Robert Hensler

Rookie (July 27 1934 / Manhattan, NYC, NY)

Confrontation - Poem by Robert Hensler


I shall one day grab him by the shirt front,
Pull his face close to mine, shout into his eyes...
How dare you!
Create me in your image, hard wired for logic,
to see things with starts, middles, stops.
Seeking in every encounter closure.
'For we walk by faith, not by sight.'
Us, in your image, and
thinking/concluding/deducing/functioning within reason.
How dare you! I will scream at his shirt front.
and he grows larger and larger. And I am a small child again.

Mommy, there is something very wrong. something has...
'Eat your oatmeal before it gets cold. And hurry,
or you'll be late for school.'
The Sundays trudge by: Ma' there is something very wrong.
'There is nothing wrong. Hurry.
Here's a quarter for the offering...'
Mom, somebody has left me. Something has changed very much.
'Nothing has changed. Hurry. You'll be late. Don't be late.'

Something is missing between the ears,
or inside the chest, or along the bones,
like a muscle or tendon that held importance together.
Something or somebody has gone.
I am too frightened even to cry.
Mommy, I am dead.

I am hard wired for logic.
Hard wired for reason.
Hard wired for conclusion, and closure, and definition.
And for a correct end to a string of numbers.

Oh, please, I've heard the free-will thing.
Cuts no ice. Not today at all.
Yes. I do think. And conclude.

I know our bloody history:
concentration camps/battlefields/murderous streets
killing fields/dying forests/rotting eagles.
An old man collects beer and soda cans to turn in at the
Reynolds Aluminum machine for
coins that will bring one more meal.
200 aluminum cans for a Big Mac.
125 for a Coke.

We scream and birds dropp from the sky,
choking on our hard wired attempts to fly.

(And a thank you to the psycho-neologians who give us 'decompensate'
Such a kinder thought than 'nervous breakdown'.
Decompensate: to let fall the fences and the locks
and the doors and the safety places -
let all fall away until with weeping and gnashing of teeth
we see clearly to cry out to whomever.)

You tell us:
to love each other and we are hard wired for fear.
to be kind and we are hard wired to inflict.
to give, and we are hard wired for getting.
to walk by faith, and we are hard wired for seeing.

...designed our eyes, and tell us they are sinful.
...designed our hungry flesh - and call us gluttons.

I scream at Him, He grows so tall now.
And I am a child, less than a child, shouting up.
My carefully wrought rhetoric turned into wails.
A marvelous thing happens:
As I shout, scream, yell and weep -
his hands held forth, holes in the palms/wrists,
His bleeding hands are held out to me.
But I am beyond 'Come unto me and I will give you rest.'
I have spiritual bedsores from rest.
I don't want rest.

If blame and fault there must be,
You're the one who hard wired me.
Please, Lord, That I might see.
Release, Father, your Son in me.

He is shrinking. I am growing.
We are becoming of a size.
I am not a holy man
Until I am wholly man.

When he is the same height as I am,
I will stand quiet before Him.
He will close his palms,
lower those painful hands,
cock his head,
stare at me with welcome in His eyes and a new respect.
We will start walking. Together.

And I will not have to apologize.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, February 2, 2010

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