The other day I received a call from a guy I used to work with, we'll call him Tim because that's his actual name. Anyways, he calls to say he didn't know I was a poet and how "interesting" it was. He said his boss showed him a Facebook post of a book signing I had in Madisonville. I said yup, I am a poet and that was a signing from last month.
He proceeded to ask me if I have one every month, and I told him about the one coming up next week and in addition to its being a book signing it was also a reading. He asked me what kind of poetry it was, to which I replied Demonic.
Now to understand this reply you must know this individual. He was just like the rest of us for the first couple of years; that is until he found Jesus. He changed overnight.
Now I understand being zealous, I've been there as well. At the time I was heavily involved in church myself. Yet Tim would come into work and hand out gospel tracts to everyone on the job including myself...
He argued that we didn't understand, but if we would just come to HIS church on Sunday and hear HIS Pastor preach, we would be changed. My church, which I had been going to for years, or anyone else's church wasn't good enough. He ended up isolating me and everyone else he used to work with to the point, that I would want to walk the other way when I see him. So, I was having a little fun on his behalf.
So when asked what kind of poetry it is that compels me to scribble on scraps of paper and scrawl on rips of cardboard and compile into a book to present to the world--what else could it be but Demonic.
He said, "Really?"
I laughed and said no. He then asked if it was "Christian" poetry. I said it's not specifically Christian or non-Christian. It is just poetry.
He quickly dismissed my answer and proceeded to talk about how different I looked in my author photo than I had years before. I made the obligatory "you'll have that" reply and we said our goodbyes. But this conversation has been rattling around in my head for days and it infuriates me.
The audacity of some so-called Christians astounds me. There is no Christian or non-Christian art in my opinion. Everything comes from the essence of who we are, and to condemn this as one or the other is a condemnation of ones very self.
There were stone masons, carpenters, men who worked with gold and precious metals, and countless more individuals that according to the Old Testament were gifted in their respective fields.
Are we to call them evil?
Who are we, but wads of flesh on a rock spinning around and around in some cosmic dance that we had no choice but to attend!
I have battled against these organized religion standard-bearers, threshold police, these "this far and no further" obstructionists my entire life.
They have marked so many lines in the sand, they can't possibly know where to stand on anything. WWJD? It far transcends that, but it shouldn't.
Beethoven, Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and countless others all created because they had to. To impede these gifts and not allow their expression would in itself be "Demonic." A true act of evil.
They were given a grain of inclination buried deep inside them and they discovered that sliver of essence, listened to it, nurtured it, and were consumed by its fire. It came out weird and raw and pure and as a holy act of worship.
That is my truth. That's my Gospel.
To burn in the fires of our passions.
To be broken and bent into the shape of those inclinations placed in us from the womb.
I want to be shattered and broken and used up for my art.
That is why we were created.
In the words of the late great Hunter S. Thompson, "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a Ride!”