she (excerpt No.3)

February 18, 2011

circa 1993

she (excerpt No2)

February 2, 2011

circa 1993

loosing, finding

January 2, 2011

“It’s not that I mind loosing my mind,
it’s just that you’ve got it all the time”

circa 1993

 

I’m afraid of loosing my marbles
but what really terrifies me is that I might find them again,
rolling and scattered under foot.

2011

 

 

cockelshells

A Gospel of Gabriel

December 21, 2010

A Gospel According to Gabriel
the story as god told it to me over a pint of ale.

In this beginning, forgive a minor correction. It was indeed ale, but a gospel this is not. (Editors, not authors write the titles).  A “gospel” is not just a story. Gospel means “good news”… and this is a story, but it is not one with much good news.

My friend god has been described as lots of different things. There have been plenty of contradictions, arguments and the occasional fista-cuffs. Some said that he was a loving god, others said that tended to towards jealousy.

God, it has very seldom been said, was a very frustrated god.

With the best of intentions, god sent his son down to the earth. God offered his best wishes and some fatherly advice: “Remember, Jesus,  the earth is full of temptations, polluted with terribly catchy music, and populated by a surplus of idiots”. And then, as he did with each of his creations, he cut all the ties. Trustful, hopeful, reckless, foolish or lazy, who knows? – god sent all things into the world untethered.

For years, god looked down at his son with the patience of an exemplary father. The mighty smile was tentative, but Jesus seemed to be growing up to be a son to be proud of. He just might manage to improve things on the earth. Perhaps.

Looking down at the unholy mess, god was often tempted to start anew (even in heaven, there are temptations). But god had promised not to resort to another destruction of the world. God regretted the rainbow. It was, complained to his friends, painted on a day when he had been miserable in a fit of guilt.

As his son became a man, God was happy with most of what he had seen. When telling the story, he liked to reprise an old line: “it was good”.

Jesus seemed to be gathering a nice group of companions. Friends were what mattered, god assured himself… making a few enemies was inevitable. Who could do better in that world of idiots?

When Jesus did something particularly pleasing, god would clap. When Jesus defeated Lucifer he opened a bottle of fine champagne.

It did seem that Jesus had developed a weakness for impressing with immodest showmanship. God was not thrilled with the miracle at Qana: the ability to turn water into wine was not a skill which any worried parent would wish for a son. Giving sight to the blind, now that was a trick with plenty of merit.

It was going  so well.
And then it was not.

With god watching from his distance, Jesus did something which sons tend to do (or which parents think they see): he began to veer off the rails which had been laid out for him.

God should have seen trouble coming. He was an omnipotent god who, frankly, sometimes chooses to not see.

That gaggle of friends which had gathered around Jesus – the one which had made god glow with pride – had some ideas which turned out to be as infectious as they were regrettable. Under their influence, Jesus slid from harmless metaphors through cryptic parables, to frightening people with talk of an imminent apocalypse.

God was very tired of hearing prophets shouting that the end is not nigh. Through the grinding of teeth, god said to me: “the apocalypse is tempting, not coming”.

God enjoyed a pleasing moment when he heard Jesus suggest to his friends that they go to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. He wasn’t keen on the donkey: showmanship, and false modesty. But these were embarrassments, not major sins.
And then Jesus resumed his preaching.
“Very soon, Jerusalem will be destroyed” and then “the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light and the stars will fall from the sky”. Yes, be afraid: the end is almost here.

A woman gave Jesus some expensive perfume. This gesture, god knew, had two possible meanings: a prince was becoming a king, or a body was being prepared for burial. Jesus chose the second meaning, and tried to help his friends to understand.
God was alarmed.

Still trying to make himself understood, Jesus told his friends that he would be killed… and more: he was looking forward to his execution.
His friends were, quite sensibly, no less confused.
God cried out.

God watched his son pull one friend aside, saying “Judas, I need your help me with something”.
“The donkey was clever”
“Thanks”.
“But the message isn’t catching on. People aren’t listening”.
“We listen”.
“That’s nice, but I am the sower of grain and the harvest isn’t looking good. You guys – plus Mary – are only a baker’s dozen.”
“True enough”.
“My plan calls for a spectacle, something which can be fodder for a great story… one which will spread the message by inspiring great stories”.
“Another miracle?”
“No, my crucifixion”.
“We’re all a little confused about that”.
“I noticed. My destiny is to be arrested, tortured and then crucified by the oppressors. That will be fodder for the stories which the others will tell”.
After a pause: “I won’t be telling stories?”
“Well… no. I am giving you a special task instead. Our story needs a betrayer – who wants to listen to, and retell, a story about someone who turned himself in to the Romans?”.
Pause.
“I have decided to give that very special honour to you. Later tonight, I will be at Gethsemane. You will bring the Romans there so that I can be arrested in a way that doesn’t look fishy”.
“The rest of the twelve will be angry”.
“I admit it; that is the catch. As your lord, I ask you to do this”.
“Are you sure”.
“Yes”.
“With respect, this is not a good idea”.
“It will be done”.
“If my lord wills it – alright”.
God began to grind his teeth.

Jesus gathered his friends for the passover meal. After the candle was lit, he spoke:
“I have, my friends, been trying to say goodbye. I tell you that this will be the last time that we will meet. One among you will betray me to the Romans. They will gloat, and I will be put to death”.
“Crucified?!”
“That is the fashion these days, yes”.
“I would not betray you”.
“Nor I”
“And certainly not me”.

In clenched teeth, god held a thought: “nice trick, predicting what you have just arranged, but…”.

“After tomorrow, you will go out into the world, spreading my message. You will have a great martyrdom-story to help you”.
The wine-bearer whispered: “That is a stupid idea”.
God cried out: “For the love of me, it is more than stupid”.

That night, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus began to have second thoughts. It may well have been the wine.
“Father, I wish I didn’t have to go through with this”.
Down a telephone like which god had chosen never to install, he uttered “You don’t”.
“Father, please don’t make me go through this”.
That made god yell.

God watched the Romans arrest his son.
God listened his son scold Peter for pulling out a sword.
God waited for his son to say something in his own defence. “Jesus. If you want a show, free yourself from the Romans”.

Jesus said nothing.
God cursed.

When they nailed Jesus a cross, god closed his eyes… the sun and moon went dark, the stars fell from the sky.

At the end, he heard his son cry out: “My god, why have you forsaken me?”.
God pulled out one last tuft of his hair.
I went to find my trumpet.

This is the gospel of Gabriel.

she (excerpt)

September 14, 2010

(circa 1994).