Friday, January 27, 2006

POEM - The Other Side of Ripening

The other side of ripening is what
Waits for us on those snowy days of white
Which wrap us up, taut and un-giving, like
Snowmen with brittle fingers and frostbite.
The other side of ripening is what
Is ours when we use the syntax of “wait”;
When we live in sentences that always
End with periods instead of commas;
When our verbs commit a sad suicide
Instead of living with things which gestate
And bring forth the sanguineous touch of nouns.
Life, we learn, is just a run-on sentence.

This is the grammar of all living things:
Worse than fruit wasted on bedraggled vines,
Worse than weeping flowers at summer’s end
Is what goes by unexplored and untried;
For those things that we think we cannot share
With others, can never dream the harvest.

M C Biegner

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

POEM - The Sun, It Pulls Me Upwards

Toward an empty sky with strong hands, he pulls
Me up, whole and intact, through cheesecloth clouds
With gravitational seriousness
Right out of my chair! As I type these words!

Forces ask me to partake of this day -
Can you imagine? Here - of all places -
In this flat geography called Winter?
In this great inhalation named “Winter”?

Pulls me upwards - separating every
Single one of my vertebrae like some
Sort of new yoga pose: this star dhanu.
Then right from this seat, without having shaved

Or showered. Before I’ve eaten breakfast
I leave my seat once and for all to learn
All about the gravitas of Sunlight;
The seriousness of Light as it is thrown,

The dizziness that landing Light provides,
I become at once this great airborne fish
With flaring gills, engaged in solar flight,
Forward! I go forward to my return -

All the mysteries, now pulled out of me
By the call of light against the shadows.


Saturday, January 14, 2006


“Write me,” Ruby said. Though I knew I wouldn’t, I said I would. Writing was not what we were about. We stood on the jetway at JFK in the International Departures building saying a kind of goodbye. The feeling was like that moment before a great leap, when the anticipation holds everything in place like fruit in jello. I kissed her because I thought I should, because it was the seemly thing to do. I grazed the corner of her mouth leaving no question: half friend, half something else. It was more out of respect for the dead, this memorial of a kiss. We stood bathed in the clamor of JFK noise, filling the moment the way a grouter fills in the spaces between tiles. That is what we had become now: tiles never quite touching. The verbal placeholders, the ums and un-huhs, neither of us wanted to let go, but neither of us wanted to hold on either. Ruby twirled her hair. She always did when she was nervous. I remembered the breakfasts; the balsamic smell of the apartment whenever I cooked omelets; how she loved her toast black and how she chastised me whenever I tried to scrape the char off.

On the jetway we stood and looked at each other. It could only have been a minute or so. People brushed by with their lives in suitcases heading off to places. We could not do a thing but stand there and pretend that tomorrow we would talk about this moment and laugh.

She was odd, Ruby was. She indulged in odd things. Like the way she would always carry around a glue stick so that whenever anyone asked what the glue stick was for, she would tell them it was in case Michael Jackson came into the room and his nose fell off, she could glue it back on for him and then she would be his favorite. She also loved to save the lint from the dryer and make things with it: birds’ nests, potatoes with “hair” and toothpick arms. She was just strange this way.

On the jetway I took her hand and held it in a traditional handshaking, ergonomic manner, to show connectivity, but not too much connectivity. From a distance we could have been business associates. We touched the whole time even when the half words and sounds wriggled free from our closed lips and pinched hearts.

I always loved the way Ruby made me look at things, but lately, it was always a closed one way alley: small and bordered. It was how she never really needed me, her independence from me, that always got me so horny in a way I still cannot reckon.

On the jetway, stepping aside from the inexorable flow of passengers like some toreador fighting a bull, we stood at both a bridge and a wall. Something needed to happen. We locked into a gaze and an awkwardness neither of us had ever really known. I fumbled with an index card that had the recipe for Ruby’s favorite meal: fried eel with breaded cardone. I’d been carrying the card for weeks now meaning to file it. Recipes are just culinary memories. I made a mental note to toss the card away after she left, and I was out of sight. She whispered something Italian into my ear that I never heard over the gate assignments and pages over the loud speakers. She wore a baseball cap with her dusty long hair pushed through the back of the cap. Pulled down over her eyes, the cap gave her a great fierceness.
She looked deep into my eyes and touched my cheek and smiled. She could see that I had been smoothed raw by her love. It was clear that I was a finished man.

M C Biegner

Thursday, January 12, 2006

POEM - Writers Block

I press myself against the word
though at such an awful price.
In this vague and slack season
I am squeezed like a grape
hopeful that i can yield
enough fermented thought to make me drunk.
I press myself hard against the truth
that is like the nascent purple
of the very start of day
with a limp sun;
with clouds that have no intent at all
and a lackluster sky -
which pressage the impact of light
that is a sucker punch right in my gut -
always, just a bit surprising.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Great Sabbatical: God's First Vacation

On the first day of this last New Year, God – long overdue for His first ever vacation and very weary from his labors – was anxious to head out early before the snow started. He sat at his laptop, glasses propped up on his head as his long, white flowing beard draped into the keyboard like some cheap chenille scarf and started to type:

TO: Everyone
FR: God

RE: Vacation

This is to notify you that effective 12:01 A.M. cosmic time, I, God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, The Father, The Big Guy Upstairs, El Shaddai, Adonai, Most Holy of Holies, will be on vacation. This memo is to suggest that you figure things out on your own for a while. I have provided you with good sense, humor, free will, the internet and opposable thumbs so Me damn it people, USE these gifts to help one another.

I am counting on everyone’s complete cooperation or there will be hell to pay, I promise and I should know because I created hell!

