiles
The Constitution
Parking tickets
Union resolutions
and
broken promises

They all pile up across the floor as we try harder and harder to work out our differences.

They all mix together and grow mold, as History and Reason and Identity endlessly patter on
Like the rain in a Detriot parking lot on a Tues afternoon.

St. Paul sits there as the rain soaks through the slashed cathedral window, as the odor of the world creeps like incense
As the priest lifts up the stinking chalice
Full of our rotted good intentions
And tries to get drunk off of it
To numb the pain of
The cancer that's eating his
Aged liver

Reformers burst in, like foremen bossing around the janitors to sweep the mess into piles.
They arrange and reaarange the piles in mandalas of precepts and hymns

St. Paul just watches, and lights a cigarette. He nervously paces around thinking about the 7 churches, their faction fights, their petty personal beefs, and the content of his next letter

The Reformers shout at the janitors to spray some bleach on the dirty chalices. All that does is add a caustic edge to the stench, and the mold spreads. The old priest just sits there complaining about what the world has come to.

St. Paul asks one of the janitors what she would do if this were her house.

They talk for a while in the dark corner, out of earshot of the priest and the Reformers and foreman.

Then they walk over to the pile of moldy debris
Drop his cigarette on top of it
And the thing catches fire

As the fire burns, we can finally see each other clearly
The space between our faces is filled with a crisp, clean light
And when we look around we can see that there were thousands of people
waiting at the door holding unlit torches
They come in to the bonfire and start to light them, from the embers of the altar
And slowly, with noone really signaling to start,
We begin to march out the door...