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Terreson Profile
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got this ambition


I've got this ambition. Can't remember if I've shared it before.

I have two poems from maybe three or four years ago devoted to Biblical characters. The Wandering Jew and Salome. Actually, the wandering Jew is not of Biblical provenance, but a legend dating to Medieval times. Both poems I've posted before. In fact, it was our Chris who saved the wandering Jew poem from the morgue file with a comment she made on it.

My ambition is to cover some of the bad boys and girls from both Old and New Testaments. I think of them as the Bible's punk rockers. Cain and Judas are next on my list. Thinking of going after Lucifer too. But Milton's Lucifer in his Paradise Lost is a darn hard act to follow. If I do go after him my slant will come from an old Italian witchcraft tradition in which Lucifer is consort to Diana, the moon goddess, and whose name means Son of Light. Cain I haven't figured out yet. Judas I think is uncomprehending of why the Nazarene chose him to do the dirty deed, turn Him in, and, here is the delightful twist, refuses to forgive Jesus for being chosen.

So here again are the two punk rockers I got so far.

The Wandering Jew

You can imagine the time on my hands I’ve had to consider the case.
In between nation and city-state, down nowhere roads, in the
interim moments separating a man’s loves from his lovers.

Sure, I remember the day He came down a Jew’s Jerusalem street.
It was my paved way then. It became His paved way too.
What’s been reported about me is untrue. But record keepers
rarely get the chronicle right, not how poets, gypsies,
women, wanderers, mystics do in the soft-side reportage.

Stated again, the record is wrong. I did not refuse Him
rest against the sweet brick wall of my house. Nor did I
urge Him to pick up His pace, go His course, get on down the street.
He did pause in His steps in front of my door. And I can’t recall
what frightened me the most. The look in His eyes or the spectacle thirst.

Our eyes met in that moment. I think we angel-wrestled.
Is it hard to explain how frightened I became, in that moment,
for my first family, my children, my first wife
to sing the Song of Solomon with me? Yes it is.

In so many men since I’ve seen the look I saw in Him first.
In the auto da fe of fires made to free flesh from its desires.
Savonarolo’s type too preaching against the body of Beauty.
And it only needed one Wagner opera to see His eyes another time.
Then the Wasteland theme keeping its Fisher King
bleeding perpetually.
Or the family picnic in joyful tableau spread below the
New World’s strange fruit in noose hanging from New World tree.
Religious wars predicated on religious wars I leave out.

I can’t exactly remember all the cases anymore.
Sometimes it seems like some different kind of god keeps me on the scene.

That He cursed me that day to the wander’s way I take. Mine is
the company of outriders, vagabonds, shiftless folk who
have looked in His eyes too and seen the unseemly thing.

What I saw. On that Good Friday. It was a man too much in love
with his own death, the transept of his crucifix.
The coda to my story could be this:
every kitchen child I’ve born since then.



Salome

She said once she was badly used by her mother.

Memory
is an image moment as involuntary
as a shiver underneath a thunderstorm when
the atmosphere, charged,
pulls on, makes skip
the electric bolt in your body.

Sometimes sweet. Her breath in a dream,
her cedar scent, her moist encounter,
and the house she dreams of in the dream;
her fleshy space.
And sometimes the seizure moment. The night’s stallion
she must ride, by herself, in slant light,
pounding like machine beat
down highways, over sea lanes, across black sky,
etching nails into a man’s chest.

This is the memory woman, close, young, and old,
all four faces, to whom I’ve been drawn since birth.

I am also old now. Like her. Only,
she does not age. She is preternatural that way.
She plays herself in all the girls who dance their desires
for one further dance of desire,
and the fire lance she takes between her thighs
because she takes her rites to
courthouse, to
church, public square, and late nightclub.

The dreamscapes familiar to her, revisit her,
she plays in her private home’s private theater.
The movies she threads, reel to reel, involuntarily and in
the voluntary way she has for screening herself
in a naked body whose movements, cinematic,
are a silent dance, to no music, to music
her calves and hips and stomach and the
river muscles in her neck make for her
when she is alone; when she is sure.

Memory is a reminder that the man she lets see
her exquisite face is never the same prophet again;
invited in, regretted, or pushed out.
Her inside sense is closest. And she knows it.
When she rests in the company of strangers
she doesn’t always close her eyes in her sleep.

