Theopoetics

The Soul Goes for Cigarettes

The Soul Goes for Cigarettes

The soul leaves you
more often than death—
several times more often

it leaves you alone—
leaves out of boredom,
leaves out of tedium too,

out of blaring busyness.
It says, “see ya,” and
it does—looks you in

the eye and checks out,
leaving thoughtless,
thoughtless you to ponder

why you’re asleep, why
so tedious to beauty. And
every day you’re lovers

you know there comes
the time you’ll hear, “I’m
o…

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The Realm of Hungry Ghosts

The Realm of Hungry Ghosts

(Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014)

The measured response of empire
is death—war against war;
attack against attack; violence
to violence. Murder. Revenge.
Death. The measured response of

empire is insanity. The peace of
empire is reloading the gun. It
is the realm of hungry ghosts,
shiny new helmets in the void.

In this other land, it’s borders
beaten back in endless war,
here everyone is learning…

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Pick Up the Phone

Stories start with darkness.
Then something moves.

Sometimes it’s sex,
sometimes breath.

Sometimes with clay.
Sometimes rocks.

Often it’s a god.
Voila! There’s us!

Then we are naughty
and things become as

they are, which is kind
of good with bad shot

through, all in a clump
like strands of cotton candy.

Which brings me to today
when I’ve bought the wrong

thing for a birthday. And
not bought a bus ticket.

And forgot who knows what
else. Where are the gods

like that? Stressed, muddled,
plugging away at a switch

board like in old movies? Hello?
Hello? It’s dark. There’s a noise.

But isn’t that another movie?
Some other story altogether?


No one. No story.
Nothing’s there.

Pick Up the Phone

Pick Up the Phone

Stories start with darkness.
Then something moves.

Sometimes it’s sex,
sometimes breath.

Sometimes with clay.
Sometimes rocks.

Often it’s a god.
Voila! There’s us!

Then we are naughty
and things become as

they are, which is kind
of good with bad shot

through, all in a clump
like strands of cotton candy.

Which brings me to today
when I’ve bought the wrong

thing for a birthday. And
not bought a…

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The DIY Future of Religion in the US

The DIY Future of Religion in the US

Hevy

Keeping the church doors open after the Boomers are dead is the question. I’m not trying to be a controversialist. Like many ministers, I’m betting millions of dollars of other people’s money on a way to keep the church doors open into the future.

How?

A new book by Thomas Moore points to a possible way. In A Religion of One’s Own: A guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular…

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Not Me Who Moved the Rocks

Not Me Who Moved the Rocks

What was that hurt you
carried so lightly as we
walked but so heavy in you?

The way you played those
strings, moved your fingers
into music … was that …

What music did you play
only in the terrible shadows
where so much of you lived?

It was not me who drove you
like a snake from under those
damp rocks. It was not me

with an snarl, a finger pointed.
I only listened, wondering
how much of…

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Traps

Traps http://wp.me/s26rh7-traps

(An Adaptation from Zhuangzi)

We use a net to catch fish;
then, we drop the net.

We use words to say ideas;
then, we …

We must drop the words.

Yet show me someone
who has dropped words.

No. We like to talk!

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“If you think about it … a word is a meme. How do you install a meme? Well, the first time the kid hears it, it’s just a sound. The second time the kid hears it, it’s a somewhat familiar sound and maybe there’s something about the context that’s the same. The third time the kid hears it, a little bit more. Pretty soon, by a process of gradual installation, a structure gets established, a little tiny micro-habit in the brain, which is then available to be exploited in various ways and, of course, not always well.”
— In a fantastic conversation from The Edge, philosopher Daniel Dennett considers why language is the greatest meme of all – an idea he has advocated for decades. (via chels)

(Source: explore-blog, via chels)

Symbols Don’t Mean Beans

I.

You can sell your

birthright for porridge;

you can sell your cow

for beans—

Somehow, somehow 

symbol will eat 

your lunch, and the 

heavy boat of metaphor

will sink in as meta

-phors do do. Leave 

you gasping for air.

II.

Symbols don’t

go away nicely: 

We try to chuck

them with words, 

words, words, 

but symbols—

like old tires, 

like fan belts—

don’t rot. When 

that’s over and 

done we’ll name 

it brand new.  

III.

Symbols don’t

go away nicely. 

What do you read? 

Words, words.

What’s the matter? 

The matter?

IV.

Symbols don’t

go away nicely—

they say who

is in, who out;

who gets hurt,

who gets

the beans. What 

do the symbols 

mean, I mean, when 

used out loud and 

for something?

Who gets ahead?

Who gets hurt?

What does it matter?

V.

Symbols dead 

and buried

come back 

ready to kick 

ass again.

Perceptions— 

what do 

they say 

“yes” to,

“no” to? 

Meanings.

What will 

they start

and put a 

stop to?

Vi.

Symbols don’t

go away nicely. 

Don’t go away

at all. And one’s 

freedom is

another’s cell, 

n’est-ce pas

What are the 

thoughts set

stirring? What are 

the symbols 

marching about?

Who tells the story?

Who is listening?

Who’s left out?

Who’s hurt? What 

power and which 

prisons?

VII.

If you ain’t 

got beans 

you don’t 

throw ‘em 

in a pot.

VIII.

Symbols don’t

go away nicely. 

& even then 

watch ‘em 

come back.