Wednesday, December 15

Tristan Sighting

When I was in Memphis last week, I could have sworn I actually saw Elvis. No really. And not just once--several times. In fact, there were at least two Elvises (is that a word?) cheering on runners at about mile twelve--but I was seeing double by then so it might have just been me. Even so, I am now convinced that Tristan Gylberd is more elusive than even the King. But, I have it on good authority that there will be an authentic Tristan sighting tomorrow evening at the Christmas Spirit Readers Theater (7 PM at Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN). Tristan will be reading from his own work. He may also, I hear, try to slip in a work or two from his Texas kith and kin, Ben House. If he does, I hope it is this one, entitled The Incarnation:

I stumble at the thought of God sleeping on hay,
With scent of cow manure and cud-chewing blank stares;
Or of God twisting a tiny finger around the young mother’s hand,
As he nurses and drifts to sleep to her weary psalm.
I stumble to see the slow afternoon, the rhythm of planing wood,
Halting to fetch Joseph a saw.
Or figuring accounts of his father’s business
As God plans to change his career.
I stumble to believe that he fluffed and propped a pillow,
Then fell into sleep too deep for storm to waken;
Or to see God, dust covered, with tired feet resting;
Longing for a drink and talking to a cheap woman.
To be found wandering Roman territory without papers—
No letter from Heaven certifying his claim.
To be lumped with every radical with blazing eyes
And visions who portrayed the certainty of society’s fall.
A wine making, mud dabbing, temple brawler God,
Broke, homeless, surrounded by weak and foolish men.
God can be myth and metaphor and image;
A rock, a mountain, sun, light, or sea;
But the sweating flesh of a middle age man—
A descent that would often be heresied away.

I stumble at the thought of God incarnated—
But not drunken night stumbling down an empty road;
I stumble at the thought of God incarnated—
Intensely light blinded, fearfully secured, irresistibly drawn.

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