Sense of Faith

Week Twelve of The Artist’s Way talks about faith – a sense of spiritual connection that isn’t tied to any particular region or dogma.

‘spirit of the universe

guide me

infuse me

with your dynamic productive energy

as you create through me

works

writing

emotions

that helps open others to

spiritual hope

direction fulfillment

thank you for all’

I wrote the above as one of the Artist’s Way tasks – to write a prayer/affirmation as part of the process of making thought into an action. I recently had a conversation with a friend about prayer. He was concerned that as he held no organized religious beliefs, was his use of prayer hypocritical. Was he  agnostic atheist heretic blasphemer? I told him those terms were based in a Christian construct. As I said that I thought about what Toni Morrison said about the nature of the white gaze which dominates so much of our thinking without us realizing it.

The past few weeks I have been realizing how much of my spiritual ideology is still seen though a Christian gaze, even though I don’t consider myself Christian. The prayer about was written with that gaze over my shoulder, an invisible editor that bargains with the universe in this trade off – like the Biblical trade off in which if you’re good you go to Heaven – we have to be bribed. Why can’t one be good for the sake of being good.

Why can’t I have ‘dynamic productive energy’ without bargaining for it by being of good to others as a result? Can I develop a sense of faith that steps out of the Christian gaze? Even though I say ‘spirit of the universe’ I see that I am engaging with it so as not to appear selfish, or self-serving. That my creativity is only of value if it feeds into the needs of others. Not that I expect faith to exist in a vacuum isolated from culture but I’d like one that doesn’t depend on a culture to approve or validate it. I have faith that that faith is possible 🙂

from Aug 2013

Five Calls

<>

the phone rings

what is it this time

time after time the same

never enough to last a week

if only hanging up could break a jaw

<>

the phones rings

how soon

see you in an hour

the heart dances

faster that the clock ticks

<>

the phone rings

how did you get this number

I don’t want to talk to you

there’s nothing left to say

that’s the price you have to pay

<>

the phone rings

stirring me from dreams

into the charms arms hold

everything to anticipate

nothing to resist

<>

the phone rings

have you heard

didn’t expect to be the one

left here dial tone dangling

cold receiver of sobs

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The Deadlies Way

Week Ten of The Artist’s Way has proved to be the most interesting so far. A sense of self-protection wasn’t that difficult for me, I think, partly due to growing up queer – one learns to protect, hide certain parts of the self rather than surrender them, or even to question them. In looking back I see how I was questioning masculine values to a degree – it was some years before I question the culture that created & perpetuated those values.

There is some talk about the drug of fame, the drain of competition. I’m not sure if I ever wanted fame, notoriety maybe, but fame – no thanks. I had a rather-well-known friend & very frequently we would stopped in the street when someone recognized them. Often the praise was for something they’d rather forget 🙂

The issue with competitiveness is often winning becomes more important than creativity. I’ve met slam poets who ‘sculpt’ pieces for points, or who question their talents if they don’t get enough points. I know one doesn’t write in a vacuum but audiences are fickle, unpredictable & unreliable narrators of anyone’s talents.

 

I enjoyed the tasks in this chapter. The Deadlies was fun though I didn’t do it quite as suggested – as each was dealt with I put it in another envelope to make sure I looked at all of them at least once. Some of them needed to be tweaked to make them applicable to today: i.e. it’s been over 40 years since I’ve used alcohol or drug to cope so I had to find something in my life today that has a ‘similar’ addictive resonance in my life. Blogging?

Doing a lovely thing for myself every day was interesting too – with food as one of the Deadlies is having a Klondike ice-cream bar a lovely thing or giving in to the spiral of ‘I eat badly because I’m self-destructive’? But I only have one ice-cream bar a day – so maybe it isn’t so deadly 🙂

Blowing Shit Up

kill them 

kill them all

bomb the shit out of them

teach them 

to be good world citizens

let them die of hiv 

malnutrition

then bomb the shit of what is left

<>

they don’t know any better

they are lost little children

stumbling through the shopping mall

of our needs and wants 

if they can’t satisfy those needs and wants 

then kill them 

kill them all

<>

bomb the shit out of them

bomb their contaminated water supply

their understaffed hospitals 

over-flowing orphanages

bomb their rubble to rubble

kill them 

kill them all

<>

liberate the enslaved of all nations

from the despotic heels of dictators

religious fanatics

bring them into our refined gilded fold

of credit cards smart phones

that’s all we want to do or

we’ll bomb the shit out of them

kill them 

kill them all

those blasphemers 

who don’t have a seat at the world bank

we have to assimilate them 

into the stream of human kindness

if they can’t be assimilated

bomb the shit out of them

smash destroy replace repatriate

then we’ll stick around

help rebuild those economies

brick by byte

because what is good for them

is even better for our capital gains

<>

we’ll bomb the shit out of them 

till they admit we are right

to kill them 

kill them all

bomb their rubble to rubble

because

after all

who doesn’t like to see 

shit blow up

right

(2007)

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