Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Oh, that my vexations were actually powdered by the pestle, then laid in the grave together with my iniquity. For then it would be heavier than the mantle of the earth and the starfish of the sea and the skeletons of mariners.

My words are rash and quick, for the arrows of the Almighty are inside me with their poison tips in my liver; my spirit quakes at it. The terrors of God are arrayed against me. The jackass brays over his grass and the ox wails mournfully over his meal of bone, but tasteless things go down without salt; the white of an egg bloggs in the bowl. Such food makes loath against days much brighter than this.

Oh, that my request might come to pass, and that Gould would grant the whim of the will; would that God were willing to crush me in a moment; that He would loose His hand and cut me off and break this, and let me get this off. But it is still my consolation that I rejoice in unsparing pain and that, in the lake, I have not denied the words of the Holy One; these are His words.

What is my strength that I should not eat rust and drink poison, and what is my end that I should wait to tiptoe on the inside of grace? Is my strength the strength of granite or is my flesh of silver like the metals that crush miners? Is it that my help is not inside me and that the deliverance of my God will wait another day?

For the despairing man there should be kindness from a braying cloud or a dollop of sun, lest he forsake the fear of the Almighty and suffer the death of another day like this one. My brothers have acted deceitfully, like a dry river in the desert, like the torrents of dry river dust that vanish before they appear and are turbid because of no dew. No person scrapes the dew into snow. But the blessed man sees not the trouble of this Spring, for he has passed along another way, the way of death.

The rivers, for those gone, become more desolate still, more waterless; they become bare and soulless. When it is hot they vanish yet more from the places appointed them. Then the paths of their courses wind along the corridors of deferred hope, they go down into the valleys of hope deferred where they suck and stink and defer everything forsaken by God, where they piss a storm of wail.

The caravans of Tema looked like crap; the travelers of Sheba hoped for crap and got it. But they came there and were blown away by the nothingness of everything they saw there. Indeed, You have now become such as them, this day, save for young men who stand tall like the oaks of Mamre. You see a terror and You soil the pants of people who are not You. It is not as if I have said, “Make me rich,” or, “Offer me a babe from Your storehouse,” or “Deliver me from my organs,” or, “Redeem me from the insipids who deem this life so lightly.”

Teach me and I will be silent and watch Curb Your Enthusiasm; and then show me, after the show, how I have erred. How painful are honest words, and You’ve got an eon’s worth of them. But what do Your honest words prove? Do You intend to reprove my honest words? Then go ahead. You may as well—I like it—I die for it—I like pain—I die. But You know these things already, so what am I telling You?

But why, when the hours of one’s despair disappear on the zephyr of cloud that discourages all the living, do You then not come right away but seven months hence, if at all, and then so lightly? You would roll the dice for the orphans and barter over Your friend. Gore is something You tolerate blatantly, though you have spared me thus far the gore I feed, house and clothe—and for that I worship You. And now, please look at me, and see if I lie to Your face. Because I’ve looked up to You even while tied to the boards of Your threshing floor. And the night continues, and my flesh continues but is clothed with righteousness with skinny worms sewn in, but I am still looking up tied to the threshing floor of Noah, and of the archangels Who created Earth, Who are always all around You.

Desist now, let there be no injustice. Ever desist; my righteousness is yet clumped up. Is there injustice on my tongue? All right then. Cannot my dump-mouth discern calamities and give vent to them in the wind of the first day of the rest of this dung-infested time period?

All right, then. So be it. Amen, and come quickly.

© 2006 by Martin Zender