More poetry…


I’m giving them away, I know it. Instead of saving them up for some bigger purpose, I let them trickle through my fingers like sand. Time passes so quickly, and these are only words. Why not say them now.

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Sub Zero

The fridge trickles and pops,
the ice maker oblivious to the deep freeze
outside, and our growing thirst 
for wine, and flames.
The lake is thick skinned with ice.
Like our winterizing bodies layered in
blankets, Fazl socks, and comfort foods,
water is a memory of itself,
a dream of what comes next.
We have done this before, hunkered down
in tired horizons when darkness comes.
We will wait it out,
try not to think about
four season sleeping bags
or Fentanyl
or our saviour complex.
On a night like this
our hands are empty. We need
mercy. We all need mercy.

LAE2016

 

Enough

You come to conclusions
like you know
the end from the beginning 
have the verdict from the judge,
are a presiding member
of an end-times jury.
You call it child abuse,
and murder – you are
a character assassin,
your slogans a series
of slicing pronouncements resulting in
curbside fatalities, pedestrian
bleed out. 

He was silent
and then he said, let you
who has no sin cast the first stone,
let you who has no sin.

I try to look away but see
you are an elder, with a time worn face
and commitment to a particular flavour faith.
I see sandwich boards and signs,
team huddles on your gang turf
railing against the other side
where girls walk, drive, and ride
a gauntlet to the clinic.
I imagine they have tried
to find another way through tears
and bargained prayers, lost sleep,
arrival at a cross-road and
a choice. This.
And you choose. That.

I drive by. Each Tuesday.
I want to drive through… my over-righteous
indignation, then I am ashamed
I am not blameless, yet I blame.
I once shared your state of mind.
No longer sure, I am witness while I drive by,
every Tuesday, before 9.

He was silent, finger marking dirt
with what…a symbol of his throne?
And then he said, let you
who is without sin cast a stone,
and the righteous weaponed ones all left.
And only he and she remained.
Neither do I condemn you, proclaimed the voice
of overcoming Love.

How then does it end,
me judging you judging them?
(apart from any conversation about sin
which I am clearly choosing not to enter in
because it is bigger than I can entertain.)
My commentary though cathartic is just the same
as you. This is how we cancel love. Enough.
Enough. Enough. Enough.
Dear God forgive me I have said enough.
Forgive me for what I do not do,
and what I do, not knowing.

LAE2016

You are free to choose, always.


Does remaining silent mean I am somehow complicit? Does speaking up mean I am judging? I don’t know. I’m just tired of normalizing trends that take what is inherently beautiful, and twist it into something else entirely.

Today I came across a Facebook post by a start up company I follow who makes custom leather boots. Their new post is marketing baby boots, because “you are never too young to rock your first pair…” And as I looked at the photograph of a tiny baby, dressed in a skull and crossbones diaper, with a pair of black leather high tops, a lumberjack plaid neck fleece, and laying on a bold graphic blanket, I was saddened. Why? Because I saw the potential for awe squelched by an all too common human desire for projection of image.

The baby in the photograph with bared belly and umbilical cord still healing, was only a couple of weeks old. Surely the parents of this beautiful new human were still in the process of adjusting and welcoming and healing themselves. Surely they were still sharing birth stories with their closest friends, describing the difference of before and after, the shock of their wide eyed and brand new unconditional love. Surely they were wearing out their phones taking photos, planning futures and parties and surely, somewhere in all that, they were struck by the miracle of what just happened…and the wonder and innocence of this creature now entrusted into their hands. Surely they see the helpless purity of the creature that is a blending of their DNA and the outcome of months of waiting. Surely…

But somehow, somewhere, in this particular ad campaign, and in society in general, I sense that the function of keeping children warm and dry has run amok and become a commercialized train wreck. And we’ve seen this, haven’t we? Little boys in gangsta wear, and little girls in belly tops. But babies? I fear we are now in the business of transforming our precious newborns into our own image, into our own idea of what is hip and cool and trendy, rather than resting for just a little while, in the unadorned, unseasoned, raw versions of who they are…from the very beginning.

