(TABLE OF CONTENTS)




        Ronald Wilcox










Take a patch of chaos circling beforehand,



Sling it past black stars circling at random,



Create light in rings inside particled sparks,



Glowing in random points and recognitions,



Moving & brewing beneath your own hand;



Respond to Word of God inside your mind.



Call the involvement creation, as the eyes



Of the Gods gaze infinity into finite forms,



Symmetry into exact reflections of love.



Had I reckoned further I would have wakened



A dream of being being born inside my mind;



Had I known my urging soul, inviting my eyes,



To behold myself admitting a verge of sky,



Had I been born a babe unto regenerations,



Electric with crackling insights & intuitions,



I would have born witness to the Holy Soul,



Whipping like lightning the spark embedded,



The rumbling inside, my own seething Vortex.



Where did I begin, beside the counsels of God?



The Intelligences swarming like flaming bees



About the Instigations of the centered glory,



Unfettered, as multicolored gardens explode



In waves of flowers, streaming beaming leaves,



Vanguards of redeeming Impulse, to be living,



The very air alive with incessant buzz of Love,



The desire for good and sheer deep believing,



Redoubted in swarms, informed by beauty alone.



Heaven gleaned as home, taken as a given form



Of loving, Father and Mother, intent on feeding



The baby beam, redeemed from an infinite river



Of flashes, flowing by the garden of belonging,



The place of becoming, the seed of my being,



Where I began, uninformed and searching, to see,



My harvest of options returning upward to the sun,



Redeemed, to become one with a hovering spirit:



The beginning of all beginnings, my beginning.



The mysteries peak at evening, unquiet shadows,



Bounding a flaming horizon in red inscriptions,



Burnishing in blue the downward fall of time,



Inconstant quest for perfection in a golden ball,



What the sky said as it died alone, ungrieving,



Awaiting deeper meanings than departing stars



Or a storming moon silent in the shivering air,



Reflecting the patterns of man, briefer than ice,



Ages of discontent, scattering flecks of the sea.



My flesh is wrapped about schisms of intentions,



Inordinate struggles inside me, woven of dreams,



The bleeding strands, the hollow bones, risen up,



The dust a cough of speculation, burrowing deep,



Created by my God, aware of myself as a mirror



Of feeling and shape and apprehension of him



Who shattered the night sky into edges of light



And thrust my soul into these wavering sounds



And visible flutes of breathing, trilling glories.



Who am I to accede to ramparts of knowledge,



Climb the high vistas of separation like cliffs



Calling the clouds to order, parsing the brief



Echoes, stirring evanescence, chips of Phosphor,



White marble crags, crumbling under my view?



Am I all mind when I slide into ivory ravines



And seal with quickening beams a silver sky?



Who made of me a mannered imagining man



To breathe in whispers of mist a sundown sea?



Oppositions collide inside my reflecting themes,



Defy the burn of being with sleek considerations:



Imagine the metaphysics underlying a magic ball,



A world gone mad in teeming tones of reasoning,



Undoing itself like flinging patterns of lightwaves



Unweaving, intertwining signs of curving beams,



Unfiltered and bursting, these shrieking atoms split,



Resist this knowledge, insidious as cancer cells,



A gleam of evil inevitable & adversary's glare.



Could I tremble a way to understanding I would,



Or speak of him who stood amid the smoldering,



Satan rebuffed and fell with deep inclination down,



To set against the infinite will a personal grudge,



Unhoned and embittered by self-congratulation,



Fierce with withering hatred of all, refurbishing



Good for all among them not him, screening eye



Decrying the holy plan, receiving no good thing,



Seething inside for sake of blank empty hate...



Expedient with fear I avoid saying more of this,



Nor will I embellish our histories of evil-seeking



In the woof and webs and warping of humankind:



They are there for all to see, this ancient tapestry



Winding about our bones in sheets of winnowing



Oppression, a decaying film of incessant surmise,



Where a faint hint of ending, the same as briefest



Surprise, ignites the final light of dying, dimming,



The shuttered eyes invariably closed forever.



I sat in the awesome councils of God and gazed



Over these resplendent faces, seawaves of intent,



Intelligences, fierce splashes of eyes, unendingly



Whirling horizons, specifying attractions, powers



Of electrified combinations, reflecting all and me,



And knew then that I knew my soul being called



Into form would be among their planetary plans,



The galaxies reverberating the beginning word



And solemn enhancements of my Perfect Father.



I ward off a worm in my bone with memories



Immediate as lusters of stars inside my mind,



Reawakening a precision imagination of body



And soul, flowing illumination inside my brain,



Echoing a far and spherical center of creation,



Breathing the presence of a love I knew then,



The careful hand that bathed me in becoming,



An all invisible view, a parallax of perfection,



Revisiting my source beyond disappearance.



I hack at perplexity like sandstorms in my eyes,



I grope at my flesh untied by time and wonder,



I seize ratchets of belief to etch my broken teeth,



I catch an easy passion flown past me like wind,



I try to inhale my darling whose essence lingers,



I misplace pickets of me and stagger over pieces,



I reach to my feet and find them dematerialized,



I coast to sleep into a moonlit sea of memories,



I forget to wake when the town is up and about.



If dolphins clarify the sea before them surging,



Inborn with echosystems of seeking shrieks,



If whales levitate with appealing ease in spray



The eyes of wonder under a water-gilded sky,



If seeming vastness remembers each drop flung,



Belying these involvements, blue encroachment,



Who am I to seize upon my own faint designs,



To identify the doming and delving mysteries,



Their translucent cries, their teeming selves?



Try to organize inchoate thrusts of perceptions:



See hummingbirds dart in & about tiny points,



Needles of insights telling the bees where to go,



Weaving secret scents at the heart of red roses,



Bedazzling themselves as notes in open throats,



High C's high, white hot sighs, The Holy Ghost,



Creations unfolding in blooming infinite petals,



To see the least of creations like looping strings,  



Praise too fine to see, except in righteous eyes.



Numberless sparrows and each a quantum digit,



Grackles along wires like strings of calculation,



Insects so many beyond senses, rendering dust,



Variegated skies like charcoal-pastel visions,



Showers of numbers spattering on white sand;



Immaculate seasons' code of frost encompasses



All this, as my own beating heart counts days,



Secures a grief against the empty hand of loss,



And pressured flesh, ensaddened, remembers.



Quantify particulars at the risk of consciousness,



Crack each fissure inside a reason reluctantly,



For floes of particles like irradiant radar blips,



Whirl about screens&circles&locate themselves



Turning inward toward presuppositions known



Only among the amazed, our brief convolutions



Among us walking with solemn considerations,



Simple as Christ our Lord touching a forehead



Unto raising up a deathbound flesh everlasting.



Holy Word unspoken, Holy the Spoken Word,



Patterns unveiling in infinite recesses of spirit:



I have seen the briefest eyes becoming glazed,



Wink at what they do not see and recognizing



Me as part of the pattern unfolding in a drop



Of consecrated oil, reflections of Jesus Christ:



Holy, Holy, Holy, the moment of this passing,



The blending of Creation into the shadow end,



The leaven of morning stirring a rising beam.



Consider conduits of moving intervals inside us,



Impossibly resolved in shimmers of interference,



Threats of staccato reversals, visible visitations



Radiating flashes of magic disassembling cities,



Blisters forsworn in superheated inducements,



Auroras of radio waves under a rotting swamp,



Electrical currents crackling throughout a rock,



Men miming the sun like dropped cups of red,



Blowing smoke rings to galaxies of black holes.



Tell me men ignite no sparks or stir another soul



Inside eyes of women awaiting homeward shade;



Tell me roots of vegetation twist to our invention,



Blind as random slipstreams above us gathering,



Skies inside us emptied of knowing intelligence;



Invent calculations entangled as beads emerging,



Abacus of breath strung among lyres and singing;



Tell me I know no soul inside the body of my bride,



Quietly unwinding her God-intoned escapements.



We do believe inevitable adversities commingle



In thickets, in clods, in pods, in deeds, in shards,



In stasis, in streak, in twitch, in tears, in creases,



In keep, in sleep, in wake, in call, in cease, in be,



In part, in bleed, in sigh, in sin, in click, in birth,



In pile, in smile, in turn, in join, in break, in fate,



In take, in drop, in raise, in lose, in heart, in fall,



So joy be full in Adam abandoned and ever Eve,



The seek we share, sight of Him again, our God.



Meaning dances in mirrors upon a shattered sky,



We see behind the blaze a form in naming Adam,



The Seem involved in bytes of knowledge risen



Suddenly up, foretold, generations resurrected,



As if surprise in our eyes in mysteries unblinking



Were thinking in quantums & redefining reasons



Never told before rolled up in scrolls of scripture:



A plot unfolds in a furrows' day of recompense,



Certain verification of God and our Father's Son.



I can only say what I say knowing next to none,



Wedged between an aloneness and Holy Spirit,



Snatching at forgotten understandings in dreams,



Recall in spots the wisps of where I came from,



Report a blur of years like a clear kaleidoscope



Turned inward, perplexity becoming perspective,



Aim a brief arrow at my heart & teletype a word,



Like a click of telegraphy or electric acupuncture,



The slurred underpinning of faith & belief allied.



I cannot try to deify entireties of encyclopedias:



I revere immortal Milton w/ 3rd espoused saint



By his side divining iambics & squeezing apple



Pear shapes into miles of thundering colloquies,



Skipping at hedges of politics and picking fights



In Eden, his masterly knowhow in blinding light,



Explaining man to God with diplomatic relations.



Notwithstanding quickstars in crystalline domes,



My inverted bowl stirs whirlpools of pinpricks.



Blinded by reason I devise new ways of seeing,



Emerge in shapes of self-inclination imagining,



Skew perspective's spiral sides & turn 2 ways,



Be as a bird who knew beforehand up & down,



Repeat the sky like crystal lakes subsume blue,



Resonate each rocky click repeatedly clashing,



Forgo foregone conclusions alluding in clouds,



Synthesize ambiguities in razors and measures,



Cut along an edge of pictures carefully & paste.



I think I will glue it all upon a butterfly's flutter,



Fork a spotlight sideways by a beam in my eye,



Count backwards from infinity to a firecracker,



Start a falling line of dominoes I have in mind,



Inspect agitations on the other side of the moon,



Redo the blue of daytime with a silver zipper,



Speak secretly into split rocky chips blinking,



Scrabble codes in vortices of my inner seeds,



While away singularity as if waiting my turn.



The enfolded codes adorning a morning sun



In streams of creation radiate into this boy



Who gathered his questions in sacks of veils,



Kneeling among green energies above him,



Simply asked Father why and who to trust



When all voices he heard combined in din,



When not knowing why before he was told



Is a razor splitting open those closed skies,



Admitting bright answers as from new sun.



Joseph looked over a wooden crooked fence,



Constructed by his own hands for his father,



Listened fervently to the meadowlark's echo,



That far cry wherein his God could hear him.



