29 March 2015

Faith (poem)

More faith have I in you
Than you do in yourself
You have no idea at all
Just how amazing you are
And if you’re wondering
Where my heart is
Just look down
Into the palm of your hand

26 March 2015

Aries (poem)

Sometimes
When I look at you
I want you so badly
That it physically hurts
My stomach flip-flops
The hunger so much
That I can’t eat
A pain I embrace
With my whole being
You are beautiful
Cushle mo cridhe
In more ways
Than you know



23 March 2015

666: The Mark of the Beast explained

Very few things in 20th and 21st century America have fostered as much superstitious nonsense as the overflowing abundance of completely clueless, utterly ignorant ideas about the meaning of the “mark of the beast” mentioned in The Revelation of John the Divine.  Almost all of the misconception and its concommitant idiocy derives from a profoundly zero  knowledge of Judaism at all and less-than-zero of any real information about the religion of “Jews” and the real Palestine of the first century.


I have placed the word “Jews” in parentheses because, as I have explained elsewhere, it meant something entirely different in the first centuries BCE/CE than it does in the twenty-first century.

Tefillin

The King James Version of the Bible calls these “phylacteries”.  Observant Judean (the only meaning of “Jew” in the first century), Idumean, and Galilean males in first century wore tefillin as part of their daily dress, as opposed to the custom today in which Orthodox (and some other varieties of Judaism) tie them on for morning and evening private prayer.  They were worn on the forehead and on the left wrist (now the left upper arm).

The practice came out of the Pharisee camp.  It is based on verses in the Book of Deuteronomy which still form its core passage, Deut. 6:4-9: Hear, O Israel: Yahuweh  our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

The sentence in bold provides the reason for the Pharisees’ interpretation of the passage as a mitzvoth, or duty.  While some of their followers almost certainly adhered to the practice, as a whole, the Sadducees, Bene Sedeq (forerunners of today’s Karaites), Essenes, Hellenists, and other sects did not.  Neither, of course, did the Samaritans.  Of those mentioned, the Karaites are all that remain (well, except the 750 Samaritans) and still do not wear tefillin ever, because they interpret the passage to be metaphorical.

The original passage so worn was merely the first verse, “Hear, O Israel: Yahuweh our God is one Lord”.  Not so much to worry about wearing around balled up in a scroll inside a tiny pouch.  Then it expanded to include the whole passage above, then to include three more passages, so that pouch grew into a box, then into a large box, too bulky for daily casual wear.

So, wearing this passage, “Hear, O Israel: Yahuweh our God is one Lord”, was for those afore-mentioned first century residents of Palestine a way of writing the “Name of the Lord” (Yahuweh) on their forehead and their hands, or wrists.  One of these, and probably a 20th or 21st century Jew, would understand the passage about the followers of “the beast” writing his/its name on their foreheads and hands immediately.

The Name of “the Beast”: 666

Superstitious fear about this number, 666, became so widespread in the latter half of the 20th century that it now has its own psychological diagnosis: Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

From whence the number 666 in Revelation?  For it to be used in the allegory that is the work in question, which is not a prophecy but an apocalypse, one of hundreds written at the time, such symbolism would have to be readily understood by its target audience, else it would be like addressing a letter to Americans in general in ancient Hebrew, or in any other language not American English, for that matter.

In the First Book of Kings, the amount of the fictitious Solomon’s annual revenue is given as follows (1 Kings 10:14): “Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold”.  By the first century, the number “666” had to come to symbolize wealth, especially excessive wealth at the expense of others.

Capitalist government and society have written 666 on the foreheads and left hands of every citizen of the country.  We Americans love our 666, or $$$ if you would rather.  The great 666/$$$ is what makes our nation go around, at least at the levels of the top.  Keepers and diviners of the 666/$$$ of the finance bourgeoisie are its prophets.

Not only our President and Congress but even our Courts and often even prelates and clerics hold up the 666/$$$ to be praised and adored, indirectly sometimes but often blatantly. 

“There is no god but 666/$$$, and Wall Street is its prophet”.  We symbolically wear virtual tefillin with the line  “Love 666/$$$ our God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength" as bracelets on our wrists and frontlets on our foreheads every day.  The great war of the tribulation is over; we are all servants of the great 666, whose lawgiver is Ayn Rand, that philosopher so beloved by so many of the white supremacist-Christian chauvinist-misogynist Tea Party, wearing a White Jesus mask.

Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the Temple grounds.  American government and society has not only invited them back in but enthroned them as gods in the Holy of Holies in the form of corporations now deemed “persons” by all four branches (legislative, executive, judicial, and corporate) of the de facto American polity.  If a corporation were actually a person, that person would be a psychopath.  There’s no treatment for psychopathy, therefore capitalism cannot be “reformed”.  It is like an old wineskin that needs to be discarded.

21 March 2015

Dust in the Stellar Winds (enlarged version)

Terra, or planet Earth, is 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000 or 1 x 1012) km3 in volume.

The Solar system, including the Oort Cloud, is 1.7 duodecillion (1.7 x 1039) km3 in volume.

The Milky Way galaxy is 33 quarttuordecillion (3.3 x 1046) km3 in volume.

The entire Universe is 213 duovigintillion (2.13 x 1071) km3 in volume.

The  Universe may be as big as 21.3 untrigintillion (2.13 x 1097) km3 in volume.  That doesn’t even take into account all the other universes in the whole Omniverse (Multiverse) of which we are a part.

A single human is, on average, 664 billionths (0.000000000664 or 6.64 x 10-11) km3 in volume.

There are around 8.8 billion class-M (Earth-like) planets (out of 100 billion total) in the Milky Way galaxy alone, likely inhabited by sentient and intelligent humanoid species.  Pretending that humans are the median and that our current population is the average, that means there are as many as 61.6 quintillion (6.16 x 1019) humanoids in our galaxy.

Planet Earth is 4.54 billion years old.

The Solar system is 4.56 billion years old.

The Milky Way galaxy is 13.2 billion years old.

The Universe is 13.8 billion years old since the (most recent) Big Bang.

The average life expectancy of a human at birth worldwide is 67.2 years. 

The entire human race, Homo sapiens sapiens, has been around only 200,000 years of the 13.8 billion years this Universe has existed.

In the face of this, human religions claim that one sub-set of one species on one planet in one star system in one arm of one galaxy in one local group of galaxies in one cluster of groups in one supercluster is the sole focus of attention of the Divine or the Other, and that all others of said species which fall outside that sub-set, even more so other species on other planets in other star systems in other galaxies in other local groups in other clusters in other superclusters throughout the infinity of space and the eternity of time do not count.  Of course, this is even more true of the fundamentalist wings of those religions than the rest.

The future will bring humans face-to-face with sentient and sapient artificial intelligence that while human-created will be every bit as much deserving of “human” rights and liberties as actual biological humans.  We give those rights to corporations which are by their definition psychopaths with no conscience or empathy and no function other than to devour and assimilate and destroy, so why not?

One day, species capable of interstellar travel will arrive on Earth, and for the humans of that day, it will be such a shock that ideologies will not be able to compensate.  The saving grace to that prospect, however, is that we treat our home with such contempt that by the time that happens all life on the planet will be extinct.  Except for rats and cockroaches.

16 March 2015

Great Commandment Chaplet

The following form can be used with the classic five-decade Roman Rosary or the much newer four-week Anglican Chaplet.

Opening prayers

Sign of the Cross (Signum Crucis)

In the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the TransformerAmen.

Still holding the cross, say:

Preces

V. Lord, open our lips.
R. And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
V. O God, make speed to save us.
R. O Lord, make haste to help us.
V. Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit:
R.  As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.  Alleluia. 

In Lent, in place of “Alleluia” say: Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

On the large bead say:

Lord’s Prayer

Father, blessed be your name.  May your dominion come and your will be done.  Let your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Give us what is sufficient day-by-day.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.  And save us from succumbing to temptation.  Amen.

Or this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us each day our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

On each of the three small beads (if using the classic Rosary) say once, or still on the large bead (if using the Anglican Chaplet) say thrice, meditating on Faith, Hope, and Love:

Trisagion

Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy upon us and the whole world.

On the chain say:

Minor Doxology (Gloria Patri)

Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit: As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.

Or this:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

For each decade of beads:

On each large or cruciform bead, say:

Great Commandment Prayer

May we love the Lord our God who is the One, both compassionate and merciful, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  May we love our neighbors as ourselves.  And may we love one another, Christ Jesus, just as you loved us, for there is no greater calling than to love.  Amen.