Once I awoke to her sleeping. Her eyes were closed.
She was resting.
That is the memory. Her familiar.



Tere
Jul/31/2011, 5:21 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
elizabeth anne Profile
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Re: got this ambition


Very ambitious, Tere, and you are quite up to the task. I don't know how you do this thing you do called art, but I am continually amazed, breath-taken, humbled. I struggle with one poem; you produce volumes and volumes of beauty. Yes, I know, you've been at this for a while.

I need to keep coming back to this. I'm not finished reading other work you've posted, but I did want a taste of this and delicious it is.

Liz
Jul/31/2011, 8:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to elizabeth anne   Send PM to elizabeth anne Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Thank you, Liz, for reading. Yeah. Judas is someone I know. He is next. He was the rube who got used for the sake of a story line.

And stop this stuff of comparing yourself to anyone else. You got your own way. Your job is to locate it with your internal GPS.

Tere
Jul/31/2011, 11:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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hey Tere,

I remember this one but it seems changed a little since I first read it. Have you edited some? This line still makes shudder:

"What I saw./On that Good Friday./It was a man too much in love/with his own death,"

So why was he cursed? For resisting?

Chris
Aug/1/2011, 8:28 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: got ,this ambition


Chris, I've barely retouched the poem since you first read it on the old Lily board, back in '07 as I recall, before we all made this board. Articles, adjectives and adverbs, the stray verb. That is all. Story has kept the same.

I've always wondered what gave you the shudder. The lines you mention, I have to tell you, I got from an aphorism Nietzsche made. About Jesus Christ he said, from memory, 'Never trust a man looking to die young.' I've thought on that comment a few decades. Nietzsche was right. And I've thought on all the cases of young men, myself included, who've looked to die young. I'm satisfied they are not to be trusted. No more or less so than their elders.

As for the Medieval legend involving the wandering Jew, he was cast as a citizen of Jeruselam whose home was situate on the street Jesus took on his way out of town to Calvary. Story says the Nazarene needed to rest for a moment from dragging behind Him the weight of His own cross. He leaned against the Jew's home who then shooed Him off. Jesus cursed the man to wander eternally and never die.

I guess my poem contests a legend that fueled so many pograms against Jews. Maybe I identify with the wanderer.

Tere
Aug/1/2011, 8:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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hi Tere,

The first time I read and commented on this poem was when you posted it at [sign in to see URL]. I don't remember reading it again at Lily's. Lot of water under the bridge.

I'm familiar with the official story re: the wandering Jew. In your poem, he states, "I did not refuse Him/rest..." nonetheless, he was cursed. So, within the world you've created here, why?

Sorry if the question takes off on its own tangent. But since the first time I read it, I've wondered about that.

Chris
Aug/2/2011, 8:07 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: got this ambition


Man, did I actually post this poem on [sign in to see URL]?

It has taken a few moments to get the thrust of your question. Think I got it. You understand, of course, your question goes theological.

In my view there is not the dichotomy between spirit and flesh, soul and body, transcendance to heaven and earthly experience. What is divine is here and now, not transcendant (above) but immanent (within). The Wandering Jew becomes my mouthpiece. Look at the coda to his story. All those kitchen children he, cursed to wander forever, has birthed. All of whom will outlive the memory of all messiahs who promise life in death.

Well, you asked.

Tere
Aug/2/2011, 8:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Indeed I did. Thank you for your answer, I'll
think on it.

Chris
Aug/2/2011, 8:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: got this ambition


Just now, this moment, figured out Cain's motive. Should have come to me a long time ago.

Early Christianity had three main competitors. Orphism, what involved the rites of descent and rebirth that centered on the myth of Orpheus, the poet. The cult of Isis, supreme Goddess, that told the story of fertility. And Mithraism.

Mithraism was particularly popular among Roman legions, from the providences in the East to Western Europe. The story spoke essentially to all centurians and soldiers committed to a life of constant warfare. Mithras, a god of Persian origin, was instructed by his father, Ormuzd, to slay his best beloved bull. This sacrifice would ensure fertility and renewal.

There it is. The ancient Hebrew Cain's motive for killing his best beloved brother, Abel. I should have figured this out a long time ago. Cain's story is not one of murder and jealousy, but one of sacrifice.

Tere
Aug/7/2011, 6:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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