Being Agnostic, over the years I’ve thought quite a bit about God and so have written quite a bit about the subject. Following are four poems I’ve written about the matter of God that adopt a variety of viewpoints. The first poem is quite optimistic, the second quite cynical, the third skeptical, while the fourth imagines what a conversation with God might be like. You certainly can’t say my views on the matter of God aren’t well rounded 🙂 Perhaps the most insightful thing I’ve found over the years, is that regardless of whether or not there is a God, at the very least, there ought to be.
Words can blind you
Make you think the word
is the thing.
Drape what you believe you see
in preconceptions and assumptions.
Shade what you and others experience
with shadows of news bites
and rhetorical spin.
Or put cloth over your eyes
with fossilized passages
has been lost to time.
Every creature you ever see
just by virtue of existing
is a waking enigma clothed in a mystery
wrapped in a dream.
If someone as simple as a man
is such a thing
how then in the farthest reaches
of our imagination
would we ever expect to figure out
something like the powers that be
that made this place
by blinding ourselves
with words like “God?”
It’s true, a single word
can mean everything to you
or nothing at all
As you so choose.
On one hand, it’s just the word
some people use
for the best thing they can imagine.
On the other hand,
after nine thousand years
about four train car loads of baggage.
So, what do you call
something so fair minded
that it gives enough quickness to cheetahs
that they can catch some food
while giving enough speed to antelope
that they can run away from trouble.
And is so compassionate
that it makes every single baby beautiful
can forgive mistakes men have rarely forgiven
and offer up chances in life over and over again.
With wisdom so deep
it can watch human hearts
mend and break at the same time
without going bat shit from time to time?
Personally, I’ll not give it a name that blinds
I’m just some dude with a pen
and a couple thoughts now and then
I just ain’t that smart.
My God Spot
Walkin’ down the road blue & dejected
Found an old oil can, rusty & hot
Took it on home, named it Spot
Made a place on the shelf
I don’t know, maybe I’m odd
Kinda liked it there, called it God
Came in a dream wondrous to see
Spot said the Word & then there was light
Praise Lord Spot, He made things right
Now I’m his prophet & He’s the Lord
I was lost ’till Spot made me whole
Praise Lord Spot, my life is full
He spoke to me one stormy day
Got some commandments, got a whole lot
Got the low down straight from Spot
Got some followers & some big green tanks
We’re Spottites you see, ten thousands & more
The Spottites & me, are wagin’ a holy war
In a thousand years all over this land
They’ll still raise their voices in praise of Lord Spot
Just an old oil can rusty & hot
Don’t call me collect –God
Perhaps on some golden throne
alive in the sky, you watch over each of us
–rain warm love, bathing one by one
man and sparrow with most tender care
Or, like a child at play
did you make the clock your grand experiment?
then, called to dinner, you plan to be back at eight
wondering if we’ll still be tocking
Are you a big ashen bearded daddy?
with all the answers up there
will you spank us forever if we don’t believe?
Maybe you’re a cosmic hippie
you say “Hey don’t you remember?
ten thousand years ago
we all stood at Salisbury in ecstasy”
Then, with hand to forehead you say
“Or maybe it was nineteen seventy-one
you know, all that acid still gets to me”
Are you a wrinkled old man?
stuttering, the very edge of senility
you wait at the gate, white picket complacency
We come home for a hug and obligatory visit
the younger playing Grandfather for a free dime
Perhaps you are a crone, ancient and wise
living in rock, road, brook, and tree
You made a hard, wondrous, magical land
where stumbling, we acolytes slowly learn of beauty
With fire on your finger tips
maybe you throw lightning bolts
make floods, cause the sky to darken
Perhaps you’ll let five thousand faithful in
“All the rest be damned!” you say as the earth quakes
Perhaps one time, some time, ever time
we’ll be sitting in the park, you and I
Muhammad, Gautama and Einstein play dice across the way
cool green grass, white daisies, blue sky, shade trees
I say, “You know, I wondered always if you were a figment”
You say, “Don’t we all, my friend, begin and end in fantasy?”
Late one night
I was out for a ride on the bike
On a long desert road called State Route 27
The moon was full and bright
Stars peppered the warm August sky
The road was empty
And the night was asking
For a high speed run
I decided to open it on up
Let her go right to the edge
Let her really breath
I brought her up to around one thirty-five
And settled in for a ride long, fast and low
The headlight shouted out brightly in front of me
And the engine wound out in a high pitched yell
As the white lines blinked quickly on by
silent and oh so fast
My senses were as alert
As they could possibly get
And in spite of the darkness
Every detail of the passing road
Jumped out at my eyes
I swear I could see
The gravel embedded in the rushing asphalt
And the barbs on the wire fence
At the side of the road
Like so many times before
I fell once again, in love with life
The rapid beat of my heart
And the quickness of my rolling breath
Just then in my shimmering mirror
On the horizon behind me
I saw the headlight of another bike
Coming up hard, coming up quick
Ten seconds later
A slender figure on a dark blue chopper
blew by me like I was standing still
I rolled the throttle wide open
Pretty soon I was doing about one forty-three
But I couldn’t catch her
And I watched her taillight
Quickly become a distant dot on the road
Right before it disappeared
It looked like she pulled over
I backed on down
Before long I was coming up beside her
I came to a stop
And shut off my bike
–Figured I’d rest for awhile
And chat with the lady
Leaning on on the seat of her ride
Having a smoke
Was a beautiful woman, maybe forty
With deep blue eyes and long dark hair
She and her bike had kind of a glow about them
Very subtle but bright at the same time
Friendly but kind of mysterious
Very quiet, kind of peaceful
I nodded hello, not knowing exactly what to say
She nodded back and said
In a voice like a love song by Dido,
“Evening. Nice night for a drive.”
