Maybe You Have Left Us
by Jane Tawel
November 20, 2017 – July 22, 2018
This is a very long poem-like meditation, a modern-psalm-ish thing of lamentation. It is something I have worked on a long time and just need to be “finished with” for now. It came out of this ache and longing, I guess, to come to grips with a struggle within myself about with how far off course I feel we seem to have sailed in our ideas about God and His / Her relationship with us humans and our planet. It is based on Biblical records of God’s coming and going, Jesus’ coming and going, and the willful coming and going of the Holy Spirit. You will find pathetic sophomoric allusions to The Great Thinkers of the ages, like L’Engle, Dickinson, Greek philosophers, Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries, Shakespeare, Pink Floyd, and so on — listen to them instead of me, of course. It is also a meandering collection of random droppings from nights of lying awake in the night and wondering, Are You there, God? If so, I’m rather lost down here. And finally it comes from a deeply dissatisfied weariness of facile answers and cheap grace talk. It is not for the faint of heart nor the short of time. LOL! Perhaps like any personal thoughts, the sharing of mine might open a door for someone else’s thoughts, valuable to them.
We’ve cornered You in books and boxes–
Dry pages turning over Your name,
like dirt turning over a gravesite, so
Maybe getting bored or irritated?
Maybe? You Have Left Us?
We gather publically to kneel easterly in modern streets
And fight neighbors over thievery- aged space
to beg You for things and more things.
And You are known to get angry at abuses of Your name, so maybe,
Maybe You have left us?
We rant like ants in a bowl of super-sized Super superstitious Super-sized Super Stars.
I’m thinkin’ –Maybe You have left us?
We think of You as the putz who promises persistently to part the Red toilet-bowl-sized Seas of people’s petty problems.
You are the definition of a putz: “one who engages in inconsequential or unproductive activity”. See you Sunday if I can make the time for You. If not You’ll forgive me with Your Walmart-priced grace. Welcome to Discounted God-grace.
We still hope you will continue to pick up the bill and get us out of our fixes and hand over the goodies without much effort on our parts. That is how we see You — #Genieinabottlegod.
But didn’t I see somewhere on a dusty shelf that
we used to view You as
Someone who created us
out of dust
to be gods.
Isn’t there a repressed memory (oh, god, I long to repress it!)
That once in paradise
we lived like
owning out- of- this- world power, wisdom, glory, truth,
beings who were with you, were
created to creatively create as mini-Me gods
in Your eternal Being-With-ness.
But that was a long time ago,
When You were With Us, #emmanuel.
we wallow in our wimpy wan and selfish greed
mistaking greed for power
preferring to beg You but not to be like You.
Frankly, we would quite prefer not to expend the energy it must take to create and By Jove!-
it is much easier to destroy stuff, in the image of some random, soul-sucking goddess of the ancients
Yep – that is us -Toys Ares are Us. #bestBastBuys
Just another game somewhere with machine guns, killing the zombies which Ares just
A bunch of panty-waisted school kids from over the border of otherness.
We beg You for incidentals
in a world crying for LIFE!
writ large indeed.
We praise You for our gourmet buffets
in a world crying for clean and living Water.
We hammer up cameras to spy on thieves
and miss the daily stealers of our souls.
We blithely tip the cup
on Sundays before brunch
and rise on Mondays to brazenly pour out cups and cups and cups and cups…
into the landfills of our nations
while neighbors worship– roofless, shoeless, dirty,
in their hovels of holiness.
Are You there? Hello?
What language is Your Spirit speaking where?
Oh, God, maybe You really aren’t there when I feel like you aren’t there?
Oh, God, maybe you have left us?
We shut the city gates, and build the Western Walls, eyes in the skies help keep our carpets clean, we celebrate our blessings of being imprisoned against those who are licked by dogs, who gladly take the crumbs from a table we no longer sit at in reverence, no longer wasting our perfumed lives weeping repentance in the footsteps of You.