On each of the ten or seven small beads, say:

Publican’s Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

On the chain at the end of the decade or week, say:

Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit: As it was, is now, and always shall be, forever and ever.  Amen.

Or this:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Closing prayers:

After the fifth decade or fourth week, say one of the following, according to the season:

From the First Sunday in Advent thru Shrove Tuesday:

Memorial of the Incarnation (Gaude Maria)

Rejoice, Mary, favored one, for the Lord is with you: Blessed are you among women, Theotokos, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Amen.

Or this:

(Ave Maria)

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Amen.

From Ash Wednesday thru Holy Saturday, say:

Memorial of the Redemption (Salvator Mundi)

O Savior of the world, who by your cross and precious blood have redeemed us: Save us and help us, we humbly pray.  Amen.

From Easter Sunday thru Pentecost, say:

Memorial of the Resurrection (Pascha Nostrum)

Alleluia.  Christ our Passover has been raised from the dead.  Alleluia.  The first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  Amen.  Alleluia.

From Whit Monday thru the Saturday before Advent, say:

Memorial of the Illumination (Verbum Incarnavit)

The Word lived among us, full of grace and truth, a light shining in the darkness: We have beheld the glory of this, the Chosen One, and through him that of God.  Amen.

Conclude with:

Peace Prayer

Remind us, Lord, to be instruments of your peace.  Let us show love where there is hatred; pardon where there is injury; union where there is discord; trust where there is doubt; hope where there is despair; your light where there is darkness; joy where there is sadness.  May we seek rather to console than to be consoled; to understand than to understood; to love than to be loved. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are forgiven; and it is in dying that we live.  Amen.

Sign of the Cross (Signum Crucis)



In the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the TransformerAmen.

10 March 2015

Everything (poem)

If it were just about
Physical attraction
And seduction
Mutual or no
That would be easy
Easy way in
Easy way out
But it’s not

Intellectual stimulation
May spark a flame
But fire dies out
When the fuel’s gone
Or there’s no air
Left to breathe

Common interests
Common friends
Common religion
All just ephemeral
Dust in the wind

Bound I am
By a bond
Over which
I have no control

The things you hate about yourself
Are those I love the most
You are my frozen lake


09 March 2015

My sweet Lord Isho (poem)

Oh my Lord
My sweet Lord
Isho the Nazarene
Prophet and King
Bending down
To let us stand
On your shoulders
To see what we can be
Speaking out
For the Helpless
Who have no Voice
Stooping down
To reach out your hands
To lift up
The Despised and Rejected
Those who are Outside
Looking in at the rest
Who go on with their lives
Thankful than they
Are not like us

My sweet Lord
Neither divine Rebel
Reeking destruction
Nor sacred Defender
Of the Status Quo
The most dangerous critic
Comes from within

My sweet Lord
Followed in life by thousands
Who all deserted you
In your hour of need

My sweet Lord
They betray your memory today
As they betrayed you then
The Establishment
Has stolen you
From those of us
To whom you came
Claiming you as its own
Making you the silent icon
Of their creeping meatball culture
And their Law and Order regime

Chaplet of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

Begin by making the Sign of the Cross,

Sign of the Cross (Signum Crucis)

In the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Transformer.  Amen.

Still holding the cross, continue with:

Apostle’s Creed (Symbolum Apostolorum)

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth;
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
    He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
        and born of the Virgin Mary.
    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
        was crucified, died, and was buried.
    He descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again.
    He ascended into heaven,
        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. Amen.

On the large bead say:

Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

Or this:

Father, blessed be your name.  May your dominion come and your will be done.  Let your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Give us what is sufficient day-by-day.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.  And save us from succumbing to temptation.  Amen.

On the three small beads say, meditating on Faith, Hope, and Love:

Trisagion

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One: Have mercy upon us and the whole world.

On the chain say:

Minor Doxology (Gloria Patri)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

For each decade of beads:

Start each decade by naming the Mystery on which you will be meditating.

The Mysteries:

1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
2. The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20)
3. The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)
4. The Institution of the Blessed Sacrament (Mark 14:12-16, 22-25)
5. The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10)

On each large bead, say:

Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Or this:

Father, blessed be your name.  May your dominion come and your will be done.  Let your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Give us what is sufficient day-by-day.  Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.  And save us from succumbing to temptation.  Amen.

