when the trumpet sounds
and when heaven appears
we just might see it’s been here waiting
for thousands and thousands of weeks
for us to let go and breathe
heaven doesn’t come
when your lungs are closed
when your heart doesn’t beat
heaven doesn’t come
when you let her tell you
what your soul doesn’t believe
i want to know that when the air arrives
when the lightning strikes
that the grey in my eyes
i want to know that we’ve always been free
that the weight was just me
that the shame was just everything
he told his daughter out of
heaven doesn’t come
when the skin is weak
when the sadness seeps
through everything we’re trying for
heaven doesn’t come
when you let her tell you
what your eyes can’t see
when words are many
our god, he weeps
when guilt is heavy
our god, he relieves
i want to know
that the lies are asleep
that we are the ones
shaking them from their dreams
i want to know that my heart,
the angel you gave me
the face of my father
oh heaven, please show us
[the rest of my poetry project here: womanuntieyourtongue.tumblr.com]
and today’s favorite song:
photo credit: katie marina scott
Sifting through old things, I found this. I originally wrote it in 2007. I wanted to share.
- – -
watch two young children at play. content with themselves, content with each other, content with their toys and the few simple requests of yours while they sit at your feet. but left to one another for even ten minutes, and one will find two small monsters, focusing all of their once-innocent energies on making sure the other follows the rules as his or her tiny, young ears heard and their naive hearts interpreted. any outsider can watch from behind the invisible glass and see for himself that their adamant demands do not stem from a concern founded in what the best action is for the wisps of souls that they are, or in what the principle behind a command is and was. no – it becomes a miniature world in which perspective, reasoning, and purpose -and most certainly grace- is lost. there is an obsession with proving the other little one that he heard wrong and it was only 30 minutes, not 35. watching darkened eyes and hearing words that should never fall from lips as untouched as theirs greatly frustrates the observer. a disbelief towards the ever-growing childish fury raises silent questions in the heart. ‘where did the child with simplicity in his calm eyes disappear to?’ ‘what wordless force turned her tiny palm into a pathetic fist?’ and, ‘how are their worlds so small and trite, yet have the capacity for a seemingly instant hatred on the shallowest grounds?’ the observer who is wiser still will probe further:’how do you teach a child perspective? purpose? a concern for the rule he was given, but not for forcing it upon the other?’
how do you give a child eyes for himself but only his heart for others?
there is another question has not yet been asked that could change the grip on the observer’s heart from one of frustration, anger, disbelief and near-disgust to one of quiet understanding and a compassion that washes over a fistful of sins.
‘what if they never grow out of this? what if none of us have?’
yes, observer, who is so wise beyond so many years – years that taught you nothing but better ways to disguise your obsession for ruling your playmate with the rules that “are right.” years that taught you to replace your adamant squeals and tiny punches with smooth, reasoned, biting and life-murdering remarks. yes, observer, who is so understanding and gifted enough to view the world through experienced eyes – eyes that still insist on seeing only your foggy list of standards you thought you heard the Man speak before he left the room. the ones that you’ve repeated to yourself over and over and written down constantly for fear that – god forbid – the others didn’t hear the gentle commands. your age has taught you to fight in your own way, one much more accepted. – no, not fight, for your rulebook cries out against such behavior. but perhaps justified by your motive. what motive? yes, i ask, what motive? but i remind you, there is yet another observer – one observing you. one who already embraces a compassion that has covered your fistfuls of sins daily. one who spoke out of love, and you, in your short-sighted self-righteousness, changed it to condemnation.
you see now, that was never the objective.
he only wanted you to play gently with the young heart sitting next to you – who has already heard his own quiet whisperings of how to please his father.
- – -
“…and i will write it on their hearts. i will be their father, and they will be my children. no longer will one teach another, or a man his brother, saying ‘this is how to know the lord,’ because they will each know me, from the very least to the greatest.’ declares the lord. ‘for i will forgive every action whether it be against me or not, regardless of it’s motive, and i will forget every one of their sins.’ – jeremiah 31.33
‘oh chosen, chosen people, you who take the life that i offer to those i have sent you and throw rocks like children at my own, how often i have longed to gather all your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her motherly wings, but you have not been willing. look, and see how this has left your house as one that is desolate.’ – matthew 23.36
Closer, just one step closer. Must. See. It. Children are the ones who don’t know when to stop, I’ll be fine. I won’t fall. Lungs like a vacuum, breath stops. Ice burns into every inch of me. My mind just as frozen as the water that I’m now submerged in, and I grab at the camera body that is driving itself into the dip below my hip bone, wanting to save what I know is already ruined. I rise, the splash as surreal and silent to everyone else as it was to myself. Does cold water freeze vocal chords instantaneously? Inexplicably calm. In less than two seconds I’ve accepted defeat. I deserve this. Maybe it is a spirit of acceptance that silences us, not the cold. Fascinated with my inability to speak out and scream for help, the silent voice in my mind asked a thousand questions a second. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s just what emotion is. Questions, statements, exclamations; all at once, too fast to understand and just fast enough to feel. I watch those I was with move in slow motion on the snow covered ice, realizing I’ve dragged their filming equipment down with me. How many thouands of dollars did I just destroy? I laugh at them, to myself, that they would have entrusted me with their most valuable possessions; things I can barely even make use of. Fools. My mind begins to darken and I know that I will sink because I’ll freeze, and that I’ll freeze because I refuse to scream; not because I can’t swim.