Now I know that last time something like this happened was when that kvetcher Nietzsche started spreading rumors about my death. This caused untold panic and great harm. I expect nothing of this sort to happen again. You are hereby on your own. I will return in exactly one month.

If there are any prayers, leave them on my voicemail. I will not be answering email or voicemail while I am away. For those with little or no faith, you will assume that this reinforces your belief that I do not exist. This is only temporary. Trust me when I tell you this: I do exist.

Be good to each other and take care of my animals. I created them long before you and there is a reason why. Could it be there is anyone who does not know that I, God, am an avid animal lover? I would think the PETA bumper stickers on my car would be a clue.

Remember to keep praying: it works even when I am away, just not the way you think it does.


P.S. Will someone please put out my recyclables each Monday while I am gone? Much obliged.

So God hit the send button and you would have thought He’d just created another tsunami to flood the world. Humans everywhere were buzzing with the news. The New York Daily News headline read: “GOD TO WORLD: SCREW YOU!” and the Daily Post had similar bold headline in large, defiant typeface: “GOD SEZ DROP DEAD!” with the word “says” spelled S-E-Z.

But God was way overdue for this vacation. He had been at it for an eternity and was just burned out. The last few millennia, all he could think about was sitting on the beach with His IPOD Nano, sipping on one of those funny drinks with tiny umbrellas in them, getting sand caught in his beard and even getting a little sunburned. He figured he’d invite Jesus, Mary and Joe and the kids for a few days and they could rent mopeds, build bonfires on the beach and play hearts or pinochle until the early morning hours. If ever a deity was primed for a little R & R it was He!

So He left and the world faltered a bit. Traffic lights went crazy for a while changing randomly. The sun and moon decided to start rising and setting together leaving neither day nor night but rather a mix of the two for which no one could give a name. Poets went mad trying to write about the “something-set” or the “thing-a-ma-jig-rise”. Food started to grow scarce as wheat and other grains stopped growing without God’s presence. All the TV programming, for some reason, suddenly started turning into 24-hour news stations.

It was horrible.

But then, a crazy thing started happening. With God on no one’s side, sitting on a beach soaking up the rays, Muslims had no name to call out at soccer games. Christians no longer felt so self-righteous realizing they had no other advantage over other people. Jews stopped davening at the Wailing Wall since they knew no One was there to listen.

And since neither Jews nor Muslims had claims on any holy lands, the situation in the middle east grew less tense. Before too long, Muslims and Jews and Christians were breaking bread together, talking about Abraham, and Ibrahim and Jesus like they were long lost brothers, for in fact, this is exactly what they were. Soon they were saying things like: “Yahweh Who?” and “Allah Who?” and “Jesus Who?” and laughing about how each could have been so wrong about the other.

It was strange, but after the initial shock of God’s absence, people drew together to see their commonness more than their differences. Oh, there were troubles of course, even God could not, would not change this. And there were people who tried to use this opportunity to their own advantage too!

One guy in New Jersey using a Holstein dairy cow as his icon, tried to gather worshippers in God’s absence. They were called the “Holy Order of the Hoof and Udders” and they believed salvation was only possible in the recognition of the Bovineness of Human Life. Butter, cottage cheese and yogurt were sacraments and they performed rituals around the homogenization process. This did not catch on, however, since a large number of humans are lactose intolerant. (Rule number one when establishing a religion is to make certain most of your followers are not allergic to the sacraments.)

Another guy in Zimbabwe was proclaiming the divinity of the mosquito showing off bites as some sort of holy stigmata, until a small outbreak of malaria and encephalitis broke out in the region quickly putting the kibosh on that religion. The “Holy Order of Erythromycin and Quinine” soon started up after this and garnered many converts.

When the month was up, God, swinging in His hammock, flipping through his Franklin day planner, realizing that He had to go back, was just a little bit sad. He knew everything that was going on. I mean, He was omniscient, how could He NOT know? He tossed His clothes into His designer Ralph Lauren suitcase on wheels with an extra long handle, monogrammed with His initials: “G”.

He tossed His flip flops – gifts from Jesus long ago – into his bag. They were still gritty with some moist beach sand on them. He went back and when He did take His rightful place as the ruler of everything, things on the planet Earth began to return to normal. Unfortunately.

Soon – too soon in fact – the old prejudices and bigotries flitted back like they had been on vacation too. Soon enough, Muslims started hating Christians again. Christians started hated Muslims. And they both started hating the Jews. Everything was back to normal.

God booted up his laptop and listened to His voicemail: “You have 7,653,432,433 voicemails” the automated voice said. He just hit star-forward-426 on the phone buttons and forwarded them straight to hell. (Hell as a repository for voicemail was one of God’s best ideas, He thought, as He pressed the buttons.)

He popped a couple of aspirin as He already had a headache. He looked at the Great Calendar of Things hanging on His wall and wondered how He could ever make it through the next eternity. He counted the millennia until early retirement. It was so close He could taste it. Just for kicks, he pulled out the Book of Revelations and started thumbing through it, giggling as he did.

“Yeah,” He said aloud to Himself, “Not too much longer now.”

M C Biegner

Sunday, January 01, 2006

POEM - On A Winter Morning

On a Winter Morning
The Sky turns into bleach
And blanches great branches
Which gives the hemlocks sagging limbs -
And grays the tops of houses like old heads -
And stiffens everything
With hardened compact snow –
So flat and wide yet so wild
Where does all that color go?

Pale, shadowless light that
Becomes a single finger
On the lips of a mother-
This holy shhhhh to a child,
Where does all that crying go?

Somewhere beneath this hardness
Hides the deepest green of youth.
Somewhere beneath the missing
Things, lies the softest truth.

M C Biegner