Suburban Requiem

Immemorial mountains cradle the

suburban roads smoldering in the vale,

Summer mirages’ liquid dance,

And rhythmic beating through black arterial lines

In the shadow of sacramental signs of consumptive desire –

empty promises of sexed satisfaction

and satiated hunger on every noisy corner,

That rip like razor-wire through lungs empty of the sacred Breath.


Still the black oak grows in slow-time,

Limbs outstretched in perpetual embrace of heaven,

of the holy Breath respiring the memory of life,

Rooted beside the burning black lines transecting

The vale that has forsaken stillness.


Night descends upon a track-house window

among other flickering windows,

A voice in the darkness –

son of man cry out.

I answer –

what shall I cry?

A whisper in return –

behold the wordless wilderness,

  where the endlessly informed

  remain ignorant of the word spoken

  the word suffuse in the ageless mountain,

  in the oak, in the cricket’s nocturne song.

Again I answer,

how long O Lord?

The Voice resounds,

until desolations are wrought upon the earth

  and word is restored of meaning.


The voice of rushing waters

poured and flushed from the water-closet,

called forth by the push and pull of levers

Still flow into the susurrant sea-song,

and the word in water’s liquid meaning

Pressed through the surface tension,

echoes apprehension

then evaporates into mystery

That pulls the evening vapor onshore

Like the silent beat of pelican wings

Over the formless void

of flickering windows

of the coastal cityscape.


The whimbrel’s long beak trumpets

A tremulous whistle –

A wordless song,

Signifying the suffuse word

That fills the updrafts beneath her wings

and binds her to the tidal sands

That cradle the arterial highway –

Shaded by signs for donuts and beer

and better mufflers that

mute the mysteries of

an unspoken language.


California’s coasts and valleys

Are the world and everywhere,

Are the formless void where the sacred Breath

hovers upon land and sea

and valley and noisy cityscape

and desolations of deaf hearts

awaiting re-creation

When the word at last regains

its silent mystery.


© Jedidiah Paschall – April 4, 2018










3 thoughts on “Suburban Requiem

  1. I can’t pretend to understand all of this, but a few lines I love:

    “That rip like razor-wire through lungs empty of the sacred Breath.”

    “where the endlessly informed

      remain ignorant…”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris, thanks!

    The thing about poetry is that it belongs to the reader as much as it does to the author. But, I had in mind the broken nature of the present world and the hope of recreation. I played off of the consumerist impulse of consumption, and its older meaning of tuberculosis and how it destroys the lung’s capacity to breathe, hence the razor wire rendering the lungs bloody and breathless.

    We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information, but we remain unlearned and unaware of the word (and here I mean the Logos present in all things). It is only in the restoration of the broken creation where humanity will once again hear the Word. But, the great hope is that through faith in the Word we can hear God and are, with Christ, the firstfruits of a new cosmos.


  3. Thanks for the explanation, Jed. I picked up on most of that, but not the allusion to TB.


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