Nearby he knew a sacred grove all his own,



Ringing and enshrining with gleaming leaves



Being melded into shadows of ancient truths,



Where he could tell the sky secrets to glorify



Straightforward uncurving rays of knowledge.



They stood still as double suns above the boy,



Smiling down upon his knee-prone amazement,



His simple faith the fiery center unveiling truth



As tangled amid the ebbs of withdrawing tides



Of mankind, confounded by knowing too much.



Centers of affirmation in forms he recognized,



Like as his father and brothers and of himself,



In a moment knowing more than all consigned



Before in sentient convening of human minds.



I know I need my Father's love as Joseph did:



How I hold a word sacred as a piece of bread



Between my fingertips, how water is blessed,



How I believe I fit an overview of everything



With no limits on imagination, how I comply



With promises I made as I was ordered with



An emergence: this celestial symmetry breaks,



Organized into miracles of crystalline lattices,



Atoms emerging bright chips in my own form.











To be an electric light that flares as it dies,



To wind time in the spring of an old clock,



I follow, Father, the Mormon Epic to now,



Lighting my signs & ticking my missives;



I say my story is true & Jesus Christ alive,



That a daytime forever Joseph Smith told



Saves the best for last to be again foretold



In visions and blessings of old news made



New for the one last time in shining words.



A time before mine in the only view I know,



Limited in the long telescope turned round,



As if removed further inside my tiny visions,



To see vast landscapes finely sharp far off,



As if selfsame scenes inside my own brain



Grasped my feeling senses & shaped inside



My soul those signals sent in flashes along



The wires of my spirit, pinging in the mist,



Time gone by, muscle of mind responding.



Flowing inside the Iron Rod, Lehi's dream,



Beholding a tree behind an icy mist of death,



Life itself growing in the tree, seen as being



A grasp of roots, clasping into the ground,


Deep in Cumorah, sheening plates, golden


Leaves, new revelation, old as time known



Only to God as continual now and daytime



Forever, dreams made real, Joseph's mind.



I'll try, Father, to listen my way to an epic.



I sing of visions long ago foretold by Joseph,



Retold in the telling as Mormon Epic song,



How Joseph found the golden secret inside;



So my eye becomes a word I find within me,



A word among sounds of a word made real,



Word of the interim world we know as earth,



Preexistent in the world we knew as a Word,



Song of our Father's Son, our elder brother,



Christ our Lord & only Name under heaven.



Contradicted by iconoclasts & Mormon exes,



What view do I have then, born among men?



No superhero, I, nor unbending theologian,



No many-tricked magician or strict logician



No; no Moses, I, no burning bush to tell me



I AM THAT I AM HE WHO IS has a mission



For you to fulfill: water into blood now you



See it now you don't card trick of leprosy &



Leaping lizard off a staff entwined with air.



Would that I could but I can't is all I can say?



I intend to do what was done millenniums ago



When epic words were sung among believers.



Now my time's an electric firestorm of icons



Infesting video screens & evil burns in eyes



Unconsumed by the glare of lies made real,



Appearing before me & telling me I can't be



More than a scribe to the new millennium of



Writhing snakes, blood to water, rottenness.



As a compost kicked up by confused gospels,



False doctrines abounded in Joseph's time,



Misunderstandings made men unamazed,



Just as the first lie Am I my brother's keeper?



Makes murder for fun appealing on screen,



Glittering in echoes inside the pixels dancing,



The sex tease undressed & celebrated as joy,



50 million babies crushed in the rush to sin,



The Torah shredded to waste underfoot, dust.



As a voice from the dust speaking to us now,



Out of the ground to whisper out of the dust,



Words of the faithful dead out of a dead-end



Dust, divining a living word as a sacred wine,



So to Joseph then as now our broken branch,



Springing from a vineyard's springtime vine:



So to Joseph, son of Jacob, & Joseph Smith Jr,



Son of Joseph of Palmyra, tending to boughs



Prophesied to yield a new fruit everlastingly.



Palmyra, mighty name for a tiny township;



Joseph, a common name for a mighty man;



So the paradoxes multiply in mighty names



Of common towns of New York State, 1816.



Great-god-Google informs me that glory still



Resides in vestiges of ancient magnificences



Inscribed and riddled on limestone statuary



Where slabs defy description of Nike shoes:



Ozimandias aside, the vanities of ancient ages



Stamp upon us grand ambition made manifest;



Joseph moves to Palmyra at ten years of age



With the humblest of names in the humblest of



Circumstances where ambition passes him by,



Naming him not even first of common names,



But Junior to the world; it never occurs to him



His name will be known for good and for evil,



Both good & evil spoken of among all people.



I say Joseph's name be known for good and



Evil among all nations, kindreds & tongues;



I say his name be spoken both good and evil



Among all people, depending upon ambitions



Of men, they being good or they being evil in



Their recognition of a prophet; I say also he



Be recognized as being the man upon whose



Word, good or evil, we shall always depend.



I conclude he did not lie & he told the truth.



If Joseph were wrong, it would matter more



Than I can say, he of whom I compose this



Mormon Epic and all that followed to now;



I contemplate the consequences if he lied,



Unthinkable to my bloodline-generations of 



Latter-day Saints, my genealogy of Wilcox:



I balance the possibility against the facts as



Each man must when hearing his story told:



I conclude he did not lie & he told the truth.



Could I be wrong? No. How do I know? Yes.



Of this I'll sing my epic song & do in outline



All I know of heroes whom I know as heroes.



Yes means the meanings I've amassed in my




Lifetime's palimpsest, underwriting my spirit



In layers of understanding, codifying present



View & all that happened to me up to now: I



See through a glass darkly to light, beyond my



Mortal ability as mere man become Mormon.



Be it Miltonic or Homeric or free-verse-wise



I stylize my words as they go thru my mindset



Heaven-word, knowing full well my dim limit



Of life that flickers like an electric light bulb



Bright and dark at intervals, places inside my



Fleshy brain a burn of spirit and time winding



Down in all my turns of winding, until I can



Say this is what I say and this is what I know



Of all I've seen and known, so help me God.



So much for me my word being bendable by



Daytime light known only by me as mirrors



Or clusters of fragments dropped and each



Reflects sharp edges of part of what I see so



I need whole insights into all I say of these



Immense vistas of time behind the telling of



How Joseph came to be one man made ready



To testify of all that came before & all that is



To come of man & woman made one in God.



Were I a Greek singer of epic song I'd plead



POLYHYMNIA ancient muse of sacred poetry,



To fortify my mind in paradigm & archetype;



I need to say in song what has so long been



Described in particulars: so being a modern



Mormon man amazed I must call upon thee,



FATHER, for more than I myself am capable,



So I may show amazing days of Restoration,



So I may render clearly the soul of meaning.



Song in turn of the sun & glow of the moon



In stars illumining lights of Joseph's mind,



Urim and Thummin delving diamond-deep,



Flickering in deep lakes inside, revelations



Like sparkling shafts & beams rise upward



When set upon with amazement, the depths



Beneath these histories, engraved in gold &



Told in brass, a time so few knew of before,



Discerned in seer stones' pure translucence.



Attend me in my words, O Heavenly Father,



For I must go farther than I've gone before:



To tell the story of a great hero I need Thee:



I speak in a time when no hero's given heed,



No hero outside of fiction deemed to be real



& Machiavellian machinations seeming true



Cluster about the bones of murdered words:



When all names are false and full of smiles,



Deriding the truth is the way to recognition.



Liars & men who fear only truth conceal souls



That fly away like vultures feeding scattering



In the new sun rising seeming amazed merely



Caught mid-air in flight fearful morning sun



May show them their own shadows clawing at



The lies which feed them scornful of a new sun



On the offal they love revealed as dead carrion;



So it is when new revelations gleam down on



Old miscarried twistings, liars rage at the sun.



Joseph didn't know of a bright video screen:



I see Joseph through a glass darkly in light:



Confused signals might seem to Joseph snow,



Daguerreotypes sent spinning in blizzards of



Blankness & electrical storms into TV snow.



So let me see Joseph as he'd see men clearly,



Men milling in evil combinations who wait to



Obliterate what's left of righteousness & then



Smother understanding in blizzards of sleaze.



Where do I begin? Joseph then as seen thru now.



I pick out any point in his life & like a hologram



Reflects back in upon itself full pictures emerge;



Receding images full of inner reflections create



Mirrors sun & glory of his God while shattering



The life-lies of men afraid of singularity --  a point



At the exact center of all energies caught in the



Event horizon of his belief & faith as his words



Explode the shattered pane, "Oh Lord my God!"



So who is Joseph that I should sing of him?



Herein the hologram emerges in his mind:



Beaming thru miracles of inspired insights



He sees men struggle to understand alone,



That he cannot see without a laser to guide



Thru the mist of centuries a misunderstood



View deleted to be re-edited by committees



Who never saw the Savior's face nor heard



His clear words & clarion call to His truth.



How could he have known what he'd yet do?



Achieve blessings yet untold in deeds known



Only by Heavenly Father, unsung among men,



When all around raged acrimonious slanders?



What did he see that he should be killed for it?



What vapid views so uneasy of dull reflections



Engendered murder against a boy seeking truth?



Now we know and now we can see what Joseph



Would see as he fell through the gleaming glass.



They said we are wisps of mist & God likewise;



Joseph told us our mind & intelligence matter.



They said God was hidden amongst the clouds;



Joseph told us intelligence or the light of truth



Was not created or made nor indeed can be so,



For we are co-eternal with our Maker & Father



Who delights in our progression to be like Him.



Not a nothing seeking redemption from nothing



But children of God seeking a way home to Him.



Eternity matters most when mind & spirit falter:



To see the future past endurance & matter die,



Living inceptions wavering in desert delusions,



Vast cactus horizons, great circles of awareness



Radiating outward toward blue glasslike sky.



On our own we see nothing beyond this mirror,



Easy access to nothing more than we imagine,



Images programmed to disappear in deception,



Mirages fetched up by dust devils in the wind.



Preachers rankle at philosophies predestined



To obfuscate the simple sayings of the Savior:



Joseph sets a ring of common sense back into



The center of eternity without beginning or



End where the jewel of eternal life marks the



Beginning place without end and circles back



To the utmost reach of Heavenly Father's plan



So man may be in the beginning place again



With Him & know the joy of life without end.



Pastors rant about matters concerning men,



Pay heed to each other's clever opinions set



Like verities astride the Bible & claim truth



Is what they say best most smoothly defined.



Joseph wonders which is the way to heaven.



Predeterminations to death seem nonsense.



Babies sent tumbling into fires of oblivions,



Committees constructing what the Lord has



To say without a hint of direct verification.



So the Holy Priesthood enters the loud fray



Without his being fully aware what will be



His place in a plan he knows no one knows,



Neither he as a boy who can simply wonder



Nor words beyond his ability to make clear,



Claims of learned men contending in letters



Instead of plain sense & patches of disdain



For meanings made simple enough for the



Fourteen year old boy to consider his own.



