Saturday, February 27, 2010

After the Waterfall--The First "Warrior Moment."

Okay, here goes.

Over the years since this event, i've tried in numerous ways to explain it, quantify it, somehow interpret it in a way that people who WEREN'T there would be able to at least gain some understanding of how important it was, of its significance. Most of these attempts were poetic in nature, because it seems that metaphor is the only tool that comes close.

In April, of my 14th year . . . shortly before i would turn 15, in fact . . . i had an experience at a waterfall that defies any normal description. It was misty, foggy, but not-quite-raining, and the hills and trees were clad in that almost spiritual light green. It had rained for several days, quite hard, and i was taking advantage of the break in the rain to walk to a spot i had been before, once when i was 13 with my father, and in the previous summer (after a long walk that took me to it in a roundabout way). The waterfall is hidden in a cleft of the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway, on a piece of land owned by a friend of my father's . . . it was known that i wandered all around that property (in later years), but since i was not hunting and not intending any harm to the property, i was allowed to come and go pretty much at will.

The waterfall often dries up during hot, dry weather, but the recent rains had given it a considerable flow. I walked until i stood at the base of the fall, near the small pool formed there. On the walk up, i passed numerous bloodroots, whose delicate white blossoms would wilt shortly after being picked, and whose nacarat hue stained the hand that plucked them. Responding to some impulse, i stripped my shirt off and leaned into the fall to drink. The water is very clean and cold. As i did this, my heart-rate seemed to triple, and the only other way i can describe the "event horizon" is that all my senses seemed to suddenly "jack up," and i even got the impression that i was using senses that had laid dormant; i was PERCEIVING something that was, by any of the usual parameters i'd used to measure such things, beyond my power to describe. I stood up, looked around, my heart beating a savage tempo in my chest; nothing had changed . . . but EVERYTHING had changed! Half-formed dreams and images seemed to suddenly demand my attention. I walked away from the waterfall that day in a daze, seeing the woods and trees and blossoms in a completely different way, as if there were something BEHIND them . . . the concept of a "veil" was doubly appropriate, given the misty and foggy conditions along the Parkway.

I was never considered "normal" by any of my peers, but this marked the beginning of a time during which i no longer CARED. "Fitting in" was impossible to me now. I had experienced something that catapulted me into a state that might have been called "satori," or "epiphany," or--as a poet friend of mine, Marty Evans, called them--a "warrior moment." (Marty was with me years later, in Georgia, when i experienced a similar moment, and though i didn't know how to describe it, he seemed to understand, and that was the first time i'd heard the term "warrior moment" described to me). I felt as if i'd been yanked halfway in to another world, a dream-world, a parallel dimension, or what-have-you. THE NEXT FEW YEARS OF MY LIFE, I WAS IN THAT STATE. My dreams became more vivid, my fantasies more intricate, and my beliefs marked with something that some people called "mysticism" (and my mother, God bless her, used the term "unrealistic," but in all fairness, it did seem kind of "unreal"). I could lay down, close my eyes, and see clear images of places i'd never been, and wrote many of them down in my notebooks of the time . . . over several years, i'd described worlds and places and creatures, drawing partly on my knowledge of mythology, that to me seemed all-too-likely.

I once discussed my mother's resistance to these things to our youth counsellor at the church, who told me that my mother might be afraid FOR me, because i believed these things. Years later, Pastor John Ault, a mentor and good friend, told me that--because i was an artist--i had the ability to experience on a creative level what Paul experienced in 2 Corinthians 12: Paul describes being "hijacked into paradise . . . whether in or out of the body, I don't know, God knows." He said there he heard "the unspeakable spoken, but was forbidden to tell what he heard." It's no coincidence that immediately thereafter, Paul describes his "thorn in the flesh," "a gift of a handicap, to keep me in constant touch with my limitations." He says it was BECAUSE of the "extravagance of these revelations" that he was limited by this (and he does not describe it specifically). I began to understand a lot about the creative gift i was given, and that the very extremes that i experienced through it were the "flip side" of the limitations i experienced. In latter years, it would be described (or, rather, categorized) as "anxiety-depressive disorder," "bipolar disorder," and so forth. I think those are just words that people use so they can gain some kind of "handle" on it. I don't really pay that much attention to the terms or diagnoses anymore. That moment . . . and some of the other moments that have come, rare but undeniable, almost frightening in intensity . . . were worth anything i suffered because of my inordinate imagination and fucked-up brain chemistry.

