Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: David Berman

My Pillow is the Threshold

By David Berman (aka Silver Jews)

I take decaf coffee
Two sugars and one cream
I don't see the use in staying up just to watch TV

I unplug all the neon
Turn the ringer off the phone
Throw my thoughts like tomahawks
Into this world which I disown

Because the pillow that I dream on
Is the threshold of a kingdom
Is the threshold of a world where I'm with you

It's a dark and snowy secret
And it has to do with heaven
And what looks like sleep is really hot pursuit

I hold your picture in my mind
It makes me warm when I am cold
Gets me up and it makes me walk
It makes me question what I'm told

Somewhere in a foggy atlas
Lookout mountain lookout sea
First life takes time then time takes life
Now the next move's up to me

Because the pillow that I dream on
Leads to some fantastic glory
It's the threshold of a world I can't ignore

Like time unspooled from heaven
Did you find me sleeping in your doorway
Now I'm here for good
I won't leave you anymore

- - - - - - -

Rut

I do not pray, because I hate God.
With my words, eloquent and clear,
formulated and contextual, I love him.
But with my actions, with my heart
and soul and all that, with my time
so irrevocably precious – I cannot help
but forget Jesus, lest the whole ruse fall
to pieces – I hate the God of the universe.

I say hate because I have no other
word available to my self-interested use.
I do not disbelieve, nor do I dislike;
I neither forget nor feel anger nor take
an academic ambivalence. He is there.
I ignore him. That is all. It is as if,
in living with a wife, I were to go about
my day – work, groceries, sex, play, sleep,
meals, friends, plans, money – like I could
not hear her voice, see her face.

Oh bodied Jesus won’t you leave
me alone? I have no place for your
hard rest or good work or timeful pause.
You are a burden to me, and I will
vomit you out of my mouth. I have.

This is what you forgive. This is
how you forgive. This is gift unheard,
unwanted, unopened. My mudpies are fine,
thank you very much. Your glory weighs
me down, and my time is lighter than
air. Time is money, time is life. I
simply have no time for you. Stop
bothering me! A silent voice is a hard
thing to ignore. You may just induce
me to prayer only to ask you to stop.
I wonder if you would. You haven’t yet.

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