Priests revealing schemes counter to Christ:



Ancient misgivings flung about carelessly as



Fiats fly like pottery thru stained glass caric-



atures, doctrine derived through guesswork,



Alien creeds wound like broken threads into



Patchwork fabrics covering secret sins while



Celibacy's mistaken for chastity & bedeviling



Themselves with whips, Adam's body denied;



No wonder Joseph was hated for asking why.



The day Darwin stumbled upon Galapagos



Joseph forms a quorum of 12 apostles along



With a quorum of 70 in intelligent patterns.



1/2 world away Darwin dawdles 2 dead birds



Tender as sleeping babes, puts 2 & 2 together



Like 2 rocks striking sparks, decides birds &



Rocks are chains changing with the weather,



Links bound together in solemn assemblies of



Death-bound accidents happening but once.



Young Karl marks the year 1835 as profound



& begins to untangle the meaning of meaning;



Searching nature for hints of consistency, he



Comes across the brazen fact that men amass



For themselves wealth they may never deserve;



In the same year Joseph is presented scratches



Of Egyptian cuneiform on scrolls of papyri,



Proceeds to untangle the mysterious markings:



Reveals an inspired icon, a Pearl of Great Price.



As hummingbirds search among competing bees,



Whisking petals for drips of new nectarine dew,



Joseph's mind plies folds of the past for insights,



Seizes upon garbles of twisted Egyptian script &



Reports a source not known among men in eons,



Jumps past common leaves & books of breathing



Directly to a point of knowledge God gives him.



God only knows men see what they are at heart.



Joseph sees thru a maze amazing hieroglyphics.



Transcribing the soul of meaning Joseph skips



Past traps that catch the minds of men offending



God as they fend off man with lethal schemes



So complex as to dignify chaos with a name . . .



Marx buttons the universe into a straitjacket.



Darwin describes mud & everything's just fine.



Joseph listens to the Holy Spirit rustling leaves



& breathes new meaning into a lost transcript:



The Book of Abraham is brought to men exactly.



How did it happen he finds a point of clarity



When all about him rage false priestcrafts 



Insidious designs too clever for a boy's mind?



Herein is the story to tell when we remember



How Joseph came to know what men had so



Grappled & fought for in battles lost to past



Imagination, how simple truth & simple faith



Prevail over dedicated foes of godly decency:



Joseph saw clearly through centuries of lies.



What did Joseph not know he had to find out?



A boy amongst tumults of opinion & fire-fights



Of blazing words, each opinion a bullet flaming



To a target grown-ups could see but not Joseph.



Decisions based upon quarrels lost and salvation



Hanging tight by threads each would cut joyfully



To prove the only way to heaven's down an aisle



Proclaiming Jesus a lightning strike of emotion.



Aftermath of such bravado? stench of cold ash.



Buzz-words bend hot iron rods of Holy Writ.



Something in the balance did not make sense:



A burn of faith in his bosom equaled any storm



Of words but not a shelter against cross-winds



Of opinion, unholy slanders of his quiet Christ;



He needed peace to prevail in his aching heart,



Not roils & turbulence, arguments of who said



What to who in chapters of old battered Bibles



Where verses proving one way was right were



Underlined in red ink, flashed like black knives.



Deity sees beginning and end from beginning:



So how would a common teen know a chorus



Sung low as a tabernacle choir of memories &



So many lines running soft in rills of melody?



Joseph would find day by day in common toil



And bloody struggle his theme song beginning:



Find the Gods were planning how man could



Find a way to perfection, a way home to Father



& Mother waiting quietly by a gate to eternity.


              DEUS EX MACHINA 



So it begins: a question why he wants to know:



Who could he go to when no one knew more



Than he: a boy perturbed beyond explanation,



Deep down pandemonium of soul unexplained,



Perplexed by matters seeming far beyond him,



Concerned with the why of all philosophies of



Men when no one seemed to know the why &



How of why we are here and why if flesh has



Meaning beyond dust it becomes nothingness?



They who had more answers than questions



Questioned nothing, waited for other's answers.



If man is made in God's image, why has He no



Body? Can empty mirrors see other mirrors in



Nothing more than nothing? It made no sense.



Was flesh a spun mass of sin formed into being



By a loving Creator to be condemned for being?



When the spring sparkles with rhododendrons,



Why do mockingbirds echo their little prayers?



Seeking a grove he knows of, a spot of quietude,



Joseph can hear the meadowlarks  far afield of



His father's farm, calling to him as if they know



What no man knows for sure, sure ceremonies



Of innocence before Eden, sure signs like clicks



& swish of wings flittering amidst the branches,



A temple of lucent silence broken only by chip



& brush of leaf against leaf, occasional cicada's



Hymning, gleam of sunlight amid pure shadow.



Here the Holy Spirit he seeks, beaming in blue



Cascades of sky, the fresh breath of a soft breeze,



As if clearing a way to heaven, a weft of quiet,



A harp woven of interlaced threads of gestures,



Quick fingers strumming the surrounding hum



Of bees mingling in flowers their soft-spoken joy,



Being what they are, instruments of Almighty



Knowledge, creation's beginning & foreknown



Weave, all he needs to know of Heaven & Hell.



Who does he speak to when pastors say God



Stands by & watches what happens to snarls of



Cross-intentions amongst lonely humankind &



Striving to understand ancient tongues spoken



In classic idiom removed from everyday speech,



So far removed they speak neo-Shakespearean



Terms no one understands but all try to emulate?



The boy considers he might make sense of this



If he reads closely what God himself has to say.



As he walks toward the grove, he remembers



James' Epistle: "If any of you lack wisdom, let


him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,



and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."



Simple enough. Makes sense. A lot more sense



Than jabber he can't understand. The Bible says



Only God can tell him what he wants to know,



So the answer's clear as a spring morning 1820.



He'll ask his Father in Heaven what he should do.



Joseph doesn't know any better all the bitter



Precepts God is gone and lost to man who now



Alone tries to figure out ancient scriptures of



Peoples lost to modern memory; these regrets



Fall upon innocent ears of a boy who knows his



Father, who knows his father does not lie to him,



Who answers questions when he asks sincerely:



He will be answered, which row should he plow,



Which furrow is most promising to bear fruit?



Morning sun casts long shadows across the land;



Disputations of raucous neighbors lie behind him.



He finds a path in undergrowth, makes his way



In silence, walks toward the grove he's chosen.



No one knows the path; not even he anticipates.



He must find out as he sees lilies in lush clover,



Large trillium flowers blooming in early purple,



Pink later on in age & time as all things grow &



Change & all he knows is... he does not know.



Joseph's special place, the one he knows by heart.



He left an ax in a stump like a cleft of reflection.



The very air in the grove that morning shimmers:



Bright sunlight thru white curtains of cool birch;


Whitewood forest of his father's farm yet uncut;



Stands of hardwood forest maples hophornbeam



& beech & wild cherry rise thick about with ash



Oak hickory elm canopies of aspen & tree trunks



Grown wide around & white as Solomon's pillars.



Joseph's arms cling to his sides like vines clasp



These reaching trees standing dead still while



His breath becomes a sudden interim holding in



A beating heart at the core as if he's becoming



Like a tree in ages of growth in outward rings


Alive but stirring no movement to record life.



It's like the verge of leaping into a cold stream



To swim knowing a shock of impact may be at



Once like slap of liquid ice or fierce undertow.



Joseph feels a surge of anticipation as he kneels,



No one knows what he's about to do, not even he.



The only eyes upon him peek out in butterflies



& quick blinks of squirrels playing hide & seek



With their destinies & never see the teeth snap.



He knows he's alone with whatever thundered



In storms a year ago and beat against the glass.



A clear day's promise may unwind an anguish



Of waiting, answers never ticked out in clocks.



How do you pray? he wonders as he closes his



Eyes for a moment, knowing you shut out the



Light of life which may distract deep meditation,



But how does he garble aloud the mix of words



He's heard in churches which seem so far from



The quiet of this grove, his first prayer spoken?



Quickly he opens his eyes again to see & hear



The familiar scene around him in faint rustling



Of leaves by tiny creatures hiding like children.





Not an absence of light so much as liquid tar



Pouring down upon him all around his body



In bands of ebony & steel muscles tightening



A wrestling hold he'd never heard of before,



Wily cheater's stranglehold of deadly intent,



Not the kind he knew & fended off for fun



With his brothers but savage endgame grip



Of fist & arm to crush inexorably his throat.



Preening open power Joseph never knew of,



Rancid words of an extinct tongue unknown



Flatulated against his ears & nostrils heavily,



Breathing a horrid excremental extortion in



Scrambled tones of fierce excitement of rape,



A kind of craving to die inside & suck his soul



Dry of hope or any human feeling left of love,



A blankness of black spirit seizing his insides,



Merciless infestation of every ill ever known.



This total attack struck unexpectedly as a storm



On a bright day, a tornado of impending death,



No choice left to move or even breathe another



Breath, no clear air ever again outside a grave,



As if every bludgeon ever brought down upon



An innocent child of God were suddenly brought



To bear at one exact point, the crown of Joseph's



Head, sending exquisite shocks of static despair



Into his bosom, a feeling he had never known.



As if he had carelessly cracked crystal jars of jet



Ink globs blotting out bright sunshine he loved;



As if he'd crossed a line he never knew existed



To be damned for rules no one had told him of;



As if he stirred a hornet's nest of demon wasps



Only to be consumed by fire ants of his nerves;



As if he spoke the unspeakable by not speaking,



So the universe crashed in about him unaware



Of what he could never know unless he asked.



Before he could ascertain if he'd gone mad or no,



Before he could figure how very air turned iron,



How ground rose up around him in steely cords,



Twisting bands, a skulking morass, manifest hate,



Your final end of despair, convoluted tar-pit of



Ebony snakes, massive octopus of sleek oily arms



Catching him dead still, meaningless pain, stasis,



Crushing beak of invisible evil breathless to kill,



Telling him all is lost abandon hope enter here.



How do I describe what only Joseph experienced?



I'll try, Father, to speak in words that can't be said



Nor spoken aloud in tones of mortal knowledge:



A bottom of nothing pulled out below his knees



Suddenly suspending him over a spacetime black



Hole unknown nor even guessed at by anyone at



All before men could know ether-locked visions,



Unending black holes across a starry night inside



Centers of sheer energy only you, Father, know.



We may be near to guessing a chink at the edge



Of the universe Thou created can be what Joseph



Knew at the hands of a crass intelligence blotted



Out from your presence & damned to outer dark,



Who well knew Joseph threatened his blackness.



The dots of light of Joseph's mind & soul shining



As noonday sun reflecting the source of all sun



In Thy creations too vast for us to grasp at once



Yet with Joseph's faith can find on bended knee.



Poor poet that I am I sigh aloud my hyperboles,



But what can I say in presence of inexpressible



Glories of God except with the language I know,



Glories now known thru Joseph's mind in view



Of heavens & multiplying starforms & creations



Unendingly brought about by Almighty Powers?



