Category Archives: Poetry

What Feminism Cost Me

What feminism cost me.

(It has come at a price, and I’ve paid dearly.)

It cost me:
-abusive theologies
-abusive ecclesiastical structures
-abusive relationships
-a sense of place (as in, now I’m always out of place, out of order, and improper)
-a sense of propriety (in the sense of property: that culture or church or man owns me)
-orthodoxy
-willful naivety
-easy answers
-comfort
-self-doubt
-nostalgia
-the respect of some family and friends (you know who you are)
-an education (as I had to unlearn much of what I’d been taught)
-fairy tales
-notions of perfection
-jobs
-a future

What feminism has given me.

(And it has been generous with its gifts.)

Feminism has given me:

-life-giving theologies
-life-giving ecclesiologies
-life-giving relationships
-nomadic perspectives (against the parochial)
-ownership and responsibility for the persons, places and things by which I’m surrounded
-heterodoxy
-perpetual self critique
-the desire to be rubbed raw by the truth
-an anticipation of change
-the respect of some family and friends (you know who you are)
-an education
-oral traditions
-a deep love and delight in humanity and all its flaws
-a vocation
-a future.

If, in your mind, I appear to be all elbows…
I appear to be flailing…
I appear to not know the proper way to behave
or the right way to be…

Remember it is the bars of your cage I’m bloodying myself against.
I will not sit quietly by and allow the perch upon which you
(or the church, or society)
have been placed,
to be the parameters of my world.

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Winter Woes

Yesterday I fell on the ice–twice.
I bounced, really,
and at the time
dignity seemed the only casualty.
And I kept walking.

Today, however, I am limited.
The bruises and swelling arrived
whilst I slept.
Subsequently I’m stiff–
youthful bounce
transformed into middle aged hobble.

When did this happen?

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The paradox of Autumn…

Garments shed lay at Autumn's feet.

Garments shed lay at Autumn’s feet.

The paradox of Autumn
amuses me.

Whilst I spend my time figuring out how to add layers
clothing to shelter myself against the Chicago wind and cold
the trees begin to strip down and dance in the wind
an erotic dance
embracing longer nights.

In summer the trees feel overstuffed and indulgent
full of leaves.
You can hardly see their framework through all the foliage.

Autumn begins the strip-tease and seduction of all our senses:
smell, taste, touch, sight.

Winter ravishes and lays the trees bare.

Spring brings with it a blush of embarrassment
and the trees clothe themselves once again.

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When the distance is too great…

decades and continents separate us
your grip has never loosened
inescapable
enduring

I smell the dampness of the rainforest
the salt of the beach
the orchid mist of the mountains
the fecundity of mud between my toes

the sounds of exotic birds
indistinguishable from laughter
brown eyes smiling
open palms welcoming
singing for joy to a rhythm both strange and inviting

matched my heart beat.

and I ache for a place that was never really home
and a people who were never really mine.

The flag of Papua New Guinea.

The flag of Papua New Guinea.

With an open palm…

children light up under his gaze
my beloved

said to be a Bodhisattva
without desire to possess or be possessed

he none-the-less turns heads
seeing the best in everyone:
and we thus become.

admired and desired
independent yet interdependent

either find myself on that same path
or let him go

to learn to love
without strings
without possession
without desire
without need for return

we’ll hold each other’s hand
never in each other’s arms.

and its enough.

My life….

This poem is not original to me, but it bears repeating and re-reading:

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

by Portia Nelson

I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V
I walk down another street.

re-post: Observations of the divine…

This prayer was originally posted on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  It has been my mantra these last days.

 

new every morning is Love
and all day long it works for good in the world
it stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably
and to devote our days to walking in ways which are life-giving

blessed be.

The flirt

male
female
matters not

this is neither sexual nor gendered

he sees the divine and calls it forth
with eye contact
or a tip
a friendly smile
a casual gesture

the invocation that rolls off his tongue
is music to the ears

the recipient: caught off guard and delighted
to be included in the beauty he pronounces

it is production
performative

the average joe is sanctified under his gaze

It is grace.

A simple act…

We’d never spent that much time together
and were nervous about the weekend.
But all it took was a simple act–
a bowed head
a reminder of grace and gift
and I was hooked.

Fallen…

The fall from grace wasn’t far… nor did it seem to hurt.
All it took was a cracked door…
temptation opened the rest of the way.
Limitations were imposed and what came naturally was forbidden…
but came oh so naturally.

The fall into grace wasn’t far… nor did it hurt.
All it took was being open to the possiblity… 
he swung the doors open wide.
The limitations those labels and categories imposed were stifling…
and he burst them at the seams…
and I came round so very naturally.

I’ve fallen…