40 minutes passes before they’ve found a woman who can find me at the bottom of the lake and save me. Ten times longer than one can survive without breathing. I am dead. They know this. I know this. Utterly lifeless, and unsure of my consciousness stemming from a heart still beating or from a perspective outside of myself. Something snaps and for a brief second I see a connection between soul and whatever this is that I am experiencing. She touches me, and the water is completely clear. I see everything. The world. Everything. I follow her underwater, with every intent of surfacing through the same skylight in the ice that she does. I watch it seal itself in a way that physics don’t allow as soon as she slips through, and my entire body knows that no, her way out is not mine. I flip, easily, now breathing in the water like it is my oxygen. Second nature. Like a seal trapped beneath the ice, metal doors appear in every direction and begin sliding shut, from ice to floor, boxing me in. I race to escape. I could call for this woman again, I know this. But I find myself accepting defeat again. So easily. Condemnation and self-hatred is absent; this is merely a passive agreement of apathy. The last door slams shut against the base of the lake, echoing to my core. Panic and peace woven together in a way we don’t experience above water. She appears yet again, to save me. Who is this woman? She slides a ring I cannot see on my finger, and slips invisible jewelry on my neck. I breathe. Again. Peace. Again. She lifts a door effortlessly and pulls me to the top. She does not speak to me in my native tongue, she speaks to me in Grace. And somehow, I understand this language. She offers to go back under, suffering pain upon pain to retrieve my camera. Even though we both know the water has made it useless. She understands my grief. Placing a worthless camera back into my hand moments later, Grace takes another form: action. And gives me not what I need but what I want. And stays by my side.
how did i become
a daughter you don’t have
a daughter you didn’t have
and a daughter you won’t get?
cause everyone wants an enemy
everyone wants a pretty memory
and everyone wants the best for themselves.
how did you manage
to make the imaginary thicker than reality
and how did righteousness
find it’s way into love
that’s when love gets so dirty
I have so much to do before sleeping
I am sitting in a puddle
of little girl little love little do you remember
when you were too scared to move
the monsters in your mind
could almost beat out daddy by your side
tracing circles on the sheets and
invisible claws underneath
i’m so full of little girl little love oh so full
of nightmares and memories of hair bows and shadowed screams
bitter baby find the traces
of truer fantasies patterned with ties and laces
oh how your form softened
before you knew what they wanted
how your eyes sharpened and greyed
while he chiseled away her lossless faith
oh i’m so full
so very full
gripped, crystalized and
glassy eyes staring wide
she wouldn’t know for years
her breath was frozen
and every element caught beneath the glass
trace slower, slower
the path tied up the forest in her heart
treading softer than she could
crushing crushing crushing
caught between every birthing cry
the path goes on forever
killing two hearts with
I’m still getting caught in my mind. Too many things catch my eye and force themselves inward. I crave heat. Lines and corners close me down until I pick up eyeliner in a no-commitment attempt to find change. So scared, so safe; be ashamed. I can hear the bass. And I can hear silence. Distracted by skin, I live through women who have no reputations and borrowed bank accounts. Faux hawks, full sleeves, I almost had you. I trace the edges of serifs in my minds eye and am too scared to dig them into my skin. I can’t remember the last time I could breathe. I tried last week with a cigarette but the winter air slapped me across the cheek for thinking I could do such a thing here. I stain white things on accident and innocent things on purpose. You were my outlet. I make plans to rip open necklines in hopes of using my collarbones as reminders that the sun will come. I choose heavy boots to prove to my thin legs that I’m walking; walking is moving; moving is progressing; progressing is finding what I had, right? I’m fine, really. I just can’t live without extremes.
there’s something scratching at my heart
it’s bleeding to get out
i keep my hands behind my back
it’s not my fault when it gets loose
i need you here to hold me down
i can sever all these roots
silence all this lace that’s slowly
tearing at my face
i’m unsure of the violent nature
it’s showing signs of taking
i need a witness to my faith
i’m only changing shape
in the beginning stage of breaking
I am protected; guarded; covered.
He is faithful to be mine.
Get your twisting hands away from me,
send your wolves away.
I am the light you are drawn to
and it is the light that will defeat you.
You dim my sight and you escalate my senses to fear.
You taunt me, taking even the simplest choices from me.
Towards you, or away from you?
To fight? Without knowing what this is?
Are you coming for me, or only for those I love?
But then I see;
I am the light, the light you were drawn to.
What saves me is what beckons death.
I am paralyzed by what I am;
what gives me away, what I cannot shake.
It takes your own shape,
yet you seek to circle and threaten to kill.
I have always run;
wearer of the laurels, victorious one.
Daughter that wins the race.
But this I cannot outrun,
this I cannot escape.
And so I am protected; guarded; covered.
I have a shield of faith,
my feet have been anchored;
shoes of peace.
Get your hands away from me,
send your wolves back into the trees;
like a coward you come in my sleep.
I am protected; guarded; covered;
I have won.