Editor’s notes: Brad Crenshaw received both his MFA and PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine. He later obtained a second PhD in clinical psychology and neuroscience from the University of Massachusetts, where he teaches neuropsychology in the graduate psychology program. For many years he worked as a neuropsychologist in a New England medical center. His poems and critical articles have appeared in various magazines, including Chicago Review, Parnassus, Massachusetts Review, Shenandoah, The Formalist, The Sandhills Review, Illinois Quarterly, Faultline and others. Greenhouse Review Press has published his chapbook, Limits of Resurrection. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and part of the year in Fallbrook, California.
The Book of Coming Through by Day
Constructive and merciful forces carry us by day in great machines upon a rule of air, the
blue and black-blue tons. Our stewardess has run her sleigh beside me wearing jewels and
other cool gear to pour the tea at this seraphic altitude between the Hero Twins. All along my theory’s been at one with Cosmic Monster—meaning catholic and grandiose emotions ooze like crocodiles through my stealthy nature—or intellect, I mean, or inhibitions, or what I
really mean is that turbid, healthy lady with the permanent is in my seat as we soar toward the stream of ocean.
Dawn in yellow robes was nuking breakfast for the revelers and pilgrims packed in rows and half awake, or sleeping. In the past the learned Greek beside me would have dozed until New Mexico, but woke instead in turbulence, coffee slopped across the Sabine beetles—luminous
but dead—that he retrieved from Suriname at the cost of boils, he said, and numbness in his legs. I like his concepts. The gifts he brings Persephone, his sweet diminished friend, would maybe beg forbearance of his failings. As shadows, singly, we do offend our graces. Right.
Our plane slips to the little world of, oh, I don’t know, cities.
I call myself a true Confucian while our plane with no relation to my enemies taxis by the waste sea, and filial piety descends. Apart from these remaining bullet holes, the signs of fate are indistinct. Visible spirits disappear down the billion bright steps to the gate and out to
chase a living in the queer guilt of California, my native place with its pelicans and old
dopers littering the beaches. Nah. I said that wrong. I’ve raced here through the superflux to join the glittering stars because my weary, awkward, preoccupied, certain father, as I feared,
Ravens flopped before he knew it through the blue light of the first three worlds to bend him toward the afterlife, a black crew of princes. To the mystic circus of winds and spirits he descended, the Skeleton Man abandoning our brute creation where the dirty ground of love inheres, and famine rubs our sense. We eat ourselves. Scared and grieving, my mother’s
overthrown, shattered like an egg exactly as he left her for his iteration out of matter, the
quantum trick of tunneling or deftly reoccurring in a time, or caught in space outside the
atom of our thought.
Yeah, well, you, ah, know that’s just like your opinion, man, this toothless varmint tells me
on the beach. I spill the dust and ashes of corruption, weeping, and get to wish his genius would hush or channel elsewhere. He sucks his paunch in and proclaims the nature of my karma in the inessential round of birds and quadrupeds. My fame among the Mayan priests arose in seven murders, though four were undeserving. At Troy on the windy plains the
armies slaughter men and children. I rub my bluish wound and toy with remorse before my father picks me up with his philosophy and beautiful conduct.