When people who are rigid or narrowminded in their outlook encounter things like these, their minds reject them. They run to a psychiatrist who prescribes some chemical concotion that allows them to "numb" the feelings. They focus on their jobs, on TV, on mundane things, and try to deny that they've been afforded a glimpse of wonder. It is what Michael Yaconelli would describe as "dangerous wonder." Wonder, and awe, are often uncomfortable feelings, partially because modern society lacks these qualities. They, along with imagination, are generally neglected by people whose focus on "rationalism" and "practicality" have actually stunted their growth. Sadly, too many of these people are Christians. I consider myself blessed, extravagantly blessed, by these few glimpses of an almost terrifying wonder, an eclipsing awe, that--despite my inability to fully describe them--have remained fixed in my head, indelibly written on my soul. My vain efforts through poetry to communicate the experience at the waterfall . . . or any of the other "warrior moments" in my life . . . are, at least in my mind, only reaffirmation of what happened. I was "let in" on a secret, was temporarily caught up in the Mystery that i pursued for so long, without knowing that perhaps that Mystery was pursuing me as well. I think Heaven will be much like those experiences, only heightened and endless . . . to live such a way, in the presence of the Almighty Creator who allowed such a flawed and fragile creature to glimpse them, is--in a way--almost terrifying. If it were not for God's love and mercy, the things i experienced would have undoubtedly broken my mind. Perhaps they have. I would consider nothing more honorable than to be broken for God. It may be that that first "warrior moment" was NOT the most powerful i will experience, though none that have happened since have neared that supernal level. I can only thank God that, somehow, those very things that limit me, cause me grief, and trouble my sleep, are also the essential flaw that He works through, His strength coming into its own through my weakness, and--in an outpouring of undeserved grace--allows me to experience moments like these.

New Poem: What if They Created an Economy, and Nobody Showed Up?

What if They Created an Economy, and Nobody Showed Up?
do you dream in chocolate
while your Toyota's gas pedal
gets stuck to the floor
while you're talking on your cellphone
discussing last night's American Idol?
is your American Idol
already entered into evidence?
what if they created an economy,
and nobody showed up?
does your economy
lose its flavor
on the bedpost overnight?
all your experts have been
bought and paid for
by whatever political party is in favor--
the flavor of the week, one might say--
and you have to take advantage
of the opportunity, especially
if what all the Mayan Calender theories say
are true (what? haven't you seen
the movie
paid for by corporate sponsors
and endorsed by all the appropriate
everbody's saying the same thing,
which sounds like
played at a very high volume
turning CNN up loud
so it drowns out doubts and conscious thoughts
alike, and the commercials have that sense of
because you have less than 2 years
to repair the economy,
and if you're not responding to this emergency
by dreaming in chocolate (which is mostly artificially-flavored CRAP)
driving in your Toyota (or other overpriced death machine)
and talking on cellphones (which are monitored by
elected officials, telemarketers, and the DoD)
about reality shows
(that don't give a damn about anything REAL
that doesn't drive up ratings
by dumbing down the content) . . .
if you're not
choosing Pepsi or Coke
if you're not
believing the political lies
that compel us to vote
if you're not
spending, pretending
that we're not already broke . . .
you're not supporting the Economy,
the Almighty Mammon whose
floppy teats supply
the rancid milk of overindulgence
that, like heroin,
ultimately consumes the consumers.
if that's not already a crime,
they'll make sure that it is
before the 2012 election
(participation in which will be mandatory
and saying the whole game is rigged
will be considered treason,
the only non-violent crime
which is punishable by death) . . .
but, if you're shot, at least
you won't have to live through
the disaster
that will be brought to you

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Poem: The Wrong Side of the Rainbow

