Good Friday

April 1, 2010

Arkansas Good Friday
by Franz Wright


Everyone knows what the cross means, or will
———-before long

It is the body

It resembles the first stick-figure depictions
———of it found in caves (some
———with the heads of birds)

Depictions reproduced to this day by young children
———just learning to draw

Its aerodynamic properties ought to be obvious I suppose

to us,
the wingless

How many years we have been carrying it
And before too much longer it will reveal itself
the source of a forsakenness and agony
nobody would have dared foresee
I saw it
over twenty years ago

Every day as the darkness came down on New York
I went up to my father and saw

(More and more I meet him
in the mirror, it is his blood I have
to clean up if I shave–…)

And I was born just as I found him there

a little bald
toothless man
not for long though
(I refer to Mother Morphine’s left tit)


Now I’ll tell you something you don’t know, you hurt
by the past, just like me, crushed
by the future and blind
to the present,
to the moment–

But there is nothing you don’t know
I got up every morning here
a long way from home
and cried for ten minutes
then showered and dressed
and got back down to work
assisted, on occasion, by one or two magical mystery


I can tell you this
Who dwarfs my pain I cling to
the genuinely broken
and poor
And I cling to the Before
The spirit face
behind the face
yearning for light
the water and the light
And I am flowing back to the Before, the infinite
years which transpired while I was not
here, and did not know
I was not

———I came just like you
from inconceivableness, the eternal
before-we-arrived, flowing
from God’s mouth, and come here to say
“this world” and
————-“God,” as if
they needed
——– And what lies beyond is no doubt the beginning
I wouldn’t know but I’m going
to find out
The what lies beyond
this loneliness and panic
I call dying, time, remorse, this cold
and purifying
fire, which hurts so much, which burns
away the world and all I was
who walked and breathed and spoke
how real it all seemed
for a few years, but I was always
immortal and will be
once more, when I return
to the infinite time
which elapsed before I was conceived;
when the heavenward face is burned away
and its scared eyes
and its tears
and its euphoria, which no one can imagine
(wrong: someone in love can imagine!)
And I have heard God’s silence like the sun
now I long to return to it
no matter my infantile clinging
to this gorgeous material of such early wisteria and
———lilacs, the wind
in the redbud and light-giving new heart-shaped leaves
music visible if completely unheard, I’ll return
The angel’s going to raise his arms and sing that time is
———no more
nor tears: that numbered
sea of them is gone–
now there is a new sea, a new earth, a new sky–
and I will know what to say at the end: What end?
And I can add I found this world sufficiently miraculous
———-for me, before I’m changed.


3 Responses to “Good Friday”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    Hey man, how’s the semester treating you? Are you enjoying Chicago over the the Lone Start State? I’m curious to hear your thoughts about Jennings work along with Shakespeare’s very solid book on Derrida. Hope things are going well. Sorry, I didn’t really know where else to contact you.

    • cmoody91 Says:

      Semester is going alright, It has been interesting going back engaging my evangelical fundamentalist background and learning how to deal with the theology in a healthier way. I do love Chicago quite a lot, but i think there’s something special about Texas to all natives (You know this!). I ended up saving Shakespeare’s Derrida and Theology for this summer so i could work through some other books like Ward’s and Smith’s Church and Pomo books as well as a Mennonite Peace Shelf book called Yahweh is a Warrior. Jennings book was helpful and interesting but i was hoping he would have more of a prolonged engagement with some of the socio-political perspectives rather then just rushing through explaining them near the end. He did do a good job at teasing out some interesting perspectives from Pauline writings, which surprised me but i’ve engaged quite a few political readings of the cross so most of it was just refreshing. I think i’m going to try and find Weaver’s Atonement book this summer to engage more ‘religious’ readings of the atonement, although i do think the political readings are important to balance. Jennings and Rollins are both in a conference in a couple weeks here in Chicago so hopefully i’ll get to make it out to that and hear them engage. How is your semester treating you? You’re still in Grad school right?

  2. Jeremy Says:

    Interesting stuff. I couldn’t imagine being re-emerged in any sort of evangelical society, as I might lose my mind. I understand the nostalgia for Texas, although I’m more more missing Austin, in particular. I can’t speak to Jennings work on the atonement, but I have really enjoyed his other works on Derrida/Paul, for instance. Weaver’s book isn’t bad, although I’m not sure I buy his proposal. The best part is that it’s a sustained attack on substutionary views of atonement. Also, he engages liberation theology re-readings of the atonement (black theology, feminist theology, womanist theology).

    I’m only in my first year of grad school at GWU in DC. After four years, I’ll be done getting my doctorate in clinical psychology. Glad to hear you’re enjoying Chicago, and let me know how the conference with Jennings and Rollins goes.

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