We daily eat the flowing bread and drink the wine bought with the price of an hour’s litigation, thinking that the one meal we ate, ingesting You into our tiny, closed up hearts was enough to feed us ’til the Judgment– trusting that Your once upon a time, in a land far, far away sacrifice of being spitted -on and spitted on a stake for our future consumption, believing against any reasonable belief that Your One Man-band’s sacrifice on the deathly cross paid up all our bills. We daily leave Your offered Feast for offal feats and for the remembrance of how good that one meal tasted. Long, long ago we rose from Your table, barely able to move from stuffing ourselves so full, and we thought we put You safely into our little closed up hearts like a napkin to wash our faces with after eating at other banquets; Son of Man as convenient Handi-wipe; and You remained behind longing for a homeless person’s dirty feet. And as we waste away our waists in the wasteland of our corpulence, I lie awake at night needing a good massage to work out all the knots in my scar-tissued back and I remember how You had some serious scar tissue back there too and I have to wonder if You finally just decided to once and for all show us Your back side on Your way out #don’tlettheDoorhitYouonTheWayout.
maybe you have left us?
We put You at the end of swords, and guns, and bombs, and bombs and guns,
and turn our plowshares into Wikileaks and tweets.
We honor you with words spit out as fast and killing as bump stocks.
We think You only face one way, Northeast was it? with all your other faces, you are so not
halal, not kosher, not evangelical, not shriven
and, oh god, do we even know your name?
maybe Y-u have left us?
We look at each other through cloudy mirrors called TVs and cell phone screens
And are so bloated with appetites for apps we can’t see our feet meant to teeter on
The Narrow Way;
And after so much Botox and Lasix our eyes can’t focus
And we no longer look for You in the dimmish glass.
Our mirrors have been turned to selfish selfies and perjuring posts making our lives look large
But about you? — how small can I make your name? and how do y-u spell that?
We have fallen into the habit of containing You in buildings and museums. As if the God of Noah, Abraham, and Moses could cramp Himself into a container built without holy specs. You tried to tell ole David that. I notice now when people touch their hands to light up the touch screens with stuff about you, or put your body in their mouths, they don’t fall over dead.
Is that ‘cuz You have left us?
Frankly, though (and I can call you Frank or Shirley or anything I want – what was Your name again?) Frank, old Boy —
If I’m to be perfectly honest with You, Frankly;
We would rather You did not show up in Persons.
Remember how awkward it has always been when You have?
So, maybe you can leave us –#hopingitwon’tmatter
Anyway, I plan on catching you on The Other Side
Once I finish ruining this dark side of the moon.
We like to think, being more used to breaking international treaties, that this has always been a one-way street with You. Our favorite praise song is “I Did It My Way.”
Fun Fact: The word covenant doesn’t even come up on spell-check.
We like to think You always save us by day’s end — Dear God, please RSVP and BYOLWF — Show up please, with Your lambs and wood and fire (I hope You know I mean metaphorically cuz I’ve recently gone vegan to lose some weight, but I’m telling everyone it’s cause I love little animals so darn much).
We like to think we ‘pecial persons are the final Hurrah People. Forever lisping childishly, we didn’t mean to bwake it, pease fix it fohwa us, pease?
I heard an old, old story that
You came once to save us by being one of us
Just in time for The End,
Remember? You threw that big cook-out
with Lamb on a big wood skewer
marinated in our sins and
deliciously surviving the Fire.
Now You are being saved up for dessert later
Wrapped in heavenly golden streets
Waiting for me right after I finish eating
my million-dollar 24 Karat Gold Chicken Wing. #oncesavedalwayssaved
but maybe You cancelled your reservation to dine in my neighborhood
and You plan on taking a rain-check
something like the rain-check You took before the rainbow?
or maybe You just left us?
We do not want to count the cost ticked off in Your centuries of multiplying corpses.
Costs ticked off tend to tick us off.
Some of us are counting on the Prime Number Corpse You raised.
Others of us count on the corpses we bomb in Your honor.
And there are those who think our corps are the only people
at the core of Your Great Plan of Salvation
Never realizing they too have eaten the core of the dirty apple.
Well, it’s so much nicer here in Texas, than in the Corpus Christi You had in mind.
