Monday, February 15, 2010

Jesus and Mavis Staples


Sodium borate decahydrate (Na2B4O7·10H2O), better known as borax, is the third most important boron compound. Borax is a key ingredient in a substance known as Oobleck, a strange material 6th grade students experiment with while participating in Jefferson Lab's BEAMS program. Other boron compounds are used to make borosilicate glasses, enamels for covering steel and as a potential medicine for treating arthritis.

I don't want to create another blog, but I have no place for my fiction. This is essay and my other blog is poetry. Feh. I'm posting here.

I'm sitting quietly, but Mavis Staples is not singing quietly. Her swarthy, mother-lode of a voice belts out, "Stop, children. What's that sound? Everybody look what's going down." The huge hum of our furnace rumbles beneath all the other noises, churning out heat to cold fingers and shivering obliques. For some reason, my sides squeeze tight like a girdle and shiver when I sit here at night.

Above my head is the classic print of Jesus at the Last Supper. A halo surrounds his head, his eyes demurely downcast, arms spread with upturned palms. The apostles flank him in various degrees of disbelief, skepticism.

"Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on," Mavis coaxes. Jesus might be saying the same thing to his disciples. He's focused on what lies ahead although I'm not sure how he can know the future. His followers question his visions, preferring the security of the status quo, taking refuge in what's static--not unsettling--as their rabbi suggests. Harness your hopes on my word, brothers. Trust me.

Keep your eyes on the prize, James, and Thomas. I know it's hard to believe, but soon I will be gone. No, don't ask me why. If you haven't figured that out by now, then the answer will be revealed in time. Simon Peter, soon you will be all ears in a way you can not now imagine.

You've got to wade on the water, brothers. The slurry of people who will rise above the flood need you to rescue them, guide them. Andrew, John, and you, there, Phillip, don adequate foot covering so that you can walk on the rocky beach and not slice your feet. It won't be easy, the waters of Galilee will soak you, but I know you're up to it. Pray, don't tell me you have else to do. You were born to do my will.

I am waiting for my child, for my child to come. I am waiting and I'm watching. Bartholomew and Matthew, have you seen the children? Have you touched them and held them? When I'm no longer here, take their hands and comfort them. You, too, Thaddeus and you also, James. Step boldly, yet tenderly, for the children's path is slippery as if lined with straw and oil. They grow and will be distracted, but grab their hands and show them the way.

I am the Way, you know. I have been the way since my mother prodded me in your lands, Simon, in Canaan. The water never tasted sweeter, did it? I am the way for each of you. I am the way for you Judas. I am the way for you to choose your path of destruction. You will not sleep easy tonight, my brother. You will rest like on a nest of locust, a mat of nettles.

And I will rest likewise, but not from an ill conscience. My heart will be troubled by what I see in your eyes right now, Judas. My soul cries out for the iniquity of your lust, Judas. The iniquity of your lust.

Prompts for January 27, due February 3:

Sitting quietly, listen for three sounds and include them in your post.
Tell the story in a single voice as if it's being told to you.
Include the words: straw, soak, & harness.
Include the phrase: I'm all ears. (You may change the verb tense if needed.)