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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Mrs God

Mary, she calls herself,
Mary J, to be precise,
a graduate
of all the fat of catteries,
of option trading,
futures and derivatives,
commodities, all speculations,
all of which
she ditched for art...
and found "derivative"
a dirty word.

Telling Melvin Bragg
how Jesus Crucified
had been the greatest installation of them all,
it seemed that she was saying
so much more than that.
(Could more be possible?) At any rate,
she left us all expecting
there was more to come,
some way down the line.

Next thing we knew,
she's in the wilderness
(her one concession
to the history man);
fresh scorpions and honey
delivered on a daily basis
by private helicopter -
and arranging the odd broadcast
to tell the world she is The Christ,
a Messianic Mistress
refigured for the age.
The Gucci Christ,
the papers call her for a while,
until the title Mrs God takes root.

No prophets please, or analysts.
Forget the boxes that you thought you'd tick,
They're staying blank, the lot of them.
No miracles,
no virgin birth,
nothing out of kilter
with the modern age.
She doesn't preach
or heal the sick,
no followers, disciples,
hangers-on... except,
they do exist, and want to know
what they should do.

And as for miracles, there's just the one.
Asked where she came from,
all she says is: "Through the fire."
The story is of 9/11 and
a burning ball of debris
from The North Tower
floating down to earth,
landing softly,
then exploding outwards.
Trapped inside,
she walks out, needing plastic surgery,
but otherwise intact.

A miracle of sorts,
but who performed it?
Who believes it?

She calls it fantasy
and plays it time and time again
to build it into something more.
Not preaching, but campaigning,
advocating something new. She says:
the spirit life begins in fantasy,
but left there, is a sickly child
forsaken on the mountainside.
Pick up your sickly child,
she says, and bring it to the crèche.

God, if He Is God,
must be all-powerful,
able to reveal himself
as this unlikely Millionairess in
her limousine with darkened windows...
The question is: why would He, though?

She has a church-cum-gallery,
the crèche, a place
of videoes and installations,
each one capable
of messing with your head.

Then something happens.
Something extraordinary. This:
the world takes to itself -
and almost overnight -
the thought that it is entering
the epoch of the last extinction.

This changes everything:
not the fact of, the belief that.
That changes everything.
Across the continents
the people go to bed each night
and dream her videoes .
People who have never seen them in reality
are watching them in dreams.
And watching them, they're watching her,
the universal star -
and everything is possible
to those with power
to enter other people's dreams.

And everything they've ever
heard and half remembered
from teachers of the past,
from Sunday School and marriages,
from funerals and Christenings, from fragments
of the Talmud or the Mishnah,
Ta-ts'ang-ching or Tripitaka (The three
baskets) or the parables of Jesus
Christ (and many more - the
Buddhavacana texts maybe), all
little sticky bits that stick at times like these,
along with lives of common, unregarded things
like trees and clouds and emptiness
and moments lost in space.

She is the final arbiter
of what will come to pass,
a bird kept captive
on an ocean liner and set free
a thousand miles from land
to dream how land should be,
to dream the lore
whose messages are varied, mixed;
whose concepts have too many parts.
No more are they for simple hearts.

Her sermon in The Great Mall, for example:
"Blessed are they who work with chaos
for theirs is the beauty of heaven.
Blessed are the conservers of life's riches,
for they have understood Earth's first equation.
Blessed are the enquirers of the spirit,
for they shall be understood.
Blessed are the engineers of life,
for theirs is its foundation...."
and so on, and so on.

And if you dream that Earth has died,
then dream it back alive
again,
become a partner to the dream,
the solace of the trees is yours -
and in the trees is everything.

14 comments:

Corinna said...

"the solace of the trees is yours -
and in the trees is everything." ... i love this, i love trees, great story, great ending.

TechnoBabe said...

Wow. "The spirit life begins in fantasy." What a great thought.
Even if someone is getting wealthy from the videos, some people may be receiving eye opening lessons.
I really like the line "sermon in The Great Mall."
If only we could dream things back again.

Isabel Doyle said...

Jesus Crucified was the greatest installation of them all - wow! I think I've picked up half your references but am still awe-struck

Mary said...

Dave, this was quite some epic poem. You have quite an imagination as well as knowledge of Religion!

Linda Sue said...

EPIC indeed! One that requires a bit of sifting for me...some gooledom. Well done, DAVE as always.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great work Dave, but in particular the stanza before the last, that is so true and breathtaking and totally belonging to our very day and age.

flaubert said...

Holy Cow! Dave, that is some piece of writing, and I am still trying to get all of the references, too.

Pamela

Hannah Stephenson said...

This is quite great...and big in scope. I admire it.

It made me think of Carol Ann Duffy's "Mrs." pieces, like "Mrs. Midas:"
http://www.trinity.cumbria.sch.uk/englishdep/midas.html

elizabeth said...

I haven't visited for ages and WOW!
this was a very splendid, complex and beautifully wrought poem.
Gosh, the nexus of contemporary 'culture' --malls videos and also the strangeness of religion .
Yes, 9/11 ( a mile from my house!) was, in its terrifying,tragic way an event of epic proportions.
Anyway, I will not blather on but LOVED your poem
and I usually hate poems on the web.
Am going to Battery Park City tonight (right by 'Ground Zero') to Poets House to hear a Moroccan poet read.
You might like Poets House.

Mary said...

WOW! What a fascinating and clever piece of writing ... amazing insights. Imagination knows no bounds. Loved her sermon in The Great Mall too!

Rachel Fenton said...

Epic, Dave - you've surpassed yourself this week!

Dave King said...

Corinna
Many thanks for your comment.

TechnoBabe
Much appreciate these comments. Encouraging feedback. Thanks.

Isabel
It sounds flippant, but I believe it goes deeper than it appears to.

Mary
Mmmm, in fact, it wasn't meant to be an epic. I may yet whittle it down somewhat.

Linda Sue
Thanks Linda. I still think... oh, well, we shall see!

Tommaso
In fact that penultimate stanza was written quite early on in the poem's development.

Pamela
Mmm, I'm beginning to think I should have added some notes. Thanks for the comment. Such remarks are very useful.

Hannah
Yes I did think of C.A.D. as well, though not until after I'd decided on the title. I did think of calling it by quite a few other titles including Ms God, but without me quite knowing why Mrs God had the greater pull.

Elizabeth
Many thanks for that. I hesitated about the 9/11 reference as I think we are still too close to it, but i n the end thought a merely passing reference might do no harm. Useful r comments. Thanks again.

Mary
Thanks for that. As I mentioned above, The Sermon in the Great Mall, was a fairly early addition.

Rachel
Appreciate the response very much. thanks.

Isabel Doyle said...

I didn;t think it sounded flippant - I thought it was a powerful concept

Dave King said...

Isabel
Thanks, that's very pleasing to hear. When I wrote it I thought some might think it flippant.