The Wrong Side of the Rainbow
crash landed, stranded, here on
the wrong side of the rainbow
where i live,
and this twister
ain't your magic bus
to the Emerald City
wallpapered in your favorite shade of green;
those greenbacks you're backing
have backed you against the wall,
and won't even stand you the price of a ticket,
so keep punching that clock
and i'll punch your ticket
and kick you around the block.
you don't want to go
over any rainbow
where you can't buy indigo
and put a down payment on purple;
this one'll sure pull you down
to the underground, the wrong side of town,
show you around the Slum of Oz
where the munchkins have fangs
of chromium steel, and still
look more human than you do;
they'll punch a hole in your soul
and see if you can bleed for real
when you've bartered your last swindle
for a half-decent meal
and there's nothing left for you to steel
because everyone's a broke as you . . .
you know, everyone goes through hell,
some people just have to stay,
and that ticket you bought is just one-way,
and you'll punch a clock THERE too, sucker,
but don't hold your breath for a payday,
because everything adds up to paybacks,
and you know what THEY are.
that tribe that lived on the backside of your rainbow--
the ones you refused to lend, give, or rent to--
won't be building tracks
for your runaway train now more.
hock your ruby slippers and blue suede shoes,
no matter who wins at the game you played, you lose.
they'll fold the monopoly board up around you;
no Emerald City, here . . . maybe,
if you're lucky,
they'll leave a tenement on Baltic for you . . .
all the graffiti artists who bombed and tagged
back on the block
have gone away, and
there won't be anyone to paint a rainbow
on your walls of leaden gray.

New Poem: Mystery Reporter

Mystery Reporter
here's a news-flash for you:
either nothing is amazing, or everything is.
either the unbelievable never happens, or it's going on all the time.

poets, you see, don't quit being poets, alive or dead.
prophets don't get to retire.
troubadours aren't ever gone when their verses are still being read.
coals and ashes, when stirred, remember the fire.

one crocus doesn't make it spring, but it's one thing spring
won't get started without,
and for want of one snowflake, and avalanche would never slide.
an interstate will go from point A to point B, missing everything
on the old country route,
and a chrysalis whispers no secrets of the butterfly burgeoning inside.

thngs you can see in daylight change their forms and natures
in the dark,
and shadows only grow when light from some source flows.
the most brilliant flowers are never seen, and pass away
without a mark,
and birds flock as one, but how they choreograph their wingdance,
nobody knows.

the sun burns across rippling waters,
heliographing hieroglyphics that can't be translated,
only red in the moment before they change,
explaining things that in language can't be communicated.

every leaf on every tree is a verse in an unending song;
even in their falling, they sing; and, on the ground,
still they sigh, brittle papyri, underneath your feet.

in a universe that rings like a bell,
what further evidence of a Divine Hand
would you demand
when you can't even understand
the wonders that cascade around you--
a world at your fingertips, and
yet so much slips
through your mind like water
sluicing through a sieve,
because it takes an uncomfortable risk
to believe . . . .

don't wish for myths or miracles,
your brains are too tight to contain them
because every bit of knowledge you gain
gets rejected if you can't explain them
or turn a profit on them.

either nothing is amazing, and the unbelievable never occurs . . . .
oh, but it IS--it's going on all the time.
i'm just a reporter, i didn't make the news,
i'm just rying
in feeble meter and fumbling rhyme
to focus your attention
on what you're missing
all the time.


Before i post a couple of poems (1 that i was able to finish after Genesis and a second one i wrote on the heels of that one), i need to say a couple of words about Genesis.

What is Genesis? It's a church plant here in the Roanoke Valley. If you want to find out some of the basics, check out their link: Their core beliefs, information, and staff are posted there. My friend and comrade from the old Slam days, Lewis Kleiner, is a staff member, and was instrumental in getting me to Genesis.

I've only been to 2 services, which have been held every 2 weeks, in the evening. At both of those services, i was struck by several things almost immediately:

I did not feel like an Outsider. This is an unusual experience for me, because as a person who--in the words of Pastor John Ault--"walks the edge," i usually find myself on the periphery of any group i come into contact with. To walk into a church where this was NOT the case was a powerful draw. The dynamic is utterly different from so many churches i've been privileged to attend. Even the word "attend" doesn't fit . . . any more than you would "attend" your home. Even more strongly tonight i was struck by the feeling of COMING HOME.

The Spirit was at work at Genesis . . . in a strong, powerful, forward-moving way. I've attended several churches who had the Spirit at work, in a powerful, convincing, CONVICTING way, but this is by far the strongest i've felt this. I can only report on my own reactions to this "phenomenon," but as someone who is aware of the Holy Spirit, i assure you, this is no fluke. There was a palpable sense--in the people, the music, the pastor (more about him in a moment)--that God was right there in the trenches with us. (WITH US! I actually said "US!" I'm used to talking in terms of "them," but man, i was a PART of this!)

