A Few of Our Favorite Things

Me:      Sticks, stones, and silence. Dark beer, mirrors, paint, and blackberries.

(God, you know I’d name you, but you’re not a thing.

You’re a puzzle I will never solve.)

God:    Feathers and fur. Fire and ice. Darkness and light when they shatter.

(I would say sacrifice, but you always get that wrong, so never mind.

It’s a thing, though. I assure you, it’s a thing.)

Me:      Clean floors and bike rides. Threatening skies. Gnarled trees. Honesty.

(I don’t mind a little sacrifice, here and there. It adds texture.

It helps me see you. That might be good.)

God:    Dogs. Horses. Cats. Earthworms. Birds. All birds. I love birds.

Birds eat earthworms. Cats eat birds. It’s all so tragically beautiful.

And chickens eat anything—even weaker chickens.

Me:      Oh my God! Why do you always ruin things?

This isn’t fun. I don’t want to play anymore. You’re disgusting.

(God lets out a loud guffaw. Tears run down the wizened cheeks.)

God:    Bone of my bone. Flesh of my flesh. The earth is my body, broken.

Like I said, you get a lot of things wrong. Especially sacrifice. And loss.

Hunger has a purpose, darling. Your uneasiness is holy.

Me:      If holiness exists, it’s overrated. I don’t want to be holy.

You make me question everything all the time.

So, either it’s all holy or nothing is.

God:    Agreed. Now, let’s get back to our favorite things.

Me:      There’s no going back.

God:    Chubby babies. Comets. Black people swimming in blue water. You.

Our eyes lock. I’m injured. Healed. Hungry and full. Something, nothing, holy, profane, resplendent with promise, soon to die. I throw my arm over God’s burly shoulder. We walk upright, eyes forward, leaning into the wind. A lot of our favorite things are blowing by.

Me:      Not a big fan of wind.

God:    Not sure which things to chase after?

Me:      Exactly.

Managing Distractions

(Illustration from my book “When Baby Corporations Come To Play”)

During the next 22 minutes, I hereby resolve to sit in a soft purple chair facing out into my personal chaos and not move anything but my fingers. Warily, my body will relax; my thoughts will filter through a maze of urges, accusations, poetic phrases, and old jokes. Most likely, I will revisit yesterday’s indignations instead of remembering recent joys.

God will appear in fits and starts. She’s as subtle as the noisy microwave and the insistent hum of the cheap refrigerator I’m enduring for the sake of the planet. Or so I say.

I let myself love the pinkening of the sky, even though the pink is fleeting, and my love will go mostly unrequited. The sky does not have time to love me back for very long.

God moves freely around the room. She is interested in the ways lime green and pumpkin orange can change a life for the better. So am I. She seems fascinated with the ease and strength of torque screws, the ticking of old-fashioned clocks, the dangerous games people play in their minds, and the lyrics. And I do mean The Lyrics. The One Song. Sometimes, I sing along but I make up my own words. It’s safer that way.

At heart, God is a rapper. She claims she’s still writing relevant verses. I doubt it. What does she have to offer the gamers and the insistently ignorant? The magnificently greedy, the already generous? Or me, for that matter? And why do I think there should be a set of lines I can understand? As if that could save a single hair on my waning head.

Each minute is a minute unto itself. Round, perfect, weightless. I want to crawl into one and float away, but they burst like bubbles when I touch them. They take no prisoners, allow no passengers, and mercilessly disappear. All I can do is admire the flawless roundness, and shape myself to the circling earth, as if I, too, were a moment in time. Enough but empty. Complete but hungry. Irridescent, transparent—a shade of blue that only God can imagine.

It’s time to leave the soft purple chair and move into the falsely ordinary shards of the day. “Farewell,” I say to each of the 22 minutes, my voice tender and sad. The sky has given up on being pink, but God is still puttering around, admiring whatever she has in her hands as if nothing has slipped away. “Want to go for a walk?” she asks. I lift the skin on my face into a smile and look into her eyes. “Sure,” I say to the Eternal, the Great Intangible, the Path, the Lover, the Rapper, the Generator of the Splintered Now. “Sure,” I say, standing and ready. “Let’s walk.”