While man's knowledge is grudgingly nudged



Out of facts he can see, the invisible properties



Of God's intelligence streak like shocks in wires.



Therefore grasp them at your peril, man, they jolt



The edges of eternity & Joseph is cast into a chasm



Of black by the adversary to frighten him to death,



To ward off the plan Lucifer feared, foreordained



Without his will or co-operation but blooming in



Springtime verdure of the grove, to be retrieved



By young Joseph without guile who had only faith



To lead him to places no man knows without the



Permission of Him who knew beforehand this day.



In the last moment before he knew he would die



Joseph flashed upon his question which called



Aloud in the deepest part of his soul to answer



What was happening in man and himself that



Demanded recognition, that pled for the mercy



Of knowing where he was going, where he'd be



At the moment of his last breath, falling into a



Black hole of the grave forever or lifted by his



Loving Father to the newness of ever knowing.



A hush of motion lightly sweeps thru the grove



Like a hand brushes soot away from an ivory vase;



The foul black haze evaporates in a fresh breeze.



Joseph takes a deep breath, wonders if it really



Happened or if he'd passed out in desperation of



Ever speaking a clear thought again in his voice.



He coughs a couple of times to clear his throat,



Folds his hands before him as his mother taught,



Searches for words to say to his Heavenly Father.



So no black entity would intervene--for entity



It was--he bows his head and hopes for the best.



Joseph knew well the difference between night-



mares and daytime struggle of powerful muscles,



Of bending back opponents in a wrestling match,



Of crying "Uncle!" and laughing so hard they fall



In a heap of comradeship & hearty compromise.



This was no brotherly dare made loving struggle,



No, this was for keeps: two souls in mortal strife.



To see beyond all description of light as Joseph



Told us he saw, I'd need a metaphysical metaphor,



New language to tell what happened next, unique



Types of speech to write my epic poem, yet I must



Toss my tiny pebbles into the Grand Canyon to call



Up an echo in a vastness beyond my understanding,



Words existing real as far clicks of rocks scraped



Against gigantic sides rife with tiny hints of God



Who listens to a sigh of who I am in sand, singing.



I might come close to telling what I did not see



If I imagine a sudden sun of the hydrogen bomb



Imploding fusion in the center of a man-made



Starburst, for flesh cannot be so made a burn of



Being & survive the flash of instant eternity. 



The cloak of white light settled down on Joseph



In a form he saw as a pillar to protect him from



Unimaginable light and energy focused directly



Over his head, above the brightness of the sun.



Where do we find God but in the center of things?



His brightness and glory defy all description so



I Try in my epic to find ways I can signify my belief,



Words understood as truth be told by me roughly,



Drifting words common as dirt & sand gleaming



As jewels of intention & sincere prayer of a child



Reciting what he does not know but knows he'll



Understand for his father tells him so & one day



Say exactly what's on his mind in grown-up talk.



In the meantime so far removed am I from Adam



Who conversed with his Maker words understood,



I must merely signal I am a poet who is longing



To reply to the vast starry sky like a meteor signs



Off in flame its name known only in a quick line



Of living ether written like a match it scratches



In reply to the One & Only I am too & I am one


Of Thy sons like a wink in the eternal firmament



Acknowledging faith in Thee, Farther Star than I.



May I speak out of turn & say I believe my God



Knows my name & knows me more than I myself



So thus I feel free to babble my baby gurgle with



Faith I'm understood by One who knows me best,



Who delights in my trying to be like Him:  I know



This by means of Joseph who found for himself



His Father listens to what he has to say, that I too


Can be as brave as faith makes me, to live beyond



My means in words I invest, usury of given talents.



One more word here now about what I'm about



To say written in sand of sifting words thru my



Mind & hands as surely as a timeworn form of



Hourglass & say again all that's said more finely



Than I a million times over that I know I am Ron,



Trying to say in sand piling up in poems I believe



I know what is mine in a view of Joseph Smith Jr.



Whom I praise in words sifting through my soul



Like sand crystals of diamonds common as earth.



To undertake the impossible is always man's lot:



We find pride a glitch of personality that makes



Us more than we know, daring progeny of deity



& creation's signature, hope against hope we are



Heard in a star-filled night crying for a moment,



Father, find us, we are here, thy sons & daughters



Who love thee as part of Thy creation stand among



The far stars singing thy name in heaven's rhyme



The music of the spheres in a solar burst of song.



White bark of silver birch reflecting sun's rays:



Gleaming pillar of light descending on Joseph



Beyond my description so may I speak out of turn



Again in my demeanor of hyperbole: argent blaze


Of Heavenly Father's presence, alabaster tones of



Niveal chimes, calcimine shining reverberations,



Winnowing canescence of incessant April snow... 


Alas, I've proved Joseph's point. Try it yourself.



We break the back of Google to find descriptions.



I long to multiply my praise by breeding adjectives.



Joseph was not the first to catch this discrepancy



Between sincere worship and megalomaniacal gush.



I need only look inside myself to find the source of



Apostasy: we need more than a grove of beatitude.



We need flares & timpani drums amidst the shrubs,



We need a morsel more than we can readily digest.



We need a reminder we are above the animal breed.



We need to comply with pride and call it worship.



I've seen cathedrals of Europe and giant spires,



I've known men more religious than I to swear.



I've seen myself at night and listened to me cry.



I've heard myself proved wrong with certainty.



I've called upon I knew not what & capitulated.



I've seen a solemn grieving crowd stifle a snicker.



I've learned more than I should have what sin is.



I've breathed a sigh it wasn't my turn yet to die.



I've gracefully juggled crystal spoons I dropped.



Having proved I'm flawed as any, can I now say



Without fear of justification that I see clearly in



A glass sanded smooth as a rough stone rolling,



Beatitude in a sacred grove the morning Joseph



Prayed aloud for the first time in his young life,



That his mortal aim from that moment on flayed



False exaggerations of men striving on toward



Perfection yet not knowing how, who deserted



The field to a graveyard yearning for more life.



A sense of sudden warmth sends a chill of relief



Down Joseph's spine as if he's at home forever,



His father's & mother's arms tight around him.



He blinks as the black vanishes from the grove.



His eyelids feel like cracks in two crystal eggs,



Hidden baubles of Easter surprise & laughter,



With the rays of risen sun igniting the world,



Or a flash of brightness inside the bright flare



At a July 4 picnic, friends & family all around.



Long shadows cast into hills & hollows glow



Molten white, a sense of love in a spoon of milk



When you're sick & mother feeds you tenderly;



Father straightens a lick of hair from your fore-



head and places his palms tenderly upon you to



Bless your place in life as being his beloved son.



So it was with Joseph as he cleared his eyes and



Glanced upward toward two figures standing in



The air lightly poised on tiny points of morning.



Of what is the substance of God for no man knows



& lives if he sees unrighteously nor I by my words,



My epic reaching past my grasp as if ice crystals



Formed briefly in patterns of infinity a sight that



Joseph beheld; familiar figures; two of whom he



Saw as men wrapped in gleams of sharp sunlight



Reflecting all at once the stars in heaven wearing



Robes of moonglow & flowing rhythm & even sun



Unbeknown of teeming rays & flares outbursting.



Could he be seeing real personages he recognized?



For they wore bright white singular robes in sheets



Of deep flame erupting all in a glance an unknown



Brightness from inside of Joseph's eyes as if centers



Of creation took on lights of clear streams in spring,



The kind Joseph loved to fish for flashes leaping in



Rippling rivers of intelligence made seeable in real



Seeming & tangible being, actual bodies shining in



Starbursts of crystal ice visible as warm sunshine.



Infinite complexity made seeable & simple to Joseph,



A sense that somehow he knew them before this time



Like a close companion's face seen briefly in a crowd,



A flash of knowing the familiar bright eyes glancing



His way after long absence & a quick recognition for



Another brief moment of sight resting on lives lived



Together in years of wending through days of loving,



This was the feeling wrapping around him dear clasp


Of delicate memory like a child knows his family first.



I like to think these were his fleeting thoughts:



Joseph sees 2 forms forming in gleaming robes,



He begins to perceive two persons being real



As crystals creating inexplicably shattering bits



& shapes & blending each into each like spring



Takes winter snow & melts it into rocky edges &



Flowing forms of silver & green growth peeking



Through starkness of winter forced to release its



Grip yet clutching its last freeze in spots melting.



Does Joseph identify a double sight as a dream?



Forms forming more forms alight in inner glow.



Glowing figures forming a glory between them



As alike as father & son in a family resemblance



In the air above him as if two impending clouds



Seen before on northern shores rumble forward,



As if separate parts of the same person emerging,



As if facing mirrors facing mirrors facing Joseph,



As if he between can see unending time & eternity.



I've indicated what I think & believe Joseph saw,



Yet brittle connections fall apart in man's speech.



I fend off temptation to dazzle myself & others



With brilliant insights & words of praise I value;



Can I be humble & proud in the same breath &



Yet in one move bow low & thus survive pride?



Can I say what I believe in words so beautified



I set Hamlet straight & call up Ophelia's father,



Polonius, to stutter iambics to camels in clouds?



As a rumbling echo low inside a deep well with



White marbled sides around a spacetime-borehole



Of infinite depth & quietude reverberating sound,



A voice he knew but had never heard before now,



Joseph, my son. This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him.



Had he heard his name so spoken as a son in the



Same breath as Son of Man, for who else could it



Be?  Had a stray breeze held a blasphemy at bay or



Had he heard an answer before a secret question?



Imagine Joseph hears his God in a rush of wind,



Hears shush of ashen sky impending doomtime,



Hears sunken rocks beneath a sheen of streams,



Hears caverns ring deep blue thru gleam of sky,



Hears waves of applause inside a marbled dome,



Hears ice-knives cutting thin cuneiform to slices,



Hears screams of incessant pleas of the innocent,



Hears nettles of light piercing brief thunderclaps,



Hears over din mingling pain & joy combining.



Who was he that he should be so addressed by God



As "son" in the same breath as Son of Man himself?



Who was Joseph to know what no man knew before



Or if known before forgotten in windings of under-



ground caves, stalactite ice, stalagmite mire, growing



Into mysterious towers, misunderstanding mankind,



Life beneath a brief life of a secret life in his mind,



Wondering what no man could know: Who am I?


Where did I come from? Where am I going now?


A dream in daytime he knew what was happening


Yet had no clue which way to go so now like a boy



Asking directions home from a strange town where



Somehow he had lost his way wandering from a far



Place he had almost forgotten but knew somehow



Where he had come from knowing he had been




Sent on an errand to find his family their heritage



As heir apparent in a maze of streets & paths with



Strange names & he knew he must ask directions.



They smiled down in solemn loving understanding



As he knew so well from his father when he & his



Brothers needed a nudge of guidance fearful they



Had stepped over the line but knew full well that



Their father knew them better than they themselves



So they weren't afraid {SUCH WAS JOSEPH'S RESPONSE}



Rubbing his eyes as if gunpowder flashed in visible


Halos rococo after-images radiating sublime rings



Around the Holy Faces he saw once in a painting.



