J u n e   2 0 0 5

Guest Writer

Into an ocean of a million diamonds
by Joan-Carrol Banks

t is love, pure love
pulsating, breaking like waves against
my discouraged heart but no one will believe me
just what I get for laughing at Benny Hinn
and the airy sweeps of his jacket
dispensing Holy Ghost revival
to so many morons willing to fall for it.
But I find myself here, facing no cameras, no crowds, no celebrity evangelist
but a bare beige wall in a plain Beaverton church.
I've stumbled in to catch a dog and pony show,
an itinerant preacher from Texas and his wife are working their way down a line
down front for Jay-sus.
Invited not coerced, supplicants silently stand,
working out their own salvation in fear and trembling.

I'm minding my own business
a stranger even to myself
with my hands pressed together and pointed up
a private conversation, a real bone to pick, not expecting an answer
as the sweating man from Texas works his twang down the line of pilgrims'
heartfelt entreaties to an invisible force.
I wait too, because well why not?
and listen to my own raw need and accusation,
anonymous, unheard.
How did I end up here anyway?
I'm really just a pause in his route, a breath he needs to take,
a break from exhortation as he mutters
"okay, what have we got rightcheer?"

Warm and moist with exertion, his palms briefly rest on my hands.
In a startling instant I am floating up and back

away away away

into an ocean of a million diamonds imagine for a moment just try
faceted, surprising, flooding out like no other thing

this light is, it's light,

it is, and it says that

I am, I am that I am that I am with no other room for
it pounds all through over me all is me around me

like an unfettered orgasm of floating lightness,
truth, a virgin wedding night, a birthday, a flying dream
my Bridegroom who loves me.

All too soon I open my dazzled eyes and find myself splayed unembarrassed on the floor.
Three heads are over me, poking me back.
"Is she going to be all right?" asks my ride.
The preacher's wife chirps, twangy and earthly like a banjo.
"'Course she is, honey, look at the peace in her face
she's just been slain in the spirit, that's all!"

I resent the double syllabic pronunciation of "slah-ain," the reduction of it all to a catch phrase.
Like a sleeper lingering in awakening, I turn inward away back to my Other, who has fled.

It was love, pure love
and I told you that no one will believe me.

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