There was no judgementalism here. This goes back to the first thing i mentioned . . . i could feel people looking at me, but it wasn't a cold or suspicious "looking-at" that i sometimes get. It was more of a "Hey, he's new here." Instead, i felt almost immediately embraced. I "clicked." And, brother, when somebody like me is able to sense that "click," it's an experience. I know i'm a bit of a freak (yes, i'll say it, and i'm not ashamed of it), and can be somewhat intimidating on short notice (i am Grendel, after all) . . . so imagine how powerful that felt. How simultaneously welcoming and, in a way, almost scary . . . when you know you're in a place or among a group of people who've cast their whole lot on Christ, and are willing to go the distance for Him REGARDLESS OF THE COST, it can be a very awe-inspiring experience.

The pastor--Craig Tackett--is HANDS DOWN one of the most powerful, energetic, and gifted speakers i've heard. I DO NOT EXAGGERATE. It's amazing to watch him take a single, simple, and maybe even oft-repeated passage of Scripture, and drive it home with what is undoubtedly the sheer force of the Holy Spirit working through him. He means what he says, too . . . there's no pretense, no "better-than-thou" attitude, none of the "party line" rhetoric. God has obviously called this man to do exactly what he's doing, and when he spoke, i could hear something inside me practically screaming "YES! YES! YES!" It was all i could do to restrain myself from doing just that . . . jumping up and screaming "YEAH, MAN, YOU TELL IT LIKE IT IS!" And, as intimidating as something like that can be, he's approachable, and that sense of welcoming, that he's really glad to see you there, flows as much from him as from the congregation as a whole.

I could sit here and rhapsodize about the experience for pages, but in all honesty, i couldn't do it justice. I've been talking and wishing and all-around WHINING about wanting to go back to NYC or NJ, and a part of me really wants that, but now i'm not so sure that God wants that . . . or if He intends for it to happen as quickly as i want it to happen. THIS CHURCH FEELS LIKE HOME. If God wants me here, to hang my wanderer's hat here and become a part of what Genesis is doing here in Roanoke, then i'll do it. I'll throw everything i've hoped and planned and dreamed on the altar for God, even if it's in Roanoke. God is everywhere, and He's everything good in my life, and if He wants me here, then "here am i, send me." This powerful conviction isn't something i take lightly . . . it's something i've felt in the past when i came to a place i was supposed to be. I felt it at the Poetry Slam. I felt it at Grace Covenant. I felt it in NYC. And i feel it now. This "waiting stage" of my life might have been nothing more than God preparing me for something else . . . something i couldn't have imagined. And, when you're talking about an imagination like the one that ravages me every day of my life, that's saying something.

I could think of nothing better than getting down here in the trenches with this group of committed people, LOVING people, and putting what shoulder i have to the wheel.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Poem: You Are Not Here

You Are Not Here
town dump gulls, foraging
like Rio kids in a mound of garbage
looking for edible discards, and
"everybody's lookin' for a
free ride," shallow mockery cries
echo "get a job" = "work for free"
echo "protect & serve" = "neglect & sever,"
and even the gulls are crying,
dying for a seashore
without a high-rise.
still, hear
"quit givin' people handouts, and those
______s will have to
W.O.R.K." = Worry Overpay Rich Killers,
would you pay your tithes
if they weren't tax write-offs, or
would you crawl on the floor,
squall, bawl, and bemoan
that lousy 10%
that you didn't get to spend
on Lotto & Beer?
chickadee, chickadee in the trees,
backhoe-fart, no more trees,
so no more chickadees,
no more cock-a-doodle-doo
until the backhoe man goes home,
jacks off over internet porn
until his cock crows,
silently disdainful of the dreadlocks
and cornrows
of kids busted for spray-painting
a new Picasso
on a gray underpass, "Hi,
i'm a cop, and
i can kick your ass and
get a free pass
when i flash my badge."
and it's no need explainin'
that the ones who get paid for complainin'
on talk radio or teevee
look like the fattest gulls in the dump,
knee-jerk reflex action-figures
that aim kicks at anybody
bent over to scrounge nickels from the gutters
or half a sandwich from a garbage can
in the park
where "rummaging through rubbage"
is punishable by law,
you may have to pay a FINE, tee-hee,
from nonexistent funds
stolen from your wallet
by tax-cuts for the rich,
the wealthy Bible-thumpers
who've forgotten how to read
about the widow's great gift of 2 pennies
or the warning about serving Mammon.
for every white suburbian girl
who gets into a stranger's pick-up truck,
a thousand non-white non-suburbian kids
get written off as acceptable losses
in wars that are more about profit-margins
than about the boys * girls who die on foreign soil
to pave the way for those
to arrogant to fight & too rich to care . . .
and you are not here
and you are not seeing this
and you aren't to blame
and you aren't doing anything wrong,
and you aren't doing ANYTHING
and you are WRONG
and you ARE to blame
and you ARE seeing this
and you are HERE
right where the arrow points down
and nails your insignificant mortal speck
to the spot.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Hurts, Especially When it's Your Family


