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angel at my table, god in my car
— 'victory', pj harvey; part one
angel at my table, god in my car. smoke in my lungs, the landscape of the desert out in front of me. my own private holy land. it’s entirely too vast for me to hold, but it’s all that i’ve wished for. people come and go; some stay for a while, but not as long as me.
though, the moment the winds shift, i’ll be racing to find you. the air is magical, it connects me to you and you to me. it connects me to the desert, but not the desert to me. it’s a holy land, my holy land, but i don’t own it. i don’t own anything holy, yet i’m surrounded by it.
in the distance, most would see water or trees. i see you and all the love that surrounds you. my own personal mirage. god, i can’t wait until the next time i get to hold you. i’ll wrap myself with the shimmer that illuminates from your body every time you utter my name (or any variation of it. after all, it is yours to choose). you don’t visit the desert often. maybe some other power is terrified that too much holiness might sanctify me on the spot. but what am i if not a worshipper of love? perhaps that’s why i idolize you so much, because i know our moments are fleeting.
embrace whatever creature i am becoming, the rain is coming in. soon the desert will be drenched, and i along with it. i don’t consider this rain a baptism; sometimes water just needs to be water. sometimes we need to be soaked for no other reason than this is what nature allows. what was it that jessica said? not everything feels like something else? she’s right. allow the rain to kiss every inch of your skin, then let the water wash itself away.
in my desert, there is a god in my car. he carefully lights my cigarettes before passing them over; he’s taking care of me and killing me just like any god should. he sits in the passenger’s seat, but he’s in control of where i roam. in between smoking, he looks at how his watch tracks down the minutes until my lover returns. this god doesn’t get out of the car when it rains, so i can’t say how much of a god he really is. luckily he doesn’t lie to me, though he won’t explain the reason why his eyes fill with tears when the clouds fill with water. i’m not sure if he has a son or any children at all. i’m not his child, more of a companion. i don’t mind, at least it’s one less lonely god.
the god of my desert doesn’t have many followers nor lessons to preach to the one he does have. i think the fire of his lighter baptizes him instead. i always notice the spark in his eyes when opening a pack of cigarettes; maybe he’s just trying his best. what’s more god than that? i notice the spark comes back at night like he’s only alive then, the only time he leaves the car. he walks out forty paces to dig a grave… or a maybe it’s a bed, or a homecoming. whenever i ask what he’s doing, it’s always the same answer: ‘a problem of my own making, my own creation.’ i guess this god benefits from worsening the situation. he’s both the saviour and the killer; the nails in the cross and the flesh being pierced.
i’m not sure if my desert god is hungry, maybe i’m starving enough for the both of us. he has no bible to tell me how to rid myself of this hunger, but i suppose that’s answer enough. i don’t know how to ask him for help because i fear the silence more than the response. should i fear my god or the feeling of his presence? i forgot to mention, but when he lights my cigarettes, the cries of vultures echo in the distance and he smirks. through the blow of the smoke, these cries and the look in my god’s eyes remind me that i’m not the only dead thing in this desert.
perhaps i should describe this god, though whatever you’re picturing is more telling of you than me. despite being only one (
man) creature, he’s a shapeshifter; gods can’t be the same for everyone. let me start with his eyes: gray as a gathering storm cloud. the spark in them resemble lightning striking down cities and empires just for the hell of it (he’s always been an ironic god). he has hands big enough to cup water over the heads of innocents… only if he wasn’t so afraid. only if these hands of his didn’t shake like the rumble of an incoming summer storm. a silver glow of divinity surrounds him, more fitting than a halo (or a crown of thorns). there’s more desert in him than anything. life exists in and around him, but so does death. that heart in his chest shies away from everything, even itself; but this is the desert, there is no hiding here. why else would i have chosen this place?
i wish my god would tell me something; speak to me softly or harshly, it doesn’t matter anymore. have i been swallowed by hope or is despair preparing for its next meal?
i search for my god and i find him at a grave. it’s not mine and it’s not his, i think it might be ours even if neither of us admits it. he stands at the grave heartbroken like a mother sobbing at a cross. his grave (or his bed or homecoming) is filled to the brim with cigarettes butts. i ask what it is, he replies ‘my own personal heaven.’ if this is my god’s heaven, then what am i? my god has a grave full of cigarette butts because that’s how he loves me. this language of ours only stretches so far. he keeps what my lips have touched because he’s declared it holy… anything is holy if you love it enough.
do you understand how your god loves you?