God, In Youth and Age


Mistakes were made. Things were done.

There in the void, scattering lava-spitting planets from Hell to next Thursday,

kid must have been stone lonesome.

If He drowned his toys in the bathtub for forty days, hey, it was The Exciting Game Without Any Rules. 

Bitter little bastard, and so would you have been.

Time goes by, tick tock.

Awkward with girls, He just popped one pregnant.

Fast forward, single father with a son.

Awake at night, His fuck-ups from years ago torture Him still,

all the aggression and acting out.

Stone tablets just made it weird for everybody,

but He had to learn on the fly, no teachers, no friends.

What a smoking pile-up.

So there's His only son, chopping chairs and hope chests out of trees in the shed by himself.

"I'm gonna give you twelve friends, let you see the world, set everybody straight, do and have everything I never had!" Big smile, open arms, well? Well???

Jay turns back to planing the edge of a door. 

The flying chips remind Him of His old lava-spitting planets, most of them rocky and dead in the end, and He goes off.

Presto, Jay's in the desert with the devil, for the good of all concerned. 

Oh, He talks to the neighbors about sacrifice and salvation,

But every time He sees the hand-crafted coffee table out in the garage, 


forgotten next to the Jarts and the lawn mower,

He dips His old white-haired head,

leans down with His spotty hands on His knees 

and whispers, "I am that I am," to nobody.


for Sunday Muse #164


  1. Creation myths of the dystopia. How you were able to fashion this complex, balanced and challenging piece from the pic is a secret of your gift--I see the connection but I never would have made it. I love the unusual perspective of viewing God as just another Bozo on the bus, as it were. The haplessness of Jay is poignant, and the finish is especially beguiling in its ambiguity. Perhaps remorse is not possible for a god, and that explains a lot. Beautifully done, Shay, and as always, totally original.

  2. I would have to quote every line. That's... amazing. And did you really call him "Jay"??? utterly great. The 40 day game of drowning toys in the bathtub, "The Exciting Game Without Any Rules. " That is too fantastic for words. And "Stone tablets just made it weird for everybody" God in the garage with the Jarts set. Then muttering his big line to himself - old now, kids never call, puttering around, a little senile.

    1. I stole TEGWAR (The exciting game without any rules) from a novel by Mark Harris called "Bang The Drum Slowly." It's about a mythical baseball team called The New York Mammoths, and they all play a card game called TEGWAR. The main character (played in the movie by Michael Moriarty) is the star pitcher, who ties his contract to a back-up catcher (played by a young Robeet DeNiro) who he--and no one else--knows is dying. TEGWAR seems to me to be a metaphor for life.

  3. Shay--I just saw lawn darts in the store the other day. I'm sure they're made more safely these days. Back when you and I were kids, what were our parents thinking? Giving kids things with a sharp point to hurl across the yard?

    Maybe that IS what they were thinking... One less kid to feed or build a college fund for.

    I loved this poem. A perfect poem for an old woman like me, as I look back on what I was... and what I still "yam."

  4. This poem is so richly layered, and accompanied by the words of Gaye's Piece of Clay it carries one away in thought and reconsideration of "mistakes made and things done"....and, of course, the great I AM .

  5. What can I say here that has not already been spoken? How you make us see what we see is a true poetic journey indeed and your true gift to us! Your title is as captivating as the poem itself and the feel of it makes me think of the song, "One of Us" by Joan Osborne. This is brilliant my friend!

  6. Your gift of writing and imagination is simply amazing. Wow.

  7. Seriously .. this poem one of the reasons my brain simply could not go deep! A stunner.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Shay I love how you washed off the religion and told the tale as a real live story. I still don't know why the old man was such a bastard to his boy. :::wearing rubber boots in hopes of surviving the lightning strike:::

  10. I can't read this without it rendering familiar images and making them...uneasy. An amazing poem.

  11. By a long shot and a drop-kick reminds of Samuel Beckett.

  12. Oh a Biblical story as only you can tell...Love it, and your ending...Wow!

  13. Invigorating and a little uncomfortable one. The power of your words runs through the bones, Shay.

  14. Poor Jay and his forgotten creations. No rules, only firsts.

  15. Reading you is like watching Ohtani homer. You know it's coming... and it's still majestic.


Post a Comment

Spirit, what do you wish to tell us?