Sunday, May 19, 2019

John Sweet writes

everyone an addict and all of us cowards

god as a bootheel crushing a
baby’s skull,
and god as the skull

you don’t get to choose

you don’t get to live forever

the drugs lie, you understand,
and they make you lie,
but FUCK they feel so right

and the pure sweet rush of sex

a mouthful of blood

will you die knowing bliss
as your only religion?

does this baby have a name?

tell yourself it matters

tell yourself you’ll start
getting clean tomorrow

say it like a prayer but try
not to waste your whole life
on your knees
 Saint Francis in Prayer -- El Greco


  1. Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone was the son of a silk merchant in Assisi and an aristocrat from Provençal, but his father called him Francesco ("the Frenchman"). Around 1202, he joined a military expedition against Perugia but was captured and imprisoned for a year, and in 1205, he left for Puglia to enlist in count Gautier II of Brienne's military campaign to be crowned king of Sicilia, but he received a vision and forsook his wordly lifestyle. His father had him beaten, bound, and locked in a small storeroom due to his theft of cloth which he sold to support the restoration of a church. Francesco turned to begging to support his rebuilding activities, laid the new stones himself, and began nursing lepers. In 1208 he donned the coarse woolen tunic worn by the poorest Umbrian peasants, tied it around him with a knotted rope, and preached penance, brotherly love, and peace. The next year he composed the Regula primitiva ("follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and walk in his footsteps") for his 11 followers ("friars") and then led them to Roma to get the pope's consent to form a new religious order. In 1210 Innocentius III created the Ordo Fratrum Minorum (Order of Lesser Brothers) as a mendicant order; Francesco was later ordained deacon though he was never ordained a priest. The following year the aristocratic Chiara Offreduccio, the sister of one of his friars, joined him and they formed the Ordo sanctae Clarae, an identical order for women; and in 1221 he founded the secular Brothers and Sisters of Penance. In 1219 he persuaded the sultan of Egypt, al-Malik al-Kamil Naser ad-Din Abu al-Ma'ali Muhammad, to allow the Franciscans to preach in his domain; they have remained the Catholic custodians there since 1217s. Meanwhile, the Franciscans were explosively expanding throughout Europe, causing Francesco to impose a new, more extensive rule (Regula prima), which did not receive papal support and was supplanted by the "Third Rule" in 1223. In 1224 a 6-winged angel bestowed on his the stigmata, the 5 wounds that Jesus was subjected to when he was executed, and died in 1226. Innocentius' cousin pope Gregorius X, who had been the cardinal protector of the order since 1220, canonized Francesco in 1228.

  2. Doménikos Theotokopoulos ("El Greco") was born in the Regno di Candia (as Crete was known when it belonged to Venice) but moved to Toledo, the religious capital of Spain, 1n 1577 to find work as an artist, but he was not able to establish a workshop there until 1585. At the time the city had 3 Franciscan monasteries and another 7 religious institutions dedicated to the saint. He and his workshop painted 11 works on the life of St. Francis, more than any other saint. His work was generally regarded as "strange" to the point of madness until Théophile Gautier revived his reputation in the 19th century.


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