Tuesday
Jul052016

What Tongues Are Given

Charlie Clark


 

1. Our Father Cannot Soothe His Mind by Cogitating on the Origin of “Ecstasy”

The Latin
the church taught
me tells me
the root is Greek:
ek = outside;
stasis = standing,
or more simply
standing outside the self.
Always the best
explanations
involve a body.
It’s why Christ
in all his blood
and bearing is
such an exquisite
model. I am
outside in
the field of
my body
observing it
and what it
feels. What it
feels is the ripe
course of wind
through this
lush field
full of chalk-
white stone
shards cropping
like the flesh
of my beloved’s
foreleg through
the lengthy
blue slit
of cloth it is
her habit
always to
have on when
striding past
the yawning
feckless span
of attention
in which I am
trying to jot
one more
week’s devotions.
I see it and
am out in
a field weeping,
my hands
beside
themselves,
shaking
thanks upon
the bright
immaculate
flesh of stones. 


2. Our Mother Kneeling, not Praying

Lord father,
I want my knees
to press into
the body of
a meadow
beside the flush
length of that
sweet man.
I want my lungs
to rip. I want,
lord father,
old master
of my days
and nights,
to take
the hymn I
promised you
I would make
my life into
and give it to
him instead.
I want to be,
lord father,
to be rooted,
broken into
blooming
by this good
man of yours,
by his hands
and the nervous
cache of
devotions
his soft tongue
holds. Lord
father, I want
this. I am
decided.
I am not,
lord father,
asking for
your help.
Neither,
hear me,
lord, your
blessing, or
permission. 


3. By its Very Nature, God’s Commentary on This Cannot Rise Above the Solipsistic

The
most
regrettable
fact
about
omniscience
is
the lack
of an
interior
in
which
a thing
that
was
not
suddenly
might
be
  linger
  let
alone
turn
requisite
            love
            breath
            the slightest
squinted
reflex
of
shared
glee


4. Our Father, Behind a Door That Will not Give, Considers the Word “Give”

The Vikings
must have
had a hand
in it, those
furies I come
down from,
if only by
softening
the first syllable
conquered
Saxons uttered
the moment
they saw
the wood
of their last
locks fail.
Think of
the storms
those marauders
beat through
for the promise
of a wife’s
mulled wine.
Three weeks
out of a decade
of the good
lord’s work,
here I sit
suited in
this room
the soft, aged
blue of dolphin
fin, locked
as a paradox.
What the monks
soothed in
the Nordic
blood with books
and the more
cautious accretion
of time
I thought
would yield
me a life.
It did. Here,
or there, now,
two blocks
from this
jammed door,
a bride
to break
a door for
waits for
me among
red flowers.
A priest
in love
is a man
more cautious
than a badger
but no less
ardent.
The one
thing I do
well is give
of myself.
Forgive me,
father, if
my terms
keep changing,
like the world.
Like the world
I always have
more to give.
This wood
creaking
beneath
the weight of
me, beneath
the world
of what
I want,
this wood
singing like
a benediction.
I thank
the good
world for
the brevity of
its restraints,
how like
breath, like
a body,
I feel it
beneath me—
hand to
god—give. 


5. Beside the Chapel, Our Mother Lingers in Carnations

I love
the tongue
the lord
has made
me, love
the taste of
my man’s
tongue
upon mine.
When our
kissing ends
I see his
work
between
his cheeks
like a creature
trying
to claw
itself from
knotted cloth.
That thing
would have
drowned
had I not
intervened.
The lord
I loved had
however
many tongues,
each a flame
by contrast
gorgeous,
ecstatic,  
dumb.
The good
lord made
flesh,
starting with
my man.
            My
man
     my
god
    the
cloth
I want
him
out of—