Monday, June 8, 2015

Dear Lord, We Lurch from Metaphor to Metaphor, Which Is - Let It Be So - a Form of Praying

See that beautiful cranberry disc? It's my Sidewinder, 168 grams, my second favorite driver. Yesterday on Seneca 25 I hit the basket on the fly, the closest I've ever to an ace. Very possibly my best drive in fourteen years of playing disc - I will never be able to replicate the mechanics. There were, of course, no witnesses, so you either believe me or you don't. Dr Z couldn't play, but Earthgirl and Planet wanted to paint and Air wanted to fish at Seneca so I played the course alone. Very next drive on 26? Pleased with myself for clanking basket on 25 I over-torqued the drive and now my second favorite driver is stuck 40 feet up a cedar where it no doubt remains at this minute. That's today in Fine Metaphors Abounding. My favorite driver, my tie-dyed champ plastic Leopard? It's lost in the tick-filled briars off the fairway of 22, the hole sponsored by me and SeatSix at Seneca.


Andrew Hudgins

Our Father who art in heaven, I am drunk.   
Again. Red wine. For which I offer thanks.   
I ought to start with praise, but praise   
comes hard to me. I stutter. Did I tell you   
about the woman whom I taught, in bed,   
this prayer? It starts with praise; the simple form   
keeps things in order. I hear from her sometimes.   
Do you? And after love, when I was hungry,   
I said, Make me something to eat. She yelled,   
Poof! You’re a casserole!—and laughed so hard   
she fell out of the bed. Take care of her.

Next, confession—the dreary part. At night   
deer drift from the dark woods and eat my garden.   
They’re like enormous rats on stilts except,   
of course, they’re beautiful. But why? What makes
them beautiful? I haven’t shot one yet.   
I might. When I was twelve, I’d ride my bike   
out to the dump and shoot the rats. It’s hard   
to kill your rats, our Father. You have to use   
a hollow point and hit them solidly.   
A leg is not enough. The rat won’t pause.   
Yeep! Yeep! it screams, and scrabbles, three-legged, back   
into the trash, and I would feel a little bad   
to kill something that wants to live   
more savagely than I do, even if   
it’s just a rat. My garden’s vanishing.   
Perhaps I’ll merely plant more beans, though that   
might mean more beautiful and hungry deer.   
Who knows?
                I’m sorry for the times I’ve driven   
home past a black, enormous, twilight ridge.
Crested with mist, it looked like a giant wave   
about to break and sweep across the valley,   
and in my loneliness and fear I’ve thought,   
O let it come and wash the whole world clean.
Forgive me. This is my favorite sin: despair—
whose love I celebrate with wine and prayer.

Our Father, thank you for all the birds and trees,   
that nature stuff. I’m grateful for good health,   
food, air, some laughs, and all the other things   
I’m grateful that I’ve never had to do   
without. I have confused myself. I’m glad   
there’s not a rattrap large enough for deer.   
While at the zoo last week, I sat and wept   
when I saw one elephant insert his trunk   
into another’s ass, pull out a lump,   
and whip it back and forth impatiently   
to free the goodies hidden in the lump.   
I could have let it mean most anything,   
but I was stunned again at just how little   
we ask for in our lives. Don’t look! Don’t look!
Two young nuns tried to herd their giggling   
schoolkids away. Line up, they called. Let’s go   

and watch the monkeys in the monkey house.
I laughed, and got a dirty look. Dear Lord,   
we lurch from metaphor to metaphor,   
which is—let it be so—a form of praying.

I’m usually asleep by now—the time   
for supplication. Requests. As if I’d stayed   
up late and called the radio and asked   
they play a sentimental song. Embarrassed.
I want a lot of money and a woman.   
And, also, I want vanishing cream. You know—   
a character like Popeye rubs it on   
and disappears. Although you see right through him,   
he’s there. He chuckles, stumbles into things,   
and smoke that’s clearly visible escapes   
from his invisible pipe. It makes me think,   
sometimes, of you. What makes me think of me   
is the poor jerk who wanders out on air   
and then looks down. Below his feet, he sees   
eternity, and suddenly his shoes   
no longer work on nothingness, and down   
he goes. As I fall past, remember me.


  1. 1) i have just listened to a p j harvey song for the first time

    in the wikipedia article about her i note that she received an MBE two years ago

    and she's not opposed to fox hunting

    2)the poem by andrew hudgins is apposite to some current concerns of mine because i am reading a book about prayer by espiscopal priestess cynthia bourgeault, but rather than quote or comment on that i am moved to cut and past the following, from the poetry foundation

    Hudgins has ascribed his frequent use of humor to a similar understanding of uncertainty. In an interview with The Pedestal Magazine, he said: “Humor is a complex and often dirty business. As the ancient playwrights knew, everything depends on where the Wheel of Fortune stops, or more accurately, pauses, hesitates, or trembles, before it starts spinning again. Emerson: ‘Every end is prospective of some other end, which is also temporary.’”

    3) recently i read emerson's essay about swedenborg - i didn't get much out of it, frankly

    4) i did mention swedenborg when i was at the dentist recently, getting an old filling replaced - at the age of eighty swedenborg told a friend he was growing new teeth

    5)swedenborg's thought is mentioned as a crucial influence in a book i currently have out from the mcpl

    The first emancipator : the forgotten story of Robert Carter, the founding father who freed his slaves

  2. marjorie eakins writes about cynthia bourgeault

    [Bourgeault's] early experience [attending Quaker meeting as a schoolgirl] helped her understand that prayer is not just about asking for help or repeating words over and over again. It is also about being still, resting in God, listening, trusting, opening up, letting go. Eventually, prayer begins to change you, she said, even to transform you.

    Eventually, you become less defensive and ego-driven. You can learn to be “completely, non-resistantly, yieldingly present to what is, from an open heart.”

    Sitting beside Bourgeault, I realize those last words capture how she is.

  3. I'm a shitty (real) golfer. Rarely break 100. My brother golfs twice weekly (or more). Shoots in the 80s regularly. We played some years ago—he gave me handicaps. On the 17th and deciding hole, I hit a legit hole-in-one. 174 yds. Par 3. Four-iron. He's never had one. To this day, he can't stand it.

    We played again last summer. He was beating me up and down the nines. At the par 3 15, I put one 2 feet from the hole. He was so frustrated he hit it in the sand, twice. Golf (disc and real) is a funny game.

    P.S. Sorry about the eye and back. Body fail is something we olds have to get used to.

    1. Oh, the back's fine - it really was a dream from a few days ago, the praying mantis part. I've just jinxed myself, of course, but it's been a couple of years since tweaked.

      Opth said new medication, to be taken before bed, might give me a few seconds blindness when waking up the few few months (and might make my sight worse before better - true that). Hadn't happened until this morning. Quite an startling kick to the day. Poem not written for the unforeseen (badompdomp) this morning, but I remembered it when driving to work and posted over eye.

    2. glad to hear you're not in quite as bad shape as the poem might imply

      jim h. is quite correct - what can't be cured must be endured - as the firesign theatre pointed out, "THIS is the future - you got to LIVE it, or LIVE WITH it" - the third, inevitable alternative goes unspoken, with a date TBA

  4. I can still play original Seneca 18 in my head, but even after 10 years, I had to look at a map to get those holes.