At The House of Gaius

"I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord."
---Romans 16:22


The wages that I earned from common work
put food upon my Christian family's table;
and gave me, also, opportunity
to serve our church in Corinth as its clerk---
and that provided far more delectation
than laboring to sell some man's cheap cable
or listening to customers complain
that what they want cannot be done right now.
But their conniptions do not make me scowl,
nor can their uncouth temperament profane
the blessing that provides my inspiration---
because this has been raised up spiritually.
Once, while our Brother Paul stayed in the home
of Gaius, he dispatched a letter to
the brethren called to be Christ's saints in Rome,
and I wrote down the words at his dictation.
His words ascend beyond the aggravation
of this world, and its carnal retinue.
Upon his words the troubled heart may shore
its fragments; and the weighted soul can soar,
above its burdens, right to Heaven's door.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

The phrase "shore its fragments" is an allusion to a line in the fifth section of T. S. Eliot's great poem, The Waste Land.

I realize that the office of Church clerk is not established in the Bible; and, of course, did not exist in its present form during the time of the New Testament.  I suggest, however, in what I hope is an original conjecture, that Tertius, in serving as Paul's secretary, at least in the writing of the Roman epistle, was, in some aspects, clerk of the Corinthian church at that time.

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@ + 27.255 MHz: At The Three Fountains; One Old Hag

[for Lady Rae]


We always had despised his attitude,
and his self-righteousness was rather crude.
We did not tolerate that foreign Jew
preaching against the thing we liked to do.
Eventually, he went to execution;
which, we thought, was a rather fine conclusion
to all of this religious agitation
that he stirred up just for our aggravation.
Strictly upon a perverse, vengeful whim
we went out to the road to jeer at him.
Two teenaged girls, my lover and I, nude
and (if I may describe the obvious)
highly aroused, we were, and amorous.
But Paul did not, once, even look at us.
None of the guards around him made a fuss.
Nothing at all, that evening, changed his mood---
he seemed, despite the facts, victorious;
his gaze appeared to be a glorious
anticipation of a better morrow.
The men assigned to kill him trudged with sorrow
heavy upon their gnarled feet and grim faces.
But Paul, himself, displayed none of the traces
of ordinary fear or cringing dread;
nothing a man more like us might have felt.
Not too far past the walls, they went.  Once there,
Paul spent a moment in his final prayer;
and then, without least hesitation, knelt.
At once, the flashing sword lopped of his head.

All that was fifty years ago, and more.
I have grown old, ugly, toothless, and sore
of limb.  I cannot even hire a whore
to lay with me.  And what is worse to bear---
these Christians turn up almost everywhere
(and any time, and anywhere at all) . . .
and they still talk, among themselves, of Paul.

They did not like our lifestyle:  arrogant,
I say that is, closed-minded, ignorant.
How dare they speak against, or even slight,
the choices to which I have perfect right?

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Although the speaker is deplorable, her perspective is, I think, a valid representation of societal attitudes at the time of Paul's martyrdom.  And it amazes me how, demanding the right to her own lifestyle, she denies anyone else the right to question or criticize it.

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@ + 27.255 MHz: At The Three Fountains; Two In Conversation

[to Lady Rae]


You were Paul's doctor and his closest friend.
You traveled with him many miles and years.
I knew him, as his lawyer, toward the end,
just after he had led me to belief
in Christ.  Paul's courage quelled my fretting fears
of this lost world's dark ways, and the distress
it causes.  Paul's firm hope has calmed my grief.
For absence, and not death, I shed these tears:
Paul is not dead; just absent; with the Lord,
and happier to be there.  None the less,
I miss him.  But I know now to look toward
that final gathering to happiness
into which all the faithful are received---
all who, like Paul, have trusted and believed.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

The site of the Three Fountains, outside Rome, is said to have been the place where the Apostle Saint Paul was martryed. The speaker of the poem is Zenas, a Christian and lawyer mentioned in Paul's letter to Titus, 3:13. I have often thought that Zenas was Paul's attorney, especially as regards the events of Acts 28; but I do not know if this is an original conjecture on my part. The person to whom Zenas speaks is Luke, author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles; for Luke's attendance upon Paul at the end of his life, see 2 Timothy 4:11. The absence from the body is described in 2 Corinthians 5:8.

