on being a prophet


saints are poets gone astray.

we restore sanity in the world by restoring poetry to the world. we must demand of the saints to stop corrupting our poetry, and if they don’t, we must close the books of the saints and open instead the words of the poets. we need poetry, not saintliness.

sanity, of course, is not the same as healing. sometimes the fools among us are the true healers. but healing cannot be restored, for it has never been. poetry, on the other hand has been, and can be again.

prophets are saints gone poet.

prophets discard the sad robes of withdrawal and cloth themselves with the skin of naked humanity. they know that we turn to god by turning to each other, and therefore the prophet asks: “what does god want from you?” and the prophet responds: what god wants from us is what we want from god. or they sometimes like to say differently: god only wants peace, justice and love. he wants all that for himself and also for us, because there is no difference.

god wants what we want: we want to be present in life, and god wants to be present in life, but neither can, as the kotzker said, unless the other lets him in. god and us are when we meet in the between of any i and any thou. god and us cease to be when we get distracted.

and so the prophet insists: god demands we turn from “it” and turn to “thou”. or sometimes they like to say it differently: it is not prayers that god is asking for: just be peace, just be love, just be justice, just be like she is, they say. and if you do, since being is doing and nothing else, then you yourself will be his prophet near the walls of the city in ruins.

saints are poets gone astray. prophets are saints gone poet. true prophets have but one mission: to tell us that we do not need salvation, that it is salvation that needs us. true prophets made it clear: we do not need to be saved in order to become compassionate beings, for compassion is itself the salvation we seek. salvation comes to us by our own deeds of compassion, and for that reason true prophets assured us that the wellsprings of salvation flow for ever right between you and me. we are saved in the compassion we manifest, for what is salvation if not our own persistent and mindful i-thou dialogue with our fellow human beings? true prophets said: we shall do and we shall hear. in other words, compassion cannot be taught, we must let compassion be our teacher. this is the message of the true prophet, the saint become poet: nothing saves us but our own decision to save ourselves, and we only save ourselves by saving others.

for we know that a prophet is not the one chosen by god, a prophet is the one who chooses god. but how do we chose god? in the embrace of a being. every person can chose to be a prophet, for none of us can stop any of us from saying thou to everyone of us. there is no other way. the prophets made it clear: we don’t need salvation, salvation needs us. therefore we must urgently restore poetry because we are on the verge of being overrun by sad-robed saints and false prophets.

but for now, let us listen to prophecy from the mouths of the poets. let us pray for their kingdom come.

© Hune Margulies, Ph.D.

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