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

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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.

Carried Over

We are collectively surprised at how ephemeral the boat is, balloonish, easily punctured. As are we. I wonder if the others have drawn the same conclusions-we have become ghosts in our erstwhile stories, still haunted by the house, by the spouse, by the hope we left behind.

Only Lazarus whistles a chipper tune. Why is he so happy? Because nothing is a cool hand to lose.

Zoo Camp

It is just an email for something fun for the kids, but it reminds me of my former squalor, the way you might try to love someone who treats you like the bars, the cage, the meal set before them.

I could tell you all the symptoms and all the chaos, I could tell you the inadequate advice, the befuddlement of friends, the tragedies of children, or the strange calm caused by heavy psychotropic drugs, doctor’s office fish, surely unaware of the storm of a girl in this office by the sea.

I wake up from nightmares feeling that way again–mornings of dread, a low-grade fear of all our tomorrows.

What will become of them? Children without possessive pronouns

To guide them home.

Uncomfortable Sermons

I wonder, perhaps more often than I should, what would happen if we actually expected church sermons to be practical, actionable, real?

I wonder this because in the last 10 years I have worn my proverbial mendicant’s shirt to communities of faith, as has my whole family, only to find that the churchy probably don’t want us there.

They don’t want us because we talk about horrible things–rape, sexual assault, the abuse of children, sexual exploitation, the way the justice system fails victims, the way branded communities fail.

Not all at once, mind you.

But the truth remains so. If you tell a story about faith-minded adopting family neck-deep in ministry and family and community and then those people, especially their young children, are hurt, terribly hurt, by the people they were supposed to consider family.

Well, that is not a good sermon.

It is, however, very similar to many stories in the Bible, which is where I have gone for my uncomfortable sermons.

Where do you find yours? Where do you go to find the way through

The darkest, hardest places?