On each of the ten small beads, say:

Hail Mary (Ave Maria)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.

Or this:

Rejoice, Mary, favored one, for the Lord is with you: Blessed are you among women, Theotokos, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

On the chain at the end of the first four decades say:

Minor Doxology (Gloria Patri)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Then add:

Publican’s Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

On the chain at the end of the fifth decade, instead say:

Major Doxology (Gloria in excelsis)

Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men.  We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. 

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.  Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.  Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy, thou only art the Lord, thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Then add:

Publican’s Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

And say:

Prayer to Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament

O Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the glory of Christians, the joy of the universal Church, and the hope of the world, pray for us. Kindle in all the faithful a lively devotion to the most Holy Eucharist, so that they may be worthy to receive Holy Communion every day.  Amen.

V. Pray for us, O Virgin Immaculate, our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
R. That the Eucharistic Kingdom of Jesus Christ may come among us.

Let us with Mary Immaculate adore, thank, supplicate, and console the most sacred and beloved Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.  Amen.

Then say:

Great Commandment Prayer

May we love the Lord our God who is the One, both compassionate and merciful, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  May we love our neighbors as ourselves.  And may we love one another, Christ Jesus, just as you loved us, for there is no greater calling than to love.  Amen.

Conclude with:

V. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.
R. And let light perpetual shine upon them.

May Almighty God bless us, Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

Then repeat:

Sign of the Cross (Signum Crucis)

In the Name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Transformer.  Amen.

Nexus (poem)

There is no word to describe
That which for you I feel
It hurts
It hurts with a pain
Beyond unreal
A pain I would not trade
For relief
Of any kind
Temporary and ephemeral
Or everlasting and perpetual

I have no choice
No option
But to hang here
Suspended
In time and space
And endure this sweet pain
Embracing its gifts
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
With all my strength
With all my body
With all that I am


Sweet and Sour (poem)

God, it hurts so fucking much
But please don’t take my pain
Worse than its misery
Its loss to me would be
The yearning ache that brings
Me to my knees helpless
In supplication
To all the Universe
That this thing will be
A connection it needs
Or at least wants
As much as I desire

I embrace it all
With all that I am
Awkwardness and hope
Gracefulness and despair
Nausea, satisfaction
Hunger and satiety
Peace and discord
Tears of sorrow
Tears of joy
Sleeplessness
Restlessness
Longing
Reverie
Self-consciousness
Self-assurance

God, it hurts so fucking much
But please don’t take my pain


08 March 2015

Seven Last Words, 21st century-style

When they came to Golgotha, they crucified Jesus with two rebels, one on his left and one on his right.  Then Jesus said, “Father, I can’t breathe”.

One of them ridiculed Jesus, saying, “Aren’t you supposed to be the Messiah ben David?  Why don’t you save all three of us”.  The other rebuked him, saying, “We’ve earned our deaths, but this man is innocent.”  Then he turned to Jesus, and said, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”.  Jesus replied, “Today I can’t breathe.

When Jesus saw his mother, with Lazarus standing beside her, he said, “Mom, I can’t breathe”.

And about three o’clock Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why can’t I breathe?”.

When Jesus knew everything was ending, he said, “I want to breathe”.

The soldiers put a sponge filled with sour wine on the end of a branch and gave it to Jesus to drink.  When he had received it, he said, “I can’t breathe”.

Then Jesus said loudly, “Father, into your hands I commend my last breath”.  Then he dropped his head and died.


05 March 2015

Muse (poem)

Distracted by your presence
Distressed by your absence
I ache when you’re far
And quiver when you’re near

I watch you walk
To me or away
And my body yearns
To worship yours

Across a room
I see you sit
That special way you do
I’m entranced
My heart beats faster
Suddenly I feel goofy
Awkward
Tongue-tied



02 March 2015

Gemini (poem)

I don’t want to be the star
Of your solar system
A center of gravity
Around which everything else
Revolves


Make us instead a system
Of two binary stars
Orbiting the center mass
Binding us two together
As one


Until we collide and merge
Into a phenomenon
Known as a supernova
Creation from destruction
Big bang


A new sign in the heavens
A beacon in the universe
But most importantly hope
For us