{THESE HE SAW} were as no others he had ever seen:



In rain he had seen lights gleam in water & seem



A part of a shining surface in little laps rippling



Waves aloud in the least whispers fresh renewing



Glimmers, or of promises of full crops to come in



Dark fields outlying his father's fertile farmland.



He could see two handsome faces of noble persons



Heretofore only imagined as his mother read to him



Stories of shining princes and kingdoms unending.



Yet these faces were more than real, more familiar



Than he ever knew of men imagined or remembered,



Real men he met and knew of in tangible forms of



Flesh & bone, like himself, for they had spoken to him



As now he heard these figures before him speaking,



Like silent lightning hung inside a roiling, majestic



Cloud of light, with yet a deep thunder-clap of love



To come, as though an enlightened cloud containing



This lightning strike had yet to thunder gloriously.



Dared he speak? would he be struck? as a standing oak



Might be, alone in a coming storm, as he had seen one



Riven once with glory, cracked to shreds & sticks, yet



This was why he was here, why he came to the grove



Alone, to ask his Father a question his father would



Answer--gathering all his courage, he spoke up as he


Always did when confronted with unsettled questions



In his quest of faith & belief, longing for an answer to



Come, somehow, from the Powers before him in light.



Joseph got hold of himself enough to know one thing:



That he had stirred up a storm of glory in his grove!



Hoping not to stutter or shame himself with doubt,



He spoke aloud, maybe too loud, for a quiet moment:



Who's right? they all say different things! I just can't



Understand them because they're all talking at once!



Who's got it wrong? 'cause I want to do what you



Want me to! Somebody's got to be right! They can't



All be right at the same time, can they? Who's right?



As a distant stroke of lightning followed by thunder



This glorious Person sounded aloud one low word:






Then Joseph heard words remembered henceforward:



they draw near to me with their lips


but their hearts are far from me they


teach for doctrines the commandments



of men having a form of godliness



but they deny the power thereof



So far he had wondered his question only to himself;



How could this person know his very heart's core?



His puzzlement which church or which exact sect



To join, there were so many of them & all of them as



Great as he was obscure; grand titles of Christendom



Ringing ringing bells repeating low tones "Lo, here!"



(across vast religious landscapes of Christ) "Lo, there!"



Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, Unitarian,



(not to say) hell-bent private preachers preaching!


This desperation born of black despair thrust on him



Just moments before, this quizzical fear like cracking



Ice beneath his feet, his eyesight glazed with rending



Streaks & flashing lights, hideous, dizzying indecision,



All this frenzy of his soul which brought him here to



His grove, fraught with doubt and impending doom,



Turned suddenly calm as spots of cool fern growing.



Suddenly all this panic building in his mind vanished:



He could see who stood there in silver golden green.



Double in glory they shone, two beams down upon


His grove with gentle greenery all about them pure



& undisturbed, no ruffled glare, shadows flickering,



Dark tongues compounded yellow & licking wood,



No evergreen fire or night-flaming earthly sparks



{nor moon nor stars melt white on leaves of birch}



Noonday sun never shone as bright as these lights



Shining more brightly than fire ever seen by man:








 ~blue glimmering 

       flame in icy 





Miraculous it seemed to him & miraculous it was:



Had he known beforehand his query would fetch up



Pure fire like this, he might have stayed home afraid,



Never knowing what lay behind careening screens



Of just plain things he knew in every day busy plod,



Hard toil with his two rough hands twisting a living



From land, portraits not yet painted by ax and spade,



Dreams cut out of dirt, precise furrows & farmland



Venturing far as heaven beyond morning sunshine.












Outside a rancid little box of a cramped jailhouse



Shine tiny diamonds on trees {last night's stars}



Renewing glistening hope {dawn brings to men}



A dew of early sunrise {finely sprayed on leaves}.



Six men lie in a stupid state, torpid as dead wood.



{LISTLESS INACTIVITY} grieving God buried them in



A rock box {even oaks outside whisper taunts}



Liberty Jail, a name inscribed as cruel paradox,



Conceived by a mind more cunning than men.



Too long held against their will, guilty of no crime,



Confined in a room at most fourteen by fourteen,



Surrounded by walls four feet thick, two grated



Iron windows giving no relief of sky or clean air,



Sleeping sporadically on dirty straw, a dirt floor,



Seldom digesting food "not fit for man or beast."



Stricken with stomach cramps and vomiting up



Wretched meals they suspect probably poisoned,



Six Mormon men stew inside desolate isolation.



'Nuther day, says Alexander McRae, 6-foot-6.



Hear them mockin' birds? says Caleb Baldwin.



Sidney Rigdon sits in silence, propped by Joseph



Solid as a beam or backbrace, one hewn of oak.



Silent for a minute more, Hyrum breaks silence.



Them fools act like we're weird as sea hogs or



Some monstrous whale or sea serpents hissin'.



Joseph manages a grin & says to Lyman Wight



Recall what happened to Jonah? He got out.



Caleb mumbles, Didn't git out just all by hisself,









I don't think that might happen to us anyways.









A blackness comes back he's felt before as back



In the grove such despair came out of nowhere.



He must pray Lucifer away {WITH ALL HIS MIGHT}.



Joseph's companions wait upon his next word,






Feeling they didn't have this coming to them,



Furious with resentment & unfair frustration.



If it was just Joseph and not God they obeyed,



Then all bets were off & apostasy'd be the key



To settin' them free of oppression and pain!



All them covenants so severely and solemnly



Set on them would shuffle off their shoulders!



He, who lived true each day since his Vision,



Sensed something very spiritually wrong here.



The Holy Ghost must have made a get-away



From fierce attitudes filling a roomful of men!


It would make impossible his righteous pleas



For succor & aid in this hell-hole of oblivion.



He & his brethren moiled in their own sweat:


Dense shadows, damp across this emptiness;



Despair, tangible as a smell of unholy death.



As so many times before he'd hoick up Spirit


For himself & those whose eyes followed him



Daily into realms of light his Father shown in



Their eyes, fixed not upon his person but upon



Righteousness, God-light flowing thru his soul,



Daylight of daily living, daily toil, daily hope,



Become tangible in the words even he knew



Not of before he spoke them, revelations in



Streams of continual surprise, new knowing.



Joseph speaks: Brethren, the size of our affliction



Swells the size of our prison all out of proportion.






In the smell-bound silence hanging miasma-like 



Around them, Joseph goes on to speak his piece:



We are chastened. We are tried even as Abraham.



Would we have struck Isaac dead as a sacrifice?



Hyrum? Lyman? Sydney? Alex? You, Caleb?



Would you strike down your son like a sheep?



Don't reckon I would, says Caleb. 'lest it was God


Hisself asked. Wouldn't do it for no man no how.



Nor I, echoes Sydney Rigden. I'd have to know.



Me, too, says Hyrum. I'd have to know for sure.


How 'bout you? says Joseph to Alexander McRae.



A man ain't God! snaps Caleb Baldwin. Not ever.



You think I'm God? says Joseph quietly. I ain't.



Never said I was.  But I'll tell you one thing: I'd


Do whatever He asked me to, no matter what.



Alex, shifting his long legs to ease deep ache:


Even if you knew he wasn't gonna stop you?



Joseph almost shouts, Abraham didn't know that!



All he knew was God told him "you kill your boy!"



They held their breath, knew what was coming.



Joseph begins to speak his mind, softly, intensly:



Seems to me that man was meant to have grief



In his days if he be saved in the world to come.



Gathering strength, Joseph speaks a revelation:



if thou be cast into the deep if the billowing surge


conspire against thee if fierce winds become thine



enemy if the heavens gather blackness and all the



elements combine to hedge up the way & above all



if the very jaws of hell shall gape open her mouth



wide after thee know thou my son that all these things



shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good


{JOSEPH PAUSES}  the son of man hath descended below



them all--art thou greater than he?--endure it well



Hope I can remember what God said, says Sydney.



Joseph smiles, cheered up by his new revelation.



Keep a pencil handy, says Hyrum. I do, dang it!



Sydney snaps, but I got no writin' paper on me.


Use this, says Hyrum, handing him an old letter.



But it's from your mama, says Sydney. scrawling.



Joseph glances at Hyrum. Write between the lines.



Hyrum grins at his brother, knows what he means.



Shall I repeat it, Sydney?--No! I heard every word!



Picked as guards, four Carthage Grays stumble in.



They're boozing & laughing it up. One scratches his



Crotch, another spits into the cage--Whatcha doin'


There, Joe? Drawin' dirty pitchers? Lemme see that!



Sydney quickly crumples the letter into his pocket.



Hey, you got sumpin' in yer ears I just stepped in?



I said hand me that frikin' piece a paper pronto!



I'm gonna draw what a Mormon slut looks like!



His whiskery companions howl -- On 'er back!



They begin clapping, chanting lyrics calculated



To inflame the Mormon men beyond endurance.



Each guard takes turns in a vulgar square dance,



Singing a verse he seems to make up as he goes.



Oh I got a Mormon woman an' ain't she just fine,



Gotter on 'er back, don't she like what's mine!



Finally found a man she can trust maker happy,



My turn now but next comes my horny pappy!



They roll on the dirt floor, writhing & laughing.



Joseph slowly stands to his feet, fire in his eyes.



{HE SPEAKS LIKE THUNDER} Be silent, you fiends of hell!


I die or you die this very instant!  Be silent!





In the name of Jesus Christ, cease your filth



Or God will strike you dead! -- In the fury of



Thine heart with thy sword avenge us our



wrongs & remember thy suffering saints oh



my God we shall rejoice in thy name forever.



Amen, say the men. {PAUSE}  Alex: They look to be


Corpses. Indeed, the guards weren't moving.






Joseph peers down at them & says to the others



I wouldn't be them for all the gold of Riplakish.



Unless they repent, their souls be hell-damned.



Joseph claps his hands as if awakening the dead.



They stir & groan, four drunks with hangovers.



One by one they stumble out a grated iron door.



Did ya kill 'em Joseph? Is that what happened?



Joseph: You think I raised them from the dead?


Well, no, but I seen you do stupendous stuff!



Joseph: Heavenly Father does His own miracles,


Not I. Those poor throwaways did it to them-



selves. I called down upon them the weight



Of their conscience; they couldn't stand to



See themselves as God sees them. Hyrum:


How is that? Joseph: He sees them soulfully.



Once again Joseph had spoken the voice of God.



Familiar as close friends, the men in the room



Were sure they knew his mind, yet time after



Time he surprised them with unforeseen turns.



He called God down upon the vile guards, who,



Stunned to incomprehension, fell into silence.



Dazed, they lay in a flaccid knot of arms & legs,



Their square-dancing mockery & mime of lust



Turned against them in a groggy death-struggle.






