One day I was sitting on a bench in my garden
- noetically uncertain as usual, yet at peace -
when I heard only a few yards away,
and coming from the kitchen
an almost imperceptible and distinctively muffled
unheard of sounding sound
resembling something like a kind of internal collage
of a weirdly staccato turbulent non-turbulence;
hopefully but not conclusively
expressing ineffability, transcendental permanence
and an omniscient sublimity
– that last a word I’m never quite
certain the meaning of –
and I straightaway asked myself, do these
supremely recondite conceptualisations (?)
come with associated sound files, and if so,
how best to align with them ?
Smoke all that if you want to; or, better still,
if you can.
So I crept into the kitchen to investigate
- on tiptoe of course, how else, jesus –
and lo and behold !
I was stunned to be presented with
nothing less than a blindingly luminous
all-encompassing blinding vision
of the Virgin Mary, Holy Mother of God,
Theotokos, herself resplendent in
some kind of elegant chiffon dressing gown,
or smoking jacket, with
her arms outstretched
in sin-diminishing benediction !
And surrounded by adoring saints and apostles,
all masculine !
Blistering barnacles !
Beat that, all you guys !
Fortunately I had the presence of mind
to grab my Canon digital SLR
off the counter near the fridge
so as not only to record the scene for posterity,
but cunningly also to silence
– for once and for all –
the any and many certain doubting
John Thomases I knew
would soon be casting doubt on
the authenticity and veracity of my vision.
Yes I know a crappy old SLR is not the best thing
for recording abstruse and occult sounds,
but I wasn’t planning on recording the sounds,
I was all about capturing the vision,
and consigning to aspic
– I mean amber –
a veritable visible visitation
of the Virgin Mary.
– Mary herself having vacated the premises
and me left trembling with emotion –
I transferred the images
to my computer, and to my great relief
discovered that they were exactly
as I had witnessed them,
accurate down to the very last
minute and specific detail.
(Although it appears her hands
were clasped together in soulful prayer
rather than in the benedictive manner
I described above.)
I hurriedly emailed a clutch of jpegs to a gaggle of
Christian and Catholic friends of mine,
for their delectation, confirmation,
and of course conclusive
Surprisingly, many did not even bother
to reply to me
- brutally underlining the essential
of selfless Christianity –
though I did get a seemingly germane response
from an Abbess of an enclosed, silent
and discalced order
– and supposedly a tattooed Auschwitz
rape survivor to boot –
who both thanked me for
the interesting e-epistle, yet
felt obliged to point out that
the female figure in the centre
of my digitally mystical image,
– though radiant in a filigree gold negligée,
and heavily beset by various
eschatological trinkets and goblets –
– and all these particulars as clear to the eye
as a church bell — was not
the Virgin Mary at all
but rather Queen Christina of Sweden, or
of Russian Prussia, or
some other such minor historical figure
or pop singer and do-gooder
and definitely nowhere near as valuable
in salvific terms, as
the Virgin M.
So forget about it, she implied. Go fish, wanker.
And, she went on,
the figures of the attendant men and boys
– to a man adorned in luxuriant frippery –
standing and kneeling in worshipful postures
either side of our now
well-defrocked prissy missy hussy pussy
were clearly not
St Peter and Jesus and God and Moses
and Hitler, Stalin and Mao
as I had idiotically concluded
but were rather worthless courtiers
from some piffling royal household
like that of the Doge Culo of Cadiz, or
the Maharaja Lingam of Venice,
and so in all honesty were complete and utter
nobodies in any devotional hierarchy.
No need to consult the Vatican on this,
the nun added helpfully.
Right, well, yes, nothing I can do about all that.
Shafted by the clergy, yet again. (!)
But you can’t take anything away
from the fact that I saw and heard
these difficult and challenging and
in my own bastard Ikea kitchen
with my own two eyes, and I
even have the photos –
in hard copy, no less — to prove it.
So you can fuck well off
with your Vatican.