And perhaps facebook posts and instagrams and the incessant need to show off images of our most personal and intimate treasures, including our newborns, perhaps our overwhelming desire to (over)share the visual, is causing us to lose sight of what matters most, what happens when we are off camera and naked and fully ourselves.

Today you can find niche fashion sites that allow you to outfit your baby boy in biker gear or tattoo sleeves, or your baby girl in slutty slogan onesies. You can find skull and crossbone slippers, diapers, and pretty much anything else in most mainstream outlets. And while how we dress our children is absolutely a personal matter of taste, and has been effected by cultural and social norms through the centuries, I just want to say I am sad about what is happening in 2015. And maybe it doesn’t matter to you, maybe this is far too serious a consideration when buying baby clothes, because they are just so cute and fun and everybody else is rocking them too. But maybe you find a hint of truth in what I’m suggesting. I wonder why we are so easily convinced of what is normal and acceptable. I wonder…

All I know is this. I am not willing to trade in my sense of awe at the warm curl of a newborn’s fingers around mine, or the poignant sight of first hair worn thin on the backs of tiny heads, or the way it feels to breathe her smell straight out of the bath, all wet and shiny and bright, or hear his first musical cooing. I will hang onto it tight, and I will celebrate the sweet innocence of new beginnings. And I will not tarnish my experience of the miracle or the glory I see in each brand new life, by bowing to clothes or accessories that suggest otherwise.

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Navigating and staying afloat


skin boats

skin boats (Photo credit: 50mm-traveller)

It’s summer. Yup. And that means change and adaptation and realignment for me. I wrote about it here. And now I’ll share a wee bit more here.

I’ve been in a slump since Easters (reference to one of my fav. movies Nacho Libre). I sang in the choir, walked out of the church with a ceiling and walls, and couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t go back. I tried to figure out why. I made up excuses. I was dejected. Apart from a place I’ve been involved with for 20 years, I felt no compelling force drawing me back. I checked out an edgy inner city church. And when nobody there met my entirely unexplainable criteria, I knew I wouldn’t go back there either. I attended to soul care, read the Book, and engaged in spiritual conversations and activities and poetry. But no church.

There’s another book I read recently called Skin Boat, by John Terpstra (An interview with the author, here). A refreshing book about navigating faith (get this book!!!). Like my own faith journey, the author experiences questions without answers, a sense of belonging some days followed by lingering feelings of marginalization and confusion. His journey is shifting and liquid, and of searching for and finding enough to return for. As Terpstra says,

“I have heard everything there is to say about the place, for and against; both its necessity and its redundancy. Have felt it all, in my bones.”

And I guess, for me, it came down to what I felt in my bones this morning when I woke up. Today I chose to go because I wanted to be with my husband, sit together on a wooden pew. With anxiety and angst and dragging of feet, I pried open my fingers and received a crumb of bread from God’s table. (I didn’t go looking for bread, yet I was given enough to appease my hunger). It’s personal, what happened. But there were tears and words and nodding of heads and something inside of me realizing the reasons for staying away were far smaller than the reasons to be part of what is “church”.

Terpstra writes as both poet and cabinetmaker: “I have thought: the reason I persist is for what is being made.”

This morning I felt a seed of persistence sprouting within the soil of sadness I had allowed to gather in me. And a hint of what is possible, what is being made, should I continue to choose this place. I felt the embrace of arms, looked into eyes, listened to words that I scribbled down madly so as not to forget. The music lifted. The tears cleansed. And the seed continues to grow…

As described in this Can Lit interview, Terpstra asks himself why he keeps being part of this wayward and suffering and paradoxical institution, he responds, “this is the only place I know where time and eternity meet on a regular basis.” 

Today, I was at the meeting place.

SDG, Lesley-Anne