Back to the Basics

When I was four or five,

a hurricane came through

and destroyed my bedroom.

The walls came in

and the plaster melted into my lungs

as the screams from the bedroom next door

shook away the foundation, away any hope

that those now mighty giants, those four walls

could ever be home again.

 

When I was seven or eight,

I danced on a tidal wave

confused and broken

not quite sure the cause for celebration

yearning for some past town

the water had already destroyed

but still unknowing, still holding out

for chance, for a moment to piece together

what damage had already been done.

 

When I was ten or eleven,

there were no more open doors.

Every room closed in too tightly

with strangers and those worse yet

people I had come to trust, people I had come to love

with no intention of keeping me safe

but rather keeping me trapped

isolated and broken

lost in the translation of secrets and horrors

locked doors and hidden bruises.

 

The years of silence cut through me

until my skin fell apart like confetti.

The scars and jagged edges knew my past

by its name

cursed with the affliction of wanting control

of wanting to believe that all that had happened

could somehow leak out of me.

That perhaps just one more abrasion

might hold the peace I had been searching for.

 

When I was fifteen or sixteen,

the world went dark.

Choices were to be made,

lives to be saved

or, as I decided, thrown way.

Moments sewn together

blotched memories

and the birth of an addiction

anything to make me feel alive

anything to make me feel alive

anything to make me feel alive.

 

When I was twenty or twenty one,

the hole in heart spread wide open

the core of it all yanked out from abuse

from abandonment

from the final blow to knock me over.

I sealed it with concrete

kept what I had inside private

and flaunted a harder exterior

Now I’d be impenetrable.

Now I’d be safe.

 

And the silence returned to haunt me

Until the rain finally came over me

and drowned me in the memories of those cherished few

the moments my heart raced so fast my body shook

when my hands shook just at thought of a touch

when I held my dreams, even for that short second, on my fingertips

balancing the amazing display for everything I bled for…

these moments somehow forgotten

the others burned eternally

 

And suddenly, an earthquake shook me out

clearing out the past and making way

for a minute, a small group of seconds

of clarity:

 

I’ve held onto my darkest moments so tightly

the residue of my resentment has left ashes

embedded deeply into my fingerprints.

 

It’s time to step back, return to the basics:

Open fists, release, and wash hands daily.

 

One day my hands will be clean.

Some day.

On the Behalf of Christians Everywhere

On the behalf of all Christians everywhere,

I’d like to apologize.

 

Believe me, I know its long overdue

and I’m not exactly the poster board Christian.

 

First of all I’m Catholic

and I haven’t even taken communion in years

so I don’t know that I’m qualified

but still I can realize that it’s time for us to apologize.

 

It’s unbearably clear that we forgot what we stood for

what we’re supposed to be about

what we’re supposed to believe in

who we’re supposed to believe in.

 

Last time I checked Christianity was about Christ.

And seeing as how he prospered in poverty

loved without judgment

and gave whatever he had

it’s clear to me that somewhere along the way

that all got lost in translation.

 

I apologize even for those of us who aren’t fundamentalists

which is really just a term that we all like to hide behind

someone to point out and say “Well at least we’re not them.”

Truth is, we can’t even see the hypocrisy leaking out of our words

because we’re not doing anything to stop them

to stand up against them and push them away from what we believe in.

 

Instead we’re allowing them to taint us, to break us,

to show the world a side of us that shouldn’t exist

because that side works against us,

against what we are supposed to stand for

and every time one of us stays silent,

another person is attacked

another person vanishes

another person dies.

 

So I stand here and apologize

for my silence, the times I hid

the times I kept quiet

the times I ran away

and let them say the things

I know Christ was adamantly against.

 

I want to apologize for the times I myself said hateful things

the times I used misinformation to inflict those who needed help

to cut down those who already had nothing to stand on.

 

But most of all,

I want to apologize for thinking leaving the church

made all of that go away

as though denying my sometimes-faith made me better than “those people”

and now suddenly I am reformed.

 

I am not. In my silence, I am just as guilty.

When I should’ve been strong enough to stay,

to fight against their acid burning through my religion

to call out those who violated the code of Christ,

I simply backed out.

 

And for that I am eternally sorry

so with these words, I hope to begin to make amends

to start over and re-trace my footprints back to some truth.

 

While I can’t go back, so neatly, to my faith,

I return to you, those who are still calling out for an army

those of you who still have no bed

no shelter

no family

those of you who have been cast out

because of who you’ve chosen to love

 

I am here, to lay my armor down by your feet

to stand guard when you need rest

to stand beside you when you prepare

for the daily battle of existence

 

And I am sorry it took me this long.

 

Are you game?

You said you were tired of

The thousands little lies

Lovers weave

Gentle misgivings like

“I’ll never hurt you”

Or

“I just want to save you.”

You said your heart was burning some truth, something you could hold onto

So here goes:

 

I am an asshole.

I can’t promise not to hurt you

because I inevitably will

and I’d love to pretend like I didn’t mean to

but, truthfully, I probably did.

And to be perfectly clear

I am not the saving type

because as far as I’m concerned

there’s no one here to save.

And while we’re in the thick of it,

Know that I am not the kind of person to “persevere” through your shit

And I don’t expect you to take any of mine.

 

But

I will love you

I will reach into the ends of everything you are

just to understand you

to listen to and honestly hear you.

I will lay my armor down at your feet

and break apart every single scattered piece of me

just to breathe you in

just to see you.

 

So no

this probably isn’t the fairytale you’ve been searching for

but I swear to you now and forever

that with my every explosion comes another piece of me

you can carve your name into

and with my every word, my every vow, every “I love you”

will eternally be the subtext of

my heart sliding out of my ribcage, through my lungs, across the air

and into your hands

always.