onefootintheclay

Creativity and Spirituality with Joel McKerrow

Month: February, 2018

Something that we might call God.

There is a restlessness,
A disquiet on the inside.
A whisper.

There is a fire. Or at least a flame.
The chase for God or something that we might call God.

There is a hoping. A knowing
that gnaws
and claws
and still it holds you.

Rekindle her. I beg of you.
Choose this presence over your pageantry.
Listen to the silent stories,
the ones hidden between
the lines you let them read.

This is not a problem to solve.
This is not a life that you have to have together.
Your surrender,
it may be the best thing you could do right now.
A peace in a sea of confusion and calling.
And don’t they say that grace
makes beauty from the ugly.

So begin with the beauty and the beautiful.
Stare at it like you stare at the flame.
The day will come when you shall find yourself
once more burning.

Look deep into the world
and the word shall look deep into you
and somewhere in the stare between,
this is where she waits, God.
Or something that we might call God.

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How to Break Free (nearly)…

His business suit gives away his profession but not his calling, not his burning, not what the little one inside desires.

His beard is a shift and a hollow. The first place that brown becomes grey and it tells him these years are waning on and on through the starch light of history.

His beard is a shift of ageing. I know this ageing, like he knows this ageing. His beard gives it all away. Tells me that five fingers grip his spine and twist it backward and he cannot feel this, but his face knows it.

He wears fluoro green socks. Beneath the cuff of his suit I see them. Fluorescent green and a splash of red. His rebellion against the system, against the office, against the ageing. The history of a man who never spread his wings and couldn’t see the the ocean through the window.

But I wonder how many times it called him. I wonder how many times he stood on its edge and felt the surge wrap around bare ankles, green and red socks tossed wild onto the beach behind him. To stare to the horizon like he’s about to dive in. But he stops. Turns a weary shoulder away from the waves. He is tempted to leave the socks behind, but in the last moment he snatches them up, puts them on his feet, trudges up the sand and onto the path and down the road and into the train and I see him sit there now dreaming of sailing ships, one hand folded neatly over the other. Composure.

The train slows and I know that he exits and he walks to the building and into the lift and into the office and to the desk to turn on the computer and catch a glimpse of himself in the black computer screen and the shift of his ageing beard shall scare him. And he shall spend the day counting the money of rich people wishing he could see the ocean from his office.

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No One Even Notices

She leans in close. They touch.
The light globe explodes in a million cliches.
No one even notices, except the couple,
who do not yet know if they are lovers or friends.

 
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On the Death of my First Love.

On the pavement outside the restaurant we spoke of how life changes and the moments that make us and how we have changed and still yet remain the same. She remembered being babysat at our house and she remembered my eating of a tomato sauce sandwich and the sauce dripping down my cheek.

I remembered years later. My eighteenth birthday. Rebecca and her had picked me up from my house and we drove down to the beach and the storm gathered out at sea like a curious puppy learning of the loudness of its bark.

We had stood at the edge of the ocean, where it kissed the cliff face. Next to the lighthouse. We stood looking out to the sea and we dared the puppy dog storm to come at us. She listened and came bounding. And what else can you do in such a moment, but dance. We danced. Wild. Unrestrained. We screamed and we yelled. The storm barked so loudly. Thrashed wildly. And we three wilder and wilder still. Limbs like storm. Body jerking. Barking. And somewhere in the loose movement I let myself go. I lost all sense of the tightness of my skin and I let the storm come in.

It was the first time I ever did that. The thunder crashing and the wind whipping and the lightning striking and the ocean pounding and the three of us screaming. Dancing. Everything was alive that night. Filled with a life and a luminosity. Including myself, I was alive. Everything was screaming that night, including myself. Everything is always wind and storm and wouldn’t we always be the brave ones to turn and face into the surge and bellow back.

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Rebecca died. Many years later. The first girlfriend I ever had. My first teenage love. In her sleep. Not long before her wedding. She died.

We remembered this too, standing there outside the restaurant, her child eating burgers, tomato sauce dripping down his cheek. We remembered where we were when heard she had died. I had taken all the photos I had of her, including one taken of the three of us that wild night. I laid them out on the floor all around me. I wrote her a letter that I could never send. I could not get to the funeral, so I buried her inside me instead. Wouldn’t we always be the brave ones to turn and face into the surge and bellow back.

My old friend tells me how she has just split with her husband and she feels a widow at thirty three. I let the tears come. Held her arm. Wouldn’t we always be the brave ones to face into the surge and bellow back. Wouldn’t we.

The cliff face is still there. I stand on its edge whenever I go home. Looking out to the ocean. So I go there that night after talking with my old friend and I scream at the top of my lungs and then I begin to dance.

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