God Calls Us to Pursue

I break the second commandment all the time, sow dragon’s teeth in this suburban front yard, draw the greenest leaves down and through my fingers loosing embryo acorns and the shifting compass of the setting sun. It is the girls who say these most beautiful things, white linen things pinned to a line and lifted by the wind beneath a slivery moon

“It looks like a stone rolled away

Like a stone in the very act of being

Rolled away

Matthew 2:1,2 and 28:1,2

Advertisements

The Gerlach Method

From the beginning I have only been able to see them as tiny iterations of Calvin–the cartoon, not the moral philosopher.

They lie prone in upended rows in a hand-drawn version of

The antithesis of a maternity ward

Rows of neatly labeled, perfect and tiny, dinner roll backs, so prone, exposed

No skin gun can ever save us 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.

Justice is Love’s Surname

Survivors get to decide what they do with their story.

My daughter reminds me of this when I complain about a particular rape narrator who seems to be exonerating people who actively refused to value her need to be heard over points in a game.

What I would tell if she answered my email is:

  • Describing your rape in sexually explicit details obscures the message that rape is always about anger and power and objectifying the victim. Do not give potential felons a script for how to commit a crime.
  • Why exonerate anyone who has now or in the past facilitated rape culture? Anyone who actively compensated for rapists needs to be called out and fired, not hugged and beatified–no matter how many teams he or she has taken on to victory.
  • What happened to you has and will happen to a lot of other people–male, female, gender non-binary, old, young, non-consenting. Don’t sell all of them out by sanitizing or excusing deeply broken human systems.
  • Don’t unwittingly hand potential perpetrators a script for rape. Whether or not you realize it, when you tell a story where no one has enforced negative criminal or civil consequences for raping you, you are not changing rape culture.
  • No victim of rape should walk down the road you have. Every person deserves incisive rules for sexual safety. We need to change those rules.
  • Most victims chose or are pressured into silence. They should not have to fear the stigma of being a crime victim who speaks out..

…but they are, and as long as they are, your message is not enough, whether it is what you say or don’t say to a group of athletes, or what you tell the mother of a rape victim

By not answering her at all.

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.

Fast

He moves up the wall quickly, ascending over three thousand vertical feet in a little over 3 hours. We all marvel at him, as well we should, that kind of hubris and fearlessness is an altar to the human spirit

Who fails to see the God who held him there

All along

I go back to Alex’s choosing the rocks over the ladies

As I count days and hours and minutes and seconds

A slow hunger crawl

All fat girl dependence not on

Finger strength and will power but the dorsal strength of a lullaby–

Little ones to him belong, they are weak when he is strong

Shout their voicelessness

Children are notoriously voiceless, which is why Lindy West’s crusade to “shout your abortion” is so very tone deaf.

In this country and in many countries all over the world, women of childbearing age may have the right to kill their own small daughters and sons, but once that procedure has resulted in the death of a child, it no longer belongs to the mother to shout.

Mother–see how ironic that sounds.

We have to shout for…

…the voiceless girls

Who have lost their lives, their right to shout

For daughters

For sons

Forever missing

Their voices.