Saturday, March 5, 2016


It's knowin' that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleepin' bag rolled up
And stashed behind your couch

And it's knowin' I'm not shackled by forgotten words and bonds

And the ink stains that have dried upon some lines
That keeps you in the back roads
By the rivers of my memory and keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It's not clingin' to the rocks and ivy

Planted on their columns now that bind me
Or somethin' that somebody said because
They thought we fit together walkin'

It's just knowin' that the world will not be cursin' or forgivin'

When I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're movin' on the back roads
By the rivers of my memory and for hours you're just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the coal mines and the junkyards

And the highways come between us
And some other woman's cryin' to her mother
'Cause she turned and I was gone

I still might run in silence tears of joy might stain my face

And the summer sun might burn me till I'm blind
But not to where I cannot see
You walkin' on the back roads by the rivers flowin' gentle on my mind

I dip my cup of soup

Back from some gurglin', cracklin' cauldron in some train yard
My beard a roughenin' coal pile
And a dirty hat pulled low across my face

Through cupped hands 'round a tin can

I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you're wavin' from the back roads
By the rivers of my memory ever smilin', ever gentle on my mind

+++   +++   +++

Still a crisscross, my starting thoughts yesterday, Friday morning, christology of Saul, Paul of Tarsus, a monotheist Jew for whom the notion of a god beside Kyrie the One God of Israel would be unthinkable blasphemy. And so, and from his writings, I’ve said Paul had a low christology. And yet Sunday’s 2nd Corinthians reading, and other Paul as well, opens the window to let me not be so sure and ponder anew: did Paul’s christology unite heaven and earth Kyrie, not a binitarianism but godhead in which each is the other come down, and gone up, and to come down again but tarries. I don’t know, welcome the mental exercise but want to not go there this morning.

When we were at the Naval War College in 1968-69 I had my usual car bug, sold as a package our travel trailer and the Dodge Coronet V8 station wagon that

we towed with. Bought a Ford Thunderbird, a long low and lithe four-door sedan with a 428 CID V8 and classic "suicide doors" dream of a car. Rationalization for the transaction was that our next duty station was to be in San Diego, and not feasible to pull the trailer across country with the Dodge getting 4 miles per gallon and 25 cent gasoline rising to 40 cents a gallon at the continental divide. I shopped Buick LeSabre until spotting the Thunderbird at the Newport, RI Ford dealership and it was lust at first sight. 

This crisscross is in my mind because at the same time, I had a platter of Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry that I loved. Also had a tape of them I played in the TBird. My own car was a refurbished 1959 VW beetle bought at H.B. Lantzsch VW in Virginia couple years earlier, Thunderbird was Linda’s, but I got to drive it now and then, and loved to take it alone, exit the Fort Adams navy housing compound on Narragansett Bay where we were living, turn right and head round the south end of Aquidneck Island’s unpatrolled, winding, lonely, rocky coast road at incautious speed. Driving an original VW beetle will stir that sort of wheel-screeching in an early-thirties-something male.

Round that seaside drive soon sixty years ago, a few luxurious vacation cottages that were vacant except during summer. A 33-year-old imagination could disappear into the vapor of  memories, times and places driving a Ford V8 with Glen Campbell singing at top volume. Car, song, lead foot.

It was a road I'd first driven right after being commissioned in December 1957 and on TDY in Newport, RI in January 1958, ten years earlier. At the time, there was a sizable ship on the east side of the island, wrecked in a storm and on the rocks offshore. I’d first learned about the coastal drive that icy cold month, making friends with a Navy lieutenant (junior grade) who also was there on TDY or waiting for his ship. He didn’t have a car with him, I had a borrowed 1955 Buick Century belonging to a Navy lieutenant who’d loaned me the car while he was at school on the west coast. I’m wandering, but who cares. In adjoining rooms at the BOQ, the LTJG and I’d made friends, facilitated because I had wheels, and we’d drive around Newport after working hours and weekends. He showed me the coastal drive, including pointing out the exquisitely beautiful but vacant seaside summer cottage he would break-and-enter whenever he rounded up a girl for the weekend. Newly married, I was not interested in his escapades, and’ve never told that story before, but what the hell, it was sixty years ago, statute of limitations long expired.

Never saw the LTJG after January 1958, but ten years later on my TBird drives with Glen Campbell I noticed “his” cottage still there.

“Gentle on my mind” came to mind thinking of Glen Campbell along with "Scarborough Fair" and my wild rides round Ocean Drive. It isn’t the song, that’s the 1918 WWI tune ravaging the mind to drive me insane notwithstanding my Lenten aids. Not going there.

Where I’m going, the crisscross is a friend’s recent expression of horror about the Old Testament God’s contrast to the imagined God of the Gospels. That’s the crisscross. How could vengeful, murderous OT YHWH of Israel be one and same NT Abba Father of Jesus Christ. But indeed it is. They, He, It comes clearly into focus in the twin stories Genesis 22:1-14 and Mark14:36 - 15:47 as the will of the same Lord, where an issue could be not God but our theology. Why horrific bloody sacrifice, I don’t know.

I just don’t know. 

Ship standing in the Gulf offshore, anchored waiting dock space and port clearance.

Spotted at auction, the car in which Jesus was driven out into the desert (Mark 1:12).

D.Thos+ & τὸ δαιμόνιον

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