The Kingdom of Hearts, Bryan Merck

Arcanum. Ferro cement, granite. 2.6 m H x 3.4 m W x 1m D. Albany, Duncan Moon


The Kingdom of Hearts


Everyone was glad. What a time they had
at the ugly bug ball.
                       —Sherman and Sherman


I have no facial affect besides incipient anger
and that only manifests as a mild furrowing above my eyes
and a grim determination around my mouth.
My face does not turn red or anything.
I was taught that anger is a major sin,
even a hint of it. I am angry for days.
A simmering rage abides in me
for no apparent reason.

Golf is about as interesting as watching flies do it,” says Bing.
I ask him for a five iron. It is 205 yards to the pin.
There is sand behind the green.
The flag moves listlessly in a left to right wind.
Jack Nicklaus is considered to be only an average sand player.

I need a defining drama, an overarching challenge
to make the present moment real, to keep me in it.

I nail the five iron a few feet to the left, pin high.
It is a most satisfying shot, flush on the clubface;
I feel the solidity of the shot
in my hands and arms and shoulders.

I need a passion, something to stay lost into all of my life.
I need mystery steam. I need it to seep and hiss from the corners and cracks
every once in a while, only a hint of transcendence.

My putt is about ten feet.
It will break to the right about 6 inches.
The grass is a crosswise grain.
Bing removes the flag.

Everything I do must matter.
It must advance my soul.
There must be a greater purpose
for everything I do and whatever happens to me.

My putt wants to break but the grain holds it up.
The ball stops an inch above the hole.

When I smile, I must make sure it shows on my face,
turns my mouth up at the corners, forms
happy lines around my eyes.

Bing replaces the pin. He relights his pipe.
He is close to 70. His father was lynched in Columbus, Georgia.
There is a photograph. It is of a carnival atmosphere.
That evening, the murderers got to return to their lives—
families, jobs, denominations.

On the next hole my drive fades a bit at the end.
It is close to 300 yards but in the first cut of rough.

I am a firefly.
There is nothing for me to do but burn brilliantly
through brief insect years with insect determination,

Bing always walks ahead of me.
If I catch up to him, he falls back.

At the end of all this,
I will be known as the man who cursed God,
not out of anger or spite
but only to experience forgiveness.

Bryan Merck

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