It's 10 AM, which means "Breakfast with the Beatles" is over. I've been listening to the show for at least 15 years. When you consider the Beatles only recorded ten-and-a-half hours of music, it's amazing how inexhaustible their genius is. Of course these shows always feature rare outtakes and solo work, but still: ten hours and change? There's another reason I listen. It's my ritual if I don't go to church and I've only been to church once since moving to Mendocino County.
In our town of a little over one thousand, there are three churches: Baptist, Catholic, and Presbyterian. The Presbyterian is by far the largest, so I attended there last week. But the touchy-feely factor was simply too high for me. At the end of the service we joined in a large circle, holding hands to recite the Lord's prayer. And during the prayer request time, as soon as one was mentioned from the cheap seats, the minister would immediately close his eyes, raise up his head, and utter a telegraph to the Almighty. God was much too available there through human affection, and the two should not be equated in my humble opinion. They do offer eucharist at 8:30 AM but that's a tad early for me, though I hope the service is more formal.
I don't want to go to church inhabited by Hug-a-Bunches. I like God at a formal distance and parishioners who don't violate my boundaries. Oh you could say I'm a stiff, that it's my fear and pride that keep me from rolling in human honey, and I'd have no objection. On the other hand, I don't like faith trivialized into an encounter group. I may have to drive to the big city of 6,000 to find a church more comfortable. Then if you live in a place where your psychiatrist wants to hug you, there may be no liturgical relief.
As you no doubt noticed, I have changed my blog's style. This was a necessity in restoring my blog at all. I hope the new design doesn't put anyone off; the old one was boring me anyway. And I promise to restore links soon.
A valued correspondent wrote me and asked, "Deep down, what do you expect of your blog?" Here was my answer: 1) To stay in the writing habit; 2) To have a greater audience for my poetry; 3) To help the mood-disordered, and 4) To keep friends and family informed of my existence. What do I expect "deep down?" That I don't know. Perhaps to broaden my reputation.
Meanwhile Kathleen has been slaving at Safeway's deli for more than a month in order to eventually obtain benefits for both of us, as our medications are prohibitive for starters, although I save a lot of money by ordering them from overseas. Her work also allows us some extras; we bought a TV after living without one for five months, so we're all set for basketball season. Meanwhile we can watch Law and Order re-runs to our hearts' content. We don't have all the dialogue memorized yet, but eventually we expect to be as proficient with Sam Waterston's summations as my daughters once were with the Rocky Horror Show. Just preserve me from the vapidly affectionate Church Show.
Here's a poem that touches on the religious question lightly:
Irregular Couplets for an Inscrutable Deity
First, explain the platypus;
Then, middle-age adipose.
Why do men build dark places to worship the light?
Why are poisonous things so often beautiful and bright?
You should have given them all rattles.
I wish politicians had them. It addles
my brain to think you know all. Why should I pray?
"Foreknowledge is not predestination," theologians say,
but I find the distinction odd.
You're not Cassandra, you're God.
(published in Poetry Superhighway)
At O.5 Kilorats,