My “mistake” poem for Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt.
I drive through the neighborhoods
we played in. Nostalgia
directs my way. I drink that
now, weaned off the Holy Spirit.
I never meant to cast you away,
but I thought Jesus called my name.
Turns out Pastor Dan just wanted a lamb.
I said my prayers. I read the Bible
too much. I saw God everywhere,
but you, they said, were Jezebel.
Your cursing would send me to hell;
their verses ensured all would be well
if only I cut my life free of sin. You.
They robbed me in my depression.
They stole my money, they stole my friends,
they stole my joy and called it sin.
Now I sit alone
in coffeehouses and hope
to catch you on coincidence
to repair the bridge I burnt in purgatory,
but you left the valley years ago.
I remained in the wilderness.
I learned how to survive without manna.
I sufficed on morsels from ravens
and piss I purified with machines and alchemy.
I outgrew the church, rose from my knees,
learned to walk on naked feet,
but that you-shaped hole remains.
I fill it with godly women–your old BFFs–
and alcoholic time machines that bring me back
to you. If I was me then as I am now,
we might’ve been more than friends.
I wouldn’t resist temptation.
I wouldn’t bury my talents in the dirt.
I wouldn’t jump off the mountaintop
we built on top of your home
based on the promises of his word alone.
I wouldn’t take heaven for granted.
Like Peter, I now fish in the sea
for something to fill me
until the day I see you on my shore
beckoning me beside you again.
I’d carry your cross if I had the strength
but mine’s too heavy already.
The dime I give you leaves me deprived;
I need it for my coffee each morning;
besides, you’ll probably buy wine.
And giving time would be too expensive.
Juggling kids with work and school and church
leaves no time to toss in service to the world.
All I can do is rush without a glance,
pretend I don’t hear you beg for a chance,
and throw a prayer your way as I wash my hands
that someone else will come be Christ to you.
The chapel bore witness as I vanquished
your greatest fear with vows, a ring, a kiss.
Our flock rejoiced as I stripped off the Miss
and exorcised your spinsterhood anguish.
The Hilton Times Square heard you give reprieve
to me from crosses caught in junior high.
Inside you came deluges from a sky
denied a drizzle, thirsty for relief.
The morning after, you discovered my
my fetish pornography. I inferred
no sense in your chatter, just hollow words
I’d learn to tolerate with alcohol.
Man shan’t divide what God unites, unless
unfaithful, the only bond we possess.
I wrote this for Day 6 of the 2012 April PAD Challenge, but it fits better with the Day 8 prompt.
I sit, suppressing shivers with a smile
as Pastor Wade continues his crusade
against my kind.
The sin we flaunt decays society–
moral terrorists shoving fired crotches
against their eyes.
If we had our way, we’d turn the world gay
and twist their kids to believe that it’s okay
to have two dads.
Marriage was created for a dad and a mom–
sometimes old mom, sometimes new mom, sometimes
even two moms.
Wade fires off the dusty Old Testament–
the crowd goes wild with applause the unborn
don’t even earn.
I ready for the wave in case an eye
inquires my reaction–eyes once warm but
now only burn.
Once deemed a son, brother, future husband–
ruined by a misplaced phone, poached by vultures
starved for secrets.
Now only thought a queer in sheep’s clothing
because they spread like eagles their massive cracks
starved for cookies.
The sermon ends. I slither through the pews–
get nicked by stray thorns–glares by a boy I thought
my closest friend.
He takes a girl he fucked at the spring retreat
back home. Perhaps they plan to pray for me
or just my end.