On Isolations and Temptations

I wish I could tempt you.
I wish I possessed the fire
To heat your blood,
To kindle desire,
To caress your sordid nature

Which must likewise thrive beneath.

I lay out my banquet,
Night after long night,
And under cover of darkness
You take flight
Into numb, dreamless sleep

Or in dreams I’m uninvited.

You sleep alone;
I keep turning
Lost in the ache, in the why,
In my yearning
To understand your distance,

Or why I wake to emptiness.

 

 


Turn Blind Eye

Oh moonless night
Whose lips are sealed
Whose pearly-whites
Sit tight-concealed
Impotent again
You toothless sky
To break the ripened skin
Of fruit hung high

Offered to your blank stare,
Your closed eye,
Your starless, pursed air
Expanse of darkened sigh

Oh moonless night!
Oh moonless I!


The Defendant Rises

It never got easier
The way obedience usually does,
It gets heavier each year.
I was here in the beginning:
The territory is changeless.
Wasn’t I submissive
When the pastor said my mom
Got beaten because she wasn’t?
If she weren’t a contentious woman
He wouldn’t have to raise his hand.
Didn’t I understand?
When my pastor wouldn’t talk to me
Because my gender forced sexuality
Just like my abusers proclaimed
I didn’t complain.
When I discovered he’d known, for years,
What they did to me in the dark,
But fearing speaking to me
He just let it be.
Then, when I finally took his advice
Found a nice boy; surrendered to yoke
He broke the plan; he broke my heart
He wouldn’t even witness the vow.
I was never really included then;
Nothing’s different now.
I submit to the pastor
My husband picked out
He preached Jezebel was hiding
Inside my soul
I tried cutting her out,
But I never found her
now I’m never whole.
I tried asking him for help
But I’m the most dangerous whelp
The Kingdom of Men knows:
A woman who actually wants to grow,
but they have butchered me all.

When I was still a little child
They dug my grown-up grave.
With open hands raised, they invited me come
A tender thing, trusting, I knelt so young
In the hole they scraped
I became the slave
and all the rest was left unsung.


The Sky Is Also Pink

“The Dwarves are for the Dwarves!”
Sitting in their little boxes
Their righteous little shells,
And from hell, they preach heaven.

“The Dwarves are for the Dwarves!”
No one takes them in, no one
Ever reaches, ever dares try
To pierce their high defenses

“The Dwarves are for the Dwarves!”
They only trust their own stock:
Forged ideas and banished doubts.
They can’t be taken in; they will never be let out.

The Dwarves are for the Dwarves
As they white-knuckle the fear
They believe helps them see,
Which is why the poor Dwarves

Will never be free.


37

I confess my sin
I’ve toiled in tears and sweat,
Trapped in the fear of men,
How I’ve given myself to fret
Lost watching the show,
Ignoring Your plan
I have stumbled, but know
You’ve taken my hand

And I will not fall.

I commit all to You in patient trust,
Teach me how to walk this way,
Teach me the path of good and just
Lead me to walk as I have prayed
For You are faithful: ever true
In You I live, let me also delight
Show me what good I still may do,
Empower me to do what’s right

In all joy and hope.

I surrender all my grief and rage;
I bow before Your holy throne
You alone have the power to save,
And my humble soul rests in You alone.
I’ve given my last mite;
Take also my riches
So worthless in my sight
Without Your provisions

Of grace and purpose.

I am Yours:
This year, this life,
Forevermore.


I Quit

I said farewell,
To eruption of flame, eddies of smoke,
And the same small hope
Of a moment that’s mine

Taken at everyone’s expense,
And only for me, but safe inside
The cloud of death, safe to hide
Where none will follow.

Resolving to put them away
Is choosing to live, to invest,
And everyone is impressed
Anyone would make that decision.

Today I’m a smoker
With no smoke to inhale,
Engaging in today pales
To quitting.


Promises, Promises

I cannot remember the moment before
My childlike joy was kissed by grief.
You’ve upheld, offering wisdom for relief,
And a kind of peace indwelling the war.

But my senses know no exclusion;
I inhabit the galaxy of each breath:
Every tear an explosion, every pang a death,
Every goodbye yearns the final reunion.

Familial connections in every expression;
Every thought links elbows with its brothers
Fact and facet seamed to the other;
The whole at one with each digression.

Every thread a tapestry, to pull
Pulls on the universal design
Every small string is intertwined
With the foundational cords imperial

I’ve mixed all my cups, what mess is this,
Grief in my joy, and joy in sadness.
Chesterton told me once, tis madness:
Mental activity birthing mental helplessness.

And all these molecules of existence,
Shifting, bending, converting, resolute,
Breathing matter, exchanging fruit,
Bleeding under our rebellious resistance,

Sing along to their Maker’s song
The Great Architect, in Whom
Every detail is sheltered and consumed
And thrives or survives as it belongs

And all these thoughts hang on their axis:
Humble reliance on I Am who never sleeps
Ruthless trust in the promises He keeps,
Putting His word into thought and practice

Meditating on His attributes
Expanding my scope
Taking, as fact, our promised hope,
In all the details it constitutes.

Without this axis, my conscious reels,
It falls out of its orbit, turning
Through the sea of stars still burning,
Into the seeming chaos sin reveals

Into the random, cluttered, complexity of man
The blindness of sin so loudly attests
My mind remains if it but rest
In the Architect’s master plan.

Low, I asked for inclusion, for value;
You gave it. I’m reminded to empty myself,
My only value, my only wealth,
Only ever exists in You.