The Church of Me is subterranean and is not so by all fault of mine. That it stays underground, however, is proof of my damage, that I cannot alone resurrect a sunken thing. I am like a buried citadel, which needs the brushes and pickaxes of a willing army to be excavated, I am so covered in dust. I don’t think I was always like this; I know I wasn’t. I was above ground once. Kindergarten me was gregarious and self-assured (and that I have to retreat forty years to remember such caprice, such assuredness is telling); but something happened, and whether it was a long, slow curtailing of the ego—“Thom, you’re smart. Just don’t show it”—or its sudden devastation, I don’t know. I do know the buried church is fantastic, with vaulted arches and an altar to my corpus, and liturgies are elaborate songs that penetrate the soil in which they are otherwise muted; still its parishioners are few because the church is thus buried and were it not for my constant and psalmic report, I’d just as soon not exist. People, they hear the songs, they read the canticles that I leave at surface, but they are difficult scrolls, which by nature are of a cryptic fashion, and lead to a constant misinterpretation—“I don’t get it.”. My religion is a confusing one. I am forever misunderstood or, worse yet, thought inapproachable, which is why the eucharist remains full, the tithing plate empty. I am a lonely priest, worshipful of the world and a vessel of all that is beautiful, no matter its unlikelihood. I am the curved lens through which love is magnified; I am an ewer overflowing, but only the means to an end it seems, for the glass is seen for its imperfect bend and the urn unremarkable save for its contents. I am left alone, heart-achingly alone, and thusly unrequited I become my flaws: a cataract on the lens, a crack in the pitcher. I am no longer a conduit of the psalms, rather the lamentations; I am seen for having overturned my own temple—“You really fucked it up this time, didn’t you”—then for the temple I once and unswervingly was. I was never enough and so forsook my own church until the last parishioners abandoned me, a wretched and unwanted thing, at last buried by my own hand.
I was not always like this, but how to return to the above-ground? Has my time expired, the soil I rot in too deep? Or do I yet grow roots in my subterranean sleep? More importantly can they grow un-watered, without there being anyone to rain upon me? I’m thirsty, have been so for years, when all my affections were fixed on the one promising cloud that intermittently poured, other clouds having ceased their waters, and how nourishing that was. The perennial can forgive the cloud its occasional reluctance—the perennial remains a beautiful thing even in its dormancy. It is evergreen, and therefore a thing of constant potential. A blossoming is sometimes just the accident of weather, a fortuity afforded its roots, but accidents are nonetheless necessary, at least intermittently. The perennial cannot itself seed the cloud—it is impotent in that regard—though in its cyclical death, the perennial can seed itself. This is its only self-reliance; in all else it depends on the cloud to occasionally spill its abundance. The seeds, they wait to re-establish root by waiting on the cloud to reform. What happens when the cloud dries up? What happens when the season is unkind? The cloud doesn’t need the seed, but the seed needs the cloud, and so long as the cloud refuses to water, the seed is left to feed on itself, or worse yet sup on the poisonous salts of its own bed qua grave. Roots, they do not grow in salt and I am the seed having tried. I swallowed the salts in absence of water, I poisoned myself for lack of precipitation. I poisoned myself and the cloud refused to rain. The cloud, it moved on. The soil is no longer poisonous, but it remains dry. How do I return to surface without sustenance? The flowers are dying within, and I cannot control the weather. There is stubborn potential, but is it too late? Seeds are not immortal, just at times dormant. Just one more rain, please.