Let me state first and foremost, for the record, that i am extremely grateful to my parents for providing for me after the "economic downturn" (which the economists refuse to call a Depression despite the fact that it is), and for everything they've done since then.


I am repeatedly chided by my Mom . . . to wit, i'm "too extreme," i'm "paranoid," i don't take enough initiative (which is her excuse to nag me about anything that springs to mind), and various other comments in reference to my clothes, my attitude (she often says i get a "tone in my voice," and when i FINALLY responded the other day that she gets a tone in HER voice, her response was "maybe you should think about WHY i get a tone in my voice), and anything else that springs to mind. She doesn't start the day off with "good morning . . . ." Instead, 4 out of 5 mornings, she begins with a complaint. Something i did, something i didn't do, something i did wrong (and, believe me, she can always find something WRONG about what i did, no matter how much initiative i took or whether or not it was done well). Just now, i received information from the Labor Department in NYC. It's just the same information i get every week . . . this propelled her into a mini lecture about how i should be calling every third day (regardless of what the instructions say), to go over the internet to find out if i'm "approved" rather than use the phone (she never uses the internet for anything that she can get Dad, me, or Jordan to do for her), and on and on and on and . . . .

Basically, i'm almost to the point of chucking it all, shoving a few belongings in a backpack, and living on the road. I'd probably starve to death or die from exposure, but at least i'd die in relative peace. I think the basic problem is, while i was away in NJ and NYC, i GREW UP. A LOT. I managed to survive on less than anyone in my family does (with the possible exception of Mom before she was married), and had my own mind about things, and was a LOT closer to God during those hard times than i am here . . . how strange it is to think that, while anyone else would have thought that i was in dire straits, my relationship with Christ was much stronger, and i spent a lot more time in prayer. And perhaps, to anyone who's firmly entrenched in the status quo (and, God help her, Mom is), a lot of what i perceive and believe is "extreme," although i have a hard time believing that it's "paranoid," because a paranoid person believes that __________ is out to get HIM, because he's somehow special . . . i know better. I'm only a threat to the status quo in my poetry and Life-Path, and as long as that's generally ignored (and it is), no "great conspiracy" or whatever is going to regard me as a threat!) It's been on the tip of my tongue to tell Mom that all the Prophets, and Christ Himself, were regarded as "too extreme" by the status quo of their times. And a lot of modern figures who were regarded as revolutionary, even pacifists like Gandhi and MLK, were also considered extreme (extreme enough for someone or a group of someones to kill them). This, however, would just ignite a veritable powderkeg. My mother is, after all, getting on in years, and she's entitled to her beliefs and feelings, and she's probably too old to change. But by the same token, i should be entitled to my beliefs and feelings, and not immediately "given in" to her way of thinking just because i'm living here. I don't want to start a fight . . . but i can't speak about Faith, religion, politics, philosphy, or most of the stuff i write poetry about, around her, because that simply turns into another thing on the "List," which is apparently a page in my Mom's mind she turns to for her nagging. I'm sure that in some regards, she's right . . . i've not been the most exemplary human being, and i've fallen short of my own goals (let alone hers, which are apparently on a completely different track than mine), and as long as this situation maintains, it's only going to generate more antipathy. I avoid her . . . and i hate feeling that way. My Dad remains, for the most part, neutral and uninvolved . . . although he's been chiding me about a few things now and then. I CANNOT LIVE HERE MUCH LONGER AND RETAIN MY SANITY.

