Saturday February 18, 2017
Friday Night Lights
When I pray I ask god to give me clarity so I may trust
what I see and be able to know it
I ask to be bypassed by nightmares like I did when
I was a child
twenty years of wishing I wouldn’t see the bad things because
I had glue for brains
terror haunting me like flies twitching on a sticky rope
I ask god to give me clear eyes so I can’t blame inaction
on blurry vision
I ask god to save me so we don’t get caught up in logistics
Tell her I’m tired now of specificty
mainly because it hurts
When I pray I ask for something I can hold on to
something that won’t burn me in the night and leave a scar
Thursday December 22, 2016
We’ll go to Church on Christmas Eve, with the whole family. Mass at four, with the children’s choir singing carols. The priest will say what he always says. He’ll talk about Bethlehem and the black sheep of the family and we’ll say, “Peace be with you”, and shake hands with strangers and kiss cheeks and pat backs. I’ll sing harmonies on hymns, a small subversiveness. I’ll pray for all we’ve lost and all we’ve gained.
Saturday December 10, 2016
from an Instagram post
Marti came to my family in a time of great reducing.
She saw an opening in our fragile hearts, starting lives over in unexpected places, and she burrowed deeply enough that hers leached into ours. She was kind and she was good so it made it more tolerable but she was still implanting her life on ours. She comes to mind when otherwise she would be lost in prayer, when the others were lost to us. After long days and nights she surfaces again. Her kids covered in macaroni, her good intentions folded up in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Deklab County Public Library
It was hard to see him through the rain but I didn’t have to see his face to know who he was. Michael kept his head down as if the stream of water cascading down his hair could shield his eyes. I knew that he was crying. I knew that stance anywhere. I hadn’t seen him in months and still knew he had gotten a hair cut too. I wasn’t sure if I should approach him first or wait for him to see me. I didn’t want to disrupt whatever praying he might have been doing. I didn’t want to interrupt his ritual of getting right with himself before he came to find me. The life of his human counterpart was just as complex, and he knew that too. Hell, from behind the heavy sheets of rain pouring down on us, I’m sure he could see that I was doing my work to get right with myself just the same as he was.
Wednesday February 17, 2016
from a YouTube comment by GB3770
I pray at the church of kindness, I can’t settle for anything less than that as my temple. I don’t believe in a God that won’t invite us all to play, that condemns for ignorance, that promotes the weak and bludgeons the strong. I don’t believe in a God that withholds, that accepts money as the only currency, that won’t forgive us for very arbitrary, yet non-negotiable acts. I bow my head at the alter of generosity. It’s the only home I ever feel safe enough to lower my shield in. It’s the only thing that moves me to a state of rejoicing. Don’t give me that hearsay scripture, that haunting, beautifully crafted by poets rule book. I worship at the church of soul music. The kind that lifts your skin off your bones just enough to make room for grace.
Wednesday October 7, 2015
When they took my blood to see if I was a match I remember holding my breath for a very long time and thinking that if I could get through this, I would be a different person. Stronger. More…everything. I was not referring to getting through the needle part. In fact, the needle part was the only part that I was sure I would heal from if the rest didn’t…pan out.
I also remember praying, and I was not a prayer. I’m still not. But at the time, that’s what brought the most comfort. I don’t want to question why certain words came out of my mouth because it was such a relief to get them out of my head that I would have said yes to anything if it had helped as much as praying did. I don’t like needles. I never did. I didn’t have to have them until I did.
Tuesday September 15, 2015
From a vintage ad for American Cyanamid Company
purple flannel twisted around ankles
my bum against your bum
you said grace
at first i was annoyed
i’m kind of sick!
i really listened
“thank you for this food on our plates
thank you for the love in our home
thank you for thanksgiving”
how you pray in your sleep
how you love in your dreams
how you bless me with your sweetness
Sunday, April 18, 2015
On my way to the edge of the world I found myself
one foot over the part where it’s dangerous
too far to come back from
and one foot teetering on the earth beside it
that’s where I was
that’s where I found myself
Melting into my own choices
left alone to face this vastness
and my own devices
but what I found I started to like
what I found I started to love
what I found I started to nurture
cause she was lost before
and she was scared
and suddenly I heard her prayer
and her promise to make time a priority
not to waste or to kill it, but to welcome it
And I was her just days ago falling
Or wanting to
over the edge of the world where I didn’t recognize my own thoughts
My own gifts
nothing mattered at all
Then I took a drive by my old memories
and I conjured up the spirits of my past
asked questions like, oh, do you remember me?
And if you do, can you spare a hope or two?
Monday, July 7, 2014
from a window sign
He wears red sandals, made of leather, and his are trimmed and tidy. You wouldn’t know that he spends most of his time barefoot, in the gardens of the Raj. His robes are often muddy, caked with work, with earth, but not today. He wears loose-fitting linen pants and a long chemise. He smiles often, especially at you. You go to him. You say, “Uncle, I’m lost.” He takes your hands and he leads you to the roses. You spend hours there, fingering the petals and kissing the thorns.
Sunday June 22, 2014
from an email
My knees have splinters. I’ve been praying a lot. Do you pray? (Sigh). I used to have a problem with that word because I didn’t think I deserved it, I didn’t think I had what it takes. I was raised Catholic so… prayer was pretty connected to shame and… repentance. I was an alter boy, you know. That fucking hilarious. Father Nathan would stroke my head and his hand was hot. He had eyes like glaciers, like, like, a husky. He was a good guy. I remember telling him that I’d masturbated and he smiled and said, “better that then getting in fights like the other boys your age!” And he winked. He winked a lot. Makes you feel special, when someone winks at you, even if you know that they do it at other people too… Makes you feel like there’s a secret there, between you. Gives you a flutter in your belly.
Monday, October 14, 2013
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary
I arrived wide-eyed
Asking the taxi driver if he knew the town
Knew the people
Knew the ocean
He nodded to all my questions
Which did not reassure me
I arrived wide-eyed
And she met me
Curls bouncing sweet surf
Smile telling secrets
Eyes twinkling her love for her man
Born in this place
In the dips of Paradise Valley
I woke up the next morning
Hung over with jet lag
And I heard the prayers
Of the men
I heard the voices of the people
Singing to God
“Imagine if we prayed together in the West?”
Wednesday February 20, 2013
Romeo and Juliet
Oh Lord! A guitar plays the riff of life and death. There’s a whisper, a mama, a dream of a snake. Thunder poetry knows the bounds here. She thinks about what she’d like her labor to be like, she thinks about how she’d like a warm bath, she thinks about how the hum of a daughter might feel on her chest. Have mercy! Have mercy on her, who sits, who rocks, who makes tomato soup. Oh Lord, I’ve been sending you e-mails, go straight to junk, drink away this worry with a whisss (and a) keyyyy. I see you’ve got something that I want and I’ve got nothing that you can’t find at the eighty eight cents store. Better than a dollar! Better than! I’ve been sending you e-mails, Lord, about the trackmarks on my stomach, about the puddles round my feet. Have mercy. I have sinned, oh Lord! You’re turning up the volume. You’re celebrating. You’re dancing the one-two step, one-two steps down the ladder and just grab my hand. I will reach for you because you’re the one with the soft voice, you’re the one with a whisper and a slide down the fret to salvation.