Ah, the Omega, my last day of guest blogging at The Best American Poetry. Thank you, Stacey and David for allowing me to be me here for seven days! I had the time of my life.
I'd like to leave you with a poem my friend Maggie Wells wrote and sent to me while she was living in Paris last year. I understood this poem to be an account of an ex-patriot's observations near Notre Dame de Paris. I post it here with her permission.
We met for Mass at Notre Dame under
the clouds of the French, inside the cold
roll of Le Seine. Our bones needed God. Our
bones had been hitting the bones of others
under the skirt of skin, so many bones
in collision; the soft whisper of God
was the necessary cartilage. The center
of the skeleton is actually
the forehead. Applying Holy Water here,
just in the center, just an index finger
dab, will allow God in.
He will seep in there,
whisper to the skull first. The shoulders will
slump with white swirling air, the gut free
of the fist grabbing at it, kneading it
like Challah. Should the Holy Water drip
to the tip of the nose, you will not breathe God.
God can only breathe you, and he will only
sing to your bones, play them like a harp to match
his perfect pitch. Kneeling was the only choice.
It was the place the body lead us towards,
our eyes avoidant of each others, our chests
always pointing in opposite directions.
The royal blue streaming from our hearts outward
was never intertwined. When it was pale,
it was more fluid. The darkness of the color
has sent the expulsion into a rage.
Kneeling is for God and Sex and speaking
to children. Kneeling is for prayer, for keeping
the body still, allowing the electric
royal blue its force uninterrupted
with gait or saunter.
The ceiling of the church
rained black gold; it stuck in our hair—covered
us like northern snow. There is no reason
to speak under black gold, in this place,
surrounded by the humming glow of candles
in circular dances with the dead
and the living. When the procession comes,
the smell of bodies and sage also arrives.
The smell of flesh under robes, le fleche d'or,
the wetness of it in battle with the smoke
yet in harmony with the booths wherein
humanity pulls off at least one mask
and slaps it against the wall. The smack of mask
can be heard under the choir swells, coming
from nowhere we are allowed. When the church
falls quiet of Earthly noise, a priest sweeps
the stone floor of the masks that were removed,
he does this in private, telling no one
of the sadness he collects.
OK so I don't know about you but I'm sick of being indoors! I know you're all so inspired by my blogs you just want to sit in one place and write poems for the next 72 hours straight, or the next 72 years straight.....but it's a beautiful day today (at least in Brooklyn). It's going to be 72 degrees today in New York. I myself am still in sickbay, slowly getting better from a bad bronchitis that tends to plague asthmatic poets with higher than average intelligence/looks. I'll pull through. I always do. Carry on world, carry on world. I'll be right beside you.