Monday, June 26, 2006

POEM - Daylight

Shade overcomes me as silent as oil,
I thought it was you for one long moment.
It held lust and rage just like you did once,
Now it holds surrender the way summer
Air holds moisture. It seems we would not be
Able to save each other like we thought
We could. Our new worlds drawn out in crayon,
We drew all the fantasies we would need.
We made play, like children. Still, as newborns,
We sought relief in cool, shifting shadows.
Until daylight wore us down with the strength
Of Tidal fingers sculpting a beachhead.
Until we peered over the water’s edge
And recognized who it was that we were,
And to whom we ultimately belonged.

M C Biegner

Friday, June 23, 2006

POEM - Planes

Sometimes I think the planes that fly overhead
Ones that have really long necks like ostriches -
Will take me to imaginary places.
747s with swollen heads that
Converse in the language of Thunder and Thrust,
That carry small villages of people the way
The great fish carried Jonah in its gullet.
There are planes with choppy propellers that bounce
Around like a Coney Island roller coaster.
There are the foreign ones with fancy colored tails
And strange symbols written on the fuselage.
There are the ordinary ones that look like Jesus' cross
Above, as if offering Jesus’ love.
On my roof, I often kept my 9:00 o'clock
Rendezvous with the Supersonic Concorde,
Pterodactyl of a shrunken Atlantic,
This caped bird was like a kite stuck fast to the
Flat gray ozone blanket over JFK
With wide triangular arms spread, scooping sky,
With that crooked nose that dangled and sniffed out
The scents of New York, Paris or London.

These days I pilot my planes on paper in
Words, with which I struggle to navigate through
The foggiest weather, or most grave ice storms
Praying that these planes on paper will ascend
Past the limits of impossibly thin air;
Throguh the limits of my childhood’s end.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

POEM - Mt.Holyoke College

Oh tough beard of five o'clock shadows,
Of stubble that scratches stoney wall faces
With sinister cheeks and malformed noses -
I am warmed by abundant, swarming ambition.

As if those parapits could protect each detailed plan!
As if they could separate the winners from the losers!
As if they could protect the beating heart of womanhood!
I am warmed by abundant, swarming graces.

Sturdy, giraffe-like spires, prayer as architecture,
Inspire me toward skyward things,
Toward everything that is higher -
This, the pulse of some great, youthful haste.

The pride is like some distant and erect, blue gray cliffs
That poses in regal profile in distant, weepy fog.
The silent oak doors are a stern face
That upholds the weight of slate roofed promises which

Reserves, bookmarks, and dogears
The winningest days, and dreams fulfilled.

M C Biegner

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Gimme That Old Time Science

(Published by Crunchables.Net, June 2006)

I don’t understand why some people want to promote the idea of “intelligent design” in place of Darwinian evolution. Considering how the world looks today, I would think theists would want to distance God from having any hand in creation.
The thinking behind intelligent design goes something like this: not all of Darwin’s ideas about natural selection are supported in nature, hence, there must be some other explanation which fills in the gaps. But would a loving intelligent God really give us mayflies? Mosquitoes? Fire ants? Paris Hilton?
At intelligent design’s foundation is a basic Aristotelian syllogism: if there is movement then there must be some prime mover. If there is order in nature, then there must be One who created that order. But that’s hardly a scientific hypothesis — it’s not provable, or even measurable. It is not a theory so much as it is a solution in search of a question. Sure, science can’t prove that it wasn’t God who had a hand in all this, but it can’t prove that it wasn’t Tinkerbell either. Still, I don’t see anyone offering the “Tinkerbell Theory of Evolution.” [Note from the eds: There is, however, the Flying Spaghetti Monster Theory.]
Any scientific theory based on a presumption that God even exists ends up as nothing more than a “does too, does not” kind of debate. This is not science, which requires thesis and experimentation and peer review. This is just the sixth grade playground all over again.
Theologically, this kind of theory actually undermines faith. “Proving” the existence of God through reason is not faith at all. It’s an arrogant assertion that we can find God all on our own, rather than accepting the humbler notion that we find God through grace; through art and meditation and other ways we use non-cognitive intelligences; even through dumb-ass luck.
Art and music and even religion all try to describe interior truths — subjective ones, but ones every bit as real as fossils in an archeological dig. The attempt to turn the intuitive into something objective reflects a bias toward a rational view of the world, a perspective that has held sway for far too long in this culture. This is the real agenda of people who want to promote intelligent design in the schools: it’s a backlash against a scientific community that for so long eschewed anything suggesting there could be any unfathomable mysteries in our world.
Throughout the 20th century, science fed our belief that God was not needed to explain things — that given enough time and the scientific method, all things could eventually be known. This gave rise to the idea that God could be understood by the brute force of human intellect, and that this intellectual pursuit could even be dressed up as science.
While science tries to reveal objective truth based on observable and demonstrable evidence, religion’s truths are personal ones that need no verification. Intelligent design confuses non-cognitive, intuitive knowledge with objective, measurable data. It would be as if we only knew the color yellow by its spectrum wavelength of 575 nanometers. This is measurable, objective and true, but reveals nothing about how yellow makes me feel, the way it brightens my mood, how it reminds me of summer. Each truth describes a different quality of what color is. We teach one in science class and the other in art class, and no one seems to mind.
Maybe the most compelling argument against intelligent design is the supposed apex of God’s creation: humans. At the start of the 21st century, we find ourselves creating a warmer planet and melting the polar ice caps, poisoning the air and water to unprecedented levels, straining resources beyond comprehension with a population now exceeding 6 billion, all while burning ever dwindling fossil fuels. Meanwhile, there never seems to be a war that we can say no to.
Some apex. It’s no wonder Kurt Vonnegut wrote that if God were to come down to earth today He would be an atheist.
This is not to suggest that God had nothing to do with Creation. Maybe She did. It’s just that it sure would be easier to believe in intelligent design if that Designer had done a little better job on us.