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Bell Book and Candle

I shall be cast out, with my accomplices and abettors

Denied the precious body and blood of the Lord

And the company of all Christian congregations

Excluded from the holy mother church

In heaven and on earth

I am excommunicate


Judged to be damned

With the devil and his angels

And all the reprobate

To eternal fire

Until I shall recover myself

From the toils of the devil

The Bishops all said

“So Be It”

A Bell rang

The holy book was closed

And the candles were snuffed

And thrown to the floor

This, the sentence passed upon me

By Papal Bull

On the twenty seventh day of April 1570,

Three hundred and ninety years before I was born,

And on all who serve the English crown.

It has yet to be repealed.

“God Save the Queen”

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At Nod

You say you have new methods that can train
a girl-slave to desire the kinds of pain
that you inflict upon her; to enjoy
the injury put on her by each toy,
each perverse instrument that you deploy
to bolster up the masculinity
that, in you, is a crippled parody.
You arrogate false titles, such as "lord,"
upon yourself:  these crutches well afford
you some semblance or sense of dignity.
You need all this to keep your conscience proud,
that you might glory in the ancient mark---
of your ancestry, from your forbear, Cain.

Yet now you shiver, as the day grows dark
too early.  You have never seen it so
much like night.  In the distance climbs a cloud:
and you cannot (for all your postures) know
its purpose.  As it quickly makes its rise,
droplets of water spill from churlish skies
accelerating.  This will be called rain.               

Author's Notes/Comments: 

From Genesis 4:15-16; 6:5; 7:12

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Baby, you gotta understand me right now,

I've had my dreams broken,

And it hurts with every heart beat,

Having my eyes wide open.

He loved me, treated me right, no problems,

I left because of me,

Got scared of the "happily ever after"

So I broke his heart to be free.

I still think about him everyday,

Not knowing whether to feel guilty,

I feel cold and heartless,

So I'm making this plea...

I want a family and a husband to love,

With a career to guide my way,

But not yet, no thoughts of the future,

I just want to feel my love everyday.

You're still young, baby, so much to learn,

I don't want your dreams in the way,

Don't you make the same mistake,

Then wonder why you ran away.

I love you, I'll give you my world,

Knowing you love me too,

Just feel our love strengthen every breath,

Then life will follow us through.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

biggest poem for a while. most thoughtful too

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...and Time Stood Silently Still


But for a moment, I was swept

backwards, to days long gone.

Taken there through visions

of things left behind

to weather and wear

in their place, last left.


A testament

to all that was,

and how all came to now be,

by roughened hands

which gentled fields

and tamed the weeds of ages.


Useless now?

'Nay' say I-

for it be a strong reminder,

that all which has passed before,

can always be remembered,

as what is yet to come.


So I stood there,

in a soft mezmerized,

and calming state,

as I became solidly one,

with what had already passed my years-

...and time stood silently still.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written: 2005

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Irrigation Of Lives Past




absorbed blood
of fallen soldiers.

Crimson fertilizer
soaking deep
in the ground.


What emerged forth
from those fields
has grown
with the lives
which fled
from fallen bodies.


Men, boys, fathers,
sons, brothers,
of the Civil War.


Their warm blood
ran in rivulets
among corn,
and wheat,
and cotton.


An irrigation system

by war.

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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Native Man



Up on the rocks,
High on a hill.
Sits a man on a horse,
Like a statue he's still.


Bronze from the sun,
Chisled, like stone.
This proud Native man,
Red-blooded to the bone.


His black hair flows,
Down his back with grace.
Like silken coal,
It frames his face.


His muscles are corded,
And hard to the touch.
His eyes are piercing,
They have seen so much.


This glorious man,
Up there on his mount.
Has seen many horrors,
Too numerous to count.


And yet he remains,
To his heritage, true.
His beliefs, his strength.
Its all he ever knew.


A man of pride,
He lives off the land.
Only takes what he needs,
Because he understands.


This Native man,
A beauty to behold.
A spirit wind...
A legend told.

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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