Video: A Call to Arms

meinruins
Me in the ruins where I wrote this poem

I wrote this poem in the ruins outside the village where I’m staying. Because I used to be an actor and am very in love with the power of the spoken word, often, my poems feel to me like they were born to be spoken, not read. So I recorded myself reading this, right after I finished writing it. I did a terrible job. I cut off the tip of my nose at times and sputtered over some words, but I still want it to be shared aloud. So here it is. The text is below, just in case my reading is confusing.

 
A CALL TO ARMS, WRITTEN IN THE RUINS OF AN ANCIENT CASTLE, JUST BEFORE THE RAIN
 
When I die do not count me among the so-called saints, the fearful ones who bit their tongues, sealed their eyes shut, stabbed their ears with withering fingers, bowed lowed before kings and priests born to make meat of men and women, sent to subdue the magic of earth, and by some sick alchemy change her heaven to hell. They weave an inferior magic, black threads spun of witch hunts, wars, the roars of tractors come to flatten forests, inquisitions, subdivisions, the screams of starving children.
 
Instead, count me among the mad ones who danced as if fires burned beneath their feet, who opened their eyes wide and saw everything, who swallowed the universe whole, who screamed truth from hilltops fringed with purple weeds more precious than gold, who hold the laws of sacred magic in their bones, who found God in cyclones and monkeys and anemones, who slept little but sang much, who understood The Almighty was not scribbled in scrolls and carved in stones, but was written on the platelets of their blood, who loved not with their minds but with their marrow, who knew the straight and narrow road leads inward, not out, who shouted “no” to apathy, to tyranny, to lies.
 
Brothers, sisters of light, the night is almost over. Greet the dawn. Our backs buckle. We have labored long in the moonless black, but now is not the time to sleep, to die, to calcify into shells of the miracles we once were. Do not be pacified by their empty ease, their greed, their insatiable need for gold, gold, and more gold, pagan altars of cold, worthless stones built on the holy bones of our children.
 
Our “fuck no” cries must echo the whole world over, set the stratosphere ablaze, upend the graves of dead prophets, burn through the gray illusion that hovers heavy over the surface of the earth, give birth to the heaven that burns at the molten center of our mother’s sacred core.
 
 

FER L’AMOUR DUR TOUJOURS

 

 

Fer L'amour.jpgWhile in France, I’m creating a collection of travel essays and poems I’ve written over the years called Beaming Up.  This poem, inspired by graffiti on a wall down the street from my apartment, and written while sitting in the ruins on the hill overlooking the village, will be included.  (I should have had a French friend check the French, since mine sucks.  I promise I will before it’s published.  Sorry if it’s terrible.)  This one goes out to the one I love.

FER L’AMOUR DUR TOUJOURS

In France, the cacophony of a foreign tongue settled in my ears until it became un-strange, and I began to collect words like shiny pebbles.

Un coueur. Heart.

Divin. Divine.

Un oeil. Eye.

Un os.  Bone.

I built a body from sounds until you stood before me whole, each sacred shred labeled in a language born to epitomize beauty.

“Fer l’amour dur toujours,”

scrawled on the wall outside my house.

The iron of love lasts forever.

I knew it was true. Here, in this village of stones, overrun by lilacs, built on the bones of centuries, they do not say, “We have had a relationship.” They say, “We have a story.”

Nous avons une historie. 

Under the arched back of an ancient bridge, a river runs. Herons walk on water. I watch them, tracking our story back to the banks of a blue-green stream where we first sprang like lotus flowers, our hands clasped, a single lifeline stretched across two palms, winding around and down our wrists, up our arms, into our hearts, to the time when we slept as one in the womb-mind of the universe

until the zygote of us divided,

became two.

Deux fleurs divines.

You are a continent away, and still, when you weep in my dreams, it wrecks me, infects me with a horror that lasts all day, my hands grasping empty air, aching to hold you until our crying quiets and dies.

Until death do us un-part

your eyes are my tunnels of light, gateways to a God who lived long before empires thought to name him and claim him, a God who wrote her signature in a book composed in the elegant language of dark matter and DNA, a God who does not play by our petty rules but wanders wide beyond our sky, leaving footprints.

Constellations.

Supernovas.

Big bangs.

Atoms breaking, exploding into brilliant mushroom clouds of doom, then wrestling to bond, wind back down, become one again.

(And without the apocalypse of separation, could we ever have stories?)

This place has embraced me, made me its honored guest. Each night, I drink wine on terraces and flower strewn rooftops that aren’t mine, laughing with friends, gazing into the eye of a castle ruin that watches us from the hill, and yet without you I am always

seul. Alone,

under a cold moon, I wander cobblestones, home to my bed. There, I stare at the Van Gogh stars swirling outside my window.  I pray when I sleep you will come to me and sing the song that was carved on my heart before I took this body.

Chanter pour moi, mon amour divin, si’l vous plaît.

My soul will rest best when God writes the chapter of our story

wherein my marrow

melts back into your bones.

sauve at twilight
The streets of the village at twilight, bathed in purple.