Thoughts about God

Earlier today, driving through western Texas while my husband napped in the passenger seat, I spent some time thinking about how our greater awareness of LGBTQ+ people and of sexuality and gender as continua rather than boxes can help us better imagine God in somewhat new ways. I was thinking that God is neither god nor goddess but rather, while fully personal, is not constrained by our created sexual categories.

I have been moving back and forth in my prayers and thoughts between referring to our divine creator as God and Goddess. Neither is completely satisfactory to me but simply saying “Divine One” is not always satisfactory either.

Sometimes, I like my angry prayers best. Prayers that sound blasphemous but are often my most intensely personal with God. “Explain to me, O great creator of everything, how you can be so powerful, so knowing, so loving and such a god almighty bastard.”

But I digress. Somewhere in the middle of southwestern Texas – the sheer empty expanse of which lends itself to such thoughts – I thought that maybe I could refer to our divine creator-redeemer-sustainer as Goddest.

The Days After

Today is September twelfth
so now we can forget
for the next 364 days

we are content
to remember only yesterday

Read the names
Toll the bells
Dig the pictures out of the archives
Promise terrible revenge next time

Then midnight arrives
and we tun back
back into plump pumpkins
with no memory
growing complacent
in our garden of goodies

What if every day
we remembered

the causes
how easily we were led into two wars
that no Iraqis, no Afghans hijacked those planes
that there were no weapons of mass destruction
the names, the stories, the loves
of the men and women who died
in those wars
the names of the children
missing a parent
because of those wars
the ones struggling
with their unwelcome mementos
of those wars

Remembered to pray
for peace
for wisdom
for remembering every day

You Don’t Have To Be

You don’t have to be young
to chew on a pencil, or a finger
to laugh at a dog, or squirm in your seat
to cry over what you can’t do, or over spilt milk
to stare transfixed at a blade of grass, or an ant
to wave goodbye, or blow a kiss

You don’t have to be young
but it helps

You don’t have to be old
to savor a new taste, or a new poem
to laugh at an old movie, or a politician
to cry over what can’t be fixed, or over injustices
to stare transfixed at a grandchild, or a liver spot
to say goodbye to another friend, or kiss a closed coffin

You don’t have to be old
but it can’t be helped

Song of Pacific Salmon

I come from lakes.
I come from rivers.
I come from oceans.

I come from egg.
I come from sperm.
I come from milt.

I come from a dying mother.
I come from a dying father.
I come from river gravel.

I come from alevin.
I come from fry.
I come from smolt.

I come from swimming.
I come from feeding.
I come from leaping.

I come from struggle.
I come from death.
I come from life.

Celestial Polygamy

Never has polygamy twinkled so sweet
as when solitary Moon weds sister Stars

The universe provides the marriage bed
infinity in hues of blackest silk

Earth attends as bridesmaid
arrayed in dusky patterned tartans

The groom, with yet roving eye,
pulls the seas greedily to himself

The shy brides keep their distance
though their happiness sparkles and shines

The reception is merry and long
husband and wives content together

Until that boisterous blustery big brother
shows up at the bedroom’s door sill
and outshines them all

My Memory

My memory is a trickster thing
Malevolence it’s ruling king

Triumphs, loves and every bright day
Leave no trace, slip easily away

While every hurt, hunger and humiliation
Replay with endless stubborn fascination

My memory has no respect for new joys
Guarding only the old and broken toys

Those worn nursery relics that give me pain
Are all my imp memory deigns to retain

Each new enticing present pleasure
Has no value in my memory’s treasure

Where every small mistake persistently polished
Leaves all new joys heartlessly abolished

My eyes behold pastoral beauty
While memory attends to third grade cruelty

My senses thrill with wondrous feasts
While memory recalls my least defeats

No god could worst punishment decree
Than the devil my own memory is to me

Kodiak Raft Trip

We paid extra

For a float trip day
Down a long silver river
Flowing from a high mountain lake

Guided by Aaron and teenage Faith
Oldest son and youngest daughter
Of the lodge owners

Down the river on a raft
During salmon run
In late August

Sure to be salmon
Alive and dead
And bears, fishing

First, to get to the lake

The float plane landed
In the ocean cove
Taxied onto the gravel beach

Gear loaded, we glided up
Over mountain meadows
To the high lake

Aaron and Heather did everything
While we watched
Tourists, paying to be pampered

Thirty-something Aaron
With 15 and more years experience
Remarked the low water

“It’s been a dry summer.
Driest in years, drier every year now.
We’ll be lucky to see any bears.”

We saw lots of decaying salmon
Doing their part
To enrich the ecosystem

We saw some live salmon
Doing their part
To continue the species

We caught rainbow trout
We caught Dicken’s fish
Pink polka-dotted Dolly Varten

We saw no bears that day

Time and again

Aaron and Heather walked the raft
Over rocks covered with more
Dead fish than flowing water

While we paying customers
Sat royally ill at ease
In the bottoming raft

That night, back at the lodge
We asked if the dry summers
Were a symptom of climate change

“Climate change is ridiculous.”
The climate is always changing.
It’s just a string of dry summers.”

Said a gently smiling Pam
As her family
Nodded in knowing agreement

“Come to the table
Dinner is ready.”

“Let us pray.”