I looked back at her
And knew I had to wonder out loud
I smiled as best I could and asked,
“Just who are you?”
She shrugged and said,
“Oh, they call me by lots of names.
You probably know me as ‘I am,’
or ‘Alpha and Omega,’ “Allah or ‘Brahman’
Or some of that other useless stuff humans like to say.
You all really need to learn
Any word you want can mean everything
Or nothing at all
As you so choose.
Why don’t you call me ‘Sparky,’
Or ‘Wiggles,’ or ‘Effy?’
That would suite me just fine.”
“You’re God? Or maybe an Alien?” I asked
She chuckled and said,
“I’ll leave all that up to you.”
I looked at her confused
“What are you doing here?” I asked
“Like you, I’m just out for a late night ride,” she smiled.
I still didn’t know exactly who she was
But I did know she was someone very, very special
“I’ve got so many questions…” I stammered,
“I don’t know where to begin.”
“One of the really nice things about people” she said,
“Is that they are very curious creatures.
Always full of questions.”
“So what’s the right point of view?
We have so many…” I asked.
“You know all those religions and philosophies
That people bicker over
and fight about all the time?” she said,
“Well, they all have a few good ideas,
every one of them.
They all carry around a bunch of bullshit too.
And science is pretty much the same way.
People really need to learn to think
In a many-sided fashion
Instead of just bivalently.
You can put that in your pipe and smoke it,” she smiled.
I thought about that for a minute
Then I asked,
“So what does the future hold?
People seem so messed up a lot of the time.”
She took a drag on her cigarette and said,
“You know, some guy once said
That the meek would inherit the earth.
Well, I’ve got some news for you
—they inherited it some time back.
But humanity is kind of a fixer-upper species
And change can happen only so fast
Without making a big mess of everything.
Imagine the best of the 20’s and 60’s
Imagine the golden ages of music
And the intellectual leaps forward
During the Renaissance
These are previews of things to come
But humans have a ways to go
You’ve got to get it through
Your thick, Cro-Magnon heads
That every time you disagree
It’s not good to start killing each other.
And you’ve got to learn to make governments
That don’t attract power mongers quite so fast.
It’s also important to learn to make companies
That have a conscience
And a genuine sense of human decency
And you humans really need to learn
To share a lot better.
“I said, “Geeze, we sound like bratty children.”
She chuckled, “Well, Homo sapiens
Is a pretty young species.
If all humanity were a single person
You’d be around twelve years old, by my reckoning.
So you see, you’re just starting to grow up a bit.
Far in the future, when you’re much older
You humans will have great adventures
And do great things, if you ask me.
She took a drag on her smoke, then continued,
“I have to tell you,
There will always be some inequalities
Because that’s the only way to build a world
In which you can strive
But one day people will seek to better their spirit
With the same enthusiasm
That today they use to build better guns
And make more money.
There will also always be people better and worse
Because that’s the only way to make a world
Where those who need to can learn to improve
But one day the worst of men
Will be as kind than the most generous human
Of your time.
One day men will fight their personal ignorance
And fear of their own inner beauty
With the same determination
They use to fight each other today.
All this might sound kind of strange
Considering the way humans are right now
But you can make this future
A reality one day for all mankind
By making it a reality for yourself today.
For humans, improvement happens
From the bottom up and from the inside out
One person at a time.
Now, don’t think of being a good man
Like it means you gotta be
All pansy and syrupy sweet.
One day humans will be kind of like
The good-bad guys of the universe
They’ll have kind dispositions
And big hearts
But with a lot of edge
Like a good rock and roll song
But humans need to realize
The most powerful things in life
Don’t always end up fighting each other
You all have the bad habit
Of often thinking the greatest tests in life
Involve war and fighting and killing each other
When the biggest challenge a human can face
Is learning how to love better
Effy took one last drag off her cigarette
She glanced at it and said,
“Did I bother to mention
You really need to get off peoples asses
About smoking these things.
It’s really not worse than overeating.”
Then she smiled and said,
“Damn! Enough talking. Lets take a ride.”
She got on her bike and cranked it on up
I could see the sky move a bit when it started
I got on my bike
And hit the button to light the tubes
Effy waited as the ground shook
With every thump of her engine
Then we pulled out onto Route 27
And pretty soon we were doing around one twenty-five
We rode beside each other till almost dawn
Just as the sun broke the skyline
I felt kindness and compassion wash over me
Along with a dose of ‘fuck a fine mess’ too
Then Effy down shifted
And gave me a thumbs-up
About ten seconds later all I could see of her
Was a tiny red taillight fading into the horizon
But I’ll tell you, as the night had rolled on
With us riding side by side
I knew what it was to feel joy