MYSELF, WITH THE NIGHT ON MY FACE
By John Paul Davis
For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. – The Gospel of John 5:4
If I had known more grace. Heartwinter,
& all the locks frozen over. The songs
I should have been able to sing. I no
longer want to know the answers
to any of the questions. My body
less reliable now that I’m older,
& the doctor tells me I’m fit
for my age. Healthy, but not whole.
Like how I have forgotten
how to pray, the muscle that yearns
for God gone slack in my mind
after all these years. I have stopped
expecting the world to deliver magic
to me, yet it continues. Like the clouds
over Brooklyn the morning after I face
the difficult thing & deliver the bad news,
the perfect play they make with the light.
Like being awakened after midnight
by the memory of the song,
only when I listen in the bedroom’s cavedark,
the music is sweeter
than I had recalled, it is a deeper
taste. The music inside the music.
I tell you, I have been granted
the more costly victory. Like love, again.
Like a lame man on crutches to the water
expecting to beg for the day’s provisions
& what waits for him terrifies
him most: unseen,
fingers armed with heartbreak,
about to trouble the pool, the angel.
Today’s poem appears here today with permission from the poet.
John Paul Davis writes poems. Learn more about him here: www.johnpauldavis.org.
Editor’s Note: John Paul Davis is a badass wordsmith with a real knack for blank verse, which is no easy craft to master. I have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Davis read several times at NYC’s louderArts, and am often moved—if not breathtaken—by his poetry. Today’s selection confronts the human condition as Davis often does, with words that aim straight for the soul of the reader and do not fail to find their target. From the micro of the inner workings of one man to the macro of humanity’s relationship with God, Davis is the poet taking one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind: “Like how I have forgotten / how to pray, the muscle that yearns / for God gone slack in my mind / after all these years.”
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John Paul Davis Official Website