The Great American Gospel


“The desert surrounds your every step and you walk forever a thirsty man”. – Christopher Pike – Creatures of Forever

“Still” she says, “be still your craving heart within”!

The Great American Gospel begins somewhere just beneath my skin. Standing in the silent desert four yards from a railroad track outside Tucumcari, New Mexico, watching the full moon commit her greatest sin. For she shines as if to rival the sun, showing the contours of the barren wilderness, exposing its wanton skin. And the spirit speaks from the sand, the loneliness calls from the desperateness held from the deep dry well within. It says I am a great magnetic force, the gravity that speaks to heal your craving wound within. The first coming, before the second, the holiness of G_D, that never lets you go, even when you weep, till your soul is a dry cavern within. I am the wilderness of scars, always this great land force, with a night shadow, under these constellations, that tempts you in.

There is a rusty Hunt’s tomato sauce can that I kick. It hits a rock and makes a sound that echoes in the wide desert. A doorbell for the ghost both outside and within. Its colder than it should be outside Tucumcari, it could be that the daemons now have come to play. Like coyotes, no doubt the “Ancient of Days” has allowed them in. For they circle and they taunt, and they howl, as if to say “Eli, Eli, Ichabod” in this dry ocean, is the end. “Where do you now go, with what can you send”? And here while the night does move, the black sky parting, the light from those stars of Adonai, paint a seal upon my uplifted arms. Kissing like a lover from my neck, to my scars so deep within.

And I crave the touch, the unhiding of what or where I begin. For she is like a question that moves around me to where I cannot answer without craving she inhabit my every limb. And she is not in cities, or crowded rooms, neither does she know war or shame. It is the great American Gospel, that inhabits every pore of my skin. Standing in the silent desert four yards from a railroad track outside Tucumcari, New Mexico, I am with you, and you are a spirit fed familiar living time within. Still, oh still my craving hungry heart within. “Still” she says, “be still your craving heart within”! – 06.24.2018 – דָנִיֵּאל

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69 thoughts on “The Great American Gospel

  1. There are many parallels between the desert and the prairies: the wide open horizon, the eternal night sky, the peace & yet the unsettled craving for what seems to not be, dry wells and the cold that sets in when the sun goes down. Being born and raised in the prairies, I can relate to this prose of yours.
    The kicking of a can along is a metaphor well used in writings that I’ve read, but to be so specific as to say “a rusty Hunt’s tomato sauce can” is brilliant.
    Love the KD Lang song!!!

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  2. One of your best Daniel, you are at home writing in the wilderness. Your best work is there, and I am sure I will be coming back many years from now reading these same gentle words, and I will be in wonder how they relate to my life even more. Thank you. ❤ ❤ ❤

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  3. Wonderful in tone Daniel, amazing as if Thoreau or Emerson (more likely Thoreau) were in the west. The emptiness of that canvass that you write to it unbelievable and yes I have a craving for more…:)

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  4. “The Great American Gospel” reminds me of a cross between the diary of John Wesley Powell and a writing from Thoreau. Where in the cross point they meet is an awakening call in the emptiness. It would seem once you are fed there is a constant craving for more. There is for me! 💜

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  5. Daniel I have spent very little time in the American Southwest, but over the past couple of years in reading your work, I have come to appreciate the thoughts that you have on the landscape and the people that you have met growing up and living there. I love the mixture of symbolism of both a naturalistic and spiritualistic language you have used in this piece. Another one of your best . Bill

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    • Thank you Bill, I have often considered myself most fortunate to have grown up in the this wonderful part of the country. The hues and sounds, the dryness, the mystery and the legends all mix to make the most beautiful part of our earth. Thank you once again for your wonderful comment my friend.

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  6. I love the stage and the context of this Daniel. The emptiness, and the desire to be alone with something, the coldness and darkness that is demanded in order to be filled, and the craving, the constant craving. This truly was a marvelous piece Daniel.

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  7. One does not read your prose for pure entertainment Daniel, they or I read it to be enlightened, and we are always fed. This was a marvelous piece, full of rich visuals, and like the the song, a “Constant Craving” for more. ❤

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  8. My brother I identified with this on so many levels, the awakening in the wilderness, it is a part of our heritage after all. 😉 The redemption and the constant craving for more, to be reunited with Hashem. Well written my friend. Shalom, Den

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      • When we retreat from craving is when we lose that gift of favor that Hashem bestows upon us my brother. I am convinced of this. Shalom, Den

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  9. The best place to be alone with your thoughts and to determine what you need to do is in the wilderness. That of course can also be a dangerous place if one is not open to it, as you are Daniel. Grandly written and filled with spiritual abundance as all your writings are. Thank you.

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    • Hi Ryan, thank you for your comment. I believe you nailed it with your thought on being alone to determine what you need to do in the wilderness. I also think you are correct you must be open to it. Thank you my friend.

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  10. “The first coming, before the second, the holiness of G_D, that never lets you go, ” I loved this line as well as many others. However in the great emptiness of hopelessness, the above line was the central theme. Well done Daniel ❤

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