“Slavery is dead,”
Say the slave owners:
The ones who hold the notes,
The lenders and collectors of interest.
Those who sought an education,
The pursuers of the “American dream”
Monthly Archives: June 2016
“Slavery is dead,”
I have learned to love growing things.
Where once I plucked the blooms and tore the leaves,
Tossing them aside,
I have learned to meet them in their tenderness,
To care for them gently, to learn their names,
And speak to them with kindness.
Growing things are a blessing.
Vulnerable in their station,
They nourish the earth and replenish it.
They make their place a garden.
We were made to be gardeners.
I have learned to love the soil,
To reach my hands into its heart,
To find within its cool darkness
The source and sustenance of all things.
I love the creatures who dig and tunnel within it,
Who feed and nurture it, who contribute to it.
Where once I thought it merely “dirt,”
I have found commonness with the clay
And the loam.
We are made of this.
We will return to it.
I have learned to love the beasts,
Those which crawl, swim, run, and hop,
Which creep and fly and slither.
I have held all manner in my hands and
Felt their breath and looked in their eyes.
I have seen within them the force of life,
How they do what they are made to do,
How they seem to find joy in doing it.
I have learned to love the night,
To take comfort in the sounds of blue darkness,
The loud chirping of the frogs and crickets.
I have been to places of such blackness
That the dusk gives way to indescribable beauty,
The galaxy appears in unfathomable grandeur.
I have learned to love the stars,
To feel their cold light and contemplate smallness,
To see in them the source of matter.
The planets are formed by their cycles.
I have learned to love the stones.
Creek pebbles and mountain boulders.
Shale and pumice, granite and sandstone,
Limestone and quartz.
Their story is measured in millennia and eras,
Billions of years.
I have learned to love the water.
Brackish and fresh, rivers and lakes,
Oceans and seas.
I have learned to love its clearness,
To love its freeness, its untamed drive
To break its bonds, to push out, to escape,
The “enlightened” look around to find
A world of full of resources and possessions.
They see supplies and assets to use
As they chase their own godhood—
As they strive to be “creators.”
I, however, am learning to find myself
A part of this place, to know myself
As a creature among creatures,
As a child of the dust and the stars,
Made of water and soil
And bound to this world.
Put your little hand in mine.
Firmly but gently, let me hold you near.
Walk next to me; share with me
Your fragile innermost being.
I promise to hold it carefully;
I promise not to let it drop.
Speak to me your piercing wisdom.
Voice your penetrating questions.
Impart to me your keen insight.
Do it with your peaceful whispers,
In your smoky southern voice.
I promise to listen.
Hide away with me in the darkness.
Lay down with me, touch me.
Let me touch you softly.
Be only with me.
Marry me again every day.
Let the years go by.
I promise to stay.
If the world conspires against you,
Whenever enemies arise,
Though conviction forbid me fight them,
I with you have thrown in my lot.
No matter what trouble life will bring,
I promise to be with you.
And when life parts us for a time,
When need compels us to produce,
Know that my heart aches for home
And every moment brings its sigh
Pregnant with thoughts of only you.
I promise to return.
Promise me you will, too.
Someone once told me
“You only see the dark.
Try to focus on the light.”
She was not the first
To say something so outrageous,
Nor first to speak such insight.
Yet, it is true.
I don’t see much light. Instead,
I see a world of darkness,
Full of shouting. Anger.
Hatred. Violence. Fear.
Fear is everywhere.
The constant pursuit of more…
More power. More money.
I see pain. People
Climbing over one another
Like emaciated holocaust
Victims being tossed scraps
Of bread by cruel soldiers
Laughing at the dwindling
I see bullies.
I see evil. Lies and deceit.
I see cruelty and agendas,
Hidden motives and secret meetings.
I see stories to make the victim
The oppressor. Stories to make
The murdered the aggressor.
I see them and wonder if the truth
Will ever be known. If it will
Ever have its time in the light.
If it will always be hidden in the shadows.
If it will always be tucked safely away
To protect those who would do evil
To protect the power of the powerful.
I wonder if the light will ever be seen.
If anyone will ever want to see it.
If they’ll ever stop defending
Those deeds done in darkness.
If they’ll ever hate evil
That doesn’t happen to them.
If all that one sees is darkness,
How great is that darkness.
I see it all set against
The backdrop of all of the stories:
Of Moses speaking for Israel to Pharaoh.
Of Nathan speaking for Uriah to David.
Of Elijah speaking for Naboth to Ahab.
I hear the words of Hosea and Amos,
Of the prophets who also saw the darkness.
Who spoke the truth that killed them.
I hear them say, “God has seen the massacre at Jezreel.”
And “I have heard their cries.”
I see an innocent man
Crucified with insurrectionists,
And I see the liars desperate to
Silence him, weaving their lies
Numbering him with bandits, and
Gloating as the dark thunder
Cools the Judean sun
And the rain patters on
His torn naked body.
And I feel hopeless.
But I hear the words of John
In the beginning was the word.
And the word was with God and the word was God.
In him was life, and that life was the light
Of all people. The light shines in the darkness
But the darkness doesn’t understand it.
The true light that gives light to everyone
Was coming. He was in the world
That did not recognize him.
But those who did became God’s children.
The word became flesh. And lived with us.
And I hear the words of Peter,
“Do not be surprised. What you see
Is the Day of the Lord. It has come.
It is here.”
And I read the Revelation
That he will return and set all things right.
That everything done in the darkness
Will be brought to light.
And every now and then
In this dark place
I feel hope.
A powerful mythology
That peace can exist without peacefulness—
Wars fought, enemies destroyed, and borders drawn.
That peace is created without truthfulness—
Veracity suppressed, integrity twisted,
And clarity made opaque.
Both thoughts, though ostensibly dissimilar,
Founded in fear of conflict.
And so, thus armed with all the capriciousness of fable
It’s acceptable to kill but not to offend.
Because in killing to end conflict
They wouldn’t die to be peaceful,
And because in lying to avoid conflict
They wouldn’t live to speak truthfully,
What they call peace is not a thing at all,
Having no ontological status and
Being only the negation of something else.
The antidote to mythology is truth,
That peace is only possible with a cross.
Not the willingness to put the enemy on it,
But the willingness to be placed on it by the enemy.
For peace is not the absence of conflict,
But the decision to live and to love
In the presence of it.
To have it and to accept it,
To speak into it and to face it
With poise and grace and the determination
To endure conflict and not kill the other.
What Jesus actually said at the end of Matthew’s Gospel:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and send advertisements to people of a target demographic, marketing to them in the name of the Quality, the Professionalism, and the Production Value, and teaching them to consume your entertaining ‘worship’ and youth programs while expanding to multiple campuses and constantly building more self-indulgent facilities for yourselves. And, lo, I will have nothing to do with your constant competition with one another for market share in a steadily decreasing pool of consumers whose ears you tickle as you continually beg them to stay and finance your ego-driven building projects. Even until the end of the age.”
“Prove your God is real.” He said.
“Prove your god is more real than the other gods”
“How must I prove it” I asked.
“Evidence.” He said.
“How much evidence will I need?” I asked.
“Enough to prove it.” He said.
“What kind would you accept?” I asked.
“Measureable evidence.” He said.
“But God is not measurable, by definition.” I said.
“For a thing to exist it must be measurable.” He said. “How else can you prove it exists?”
“What if there are things which exist or are true but are not measurable?” I asked.
“You have to prove a claim is true for it to be true.” He said.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes.” He said. “The only things you can believe are what you can prove.”
“Prove it.” I said.