We think in terms of eternity while still on earth,



Brief years of life being as one breath then ceasing.



As if by surprise we end:  we don't want to know we



End up dead for keeps:  thus Joseph knew mortality.



We all perceive this, yet he brought us knowledge



From God straight & exact, intervened by no man.



Our first hunch is right: we shall never die forever.



We were designed for death in this life only & we



Live without end in a world we're wending toward.



His keen mind cut thru his years like a fired blade,



Revealing our real life as endless-being-lightning.



As Joseph obeyed his earth-bound father full of



Flaws so he sought an all-knowing Father with



No flaw, found him thru faith at home on earth;



Joseph revealed our true situation here as like



Radiating roots, life flashed into soil & still death,



Between sunlight & shade, joy in moving & fixity:



Day doomed to die like low sinking sun; life gone.



Moments lost only in imagination, minutes tick



Past the great stream moving in motion so deep



We do not comprehend unless told by our Father 



In flares of revelation, signaling the sure shores



We attain to: {heaven-haven's echo-bells & gems


strewn through centuries of searching for truth}


Scripture lost only in fog of apostasy & unreason.



Sure as man breathes his last in hope of reaching



Past the brief signals to shore toward lighted faith.



So Joseph apprehended our true condition of



Being without end and shared the light he knew,



Breaking dark death-clouds apart with lightning



Flashes of insights; thru Joseph the soul-clouded



Days & dark impending storms ignited fire, God



Revealing what we really are in lightning strikes



Caught alive & crackling like a flow of electric



Energy throughout the time of brief storms on



Earth; so Joseph suffers brief life of dark storms.






Now Joseph pondered his years from center of light



He found that day to now, this heavy day about him,



A festering, stinking black hole of Liberty Jail, 1839,



{Remembered redoubtable days of trouble rumbling  


Days of thunder} Black days mocked eternal clear days



To come, our true condition of life unending at core



Of sun & so, Son of Man shone through the mind &



Soul of a boy at heart who only asked why in a grove



& told of God's glow on a clear day nineteen years ago.



{rambling thru his youth to this very now} deep inside



The prison of Liberty Jail, where all things flesh com-



bine to overcome the light he knew awaiting outside



In glints of sun on dew on trees like buzzing of bees



Inside his mind, instant flashes of light in revelations



Yet to come if only somehow he could overcome the



Minutes of earth-time devised for our comprehension,



An understanding toward exaltation, atoms of light



Swirling in his mind, each a bee-sting of knowledge.



If only he could endure to share more pure light



He knew from the moment of his first vision--if



Only he could hang on, be more the mirror of



Light he reflected in deadly storms of black fore-



boding, like this unending time in jail, he, a light-



ning rod attracting strikes, deepening opposition



From ONE who used all means of mockery of light,



False cracks in the sky, bright flashes, used not for



Illumination, but, in reality, desperate flares of evil.



Brimstone flash-ups set ablaze to frighten man into



Surrendering free choice to choose true light or to



Chase false signals seeming bright but burning men



To ashen apathies of ignorance, rejecting truth of



Christ for too-long-forlorn rages of Satan waging



Continual war upon the God Joseph loved, slicing



Hope in man any-way-he-can, wounding faithful



Saints with bright knives of intellectual superiority.



Joseph hunkered down that day with his fellows.



Black broiling tar ladled down upon these six men



As Joseph prayed silently in misery inflicted by evil-



doers upon them; he remembered his days of light



Leading him to this place, his memories laden with



Sharp blows & shocks of burning disappointment,



Yet leading back to Eternal Now of God his Father;



So he remembered these few days, split seconds of



Experience, it seemed, aimed at deeper knowledge



Each day of the days of man & why the wherefore.



As all men seek in their souls a flash of light inside



The soul inside the brief brief black cloud of each



Impending end to mortal life, revelation strikes in



His mind like lightning, he, an iron rod, his people



Safe inside the homes he planned, knew knowing



Light & pure light of Christ & he a lightning rod:



So Joseph pondered deep inside the black hole of



Liberty Jail, and these I say were his recollections,



Summing up his score of years near-twice-told-20.



Not even knowing he had less than five left to go,



His thirty-four years to a score plus nineteen {39}.



He labored to adduce a final score his God would



Charge upon his soul for the privilege of knowing



What God only knew heretofore in his revelations,



Knowledge that God revealed in strike after strike



Of lightning insights he'd never guess on his own.



Insights leading him & those who believed him to



Places never sought in plain daytime labor alone.



These, then, Joseph's days as he remembers them



(center-of-black-hole: Liberty Jail) -- seen as I see



Them 200 years later > like invisible images of the



Quantum we yet try to guess, I enlighten & verify



The miracle of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, as seen



Thru the light he caught like an iron rod deflecting



& reflecting lightning strikes (for his brothers and


Sisters)--singularity of a black hole in the cosmos,



Center of the rumbling storm: mortal life on earth.






That man of God, why had he not believed



When Joseph spoke the simple truth of God?



New daytime light, seen in the grove that day



Beyond all known dawn it seemed--a priest,



A man of God, who preached his noisy rants,



Shouted repeatedly the quiet & lovely truths



Of a God who loved, who didn't shout at his



Children, but rather persuaded them gently,



Whispered undertones in new sun each day.



A puzzle never solved: why truth riles men;



Even by means of logic or steely reason, even



Then, those looks of less than amazement froze



Over their eyes, like an icy film misconstruing;



Worse, a glaze of not-knowing deemed death;



This took the light away from God-given sight,



Put in its place a dull resentment Joseph could



Not understand, why truth offends men, strikes



His neighbors sullen, to seek his blood like dogs.



It was upon his head to forgive them as Christ



Had forgiven each blow received upon iniquity,



Had given in return no less than God expected,



Love unfeigned & charity inside a broken heart,



These a response to blows delivered punctually,



Right at the moment of witnessing Christ alone,



Striving to stir their hearts with soft answering



Rage, with forgiveness traded for vile contempt;



It seemed betimes fury for fire of his testimony.



I hope for the best always in all circumstances,



Joseph said, although I go unto death. {He was



Tormented by a toothache lingering at Liberty,



Almost gone, dull as death of a new born son,



Remaining pain in the roots of his mind & soul}.



He knew better than to mourn alone and long



For he knew the end would be bright morning



Upon the hills of heaven and waiting for him



His family and friends singing a new risen sun}



As in afterimages Joseph's eyes adjusted back



To daily reality, but inner sight could never see



His days again more before than after for bright



Lights flashing inside revelation after revelation



Clear but bursting with blinding overviews 



First beholding the Lord in Light; then a Double



Starburst-forgiveness by Father&Son;



His First Vision--purely remembered--solidified.



As molten steel from iron ore & all conditions



Thereof to man from antiquity until tomorrow,



Joseph's version formed in phases of vision



From first burst of light to a testimony of steel



Tempered in the furnace of experience & time:



{I use as metaphor steel rendered out of iron



& its carbon constituents to a stainless version



compounded by repeated visits of pure light}



Forged in fire, Moroni came to him by night.



For fear I misspeak terms of malleable rendition



Let me be clear: like as we speak our car-crash



As if it were now, reformed in our shaken brain



Clearly as aftershock, an earthquake's expansion,



Time-in-a-line- of-instant-blur, nullifying pain



To speak ourselves words that cannot be spoken,



Explaining sheer fire at the core of experience



As if it were casually explainable: so we explain



Our inmost core in terms we try to understand.



Poet, priest, pastor, prophet, Joseph, all these.



Had you met God could you define inexplicable



Fiery moments as Joseph did in clear language?



Or would you like me stumble around in words



Chosen not for clarification & sharp resonance



But as clanging pastors Joseph was warned of?



Mormon Epic may be my metaphor (allegory)



For speaking what cannot be spoken, but Joseph's



Words, every single time, resonate with truth.



I insert an apologia here for reasons known



To all who accuse the prophet of telling lies &



Never turn a mirror of such accusation upon



Their own tendency to mendacity. 



I always try to clarify my I;



I look back upon my image in a mirror of me



When I say there but for the grace of God am



I telling lies to myself & seeing lies otherwise



In others, never searching my own soul for a



Hint of what God sees in me: my known mind.



Tired of the lies of others, Joseph sought to see



In himself where the truth of words past words



Would lead & found the most direct explanation



Would expand beyond eternity but equivocation



Would shrink his soul to a ball of powdered shot



Fired at others who would-not-could-not under-



stand the plan God had in mind: so with patience



He explained the day he saw sun firing his heart, 



Blazing center of God Almighty & Beloved Son.



Was it a lie to frame in everyday words the center



Of the blazing sun like a bullet-hole in his soul fired point-



blank to his heart with words he heard God say?



His first explanation to the frowning pastor bore



Straight through the man's mind and tore it loose



From reason or kind reply; then neighbors boiled



Over with hate & resentment when he said he saw



Celestial fire more bright than sunshine that day.



Where else would he go but to a heartfelt Father?



Contradictions explain our lives better than lies,



For lives are made of contradiction beginning at



Birth when we emerge as bloody surprise to eyes



Ready for love, when we explain ourselves away



In cries never heard before, when oft-told tales



Wail our wonderment to the skies & bid goodbye



To God from whence we came, when we spend



The days thereafter revealing in ourselves others



Wonderment we ever were & why it happened.



Latter-day Saints sound stupid to clever grifters,



Scheming villains & unresponsive perdition-



Lovers of lust & every form of bestial filth,



Only because the Adversary himself will fill



Their eyes brimful of arrogance spilling over



& posing as high intelligence too fine to find



Flaws in themselves, for looking too closely



Inward would reward them only with dead



Residues of past sins past forgiveness of faith.



Could Marx foresee a U.S. Communist President, 



Had Darwin's dream awakened Earth-God-Gaia,      



Could Joseph have seen the Gospel blossom as



The rose (he does) among men round the world,



Which of these 3 would have rejoiced the most?



Each a part of pre-existent spirits aware of faith,



Each a prophet to generations of deep believing,



Even as adherents of each strive to win old wars



Begun in Heaven before the world was founded.



Jailbirds rattle chains like beaks cankered black.



Found dead at the bottom of the well of Liberty,



Nails in wood like rusty nerves of dying Christ,



Dank stench of betrayal hanging in rancid mist,



Factual despair as sheets of perjured warrants



Lying like offal in ledgers of lying law-makers. 



Do I hyperbolize a scene?  Not if you were there



Alone among friends lost to a grievous lie; not if



I were there grieving freedom lost in folds of un-



bending time broken as soiled bread, dirty water,



Served by Satan to remind a Prophet who he was!



Mormon meat's a treat, jeered one excited jailer,



Knowing full well the prisoners would never eat



Beelzebub's favorite snack, human flesh cooked



Poorly enough to recognize & smell as a brother



Or sister in Christ but not quite knowing for sure.



Refusing essential sustenance to save them daily,



They looked to Joseph for reassurance of truth



Even in a meal prepared by filthy fingers to kill



Appetites; if Joseph ate it so did they; if not, not.






