How It All Began

In the beginning, there wasn’t,
but there wanted to be.

Every flavor of leopard wanted to be.
Even the lazy, who only wanted to be rocks
or electrons, wanted throbbingly to be.

Each grain of sand filed a separate application;
possible dolphins sent impressive resumés.

Waves of want sloshed the darkness.
Darkness striking darkness made sparks,
and First Woman’s hand that wanted to be
grabbed the sparks and stuffed them into

her mouth that wanted to be. Instantly, salt,
garlic, and serrano peppers wanted to be.

The sparks expanding–heating–multiplying
filled to bursting her wanting belly,
but her asshole hesitated, unsure it wanted
to be, because the other non-beings
always made fun of it.

Too late! She exploded like a black plate
in an overheated kiln.

Black shards of her, white sparks
went flying off in pairs, piercing
the non-beings. A shard and spark arrowed
the leopard’s heart and it awoke, stretched,
sniffed the sudden air, alert and hungry.
Grass crashed into existence with a green yell,

then startled by its own voice,
started whispering. A hen wondered

what the hell she was sitting on, but strongly felt
she shouldn’t break it. Only First Woman
didn’t get to be. That made everyone sad—
she had the gumption to grab the fire in the first place.
It was agreed that everyone would exist for a time,
then give back their shard and spark so She could be.
But then the humans, who’d overslept and missed the meeting,

showed up and argued everyone should keep their pieces of Her,
or ok, everyone else can give theirs up and we’ll keep ours.

No dice, said the mice. Besides, we already voted. The humans
stormed out, sniffily made up a language, and wouldn’t share it.
But even the humans have to give up shard and spark until finally
She is reunited. No one knows what next. Does the whole thing start
over? Or will She walk off in search of Others of her kind,

carrying us and all our stories inside Her?

2 Replies to “How It All Began”

    1. Thanks, M! Yes, that dream, and the days preceding it, certainly have a hand in the poem.

      No one knows how it all began, but as Robert Heinlein said: “God split himself into many parts so He could have friends. It’s as good a theory as any other.”

      I read a biography of Meister Eckhart (1260-1338) recently–you know that fat book I lugged around New Orleans?–and he had some astounding ideas on the topic. He talked about “a breakthrough to the nothingness of the Godhead…” Going beyond God to “the silent desert where not a trace of distinction is to be seen…”

      Which reminds me of your “nothingness” poem. Who knows, maybe your 19 year-old self was onto something: existence as a sin against nothingness? But for now, I need my female deity, like I need thinking in words, and the grumpy bartender on Frenchman Street who lectured us while topping off our Jameson’s for free…I’m still wedded to specificity.

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