Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Prayer for the evening

I imploded like a black star
on the living room floor
shooting shards of my shattered self in all directions
breaking windows, cutting plaster.
You are the most important thing to me.
In a heap of black fleece and denim,
I fear for my future, wondering
if you had handed me the wheel to drive,
or if I was expected to keep my hands off,
let us roll into a ditch, fold like an accordion into a tree;
give away my ritches,
and be forced daily to beg it back.
Oh happy chance.
When night sets upon me I run to created things,
lighting matches, dialing worthless numbers,
and you chastise me,
My son, why do you run to created things? Am I not enough?
You are! I know that! My reason!
And yet you do not trust me? Why do you turn your back on Me,
when my arms are open to bring you in?
Where are your arms that bind? Where are your hands that caress
matted hair and soaked cheeks?
Someone who offers themselves to a black hole
gets what they deserve, they tell me.
You left Mother in darkness for half her life.
You had your reasons, I suppose. Look at all she laid at your feet,
and you return only darkness. She said
you despised her. What hope is there for me, then?
I am like a crumpled bag, empty and soiled. I ate what was inside,
what I had brought for you, because I was hungry. I wiped myself
with the bag, because I had no toilet paper.
And yet I still consider this a gift worthy to offer to you?
They throw me out out your courts
for insulting you with this filthy gift.
And yet you call me back in, chastise the guards
for how they treat me.
I am disgraced beyond belief by my profane emptiness.
And yet you take it in your hands, smooth out the creases,
erase the stains, anoint it with oil and fill it with good things.
I have nothing to give! I scream and cry,
outraged at your charity,
an affront to my vindictive reason.
I make all things new, you say. I burst into fiery tears that sear
my face, paint me with stripes.
If I loved you, if my words held any integrity,
I would stay in your courts forever,
forsake my plans, crucify my worry.
Living is so painful! And yet I know you planned it this way.
All I have to offer you are my sins and my desire to be good;
everything else is broken beyond repair,
not even worthy of the scrap yard.
Oh, that I could rest in your love forever,
but you push me out into the cold, to fight and make my way
beyond the warming hearth of your house,
among acquaintances and ghosts who do not see me;
to be blown by the gentlest gust
into a wall, to have my hands broken;
to sit on bathroom floors in the damp moonlight;
to collapse on beds of cloth;
to be surrounded by lions which circle me and wait to pounce.
Who will save me from this body of death!
Oh Paul, with hands stained with holy blood.
Are you haunted by your self, by your clinging past?
Have you cut it so far from you that the wives and children
of those who sent to be buried would not recognize your brazen eyes,
your proud zeal and lust for Christian blood.
I know who you are,
who you were.
You are no better than me.
And yet you are a thousand times better than me.
I will let you carry your own yoke.
I must carry my soiled empty bag,
to make an offering to my Lord,
soiled in sin, the stench of which offends him.
He sends for me, draws me close,
and pushes me back into the night.

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