In The Maker of Heaven &, Jason Myers makes language culpable of being “insufficient” in describing the love he has for his son yet still perfect, regardless. Though, flipping through the first two pages of Jason’s collection, one may think that The Maker of Heaven & has its predominant theme revolving around his son. However, going further into the collection, one would see other themes like racism, faith, violence and affection come to light.
One thing to admire about the collection is Jason’s use of language and the poignancy of his narration. Jason treats all subject matter with such delicateness that it proves almost impossible for language to account for them. For instance, in the poem “Brooding” where Jason compares the love he has for his son to that which Jesus has for the world, he writes;
“Oh, call it brooding, as Jesus said of how he wanted
to gather Jerusalem unto him. I picture his body
& the mouths, my mouth, sucking, crying out in hunger,
being fed & after being fed, still wanting satisfaction.”
I want to transmit something of my being to my son,
To be a liquid I might pour into him.
Though I did not give him life, I give him life.
Apart from the imagery painted in the above lines, the antithetic finality of the poem is what one should admire. I dare say that the collection The Maker of Heaven & is draped with such spirituality that it moves beyond the flesh into the soul. And here, the word spirituality is ambiguous as it is not only used in the sense of faith, belief or dogma but also to represent the etherealness of Jason’s expressions and the transcendence of their execution.
Another thing that catches my attention in the collection is the way Jason ponders as well as interrogates some of the Christian beliefs without renouncing his faith but rather arriving at reason. This can be seen in the poem “Imperfect Gods” where Jason makes an argument for the multiplicity of the God being. He says “In a dream Tomas/asks how much my faith hinges on the idea of a perfect/God. I think Elohim is saying/let us make humankind/in our image, after our/likeness. How many gods/were there that day?…/Nipples, the horniest god insisted”. It is through this contemplation than interrogation that Jason arrives at the conclusion that the world is not, in fact, perfect as well as the different gods who created it in togetherness—“thus, they continued/to work out the universe,/strangeness by strangeness,/never quite satisfied”.
Though several other collections engage the theme of racism, Jason in The Maker of Heaven & treats it with so much keenness and attention to details. This can be seen in the way He pays respect to victims of racism by respectfully mentioning their names—and by so doing, Immortalizing them. Though a lot of these names mentioning occurs throughout the collection, A typical instance of this is in the poem “Philadelphia” where Jason laments how he sees “their faces:/Michael, 24, killed/first, his bulletmocked/eyes, & Andrew, 20,/a nice Jewish kid down south to study anthropology/& boy did he get some, &,/finally, horribly, James,/21, chained-whipped across/his mouth, imago dei./What of their rights/to live to yearn../”
A fine characteristic of the collection is Jason’s raw honesty and rugged objectivity which cuts across philosophy and vulnerability. In the poem “Oral History Of Silence”, Jason indicts himself, accepting complicity of the crime of conquest and racism by race while also apologizing “They will know we are Christians/by our conquest. No wait, that/isn’t right. I keep getting things/wrong & wrong & wrong. It’s how//I know I’m white. Well, well, well./What I’m trying to say is, sorry”
One cannot fail to grow soft with admiration while reading Jason’s The Maker of Heaven &. The sheer courage of admittance and apology. The philosophy. The use of language. The etherealness of expression. The transcendence of execution—all summing up to spirituality and faith and the duality of love. In his words “…a heart/ broken in two, is still also called love”.
Jason’s collection beckons one towards history, philosophy, spirituality, faith, love, forgiveness and the heavenly as well as earthly quest for salvation.