Que Sais-je?

This page focuses on Jean-Luc's struggle to separate the supremacy of the Abrahamic tradition from belief in God, love, redemption, and mercy.

What We Knew  -  What He Knew  -  Eucharistia  

 

What We Knew

 

Jean-Luc resigned himself to the fact

that there was more than one creation

and more than one resurrection.

 

In the beginning

of time and space

there was a spark

an explosion of light

 

In the beginning

of life

there was water

and cells and movement

that eventually swam in the water

and moved across layers

like the layers of outer space

but here on earth, onto earth

and eventually above the earth

in the skies

where finches flew

an Alpha without an Omega

documented in the holy book

about the origin of species

for it too was a work of devotion

and truth

 

In the beginning

of civilization

there was a hammer

that fell onto a stylus

that pressed itself into the clay

of another holy book

read by George Smith in 1872

the cuneiform account of The Flood

read to a convocation of educated birds

who witnessed

but may not have understood the implications

of this resurrection of clay tablets

that were extant

like the stele of Hammurabi's code in the Louvre

that were proof

albeit truth of an infuriating Modern sort

read aloud in London

in 1872, anno horribilus

that told us

vi.

for the last two thousand years

we only knew half of what we pretended to know

 

What He Knew

 

i.

He knew that for the last two thousand years

we only knew about half of what happened

since humans have written down what they knew

since that fateful day in the Garden

of Eden or Dilmun (what did it matter?)

that symbolic Garden

(the Hebrew story no more

and no less

convincing than the Sumerian)

where Enkidu was created by the gods

and lived as one with nature

 

Enkidu, like Adam, was tempted

by the harlot Shamhat

to enter the bronze city of Uruk

where Enkidu learned to drink

and copulate

and where he lost forever

his contact with the wild beasts of forest and hill



The Fall

 

ii. 

And he knew that the ideas of Moses weren't as original as they seemed

and that the Bible was adrift in seems

 

He knew that the Bible came from the strangest of places

from the Queen of the Deep, Ereshkigal

and from the temple of Ishtar

and that this God who commanded total allegiance

wasn't the only one to do so

Aten, Marduk, Ahura Mazda

all commanded total allegiance

and in their day were more powerful than Yahweh



He knew that across the hills of the Holy Land 

beyond Jericho and Jerusalem

was another Holy Land

populated by stranger gods

the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva

and beyond that the Holy Ghost spread its wings

and became Brahman

transcending even the gods

who themselves pointed to that great beyond

to the peak of Kailasa

where Shiva created universes

and destroyed them

and to Buddha's distant shore

beyond which the Absolute

iconoclastic beyond any recognizable belief

and astride that

the Dao

intangible to words

 

and

iii.

He knew there were twelve tribes 

and there were twelve thousand tribes

 

He knew that his particular version of God was a reaction

like Al-lah

to the evils of Ba'al and Al-lat

or whoever the God was

of the enemy

of the time

 

and

iv.

He couldn't help noticing 

that this jealous God of his had the temper of Enlil

who smote the world with thunder

and alluvial flood-plains of rain

until some kinder God took pity

Ea, the god of sweet waters

friend to humankind

and in went the animals, two by two

 

and

v.

He knew that many of the great Jewish ideas came down to us

through the idolatries of the Babylonians

strewn in sacrificial blood and taint

they stretched way back

even the laws

an eye for an eye

so many shekels

old as that sacrificial goat Hammurabi

and before him, Ur- Nammu

and he knew that Moses wasn't the first 

to imagine an ark

or a tyrant like Gilgamesh

 

Eucharistia

 

These things didn't destroy his faith

because he never believed in the literal meanings

 

He could see the things that weren't there

in the things that were:

bread was the blood of Christ

and also the baguette he slathered with pâté

and ate with wine, dark as Enkidu's blood, for lunch

 

He knew that the secret of eternal life

was stolen by the snake long before Eden

but that it was also now

that the serpent slithered up the apple tree

or snaked its way to the bottom of a river 

now

and 5000 years ago

snatching it from the grasp of Gilgamesh

just as now

it snatches eternity from beneath our very noses

Rhein gold and Gollum

just as then

in the land of Sumer

that brought the Fall

 

and

vi.

Eventually

inevitably

perhaps by pure chance

three thousand years later

love broke out from the hardened clay

into a real life

(or a metaphoric life -- he didn't have a clue 

40 or 40 million years in the desert

what did it matter?)

until the thorns and the blood 

and the overturned tablets 

the shattered commandments & the laws

forgiveness broke through 

forgiveness tangible

not some far-off story of a legendary god

but a human birth

in the womb of a lady of immaculate worth

mary halo.jpg

Yet the human god was misunderstood

everyone thought he was bringing vengeance

political revolt

or a new set of laws

equally complicated contradictions to the existing laws

when in fact

or in fiction -- what did it matter? -- he brought light

 

He brought freedom from the logic of hatred

the rapture of the self

exploding in a million stars

 

He brought only light

in the face of all that darkness

in the place of all that death

 

Into the darkest chambers of Ereshkigal's gloom

he brought life to the dead corpse

to the dry dust

to what we all become

bodies floating down the Euphrates

 

He brought hope to the despair of Gilgamesh

and to the existentialist pain

that ended only in the boat of Magilum

no grimmer than

for this boat has no Charon

no Urshanabi to guide us 

back to Eden or Dilmun (what does it matter?)

because for Gilgamesh there was no other side

just six fathoms deep

after the exploits 

after the defeat of Humbaba

with Shamash and Enkidu by his side 

no more by his side

only the swirling depth of the Euphrates

six fathoms deep 

 

The boat of Magilum

 

All that was left was Gilgamesh's great pain

at the loss of his friend Enkidu

Gilgamesh's great despair

his matted hair

as he roamed the forest

his third millennium selva oscura

like a wild beast of forest and hill

the great king of kings

this Ozymandias

with his sneer of cold command

trapped in his own powerful ego

 

even to him Jesus brought release

 

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