Tag Archives: abandonment

A Prayer for Kurtis Cummings

Say a prayer for old Kurtis Cummings:
went out in his rowboat and got lost out at sea.
Left his wife and two young children
waiting standing at communion with the Reverend Jerry Lee.

Picked up his old shotgun and his pea coat from the Navy,
walked out by the back door and left his extra key;
left a note for Molly, said “I’ll meet you at the service.
Give my best to Deacon Jones and the Reverend Jerry Lee.”

Kurtis stood out back,
and when he heard that they were leaving,
reached into his pocket for a shell.
No one heard the echo of the shot until that evening,
when the papers found they had a tale to tell:
“Reverend Lee says Kurtis C. is bound for hell.
Widow’s lawyer says it’s probably just as well.”

Say a prayer for old Kurtis Cummings:
went out in his garden and got turned out to seed.
Left his young wife and a thriving business
filling the collection plate for the Reverend Jerry Lee.

Picked up his old hat and the old shotgun from the corner,
slipped out through the back hall and gently closed the screen.
Left a note for Molly, said “I’ll see you when it’s over;
give my love to ma and pa and Reverend Jerry Lee.”

Kurtis slipped out back
and when he heard them at the table,
tossed into the breech another round.
No one felt the echo of the shock until much later,
when the papers printed up what they had found:
“Widow cries as Kurtis C. goes in the ground;
and the Reverend Lee has disappeared from town.”

Say a prayer for old Kurtis Cummings:
went out for a drive and got turned underneath the wheel.
Left his wife and two young children
waiting on their first communion with the Reverend Jerry Lee.

Standing waiting on communion with the Reverend Jerry Lee.

for Kurt Cobain

14 MAY 1994

A Prayer for Kurtis Cummings (demo)

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God is a Lonely Whore

I am so in love although I have never seen;
my eyes are full of things my heart denies me:
colored visions wrought in the language of amour,
the word made flesh in the weak metaphor
of wretched, babbling men
whose hollow shoulders form the bowl of tears
in which my true love’s face is drenched
(the ablution of loneliness).

The street, narrow and ill-lit, covered windows
blinderized as animals of burden,
where we first met; the oceanside cafe

(do you remember our first vows of constancy?)

where bread and wine were defined and then shared;
the desperate bed that lead our wrung hands
to cartography;

the tiny chapel in the woods we gaily toured
and in our fancy, pretended,
like small children will,
to celebrate our nuptials –

oh, how memory serves its aweful dregs
like bitter, rousing tea.

Remembrance is the greatest tool in love’s mad arsenal!

Yet even more wrenching
is the memory of the future,
the once upon a time that hasn’t happened yet;

like all loves will, I see my love
in everything around me.

Unlike the simpering, weak, whines
from other lovesick swains and paramours,
who find their ‘true love’s countenance’
in such a narrow spectrum
of their world

(bah…I laugh at their enfeebled similitudes)

there is no limit to the specters that remind me
of my other half.

‘Tis but a rose, you hopeless suitor,
it may never be the cheeks of the sweet face;
only an odor carried on the wind,
a breath of carrion or the opinion of swine,
it will pass for a scent of the alcohol and water bath
which lingers on love’s neck,
a neck supporting the fairest visage
since the “real” contests were spawned:

Olympus has been redeveloped,
Atlantis has been drained and reclaimed,
the heartless shores of Troy
have become a resort community
for lost and half-found converts
to the order of a new world.

Oh, pale would-be conquistadores,
your weak and gutless vision of your beloved is nothing.

Would you, as Lucifer once dared,
refuse to bow to any but your true love,
and suffer
the banishment,
the desolation,
the yearning to live
only to remember your lover’s sweet “Go to Hell”?


Thinking of Dante, thanks to fool_in_spirit, I dug through the archives and pulled out one of my favorite older poems on the subject of Love.

There is a Persian story that posits that Lucifer loved Jehovah above all things. Lucifer lived to be in the presence of his love, and would accept no substitutes. Then, Jehovah created humankind, and asked all the angels and such beings to pledge allegiance to this new form. Lucifer, distraught, swore that he would not; his allegiance, he proclaimed, was due only and exclusively to his one true love, Jehovah. As punishment for his imprudent action, Lucifer was given the most cruel punishment that Jehovah could think of — to banish Lucifer forever from the presence of Himself, to never again hear his voice, to live only thanks to the memory of the love that was (and is) his sole sustenance.

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