Thursday, December 17, 2015

"A Poem for Forever" published in Oddball Magazine is about a Higher Power

The story behind the story of this poem is comparable TJ Edsen's accompanying photograph. Central Square looks like it's bathed in stained glass---church-like, but the photo can't completely capture the senses of someone actually walking through that ally or even sitting in a church, just as our senses in life do not completely capture the range of all of our senses in death. What? Well, read on.

 At 17, I had a NDE (Near Death Experience), which words cannot accurately describe, as the experience is so far outside the margins. I tried to here in the short story "Still Water Runs Deep" (2003), found in Short Street.

He fell lifeless, gravity pulling him slowly to the bottom of the ocean. Too tired to swim, but not giving up. Letting the water embrace him, soft, a gentle force against his skin. Mind over matter…Mind over matter…Mind over matter. This must be what a meditative trance is like.

He spread his arms, and he breathed the water’s oxygen—warm, like a hit of the best brandy in the entire world. The warmth radiated throughout his entire body. Is this what it’s like to die?

Just keep relaxing, his mind told him. His mind. The physical effort had now disappeared, and his entire existence felt different somehow. It was as if he were online with his mind, using his brain in a new way—or was it his soul he was using now? Information was being accessed. Pictures were clear, presenting themselves to him: the tile floor he knelt on as a six-year-old, spinning to get dizzy, simulating his first time drunk; the center of his Sit-N-Spin; the label of the first 45 record he ever owned, a yellow-and-orange checkered pattern (Tommy James and the Shondelles) turning around and around.
His mind was boundless, filled with the knowledge he had acquired in his life. Filled also with something else. All the knowledge that could potentially be acquired soared through his lobes and synapses. It was information he had no right knowing: the Theory of Relativity, Freudian psychoanalysis, methods of combustion, construction of an atomic warhead, human anatomy, Pythagorean theorems and every language ever known. All of it was right there. He was becoming mentally aligned with the universe.
Fifteen minutes ago, on his sailboat, it had been only a feeling, perhaps a faint sense of…something. He certainly couldn’t have anticipated the boom shifting, cracking him on the head and knocking him off his fishing boat. If it could happen now, he would have already known it was coming.
But floating outside of his current body the ability to foresee the accident was just a Catch-22. All his senses were being replaced by total knowledge.
A large, glowing hand appeared in the water. It seemed non-threatening, seeing a large, glowing hand floating near him. He instinctively knew it was the Total Entity, some sort of God coming to carry him away, showing him a choice he had to make. It seemed laid out, and simple. It was a question. Should I stay in this body or should I go into the hand of The Entity? It was the only piece of information in his entire being he seemed to question. Should I return to the body I know, or should I go with all this knowledge to where I’m being led?
Immediately he was separated from his body, which slowly sank into the ocean.

It was something far short of the actual experience. Years later I tried it in a poem, today's "A Poem for Forever".  Very often when I start a poem it'll start somewhere and then go wherever it wants and as a writer I let that happen and then THAT becomes the poem. This one ended up religious, spiritual, and about G-O-D. It felt odd, but it also felt, this is all new territory and a pretty decent poem. So here it is.

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