Unimaginable to normal Mormon men hatred



Toward them in vile words dipped in venom,



Guards growl blasphemous God-oaths gnash



At threads of faith they cling to the darkness,



Persist in perverse anti-Christ, fanged to cut,



As if a world rested on Joseph, a solitary man.



Why such opposition to one they deem as



Insane at best, villainous at worst, as threat



From light is quelled in blackened Liberty?



Backstory begins at point of departure: Liberty.



A prophet roiling inside his own life created 



By God for man, that through him Restoration



Of all lost in sin-deadened lives lived by men.



{Man made mean to man}  the Christ-defiant



Salvoes of wrong rending rules made for men.



Why should this weight be laid upon one curious



Boy seeking true answers to insoluble impasse,



Be denied dead-end as death inside of Liberty?



Brought about by a bank of streaming flashes



Set like a living solarium on the Susquehanna



The day he and Oliver, stymied in wondering,



Prayed aloud the why of John the Baptist's life,



Whether dead or alive long after he departed



Finding John the angel coming down in glory



Conferring them both w/ Priesthood of Aaron.



Paradigm bright as a star bursting upon dark,



Had he destined himself & others to oblivion?



Had he stirred up satanic hostility so severe it



Threatened lives of those who came to Christ



Through a new way so old it became original?



Untainted by men alone without Holy Ghost



Guiding through fog of indecision & counter



Conflicts dug up by the Adversary to defeat any



Hint of opposition to his evil entanglements



Of men without God, without a hope of Joy.



If so he stood responsible for lives lost fighting



Lucifer on all fronts, for casting purity into eyes



blazing hate handfuls of Christ's diamond-dust,



For steadfast days of faith unalterable as the sun



Rising each day & burning the sky to brightness



Beyond this black hole of Liberty Jail where like



Paul he stood his ground & brought his friends



To glorious lives beyond brief days of adversity,



As his fateful Vision cast them toward heaven.



Had he known what would happen that day in



The grove, would he have turned and run back



Home unenlightened to secure life unchastened?



Could he have known how it would be this day



In a dank dungeon lighting fire like unto Paul?



Had he been less knowing {total truth in Christ}



God telling him each day what to say revealed



For the choice he made to listen & readily obey,



Would he still be where no light shone but God's?



Joseph's only doubt lodged deep in his heart



As if a swallowed lump of grief in his throat,



For he had intended only good to his fellows,



Not a destiny of taking blows for doing good,



Not a lash of reproof at every turn for seeing



Truths in a deep sea of belief like dolphins of



Gleaming clarity beaming in clicks and songs



Their love of God like his own, signals sent



Invisibly in revelations portending eternity.



Could Joseph have seen how he'd conclude



In a blaze of pistols drilling through the door,



His brother slain and he alone at the window,



Translucent time shattering shards of glass, 



Would he have known God alone consigned



His companions to glory, a God who knows?



Now we may know how he was seen by God;



Now we see the Vision pronounced clearly;



Now we hear the rank & sum of Joseph's life.



He who wondered aloud without doubting,



His faith set in stone that day in the grove,



If good will ended in emerald green grown



Over graves--friended & defended--those


Whose eyes were lidded now deep in earth



Would wink awake & rise as dawn inside,



Would sing along no more alone than he,



Would weld in circles of prayer their hands



Like golden keys to open unending sunrise.



That alone would keep at bay the shadow



Sliding down along the wall toward him,



What he had done to bring on calamity



God told him was God's alone to grieve.



He'd done exactly as expected in a blaze



Shining daily in his mind: mind-shining



Moments never labored into momentum,



Clear dawn each day deemed revelation



Bright alive as wind chimes ringing light.






Seize a sky of cloud-forms to see our souls'



Days more actual than dust; see our days be-



coming real in belief in Christ. Carried along



On waves of faith, Joseph set his sights on a



Belief-locked distance known only by those



Who see beyond sea-shores of here&now



Washing days away w/ each wave grasping 



Handfuls of sand like casting diamond-dust



Upward in prayer: vapor become substance. 



Joseph hunkered in Liberty Jail for a season, 



Asking remission for youthful sins; confused



By stupid stumblings {as if dazed by sunlight}



To reawaken all that occurred to very now,



Aiming toward heknewnotwhat tomorrow,



Joseph believed a deep black hole enclosing



His followers to be not an intended dead-end



But means of remembering all that occurred



Since glorious Vision gleaming in the grove.



He remembered his family crowded together: 



One small room, beloved other selves among



Warm- breathing-inward-love & sleep-ease



Of snores among those folds of flesh his own.



He had barely begun his prayer when a light



Not unlike his first vision {quite solitary now}



One man in loose robes {like wings folded}



Rose out of the night {floating glowing light}



Risen in the room {as a white daytime moon}



Abiding sleeping sound in a silent dream-like 



Dark, a shiver of recognition shone throughout



The room, unseen by anyone but Joseph alone;



How his family did not wake he could not tell.



The figure in flame grew sharper in silhouette,



Hovering over the floor by his bedside, as if air



Itself were tangible as a water pond suspended,



The man floating readily in light gently above



The floor, a person of air&flame&fleshly form.



He seemed sheer fire white as molten steel:



Joseph held his breath as if held under water.



He could hear the man speak into his soul as



Silence filled the room of his sleeping family,



A small log cabin cradled cathedral sanctity.



I am Moroni,, sent from the presence of God.



He hardly dared understand the holy words



Given to him as again he was called by name,



A name to be known for good & evil by men.



As Joseph had a way of unlocking the godhood



In each of those he knew, so he had first to find



His own in Liberty Jail: He sought inside to find



Again the rush of virtue which first raised him.



Prayer crackled like an electrical charge inside,



Christ-current keeping faith alive as if a sacred



Flywheel-ever-turning- strong-burning-bosom



Keeping his forward momentum moving even



Through discontented days & dead-leaden cold.



Memories flew through his mind like pellets



Of fired iron blazing his past apart to revivify



His soul seeking answers; where other men 



Needed to give up to assuage pain and invite



Defeat, Joseph somehow had it in him to see



The FATHER-side in God's children first --to 



Work on from there to long awaited forever:



The now Joseph knew as Exaltation nurtured 



Seeds in rain & loam of faith into eternal life.



Moroni was indeed a man in form: his breast



Could be seen between the folds of his robe,



And his bare feet as steadfast as Joseph's own



Held him there in the air beside the bedstead.



The wonder awakened in Joseph endured 



As testimony securely locked in his heart.



More than a dream made real but a real man



Spoke in words he heard as echoes down his



Soul like a sound reverberating a deep well.



A second time he awakened not falling asleep



Yet not sure he was awake or asleep as before,



Frozen flame appeared a third time {icy robes



As before} the man saying again words almost



Understood & Joseph knew in noontimeclarity



Crackling their intent as shooting falling stars 



Pierce a black night with gleaming pinholes



Multitudinous beyond reckoning & brightly



Stitched by silver needles sharp in his mind.



Next day awake at work Joseph told his father 



Who could see the truth & sent Joseph home.



As if the sun imploded in upon itself a vision



He fell dizzily by a fence as Moroni told him



By holy rote a 4th time to his mortal mind:



Messages in a golden book inside a hill near-



by forgotten by men who endlessly battled. 



Moroni had buried their bloody history of



Conflictings-w/-God in the final olden days.



As a lantern casting shadows of sacred fire



Joseph's mind glowed in holy words spoken



Repeatedly & shone until he knew no doubt



They were etched upon his soul into a livid



Memory he carried to the very hour he died,



His testimony imprinted into his blood like



Bullets fired point blank into his breast for-



ever realizing the holy words of Moroni,



Who gave him a task to do for God&man.



The hill looked exactly as Moroni had shown:



Who could know what treasures lay inside?



For a time he had joined in seeking wealth



Like his neighbors daydreamed opulence,



Digging about as wishful children hoping,



Joseph imagined abandoned amphora jars,



Jewels, silver chalices brimming with gold,



Rare coins, carved brass & magic canisters,



All the lost phantoms of ancient kingdoms.



We who live in a world devoid of mystery,



Where each leaf announces calculations,



Where the stuff of surprise grows dull &



Dimmed down to preconceptions & cans,



Potted plants die neglected & affirmation



Goes begging in a backyard of new trash,



We can hardly believe our eyes when sun



Blots out our neon wilderness & we see



Our sky die at dawn for no electric light.



Joseph then as seen thru now seems unreal,



His bright world of sparkling surprise &



Names known by the ages past betray us,



When the unlikelihood of fresh insight



Steals our wonder away and possibility



Withers, premonitions gasp for breath,



And revelations huddle in a corner, dis-



guarded and disregarded, while the lies



Of electric starbeams gleam TV screens.



These we believe for they are here&now,



The open possibility of things unexplained,



Of real heavens & mysteries inside of earth



Become impossible to explain in new reality,



A flash of lightning against the crystal cliffs



Of mystery strikes insight into the yet unex-



plained mud; hidden designs deep in roots,



Return to teach us our old implausibiltities:



Actual faith & belief wait for us to catch on.



So Joseph's wonder at buried magic coins



Seems to us unseemly & ignorant only if we



Ourselves have cut off wonderment & plod



Along unreal realities screening our minds,



Dealing each new moment death-blows hard



Against our precondition of disbelief & faith



Eludes like an airy deer darting thru leaves



Fleeing our reduction of God's wonderment



Buried beneath our feet, waiting for spring.



I tell a tale here of Hill Cumorah hiding golden



Plates Joseph told of {believing as he believed}:



The hill was real and Moroni told where it was,



Showed it to him plain as day in every detail:



When he went to it he knew exactly its shape,



Size and disposition: northern side steep with



An open pasture, south the illuminating trees,



And--most important--scattered trees west



Near the top where a stone covered the gold.



His ambition leaped in two directions at once:



Knowing the digging of earth's treasure led



Only back to its cold tomb in cold ground,



Poverty-driven  all his young life, he sought



Redemption of springing desire for money,



Held in check only by knowing real riches



Lay deep inside heart&mind {untold gold}



Veins of faith&belief running through him



Hidden to all but Knower of all & Joseph.



Nevertheless he wavered and thrust hands



Thrice deep into the dirt, his desire shining



Sharper than Moroni gleaning Joseph's fire.



Finding a makeshift lever of splintered oak



He pried away the stone box from its grave



As if he were raiding at last the locked door



Of esteem&fame &reward he had so desired.



Taking note of a boy's unfettered excitement



Moroni touched each fingertip with a spark.



As if snatching electric shocks from rock



Joseph winced his chagrin and hesitated,



Realizing his stinging fingertips pointed



Back to more than he wanted to know:



His eyes flickered quick understanding;



Secrets kept hidden from himself were



Charged upon this sacrosanct moment,



Letters inscribed upon deepest desires,



Heaven's truth revealed inside of earth.



