On the way to church this morning, I told my mother for the first time I don't believe in God anymore- which is to say there are ways to invoke the spirit without demanding something holy precede it.
I sit up straight, witness warning signs and yelling matches and I know this pew remembers each sermon by name even if I don't.
Voices oscillate across my cranium and in unison hands raise up as I drown everything in sight out imagining driftwood and arms spread wide as communion floating across disparate waters. Maybe gods wonder about evidence too.
Mom can't unwrite the doubt across my mind as the preacher speaks, but she can see my mouth move, so I sing. Mumble phrases and let them carry a burden I'm unwilling to own to a heaven I don't deserve. Funny how in an instant sin and son mimic one another off the tongue. She asks for peace. Names today a new journey. I ask for a sign. Wait for the flood.
My gut reaction remains the same
shade of grey I remember finger painting yesterday.
The smears cloak my fingerprints
like manuscripts of the negative.
Sharp enough to break through the holiest of sentiments.
It's night two in the dark alone when I call on the ghosts.
Exercise the demons so I may leave the couch at once and turn the lamp on.
Warm bodies approach- blurred yet familiar- radiating only eyes.
Dull and full of assumptions.
I can't respond.
I reach out and watch as effort manifests as motionless limbs again.
Now, my eyes neither open nor closed, identify nothing.
My hands, palms dripping a simple shade of gloom I've come to embrace, greet my brow.
Grey sweat covers this grey reflection and these paintbrush arms I own just want to get up and live.
In color again.
We would sneak on your rooftop during every thunderstorm
Watch raindrops kiss our flannels closer together before we knew just how powerful the clouds could be
And just like that
It's Wednesday morning
This ceiling fan drowns out that wet pitter patter as I sit up in bed
Estimating how much water these bodies can hold
I tell myself the rain here settles down better than I do
I close my eyes
Pretend every droplet becomes another letter you sent for me
Pretend my silence now is just as deafening as my silence then
And the skies rip open
Your voice drips down my window pane onto my carpet
Asks me one last time for an answer
So I just want you to know
When we grabbed our hearts and became the flood
I thought we would be free
This nefarious rubble is all that's left
And now you're gone
I haven't slept much since I left
Most nights I stand at my window and wait for the wind to greet me
If I stand close enough, I can spot the stream behind my bedroom here
The sound it makes at night frightens me
What of the moments we dare to forget?
Are these not the wars worth fighting?
Sometimes my mind leaves behind those Trojan horses
Sometimes I call amnesia home because it feels safer there
Sometimes I wonder whether white flags
are too shy to accept the victory they deserve
my armor falls off
and I feel human on purpose again
From my bedroom, I imagine what it would take to become nothing. Some days, all I am is the comforter. I could waste away and become the bedframe forever. I mean, I've been thinking and what does it mean to be here anyways? I mean, how much effort is required to exist in these tired sheets? This narrowed gaze some called alive once is fearful of the mattress now. The walls shrink across these hallowed bones and here is heaven. Spirits rising or angels falling. Here you are. The casket sits below this windowsill where the dust collects and dares you to make the first move. Home is trapped inside of you and you've been looking for a way out for a while now. Existing just hard enough for a pulse. Some scattered breaths. But the thoughts remain- am I here? And you know where the life went- you know god buried herself in that spring fleece you left under the front pew back in 5th grade and she waits for you there. And you wait now. Your feet stumbling to find purpose. Yet you are here. Seem too worried about the timing of it all. And how you never loved the ground enough. Never cherished that fertile soil swelling beneath your feet until it became home for you. And what now? Escape this body? Suffocate under the promises your pillow keeps? Or stand.
And it was there I said I'd meet you.
Under the overpass, your eyes grasping for new ways to say I told you so. And that smokestack heart of mine piled up a few more miles of the most beautiful memories that could fit into my nap sack before the bus left:
When you remind me I'm lip-synching on our car rides to nowhere which is everywhere with you and how I hate telling you I'm wrong.
That smile- and how it wraps around my lips when I try and refuse that lighthouse from ushering me home.
The echoes your laughter makes across the empty dining room and how intentional you spin this sound so I can hear it from the bedroom.
Your left temple- tabernacle and all- leaning against the smoke. Every night. Not afraid of the fire.
And before I leave you remember that these trips are every bit as permanent as they are temporary. You tell me to hurry home and I remind you that I always am with you. You smile. The Sun screams, raising its voice across your face as we depart and you've never been as beautiful as when you said
*Just come back soon
White man got degrees
White man studies rap albums on weekends
White man still dreams on the hardwood
White man Steph Curry and Larry Bird in his head
White man be both- no problem
White man been hurt before
White man wears braces on both ankles
White man pick a new pair up whenever
White man down each aisle twice
White man throws the receipts away every time
White man been abroad this one time
White man always trying to help
White man night off whenever he wants
White man swears and means it
White man perpetual grin
White man still here
White man gets louder and swears no one hears him
White man silence still got a few words in it
White man says sorry sometimes, but
White man forgives himself always
White man ten ten year plans
White man why not more?
White man white lies
White man be a boy when he wants
White man lies face down when he chooses
White man love guns need none though
He brings bigger weapons every time he leaves the house
This poem is after a poem done by Jon Sands, who followed similar patterns from Angel Nafis and Terrance Hayes.
Here is a link to Jon's version http://killauthor.com/issueten/jon-sands-2/