I spent years praying in the voice of a bullwhip
until I broke a heel one day while walking,
bent to fix my shoe and saw my face in a puddle
and realized I was in fact a riding crop, more sting than welt,
more martinet than full-scale danger.
I stopped, one day, in favor of my own face, my own smile,
my own slim crack of a voice that was not soft
but was not the bludgeoning tail I’d once admired
and sought for myself. It’s enough, I said, as is: just a quirt,
yet cold enough to do what’s needed as needed.
Save me, then, from overreach, from scheming to be
more than I am when what I am is more than enough.
I know a God who cares more for the long term than my terms;
I like that God a lot. I owe that God a holler from my own throat
even if it’s drowned out behind another. Sometimes that rough harmony’s
all we need. Sometimes a drive goes better
with the small sting
than with the bullwhip’s
skin-opening smack. Sometimes
we need them both.
Surge and shake,
vein in my belly.
I watch you shiver
Nothing feels right,
comfort is nothing,
my peace is nothing to me.
If the world works, that’s enough.
I think, often, that I am dying
of any of the diseases
I know I have, or one of the ones
I suspect I have. Who cares if I do?
Some will be sad, more or less.
I won’t be, though. I’ll be gone
and maybe the world will be better,
maybe it won’t.
What one does or does not do
might make up for nothing or everything
that has happened. But death, now or
tomorrow — what’s to fear
from one event? Big deal, says the mind.
Big deal indeed, says the heart. And the vein
in my belly says: coming, dear. We’re
coming soon, neutral on arrival. What is, just is.
Why is it
has happened to us?
If we were acorns,
we’d have either sprouted
or been stepped on
and shattered by now.
Why is it
that in spite of our incredible
target-ness, our being out there
exposed and open
to the exposure, why is it that
we still live exactly as we always have?
Having put ourselves
out there over and over,
expecting something to happen –
and nothing has.
Is this life? This
endless spray of non-events
and semi-happenings? Look at me –
talking to you!