Thirteen Years Later…

We stand

Around so much ruptured soil

Where a stone

Carves out your name.

Marks the place

Where you landed,

And from where

You always seem to rise.

An uneasy rest

You have found in us.

Our hearts,

And our heads,

Still orbiting

Around your absence.

Mulling over the earth —

Imagining how different

Everything would be

If only you remained.

You were a star

A supernova

Scattering us across the galaxy

When you left.

I’d trade Saturn

To have you here with us.

Of Sheep and Wolves

He poses awkwardly
Spitting mediocrity
I’m not sure
Even he believes.
But he writes.
Poetry for Jesus.
Takes it to the slams,
So he can tell his friends,
Yes!
I preached the Son of Man.

And we see right through.
Poorly performed
Proselytization
Like a sheep
In wolves clothing.

Grandma…

What strange wool you have.

His words
Come not from his heart.
A mockery
Of the pain in this art.
Counterfeit mimicry
Widening the divide
Between us and him.

And I

Take it personally

I have sipped blood from the cup.
Devoured holy flesh.
Believed in divinity.
Spent nights
Crying out
To a sacred trinity
Who is neither
Me,
Myself,
Or I.

I’ve bloodied devils
With splinters from the cross
Still embedded in my bones
From fist fights
With God.

And this man
Tells you the gift is free.

Young man.
Sit down.
This gift
Will cost us everything.

And I’ll shit on your rainbows.
Piss on your parade.
Son, you don’t belong here.
You’ve come only to twist the blade.

It’s not that we’ve been hurt by God,
More like we’ve been hurt by you.
Preying
Upon the wounded
With promises of a light yoke,
Delivering
Heavy handed chains
And clasping irons
Taking us to the furnace
Exposing us to the fires.

Leave me to my cup.
And leave me to the flesh.
Step aside.
And I will show you
What you can never tell.
For God only promised
One thing –
To see us through this hell.

But Here We Are

We stand on ledges.
Lost in the horizon.
Caught between beauty
And despair.
Holding back rivers.
Damming up the ocean in ourselves.

We don’t want to be seen like this.
But here we are.

We forget
We are beautiful.
Passionately,
Wonderfully,
Bearing the image of God.

God’s sorrow.
Compassion.
Surrendering love
To those most in need.
Often
Imperfectly giving too much.
But it’s who we are.

In the muchness of it all,
Overwhelmed,
We step back from that ledge.
Not for ourselves,
But for those
Who still need us.

It’s Raining Outside – Spoken Word

It was a particularly dark moment when I wrote this poem. I needed to remind myself of that which I have learned after all these years.

Breaking cycles is hardest on those who must do the breaking. In the end it’s worth it, and provides a better life for those who come after you.

Please enjoy.

To Know Quiet

He holds out for hope
Like a noose around his throat,
Or a bullet in a gun
Aimed at himself,
Wondering
Where does quiet come from?

He stuffs tsunamis and hurricane winds
Into his brain
To wash away the chatter
Of voices and memories
Anchoring him
To a past stained in guilt
Caught in the hue of
So much hurt.

He begs storms to rise
And the oceans to rage,
Wanting nothing
More than to be swept away
In a baptism
He won’t rise up from.

He wants no pity.
No freedom from the shame.
Only the words
To tell his story.
Only the perfectly painted image
Of the shattered reflection
He sees in the mirror.

He wants you to understand
Houses reflect their foundations
And he is a house
Built upon landmines.

Mostly,
He wants to believe
That if he can tell you
His story,
He might be freed
From the so much noise,
And finally
Know the sound of quiet.

It’s Raining Outside

moth_inkblotIt’s raining outside.

He stares out the window counting each drop. The splash? It’s how he marks the passage of time.

In his head the ghosts are arguing again. Shouting matches over which image to display prominently, proudly, across his mind’s eye.

It doesn’t matter. To him, every image hurts. A brutal display of violence that to this day he still works through.

He confesses he feels like a failure. It’s been twelve years. He should be over this.

The psychologist scribbles frantically along the lines of a legal pad the color of daisies. She says to him,

It’s been a lot of years, but longer still has been the journey that brought you here; to this moment. And it will take a lot of years to untie the cables between you and a foundation full of landmines.

She says,

You.

Are.

Beautiful.

Bravely breaking generational cycles of violence. You don swords and armor, charge headlong into hordes of demons, rebuking ghosts, and wage a war on the lies instilled in you. All for the sake of your wife and three beautiful girls.

It has been a lot of years. And though you may never fully recover – whatever the fuck that means – your family will never know the pain you endured.

They’ll never come to me and ask why. Why was he so cruel? Or, why – why couldn’t he love me?

From you they will only know love – and they will carry that love to their children’s children’s children.

And it takes everything in me not to say,

Stop being so impossible with yourself.

So instead I offer this.

Be kind. Be gentle. And love yourself.

I know it’s hard,

But you are not alone.

The Journey Begins

Moth_OutlineI remember when it stopped. When the ties began to unknot, and I could see for the first time the poison in your draught.

A rose without the rise; just the spikes thorned into my sides pressing me into the passenger side, so you could play Jesus and take the wheel.

You weren’t toxic then, but always. Crawling like worms into out minds eating away at our softer sides, so we would be just like you.

Calcified. Or purified from things like compassion, honesty, love.

And I don’t mean love like LSD fucking, but love like seeing our neighbors as we ought see ourselves – beautiful. Worthy. Bearing the image of God because God doesn’t make mistakes. We do.

And my mistake was paving the miles you carved into my back and posting welcome signs.

Because you will never be welcome here. I’m still digging up the bones of your last visit. Still setting out road flares guiding those you discard to safety.

And you can call me crazy, but your dark shrinks before my light, and tonight I’m gonna burn like the stars.