*preventing this from being a Slattern Day!
**making it another Random Coinciday in the blog!
Sometimes I Never Suffered contains many poems about a "hastily assembled angel" shoved out of Heaven by his fellow angels--the Paradise Lost resonance (for me)--as well as many poems about Jim Limber, the mixed-race son of Jefferson Davis. History and theology collide, beautifully, making stars and circles, definitely expanding my mind. I read hungrily, voraciously (like the worst of humans), hardly stopping to write things down, but this I did write down, from "The Hastily Assembled Angel Also Sustains the World":
To be like God he thinks must be the wrong way
To be like God
Got to agree with that! And in "The Hastily Assembled Angel Considers His Own Foreknowing" the angel, like Lucifer and all the angels in Paradise Lost, "Could see through time," which makes a mess, a glorious mess, of linear narrative! But McCrae provides the excellent reason:
except he knew he was
Allowed to see through time because he was
Not God and could be wrong and saw through time
With many-chambered eyes all things that might be
And God would see only the one thing that would
Thank you, Shane McCrae! I see that I ordered and received this book back in December, 2021, probably after reading one of the individual poems published online and clicking the Bookshop Inc button to order the book, a sort of Christmas gift to myself for ongoing pandemic reading as well as the ongoing commitment to read more books by Black authors.
I love this cover art by Toyin Ojih Odutola. I love Jim Limber's view of God in "Jim Limber on the Gardens of the Face of God":
For me God is a woman and Her face is
Black as a bright black stone
The title of the book comes from a riding-the-train poem, "Jim Limber on Continuity in Heaven," and here is its beautiful last stanza:
But I mean share like prisoners
Share loneliness I ride the train now like I never suf-
fered on a train sometimes I never suffered in my life
You hear the folding of time, the immensity of compassion. And at the end is a long poem that climbs the rungs of the ladder to Heaven.