Capela dos Ossos

January 1, 2011

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Ah, the New Year —seems like this just happened but here we are tooting horns and making promises to ourselves again.  Listening to fools, hanging on the words of  rich crooks, listening to talking heads and mystic ghosts as if instant replay is going to give us a different view.

January 1st, the day we give lip service to the future.  The day we ask the two-faced god Janus for a peek at what was (as if we suffered perpetual amnesia), and a glimpse of what’s next, as if we couldn’t sum two plus two.  In fact, Christopher Hitchens does a pretty good job of both right here (no disrespect to Janus).

May Janus (or Christopher) help us. 

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 “I’m lookin’,” said Janus.  “I’ve got both faces employed, but they ain’t seein’ much.  Lotta fog.  Back there’s all foggy with palaver, up ahead is just plain  thick as pea soup like it’s always been. Not much I can tell  ya either way.  Looks like you’re it again.”
……………………………………………………… from The Tales of Father Time, by Gus Wen

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Capela dos Ossos   
….—Church of Bones

We all pray in a church of bones
in which skulls outline its graceful arches
of low vaults and whose columns are ladders
of stacked femurs. We admire its capitals
of craniums
        
It’s ceilings, unlike the idealizations         
of Michelangelo,  are not fantasies
romanced in fresco but the real thing:
the stony remnants of once-respiring
antiquity

We all pray in a church of bones
whose windows look out
from under an osseous calcium dome

Our chapel of once-articulating skeletons
—a repository of hopes and dreams—
rises over a promontory like a lighthouse
warning the world of muscle and bone,
of spit and sweat, of breath and blood
to steer clear of the promises of ghosts
and constantly sound to avoid being
beached in mud

We pray in a church of bone
We hope in fields of dreams
We love or hate between two unknowns

by Jim Culleny
January 1, 2010

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