Tag Archives: jesus
The Way of Tiny Swordfish, a prose poem
Sitting in the living room next to the indoor fish pond. Watching the tiny swordfish jump up the miniature rock waterfall, knowing and empathizing with their drive to go somewhere farther along, somewhere even unknown, somewhere presently unattainable.
Sitting on the floor next to the black Naugahyde, Father-Knows-Best chair and matching ottoman, which no one actually ever sat in, as if knowing we were not worthy occupants. Wanting a father badly, asking my stepfather if I could call him Daddy. My mother made me ask him myself, but I wanted her to ask him for me!
They married when I was four, then went away to New York City – actually the Dick Van Dyke show suburb of New Rochelle – for a year, while I lived with my grandmother. My mother worked as an “executive” secretary for Norelco, and every time I saw the commercial with Santa riding the Norelco razor down the snowbank I swelled with pride.
I started kindergarten at four, Catholic school. Nursery school, kindergarten, and first grade with the Catholics. They say if they have you until age seven, they have you for life. Saint Teresa for Halloween! I came home, told Mommy I couldn’t wait to die and go to Heaven, so I could be with Jesus; pictures of Jesus taped to the headboard of my four-poster bed. Mommy said, “That’s enough Catholic school!” So public school for second grade.
Loving the families shown in black-and-white on TV, where the biggest problem was fighting over your curfew, getting a bad grade on a test, not being allowed to go to some party where, in the end, father knew best because some kids got in a car wreck either on the way there, or after.
Having a kitchen where there were no roaches living in the toaster, or the silverware drawer. Where I could ask my mother for advice, and not have it be wrong, not have it break my heart. Dreaming of and longing for a life of being saved and shepherded by your parents, like on TV. Trusting their wisdom. I wanted to trust mine.
Opening editorial message for Truth, the magazine, 1st draft:
First off, my name is not really Kimberly Townsend Palmer. It is, or rather, should be, Kimberly Townsend Pomikala. Pomikala is a Bohemian name, which my father was born with but which was changed by his family not too long after he started school in Arcadia, California. It was changed because one fine, sunny day he came home in tears after being called a “dirty Bohunk” by the other children. It was 1943, and the world, and finally the United States, had long been at war. The biggest battles were not being fought on battlefields but being fought inside the human heart. Many families lost their entire physical existence, multiple generations snuffed out in less time than it takes to inhale, exhale — mine lost only its identity. A small price to pay for being safe in southern California, in a town named for the residence of the Greek gods. So my father grew up as a camouflaged ethnic. The name was changed, but the inside could not be changed. He never felt at home anywhere he went. He might well have been a war refugee of a metaphysical battle — a battle, the fundamental struggle humanity has been waging since its inception, the inexorable war between truth and ignorance. Factual accuracy is not always the truth — truth goes to the essence of a thing. Not the surface, but what is deep within.
The story is told how Eve caused the fall of humanity from the garden of Eden by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What is the remedy for this? What is the essential nugget of truth we may take away from that crucial moment? My answer is: there is no absolute good, there is no absolute evil — there is but truth and ignorance. Eating the apple and gaining the surface knowledge of good and evil was a trap humanity fell into, a trap we have been struggling to release ourselves from ever since. Love exists. Hate exists. Both can serve the truth. Both can serve ignorance. We must harness ourselves to the wagon of truth and pull our heavy burden to wherever the driver leads us. The driver is God, the driver is love, the driver is peace, serenity and acceptance of the way things are on this planet. Many things we label good and many things we label evil are in fact neither. They are simply in the service of truth or in the service of ignorance. Satan, in the guise of the serpent, led Eve and Adam into a terrible, incomprehensible trap and God is now and has always been guiding humanity out of that trap. The reason God forbade eating of that fruit was it was not yet the right time for humanity to have that knowledge.
Plainly put, we are not yet advanced enough to receive the knowledge of good and evil. God is the only entity qualified to eat of that tree. We have taken a small, superficial bite of knowledge and used our imperfect bodies, minds and hearts to inflict merciless cruelty and oppression on others. Our biggest enemy is pride — believing we, as fragile, physical and temporal beings, can ever know enough to accurately judge another’s worth before God. How dare judges and juries impose the death penalty! It is not our role to take life, which is bestowed by God. It is our role to live it and seek the truth and banish ignorance. We are entitled to keep ourselves safe, we can ensure our physical and emotional safety from injustice and repression — but we cannot ever presume to know the will of God.