Friday, May 20, 2011

Notes on the Rapture, sort of

The world is supposed to come to a foretold end, or at least many of us who've been selected in secret on high are due to abruptly depart for Heaven's Gate Station, but my guess that most of us will still be here on the 21st,  our for casted day of divine interdiction, May 21st. Those who won't be here are the ones who leave via the standard methods, death by natural causes, horrible accident or suicide, or skull crushing boredom. I do have, though, a poem about the Rapture I wrote about five years ago, an extended musing on what it might be like in neighborhoods to have  people just vanish, leaving their material things, including their clothes, in a lifeless puddle behind them. 

I posted the poem soon afterward at supremely inbred poetry board referred to as The Gazebo, where a group of seemingly smirking sycophants followed the lead of the crotchety , fumble phrasing alpha dog and criticized me for writing a poem of such blind faith in Christian mythology; the fools hadn't a nickel's worth of irony amongst them and thought my poem was an profession of faith. 

I  quickly let them know what I thought of their summary skills and used words intended to give offense; I  used  the fact that I'd been banned by these nitwits as a something to brag about.  Should I mention that I am thin skinned above all else? On the subject, I used to work in downtown San Diego at a bookstore in Horton Plaza, and as I walked from the bus stop toward the mall I would pass a retail space that was being used by a store front church; in the window someone had placed their artwork of The Rapture in action,crude, blocky depictions of an urban landscape of those who had been summoned, post haste, by God. 

They were seen leaving their clothes on the streets and sidewalks and ascending toward Heaven in gleaming, garish swirls of bright colors,  genitals and female breasts obscured by convenient swirls of tri-colored mist. What was disturbing wasn't so much the idea of  an impending Final Judgement, but that the painting  , in it's minute detail, featured a bus driver being elevated from the vehicle he was driving; while he was being taken to join his Creator, the suddenly driverless bus was shown running a red light and crashing into oncoming traffic. If Heaven were a night club, the doorman would be performing summary executions on those who didn't look cool enough to get through the door.
Here's the poem:

RAPTURE


The mailman drops his parcels and
falls to his knees in the middle of the street


as a light comes through the clouds and
makes the commotions of the city radiate

gold tones like the frozen poses
of ancient photographs

found under the stairs of every parent’s house
that aging children have to close.

You see the mailman on his knees and wonder
why he’s praying, hardly aware of the increase in light

or the music that blares all the big band music of
trumpets and saxophones that disguise the grind of

passing cars, it’s such a shame that religious fanatics
are hired to deliver the mail, you think, so much depends


on what comes through the System, envelopes full of
what’s owed and what’s not covered by any plan

that can be written down; you run the water in the sink,
you wonder where did the clouds go?

There is no rain anywhere,
says the radio announcer,
and the light is tremendous all over the globe,

there is not a dark corner
in any corner or nook on the earth,

And then the radio gives out to static, and the TV
releases itself to snow, the music in the street is very loud

and swinging hard to the left and the right and then right down the
middle as all the notes scurry brilliantly through the hedges

and up the driveways, into the homes with each reed instrument
improvising disembodied melodies that form their own sheet music,


That is a very loud set of speakers in that passing car, you think.
and the radio announcer cuts through the music and says something you

hear as that millions of people all over the world have just vanished in
plain site under bright light and big bang music, gone in a wisp and puff of smoke,


You look at your watch and note that it’s time for lunch,
the clouds have fallen over the city again, the sky darkens,

the shapes of the neighborhood take on their deep hues again, saddened
with history, dense in dumb witness to what never ends,

You stop, look out the window; you turn off the water you ran,
in the middle of the street, by itself, flat on the cement,

The mailman’s bag and his clothes,
topped by his hat, kissed by a cool breeze.

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