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Experiment, part two

“We make the grade
  And still we wonder
  Who the hell we are.”
    ~ Styx, “The Grand Illusion” from the album The Grand Illusion (1977)

She disrespects the immoral
The backsliders the homosexuals the drunkards the partiers
The Christians in name only
We’re better than them
And smarter too
I’ve heard this for so many years I don’t know
Whether I comprehend it
Whether I implicitly accept it
Whether I disdain it
Or myself
As they’re right
There are no real Christians
None who turns the other cheek
None who loves their neighbor as themselves
None who forgives seventy times
Seven times
None like me
From nowhere
The Pennsylvania of my mind
Of imagination more than memory or reality yet accepts me
As one of its own
As I’m pretending
In feigned propriety
Showing up at the old family farm
Of lockstep relatives lockstep politics lockstep religion
Showing up at Cherry Run
Of people who want me to play music for them
So long as I’m styled dressed presented appropriately
Showing up in church back in this dismal town
For its antique music
Each sequence of Bach that swirls my mind
Opens me to more imagination
Provides understanding
Raises my spirit to the point of open vehement rebellion
Only to be halted by a golden musical rebuke left behind
As the last notes fade
Each time
I realize that this church with its perfunctory rigidity
Is as close to home as I get

Whenever after a journey
The extended family meets
The hottest topic is religion
The second politics
The third sexuality
Particularly molestation
I don’t give any of these things much thought
For to me these too-short encounters
Are my reminder
That there was once a home for me
And in some way still is
Not just in a church
I was bonded to the land
And still am
A more revealing experiment than a strange fellow from a Heinlein novel could set up
In leaving behind his Old Ones for an Earth
Whose people he embraced and accepted with utmost compersion
Fortunately for him
His Old Ones though disembodied were real
Maybe mine are too

Thanks always returns

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