religion

As the gates open

God grabs a trumpet and plays taps,

and together we mourn the years

I wasted, wondering

if I would ever get to go inside.

The air here is

so crisp, so clean.

I relish in the feeling of finally

breathing easy.

After Sappho

This is an “after” poem in response to Sappho’s “He is more than a hero”.

Woman with wax tablets and stylus (so-called “Sappho”)

 

The man sits beside you,
a protective playful arm
draped over what can only be
mine when the stage lights turn off;
both our hero and the villain.

I sit still on the opposite couch,
holding a pillow embroidered God is Good!
only moving to accept each plate of cake or fruit
your mother offers from the kitchen,
praying the sugar on top is not salt.

Onto the stage she comes- again-
with the unnecessary second tray
of sweet plantains, hoping to catch us
holding hands or sacrificing babies-
whatever it is people like us do.

Then stage right, Prince Charming stands up.
His part played so perfectly, even I am fooled,
when his lips pucker out to meet yours
for the grand finale,
and my throat tries to swallow my tongue.

The curtain closes on the image of
your mother, smiling from the kitchen.

If he stays, death isn’t far from me.
If he goes, death isn’t far from you.

 

for you.

I thought I had known him through you.
In your selfish, selfless forgiveness.
In your dirty hands, diligent,
digging a hole in the cool shade of your cruel world
to bury me in.
In the mystery I thought I was unfolding.
In your anger.
Your eyes, the freckled floodgates-
How they could never open, never let go of the pressure.
Like you might deflate and fly and fall without it.
But there was grace, and hope too.
The softest timbre of your voice, saved just for me.
When you spoke the words sounded like verse:
patient, honest, clever. I thought I heard him there, in our plans.
You did too.
Your guilt burned its way through every kiss.  
Our spit, a cocktail of resentment; I still taste it.
But.
We were love as we knew it. We were the best
we could do.  
It was unfair, but we did it. And I’d still do it,
for you.

But
I was wrong.
Christmas Eve. Our first goodbye.
I knew him then- only then. For the first time.
In the pain of a divine, self inflicted punishment,
I felt him. his little finger reaching down
to rest on my chest, listening to the catch of my breath,
while the pressure wavers,
as if even he is unsure, like me, if I deserve it-
but still pressing, nonetheless.

Cerberus Outside the Nightclub

Cerberus by William Blake

He prowls at the edge of the gate
excited to pounce on anyone who dares
invade this space as they’d done every other.

Contrary to the misinformed myth,
he works not to keep us trapped inside
but to keep the good people locked out.

His sad howl the soundtrack to a slow dance
from the prom we never had.
But finally! A dance floor of our own
complete with triple-headed chaperone.

And all we had to do was die.

Toe tapping, tail wagging.
Why would we try to escape
the only place that ever felt like home?

No hungry, angry flames swallow us.
That unquenchable fire not a lake,
but a collective flame-
the tiny sparks we quietly kept lit inside us all.

In the pit of my stomach
I can finally feel its warmth.

The Peacock’s Pressure to be Proud

Trigger Warning: brief mention of gun violence; Spoilers! The Fosters Season 5

There was a pride in me I prided myself on possessing that has been burnt out by pages in the Bible and people in the White House. I wonder if it was just a façade I had built as a protection before I even truly understood the reason I needed pride. It turns out you can’t try to prepare for the worst by blindly building walls when you don’t understand why they’re necessary.  

Navigating Religion as a Queer Person

It’s no secret that religion has been used as a tool of oppression. From past events, such as Christian imperialism, to current day forms of bigotry, such as the mission of the Westboro Baptist Church. I’m a firm believer that when religion and government policy collide, trouble happens. However, could religion be used as a source of liberation? Could religion be something that empowers marginalized groups?

deluge

when the world flooded,

only the cleanest of

the townspeople lined up.

two by two, a man and his mate.

and only the cleanest of

the animals followed suit.

 

aboard the ark of cypress wood,

we snuck on behind them.

one pair of unclean animals,

a woman and her mate.

 

we were the ones He sent the rain for.

for forty days and forty nights,

He tried to drown us alive.

 

never again, He promised,

would He destroy

all living creatures as He had done.

 

but it was too late.

His disciples continued the dirty work for Him.

 

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash.