Informally, I believe in God's powers tho not in his
presence; & free from his supposed being, I can see that this has
had its benefits; like other citizens given half a chance I have fallen
half in love on any number of occasions with one sonsy actress or
another--please insert here, if you wish, the lips & decolletage of
the ineffable Scarlett Johansson, her air-conditioned tattoos no
different from those of a thousand bicycle shop clerks--
and as such in similarly pleasurable ways I like to watch a
black dog enter a drenched field and immediately soak it up; & have
repeatedly & gladly given money to men & women because they
could play the guitar & sing; and from my parents received, for my
11th birthday, a set of cuff links & plated tie pin;
my luck has been in friendship & love; I like to be carried by
people & things, & in fact once stood on the deck of a white
hydrofoil as it did what a white Greek hydrofoil is supposed to do with
burning diesel fuel & water (it made a summer wave off Naxos).
On the other hand, believing in God's powers but not in his
existence may have had some drawbacks, feelings of being stranded say;
either gone deep into the brine of my being my self & solitary lost
inside my mind in the invariable infinity of variant neurons,
or forced to inhabit a planet with frequent, inexplicable (or
all too explicable) episodes of cruelty-- insert here, at the moment,
the wrath of the janjaweed
in Hashaba Wasit, or elsewhere sweatshops approved of by theorists of
economic development & efficiency but staffed 15 hours a day by
women who (like my great-aunt Anna Mello) will probably end up with
wrists swollen to twice their size, necks bent by bad light & balky
sewing machines-- as in the long view it often seems one unwavering
orbit of infected geese, cold refugees, & insurgents traveling from
here to here.
What I mean to say is that God has abandoned both us & his powers--
he's given them up, & they hurtle around inside us.
DAVID RIVARD is the author of four books, the most recent of
which is Sugartown (Graywolf, 2006). In 2006, he was awarded the O.B.
Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize by the Folger Shakespeare Library, for his
teaching as well as his writing. He is on the faculty of the MFA program
at the University of New Hampshire.