POEM - Up There, Where I Saw A Skeleton Sleeping

Clouds slip in on teflon, as quiet as oil,
Where once, when I was younger, I sent my prayers,
In full repose, a skeleton rests breathless.
I count each vertebrae like stones: from the base
Of a jagged skull to its soft collar bones,
Sharp shoulder blades explode like fireworks;
Barrel ribs, a resting crib for missing lungs.
Face upward, with no trace of skin at all.

I send a wish to this skeleton in flight
Like running bits of paper up a kite string,
And, true of all things that are dead too quickly,
It dissipates without a cloudy remnant
To recall, nothing but the tender milky fog.

M C Biegner

Friday, June 09, 2006

Let It Fester

“Let it fester!” he yelled to me.

“Let it what?”

“Fester. Fester. Let it fester.”

We were not talking about serious medicine here. We were discussing a wound I made to my right thumb. Flattened like a silk bed sheet under the relentless head of a hammer. Flattened while hanging a picture I didn’t really want to hang. I had promised myself I would hang it. I was nagging myself to hang it actually. What a nag I can be! After all the internalized haranguing I finally told myself to just shut up and I would hang it already.

“Why ‘let it fester’?
“Why what?”
“Let it fester – you said let it fester – why?”

My friend lingers, bathed in his own dullness. Muted color face. Large O-shaped mouth, open, empty.

“Yeah, let it fester. It’s your body. Your body is wanting to fight the germs. It’s your body’s way. Let it fester.”

So I did. I let it fester. I was festive with fester. I feasted on fester. For two weeks I was the greatest fester un-molester and watched my thumb grow to the size of a billiard ball – the eleven ball to be specific. They always teach to be specific in writing class. Well, my thumb looked like the eleven ball. Red stripe and all. It throbbed seeking a corner pocket no doubt for someplace to hide.

I see my friend and I hold the thumb up and out like a caricature of the “Fonz” going “Ehhhhhhhh.” One hand, one bulbous thumb, like hitchhiking in Texas where everything is bigger. I mouth the words slowly and my friend lip reads my mime. “Let it fester” I mouth. He comes over and nods, “Let it fester” and we both start nodding in agreement that it is a natural thing. It is the way wounds should heal. Manly. Burly. Things – we think – women would like.

Weeks go by and I meet my friend again and he asks why I am carrying around a bowling ball and I swear to Christ I want to hit him. I want to go back to my apartment and start carrying around a bowling ball just so I can hit him with it. Then he realizes what it is and he asks, “Let it fester?” and I nod and say the words trailing at the end, like I have echolalia or something, joining him on the word “fester”. I am worried and my friend senses this and convinces me to wait a little while longer. “It will get better,” he assures me.

He resolves to buck me up by buying me a beer that I cannot hold in my right hand because of the bowling ball I am apparently carrying. I resolve to get a pair of bowling shoes so at least it looks natural. And I also resolve to call the doctor next week if this does not get better.

Seven days later I am at a table at my favorite coffee shop and my friend comes in. He doesn’t see me. Why should he? He is not looking for any friends that appear to be the size and texture of an overgrown fitness ball, wearing green Keds. My friend looks directly at me and I wave, but it appears to him that the fitness ball in the corner is trying to order more coffee, or a Danish or something. He looks. I wave. He looks more. I wave more. Finally I have to shout: “Hey fuckhead over here!” and though looking straight at me, the word “Fuckhead” could only be mine and he suddenly – the way a cloud’s shadow moves noiselessly over open fields in spring –recognizes the green Keds and calls out to me, “This is letting it fester?” He is incredulous. I am no longer human but one large fester-ball. My eyes look backward, like a flounder that appears to look in different directions at once. I am wrapped in bed sheets – twisted bed sheets. As if melons could toga.

My friend whistles long and low. He knows I am pissed. Pissed at him. Pissed at me for listening to myself and caved in wanting to hang that picture. Mostly though I am pissed at me. And the hammer. Especially the hammer. The hard, unyielding hammer. These things should have warning labels, I think in a whiny internal voice.

“Dude, you should have gone to the ER when this happened man!”

I want to hit him. I really do. Instead, I push us my round body to push two tables together and they catch his hand. Now he is bleeding like an overripe tomato. A soft split tomato with red and seeds all falling out. The blood is everywhere and the satisfaction is filling the room like a spring flood. I turn my mouth now on the other side of my body because of the swelling towards him.

“Let it fester,” I tell him.