Solomon

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2 KJV

[1] So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. [2] Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

I generally chafe at the wisdom of Solomon. I want to measure my “wise guys” by their lives–faithfulness, sobriety, compassion. S-man seems to fall abysmally short on all categories.

When I read this verse from Ecclesiastes it resonates with my own sense of the fragility and tenuousness of life, but then I cannot help that Solomon had so many powers the ordinary dude did not have to:

Stop oppression

Comfort the bereaved

And use his power as a monarch to generally improve his culture

He had the power to live a different life, to show a different way. I am no king, but I will be judged by how much better or worse I use my power

To change things.

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You are my treasure

Luke 12:32-34 KJV

[32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. [33] Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. [34] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

What would you tell a dying world? A lost child? Or the person who

Won-hands-down-the Complete Ass of the Decade Award?

You are my treasure

Because where my treasure is, my heart is also.

The Angry Biddy

She flaps her (flightless) wings and flutters about

Because surely birds can’t cry and this world is full of sorrow

She is almost human, fully sentient with the wary eyes of someone who knows what it is to not have opposable thumbs

So I tell her, do your graceless angry dance and I will translate for you

About how eternal we are in this brutal place

Where the stars tell us things in the darkness

About hope

Dammed hope

Which will one day soon

Break free

What is a good friend?

Yep, I know-who?

Bear with me.

Ten years ago we discovered that our adopted son had molested some of his siblings and their friends.

I went to my friend and asked him what I should do and he said,

The truth will set you free.

So I told people the truth

Church

Work

Neighbor

Community

Family

Truth

And most people stopped being our friends.

So not who, what

A good friend never leaves, never forsakes, never hides your sin, but doesn’t abandon.

Jesus is a good friend.

What is Love

What is justice

There were times we all faced this extreme solitude of the truth. People who had been out friends could not risk the chance that we were contagious.

But Jesus was always there, the sojourning older son, back from afar, standing on the other side of the street, in sight of the house, I-am-here-darling present with us

never alone because

What a friend we have in Jesus

Oblígate carnivores

For months now I have walked carefully, gingerly, with the rocking gait of the elderly, infirmed, or, in my case, feet surreptitiously lamenting for the loss of the whole–

broken heart

crepe-fine skin

Liver, spleen, lungs, and stomach all exposed

As the obligate carnivores we tended as children stalk the house now

Grown

Larger than life,

Pacing hungrily to and fro

As we eye them in dismay

Their pets now

When you and I were unborn

An image has been taken, carefully constructed–a smiling woman with her small child, a pink placard, and a message of support for the categorical destruction of babies remarkably similar to her own.

When I was younger the rhetoric surrounding the clinical extermination of humans before the age of birth was careful, reluctant, almost sheepish or apologetic. Famous among these voices was Hillary Clinton who said that the aim of promoting legal abortion was to make it, “…rare”

When I was younger “the unborn” were called babies by those on both sides of the argument.

When I was unborn, abortion was illegal.

Not now.

Now there is a veritable cacophony of irate institutions and voices–democratic presidential hopefuls, movie streaming services, (ironically) the Disney company, a long list of celebrities, and that smiling lady with her baby on the grass

All bent upon promoting and facilitating medical murder.

And with each carefully posed picture, each premeditated exclamation of outrage they push down the simple facts–we have laws in this country which promote and facilitate the brutal, violent, dehumanizing murder of millions of people.

People who would one day watch Disney movies

People who might subscribe to Netflix

People who would argue unequivocally for their own right to life

If they were allowed to live long enough to

Sing

where have all the flowers gone?

Our children all

Gone.

Writing about terrible things

I have known for some time that using the clipped, incisive, deliberate forms associated with poetry was one way to write about the devastation caused by my adopted son.

I started writing the poetry publicly when the prose seemed too difficult for people.

You could call this the “it’s too awful” syndrome, or you could call it the complicity principle. People either do not want to face the devastation and intimacy of sexual assault or they have their own story and do not really want to scrutinize how their story was handled. Notice the passive tense–change the passive tense–how they handled their story.

We have debilitating and unwarranted stigmata which we apply to the victims of sexual assault in a highly prejudicial and unscientific fashion.

All cases of sexual assault are woefully underreported, yet we claim to understand rape victims.

You cannot have a principled, scientific understanding of a condition if you force the sufferers of the condition into silence.

Nor can you ever separate the “symptoms” of victimhood out from the original crime or the subsequent, devastating consequences of enforced silence.

Every victim of a crime deserves relief, but in rape, the victim often faces subsequent harm.

They are told to be quiet or they will be marginalized.

That marginalization never stops. It can happen any time a victim shares their story.

I know because I just watched it happen again, and again, and again when my daughter wrote her college entrance essay on her rape story.