“Then I saw that the wall had never been there, that the ‘Unheard of’ is here and this, not something and somewhere else, that the ‘offering’ is here and now, always and everywhere — ‘surrendered’ to be what, in me, God gives of Himself to Himself. So long as you abide in the ‘Unheard of’, you are beyond and above — to hold fast to this must be the first commandment in your spiritual discipline.” –Dag Hammarskjold, Markings
My prison pen pal “Conway” shared this quote with me in his latest letter. Too well, he understands that the impulse to pin down and possess the sacred can fuel the self-righteousness of the oppressor. Hammarskjold suggests that God is a mystery that we abide in, with humility. Believing we can comprehend God is a short step away from believing that our group has the divine right of superiority over someone else who disagrees with us.
Conway also sent me a revised version of his poem “Screw”, which I published here here in May. Though I miss a few of the phrases from the original, I like this version’s tighter rhymes and slam-poetry energy, and the new title, which adds a dimension of political commentary.
Which bowl do I pick to torture me
I’ll choose one or two, but never three
that’s an unlucky number for me.
Captured with fiction (false prevention)
for a warrant scored, law ignored
in turn arrested, past inspected
stuck in the county jail congested.
Forced to sleep on a nasty-ass floor,
as time passes by but never clicks
on phantom clocks (in our mind) that tick,
unless of course, someone pays for bail
cares enough perhaps, to spare those straps?
Can we be dragged, from beneath of it
this God-forsaken — bottomless pit
Where a pancake tastes like pigeon shit.
Jailbirds, bound against each other nude
then lewdly gagged with rude restraint
beseeching eyes express their complaint
scooching voiceless, along corridors.
Where chains, dragged in exploit (bragged about)
by infinite banes of committee —
sparing no scrap of humane pity.
Suffer the fools, this ruthless city
Controlled lies can never compromise.
Show us when;
Take this summons they say “Come along”
It matters not, if you’ve done No wrong!
Blind’s the law, to an innocent’s song.
What is all of this, our time of day?
Without a window sun’s light to see
What would you say, if you had grown cold
while nakedly sold, then told “No way!”
you cannot wear their warm clothes today.
“Rue ice-cold talons of punishment”
chilled bones are part of this correction;
We must oppose (who chose) to strip skin
of warm clothes (like the fooled emperor).
They say, while —
wearing a poison barbedwire smile:
“You’ll harm yourself for quite a long-while”
receive reprisal without god’ style.
Fool! pick your poison, get on inside
regardless if, you will not decide
to ever get caught-up on this ride
screaming so loud, to start a landslide,
where razor-wire, divides the road;
One, our ancestors surely have strolled,
built on fanatical persuasion —
on some poor fool’s screwed-up vision
sanctified rule of prohibition.
Do you know?
To break free-spirit, is their main goal.
We only leave when we’ve paid that toll,
then, some lost soul just refills their bowl…