I'm now praying for patience, and for an open door that clearly marks a direction. I can't believe, at this point in time, that thinking about a "career" (in the terms the status-quo uses to describe that hell of ladder-climbing and struggling to make ends meet while you're stabbing your friends in the back to gain access to the next rung--my parents were never back-stabbers, but they didn't "love" their jobs, and the way they--Mom in particular--talked about their co-workers, bosses, etc., didn't exactly encourage me) is going to be in any way viable. The ways of this world are foolishness, and even people who should know better seem to think that acquiring more material things is what success is made of. Success at what? The things you own end up owning you. I'm getting too used to having all this space, TV, computer access, snacks, and all the "benefits" that go along with it. My writing has suffered. The funny thing is, if i'd remained in NYC, i'd have more access to "help" (as loath as i am to lean on the government for support) and to things like food-stamps and job programs than i have in Roanoke, and i would have more access to the Spoken Word scene that still calls to me every living day. I know i'm supposed to do more there than i did. I pray God will forgive me for not pursuing that more aggressively even when i had the opportunity. My dependence on Christ and my poetic endeavors both were stronger and more whole-hearted when i had it "rough" than now. I've come to understand the concept of "suffering" better . . . God doesn't "inflict" suffering or hardships on His people as PUNISHMENT, but rather as TRAINING, character-building . . . as the Message translation puts Christ's words, "using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, so you'll live, really live, and not just get complacently by on good behavior." That last part stings, because in this day and age, it's too easy to just be a middle-of-the-road, "law-abiding," church-attending person, and to think you're doing pretty good when all you're really doing is going through the motions, creating a microcosm in which you can exist without thinking, where everything can be a reflex rather than the result of an actual active thought-process, and where you can be "comfortable" and "succesful" without stirring up waves or making anybody else "uncomfortable" in the process. But doing the right thing, if other people can see it, is bound to make some of them uncomfortable . . . either because they just don't like it, or because it makes them feel guilty on some level, or just because doing the right thing is DIFFICULT, and requires EFFORT, and a lot of people get confused when someone would struggle to do the right thing when it's so much easier to "go with the flow." Despite the fact that you're just as likely to get ignored for doing the right thing, or snubbed, or out-and-out hated, i want that. I want whatever God is pointing me towards, no matter what kind of crap i have to wade through to get there. I'm not giving up just because i'm surrounded by people who already have, and i'm not going to let my love and thankfulness for my parents mislead me into thinking that i have to BELIEVE and THINK the way they do. No free-thinking, independently intelligent individual should ever try to force or compel another person to do that. And that goes double for Christians . . . if--by the way you're living, the courageous and bold speaking of God's truth, and the compassion and giving that you show towards others--people aren't going to be convinced, then they're not going to be any more responsive to browbeating, nagging, pushing, or bullying.

God, please keep me together until something better comes through . . . .

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Poem: If Gemstones Had Voices

If Gemstones Had Voices
if gemstones had voices,
how many of them would scream
when the jeweler's hand
sliced off a piece of them
to better display their beauty?
part of the craftsman's duty
is to decide which parts are unnecessary
and remove them,
and what once looked
like an ugly rock
becomes a token of burning joy.
yeah, i'm sure if rocks felt pain
they'd surely complain
when a chunk of themselves
got sliced off, like an amputation . . .
"hey, that might be ugly, man,
but it was CONNECTED to me!"
if they had some idea
of the end result, i still believe
that the faceting would be uncomfortable--
or worse--
but they might be less inclined to curse
the hand that did the carving . . .
or would you tell the doctor and nurse,
"oh, just leave that old tumor there,
it's been there so long,
it's kind of grown on me."
we're not rocks. when you cut us,
we bleed, and even if it's surgery we need,
pain is usually part of the price we pay
when a deformity
is sliced away . . .
but we've been given a glimpse of glory,
we already know
that at the end of the story, we'll be
crown jewels,
our price beyond the riches
of any earthly king.
yes, this is going to hurt.
the operation isn't exploratory,
and some of us worry so much
about the pain, we'd rather
remain lying in the dirt . . .
but the craftsman isn't careless,
his skill is divine, and
when the cutting is done
we will outshine any jewel
mankind has ever dug
from the earth.