The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. ~ Dante Alighieri ~ __________
For JNM to know, and for the rest of the world to hear
Your name is my favorite poem.
I want to stand in front of audiences to say only your name
and bask in the wordless rapture of response,
the applause of eyelashes blinking in awe at the sound of it.
Even on the day you were born,
the first speaking of your name was not as miraculous
as it is from my lips tonight.
A prayer of brilliance in each breath,
my lips against your skin,
your ear open,
ready for worship,
your name my prayer,
your body my tabernacle
and this love my faith
forgive forgive forgive yourself
do not be afraid
compassion lies within you
for a holiness betrayed
written in 2011 at Sierra Tuscon
People are so concerned with bathrooms. who can go in them, how to label them. some use giant artistic letters, W or M. some get creative, chicas and chicos, cowboys and cowgirls. we tell each other, “excuse me, i have to use the restroom, bathroom, ladies’ room, powder room, little girl’s room, to use the facilities.”
there should be another room, without requirements or limitations. there should be a room nestled in there among the others, a cry room. a discreet little sign on the door, so we can discreetly enter, then scream into towels and empty our eyes. then check in the mirror to see how bad the damage is, can anyone tell where we have been for how long.
my landlord has a cutesy little sign on the outside of my bathroom that says “toilettes. i want to make another sign, one to denote the true nature of the four walls and plumbing. “salle de cri.” in my house this little room is my “salle de cri.” and today i have cleaned it all…i lovingly swept up all the hairs and mopped until the floor was shiny. i polished the mirror and lysol’ed the counter tops. tenderly, tenderly i cleaned because i know that later i will find myself laying on that same ground, so grateful that it was clean. a little tlc for my future suffering. it’s the least i can do.
i have barely any words of my own, to echo around this ghost hall. i don’t have any words to say out loud. there arnt any such words. to ask me my name i couldnt answer with surety, none of the syllables fit in a familiar cadence….maybe my consonants and vowels are confused. “how are you” is so thick, i can’t breathe a reply through it. if i knew the words i would give them up, but if i had them, to speak would feel my mouth tight under the towel, water punching me in the face. what do you say….what do you say when you’re sitting in a grave no one else can see. i can’t muster the energy to speak, i can’t show with my hands…i can only show one sweeping gesture, a display. look, look at me sitting in the dark, drinking, listening to Numb by Theda East and The Soul on repeat and wishing it was on a record player, so i could hear the needle clack as it resets. this is exactly it, in fullness. this is my name. this is how i am. and i wish that i could usher in the awareness of this, a “right this way, sir” or a “allow me to show you in this direction”…mostly….”observe.” just…fucking observe.
this gesture is all i have to say.
Life is steam rolling me into the ground so deeply that I’ve passed by all 7 layers of Dante’s inferno, including the cellar, miles ago.
Instead of going out to the garage and sawing off the end of a shotgun and going after my rapist he said:
“Do you really think he deserves to be in jail?”
“This will go on his permanent record as a sex offender. It will effect his jobs, where he lives…forever. Do you really think he deserves that?”
…but. What, then, do I deserve?
I wonder about you. I wonder if you looked both ways before crossing the street, like we were taught. And I wonder if you met the truck with your eyes open and accepting or terrified, eyes winced shut tightly. I wonder if you just stood head up and confident, calm resolve. Or if it was as if a sudden interruption in the continuance of your walk. Did you make a sound, planned or blurted out by human nature, or tuck your head in silence, artful and zen like.
Left out in a heap
Shredded for the carion
And here they come
Oh here they come
To take me away
i feel like i’m sleepwalking
and i don’t know how to wake up