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.

That One Time I Reached Out

enlight231“It’s been two days since I’ve cut myself.” I said.

It had been the longest two days. Hours stretched the span of weeks – or so it seemed. Beneath my bed a box of blades sung in cacophonous chorus. Mocking me. Tempting me with the promise of quiet.

Unscathed flesh burned. Begged to be made a canvas, or a doorway through which demons might be forced out from beneath my skin.

She said, “I think you’re doing this for attention.”

My heart dropped.

I had confided in her. Believed she might understand. Perhaps it wasn’t fair to have held her in such high regard, nor could I understand the weight I was asking her to bear. I just couldn’t bear the weight alone any longer.

That night I went home. The siren song beneath the bed – I could no longer resist. Alone, again. Always alone.

“Fuck you.” I wept. “It’s not for attention. I’m just afraid you might be right, and your god will goddamn me if I open up these wrists to find my pulse.”

You see, I believed if I found my pulse it would prove I had a heart. If I had a heart, it would prove to all of them I was not immune to their cruelty. I had believed the shit they sold me about family bound by holy blood.

But my blood was not holy.

It was dirty.

And they reminded me of it every day.

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.

Gravity Yards

Gravity and graveyards have much in common – like how they pull us in; hold us down. Or leave us breathless.

When my mom died, they cremated her body. But instead of letting her fly free, they buried her like the Cancer inside her bones. Laying her to rest in the same way they let her live – dying over and over and over again.

I am still reeling from the moment she chose to let go. I know she was tired. Tired of having her voice stolen. Tired of promises for a better tomorrow when she had spent her whole life suffering today.

Her Cancer was a manifestation of all their cruelty pulling her down for too long – like gravity.

But death…

Death came on her terms.

Like a holy suicide.

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.