Treasure he couldn't define or imagine lay



Under a top stone he had pried loose, a



Rock box composed of five stone sides--



Old golden plates unseen in centuries of



Muddy oblivion now opened before him



& two strange objects Moroni told him



Were Urim&Thummin {clear crystal-like



Smooth 3-cornered diamonds} & a dim



Glimmering breastplate trimmed in light.



Joseph's eyes glinted sharp sparks of usury,



Well understood by Moroni as man's lust.



The angel intervened in his emotion now,



Directing Joseph to return in four years,



Meantime to return yearly to meet again



Year by year until the time should arrive



To gain the plates for the Lord's purpose,



Learning in interim to defy his own will,



Obey a higher impulse of his life's work.



Such a command seemed doubly daunting



To Joseph who never knew purse&script



To see him thru days of loss and poverty,



To keep secrets as long as a stone's throw



From a hill filled with riches beyond gold,



Be respected in the world, to grow above



Low ways, yearning to earn high renown.



It seemed betimes more than he could bear,



Beyond his deepest desire to earn his way.



Moroni unveiled as fiery lantern slides



Scenes beyond Joseph's comprehension,



From sweet unfolding roses of whiteness



To sudden flashes of flesh full of maggots



Writhing from the mind of Lucifer's fury,



The insane welter of evil that is the Devil,



That fierce thrust of force to do as he does,



Enslave free minds of free men from roses



To perturbéd boils undying of death&pain.



These scenes of life&death shown to Joseph



Bore to his mind unflinching designs both



Good&evil never forgetting again his God



Who told him as did his dear elder brother



How not to be deceived by devilish patterns,



Misdirected enthusiasms, innocence twisted,



Ends not intended yet serving Satan's intent.



Alvin, stabbed by a quicksilver knife inside,



Told Joseph how to live&believe, then died.



Alvin said to Joseph on his deathbed, "Joseph,


Be a good boy, do everything in your power



to get that golden record and keep it safe."



As Joseph understood his elder brother, he



Understood Christ to be his elder brother,



Like Alvin, elder to an innermost believing,



Alas, Alvin~~taken sick with a bilious colic,



Crucified inside by a deadly compound of



Mercury/chlorine potion called calomel.



So Joseph fastened upon sweaty plights of



Poverty, his rough hands willing to work;



Joseph struggled in the four year interim



Devised by Moroni as he became mature,



Desiring to record himself & family high.



As Alvin broke like a cold thermometer,



A mere glass shell full of lethal mercury,



So Joseph became a steel rod of intention,



Streaking straight as an arrow to belief.



What to do with the truth once he got it?



Joseph knew better than to forge forward



With arm-of-flesh alone, knew weakness



In face of onslaughts of Satan like a day he



Kneeled alone in the grove to seek truth.



Wondered how to overcome again&again



A black dust-storm sandpapering his eyes.



Fighting frustration didn't help his doubt:



Only the firestorms of God could conquer.



So Joseph found an electric star-point



Like God's fingertip touching into faith.



Like shocks of knowing thru revelation



The exact answer at exactly the right



Time when waves of truth flow inside



Like lightning igniting the sky to bright



Silhouettes of holy shadows, sounding,



Life-of-forms & spiking-split-seconds



Inside of his inner seeking mindscape.



The white stone Joseph carried with him



All throughout his life dazzled his eyes



In visions racing past vast crystal ridges



Of faith formed in his mind by vibrations



Found in his hand as he prayed to know



The will of his God in what he would say



Next    un- knowing    what  was    coming



Revelations revealing unknown vistas far



Beyond mere man's seeing:   to be a Seer.



Mysteries deepened even as he solved them:



He had borne the brunt, the haggard edge of



Charges made unjustly, never knowing when



New revelation would place him once again



Dead-center inside of rage against the Savior.



Living anew he had known sorrow so often



For all he had known in the name of Christ:



For giving all he had & all he knew in spirit,



Joseph deserved riptides of Joy in his heart.



Sustained by the Holy Ghost his days had



Deadened a pain of folly when men stayed



Dormant instead of rising in leaven of faith.



He recalled bread-dough carefully made by



Emma {forever his faithful&eternal darling}



Like his soul in sustenance to men around him,



Serving meanings grasped from very air &



Filled with words sounded by God, words


Given through him to edify and save them.






A clod of earth flung against the house awakens 



Emma one night. Joseph lies beside her praying.



He can feel tension of her body springing into



Resistance {as fine sprays of weeping willows



Would bend had she and he been lying alone



Once more in fields of ferns in pure courtship}



Now the earth seems to rise against them in



Anger at the hands of offended men cursing



Outside, shouting reprisal in their wish to kill.



He calms her with his hand.  Would he and she



Be alone ever again? Don't respond, whispers



Emma, knowing her brave husband might rush



Outside to protect her from the vicious pack



Howling for Joseph's blood. They lie still as if



Heaven would quietly open and shower down



Deadly scorpions upon the surrounding mob:



Yet quiet could only provoke inculpable evil



Persisting outside their little heavenly home.



I'll lie beside the child, he says to Emma.  Calm 



Him against the night, she replies.  Demons can-



not harm us when we rest our souls in the Lord,



says Joseph.  They mean to kill you.  So be it In the Lord,



He replies. We are in His hands this night. Joseph



Lies down beside little Joe, the Murdock twin,



Who, pockered with measles, can only tremble.



Voices of devils outside seem to subside a while.



Mother Emma, Father Joseph, slip into slumber.



Suddenly the bedroom door implodes inward



Exploded by howls&screams of a vicious mob,



As though a single beast of hate made of faces



Wrenched&snarling with deadly vengeful evil



Could tear a veil of heaven away to raging hell



Of blame&fear&envy blazing in hollow hearts.



They yank Joseph from beside the ailing child



And drag him outside like a writhing beef-slab



Ready for slaughter in a dim&echoing woods.



As they drag him over underbrush and weeds,



The lean trees seem as prison bars to Joseph



{Now naked body gleaming in sweat of rage}.



Quick kick to an attacker {aptly named Waste}



Sends the man sprawling, cursing his luck &



Joe Smith who wuz out fer all of them gurls



Gonna git what's comin' to him once&fer all!



Caterwauling men hold him to a board like



A patient on a weed-bound rat-tattered-table. 



Splashes of venom flung from a bubbling keg, 



Glops of black tar spew as drops of liquid evil



Down on sheer bare skin of a Prophet of God



Stretched out on a wood board like a trophy



Of the hunt that scapegoat they hold in place



To placate their burning guilt rite here before 



Them lies that lying son of perdition who con- 



demned their ways of sinless religion twined



Like snakes round crooked fingers in worship.



As sodden men mock and laugh unspeakable 



Taunts and insults, Joseph sees drunken Dr. 



Dennison, shaky razor in one hand, whiskey 



Flask in the other, staring at his naked groin.



The moment lingers a dull blank look inside 



The empty physician who, as though vaguely 



Recalling the oath he took aforetime before 



Some other life, drops the razor in the grass



& flees damnation howling, God forgive me!



How dare this upstart untangle pure souls 



Tearing apart settled longtime religion to



Unravel snake-laden traditions that prove



God won't bite a believer but sure as hell



Strikes evil invaders' blasphemous beliefs 



So kicks Joe Smith who thinks he saw God



In flesh & who thinks God is flesh so dam-



well shows him God dips sinners in black



Tar with white feathers fer angels wings!



The neighbors of Joseph {friends&fiends} go



Dumb as if struck by lost conscience which  



Stabs their hearts and groins to groan as one 



Drunk in iniquity suffers a hangover too late.



They kick Joseph a few more times for kicks, 



Then laugh their way into swaggering night.



The razor glints in the grass. Joseph stumbles



Home alone & breathes a soft sigh of thanks



To his Maker who alone never lets him down. 



{knock} Warily, Emma cracks open the door,



Blinks once--twice--stifles a scream of shock.



For a split second she imagines herself in a



Dream like staring at a nightmare of ... what?



Werewolf? Tar-baby? A demon from hell?



No, no, it's the dearest person ever walked



This wicked world, brave husband, Joseph!



She reaches for his sticky black arm, touches



His scratched face tenderly, leads him inside.



Peeling black scabs of tar from his body &



Washing each spot in warm water & lotion,



She says gently, How'd you get so scratched?



Other women in the room help with the chore,



Picking feathers out of sticky tar on patches 



Of red skin;  inky-black glue & blue bruises 



Seem to blend with stain of faint lamp-light;



All through the night his family and friends



Clean & mend Joseph of a brutal evil attack.



Fallen from the trundle in the skirmish of



Adults, baby Joe, their little adopted twin,



Suffers in the dire cold and dies days later,



A collateral casualty to livid evil aimed at



Joseph but killing another innocent soul.



Later Emma discovers one of those beasts



Leaped on her husband like a savage cat,



Clawing & scratching at his naked flanks,



His fingernails raking skin from his body . . . 



Liberty Jail: {alone among friends} days replay



Endless allusions to his life among men retold



And told by enemies into vicious lies of his virtue



Extinguished in darkness yet waking his inner-



most soul fiery-shining-defiance & truth-told &



God-intoned-revelation digging deep inside his



Quelled rage to verify each move he made since



Starburst-center-glory overwhelmed in sights:



These then those sparkling visions like galaxies:












was born in Holladay, Utah, in 1934. Educated at Brigham Young University, he later received a Masters Degree from Baylor University, where he studied experimental drama with theatrical innovator Paul Baker. He played the lead role in Thomas Wolfe's Of Time and the River. (See photo right.) This play became the premiere production of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dallas Theater Center. As a Resident Artist in the Professional Repertory Company for twenty-three years, he appeared in over sixty plays. Four of his own plays were produced in Dallas, New York City, and Los Angeles. He designed and directed the premiere of his play The Tragedy of Thomas Andros. He has published a novel, The Rig. His poetry has appeared in Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought. The title poem of his collection, Multiplicity, was published in the anthology, Harvest: Contemporary Mormon Poems. His poem in process, Mormon Epic, tells the story of Joseph Smith & the Mormon movement, recapturing in a new medium, (the internet), the spirit of classic epic poetry: 

MORMON EPIC (iconic version)





I use my computer screen like a never-ending  scroll of icons, clusters of words, each iconic stanza unrolling in electrons, spinning out a virtual web into the nether-nether-ether-land of infinite 


I search for a form to contain my feelings, to toss like a bottle of notes floating in this ocean of space, where somewhere, somehow, someone might find it.

My feelings mostly come out in poems. So do my thoughts and beliefs. They've taken this form for many years now.  

Some have been published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

WWW provides me with a near-miraculous means of extending myself further. 

See UNDERSTANDING MEDIA, The Extensions of Man, by Marshall McLuhan.

I create an on-going bloggle (bottle) full of poems I share with you, you being you (whoever you are) who stumbled upon my web-site somewhere in the vast world wide web.

At 76 I still have more to say so I say old stuff like a poem in a new medium

& look forward to each day to write some more. I hope you enjoy what I have to say.