“Writing is easy. You just open up a vein and bleed”
Kind of…then you look up words in the dictionary or thesaurus and then you erase and edit and go backwards to move forward. In pun form, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” I have been groping for some way to express writing as sanctification. This is the best I can do at this time in my life. Writing is a human process…and when married to the divine becomes something eternal, cathartic, and epiphany inducing. Writing can lead you into yourself and then redirect to a place much farther away. William Blake believed in the power of the poem as vision. In many ways so do I. But vision needs to be shaped to fit reality…or, reality transformed to be shaped into the vision. I believe in the power of writing. So, here are two poems tied to these ideas. I hope their ideas aren’t too far off from my vision of writing as a tool to aid us in sanctification–or for God to use to bring us into the fire of sanctification.
I write upon the skin of life—
By Paul Tomes
I extend myself—and celebrate
The way a pen becomes another
Part of the body when pushed
Into paper’s porous skin.
Rip open the arms to their bone
And smell it’s scent, the smooth graphite,
The marrow, the shavings
Of sawdust whittled down
Into a slender focused finger-tip.
Snap a shining pen in two and
hear the fracturing of a limb—of me,
As ink runs out in warm lines
Spreading my life out—I bleed!
I could wax paper with crayons for the blind,
Void of colors that distract their eyes.
They would feel, in tracing the residue
A brail of truth speaking from the sur-face.
I will rub myself raw, down to the sharp medal
Boundary of the eraser until
All I can do is erase—subtract,
Or point to old words, redundant and repeated.
Everything redundant and repeated,
Said and said again
Until my pen can heal,
To scribble never having to kneel.
By Paul Tomes
Sanctified by winter’s fire,
Trees transform through alchemy.
Green molting into gold
The sunlit shade that fades away
Like slow shooting stars, floating
Down to earth, settling
As nakedness bears itself again,
Nudging the seasons toward re-birth.
The snake’s soul, torn and bruised
And ground abused,
They shed their exoskeletons.
Writhing and rubbing
Their remnants into the dust,
Upon thorns to peel it back,
The crumply white reminders
Of last life’s slow crawl.
Can I discard old skin?
Or brush my dandruff flakes
To the corners of my den?
Whither into white snow
To shed the dead forgotten scars,
And blossom brilliant golden stars
Scaled down to fit inside
Myself something brightly born?
Why the leaf shedding
Or the body—molting?
If I too can’t scratch
At the surface of me
To find a different form
Or face beneath
Without my grieving grin nakedly worn,
Without hope of sprouting leaves?
Before the molten summer
Chars the limbs brown and orange—red,
Or winters hellish breath
Chills me to a living death,
Does upon me spread the faintest gold
Before winter’s hellish cold
Rubs me naked once again?
To bury me alive—in dying piles of grief?