Some of us want to be left alone with you-ness-less-ness, simply left alone by-non-you, to breathe through nihilistic nostrils through our first world- stressness, seeking a type of nascent meditated-medicated corpse-ish-ness we think sounds peaceful, aum, aum, aum, without a thought of how to die for those who breath in bomb-fumes, rat-fumes, death-fumes, third-world fumes of fumigated philosophy.
uncertain next- breathless-ness.
and maybe, just maybe, because we insist on living,
and You insisted we must die
then maybe You could no longer dwell in our corps? Our corpses?
maybe You have left us?
Isn’t there a verse in some holy book or other that promises if I just say You exist that You will stick around to make everything Almighty-alrighty– just for little ole me?
We have created an idea that there is a need in You!
We have created this idea because we need to believe You are for us.
But that is a need that cannot exist if You are who You are –I Am
No prepositional prepositions around Yourself
No conjunctions connecting Your outstretched limbs,
No ifs, ands, or buts,
just Being-ness. #freetobeYounotme
We say: “You need us to love! You need us to watch! You need us to do Your work, to kill the infidels, to spread Your words, to give foreign children boxes on Your birthday, to gather once a week to sing songs and be taught by highly paid motivational speakers, to post up Your commandments, to hide our faces, to make our nations great, to make others follow Your laws, to give You our service, to give You our hearts, to give You our only ten percent and no more, to give to, pray to, sing to, speak to You! You! You! Rah, Yea, You! You need US to love you, need US to love you, need US to love you!”
But maybe You didn’t need to stick around?
We believe in you because little ‘ole God (how small can I make your unknown name?) needs Us.
But need is not a word I think You comprehend. I could just as well ask You to tell me the color and shape of a Dream. I may as well ask You to give me the equation for Hope. If You have the time, could you tell me the meaning of Time?
But hope has lost her feathers and must be singing elsewhere,
plucked naked in the company of stars.
Ah, Jesus H. Christ! Did the H stand for Holy or How-ie, as in How do I get out of Here?
How do I find The Way to where You are, Jesus How-ie? Christ!
I am left with only the remembered space of
And what am I to do?
if YHWH El Eloah Elohim Elohai El Shaddai Tzevaot Jah Mashiach Ruah Hakodesh
have left me?
I often wonder over here
if maybe You are in
Korea or India or Nauru?
But maybe You have left us all, all together, left us– for God so loved the world He eventually just had to walk away and count up His losses?
What if You have gone elsewhere
Like any good Mother would
To see her children?
What made us humans think
we were born as Your only children?
It is legal after all to divorce your Parents and if we divorced You
Then maybe You are taking care of the kids who didn’t.
What if You have born quintessences in
that we know nothing about?
What if You have a whole family
Of lovely children that
Look and act just like You?
What if You have a special Son You’ve been meaning to hang out with more?
So maybe You have left us?
What if You are wedded
With beings that are far more like You than we could ever know?
(After all, after The Fall,
we gave up on that quixotic idea,
preferring to be zombies dressed up with no place to go).
What if You are dancing and singing with supernova-stars
While we watch Idols win prizes that decay?
What if while we seize the day,
Your Son has come out Tomorrow?
What if You are building worlds with feathered bird-like Phoenixes
While we burn out and then burn up, never to rise
In the only resurrection?
What if You have found others who have lived with
pierced hands and piercing eyes
and You have yoked together
in radiant death-sought death defying
If all who once dangled dancing on this lopsided Orb
with broken feet and empty suitcases
have ended up Up- there out there somewhere else
while the rest of us are just vacationing here,
biding our time, instead of biting Yours,
if They godlike are now circling
in the cacophonous kaleidoscopic Caper,
cavorting through constellations as Your Corpse
Your Body as Macrocosmic!
but some how You Yahweh
individualized in little ole me time and place
right here right now
as it is in Your Heavens and yet
so beyond the measure of our Season, Space and Scope,
on this brief Stage
with no flag flying
but the Banner of Love
I could choose to live in the mangled mode of your mysterious materiality, mothering the mother of all manias with my Maker. #meaculpamymaster
But, oy vey
I wonder – Oh Woe — if
maybe You Yourself have packed up
and moved on in a Tesseract of Space and Time
My teeny tethered ability to fathom it;
while I unbeknownst are
what if you have left us?
What if you have left Us?
what if You have left us?
what if when we left You…..
YOU let us?
The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.– John 3:8