CHRIST / Christmas Songs
b l e s s i n g s
Father, my dear,
blessings in a song
while we call your name
beckoning you near
keep us in your arms
summer hills now overgrown with introspection
defeating my heart
i hear birds of May sing whispers of the season
while she’s cold at night from winters wind of freezin’
these days behind
what of nature then?
if life borne of death let mystery end
needles surround me and i am undone and yet called to begin
what life have i yet to receive?
“If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest of us know, will you? For you’d be the first person in the history of the world.”Lancaster Dodd
Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of The Master, is my favorite character director. What I mean by ‘character director’ is that each of his films creates a universe that lives to serve one character. Punch-Drunk Love puts you into the mind of a psychologically abused brother in a family of sisters. There Will Be Blood allows you to accept the suave selfishness of Daniel Plainview. And The Master puts you inside the unsettling and uneasy state of mind of Freddie Quell, a World War II veteran dealing with PTSD and substance abuse.
I should say, I really didn’t like The Master. The film is brilliant, without a doubt it is one of the most important films Paul Thomas Anderson has written and directed. As for me, it went too deep for me to handle, surpassing my threshold of relatability. That being said, the message of the film is clear. We all serve a master. In one way or another, through vices, temptations, servitude, or commitment; we all serve a master.
Despite my frustration while watching this film, I really appreciated the character of Lancaster Dodd. To me, Lancaster Dodd serves as a point fo relatability throughout the plot-lacking story of The Master. I don’t mean to say I relate with him as a person, nor would anyone else watching. I mean to say his character serves as a familiar metaphor of those things we gravitate towards on a search for identity. In a scene from the film, Lancaster Dodd sits with Freddie Quell, hammering him with questions attempting to pull out honesty. This scene shows the break through of Freddie Quell who has now gotten a taste of his identity even if it is littered with things he abhors.
truth finds me now,
as a thread,
unthreading seams i’d sewn
the needle is a pine
and if i am nature
and nature within me
i’d pray as i unravel
that truth console my need
often i’ll write about my relationship with God in a way that might be uncomfortable for some. notably, all of my writing about God is in the form of a conversation. i think God values absolute honesty in communication, even if it is at times heretical. i feel when i am able to speak with God like this i am able to strengthen my relationship with him in a way that is honoring to Him. because i do love Him.
this is written as a set of four mirroring a backwards walk through the stages of grief. traditionally there are five stages to grief, the last stage being acceptance. this poem omits acceptance as i feel acceptance is unwritable. acceptance, to me, is a continuous process and since it involves so much change and continuous contemplation, the feeling itself can’t be isolated into a poem.
i wrote beginning with the last stages of grief so as to show the exchange of losing confidence in myself and losing my confidence in God. so here are the four poems and an extrapolation of my times wrestling with grief.
Flōra / Hark!, –
i wrestle with identity and the burdensome weight of being called God’s child amidst my own short comings
-, Bona Dea / Rejoice! Rejoice!
although it feels like a fruitless exercise, i call out to God in a way that feels in-line with the Christianity i grew up with
Ichor to Ferry Love, –
the distance in communication with Christ offers little comfort amidst grief and the frequent reminder of ‘a plan’ feels dilapidated and tasteless
i know who i am and i know who God is but i feel we are asymptotes due to my own stubborn nature
Angel is a dark subversive piece that has its roots in Jamaican soul, ambient trip hop, and something else that could only be described as Massive Attackesque. the song provides an atmosphere that is complex but easily recognizable. from start to finish this song is a bank robbery, or a heist gone right, or a silent stalking through dark alleys. it builds on itself with tight and stressed snares and a boding bass line that dominates every corner. it’s ambient but choppy leaving behind a sense of safety amongst chaos. this is what music should do. music, no matter what the mood or the presence of the song is, needs to say something. it needs to be something definable and if not definable it should leave you wondering why it was captivating. Angel, as an opener for the album Mezzanine, sets the tone of the whole album. to me, Angel is the best example of an opener setting the appropriate tone of any album i’ve come across.
true, unsaid little virtues
what common things i’ve yet to grasp
mysteries, survive me
what lies below a lake
do you gasp
from fathom of discovery
while lungs fill with water,
best do my breathing
where the air is decidedly yours