The Great Whale

We haven’t been talking much. Something keeps us.

The religion of perfect peace in this house, perhaps. It creates an atmosphere too heavy to disturb.

I admit I’m gone a lot. Mostly I’m at work. When I’m home I’m on the internet often, swimming in the blessed invention of the laptop private pool of otherness. Or playing with the little kids. In games you don’t have to say the what is and isn’t.

She’s gone, she’s at home canning bushels of pears, she’s at church in the woods with the four or five families that still come. The only people who are her people. All others are untrustworthy- the sea in which The Remnant must stay afloat- preferably without wetting the hems of their robe. She chooses the Remnant. She has no one else.

My sister.

What would happen if we talked? What would we say?

The headlines. A boy, twelve years old, was out playing in a park. Imaginary monsters swimming through his eyes, he brandished his defense against them- an imaginary weapon. Whatever fear crawled closer to him- in the air of a world where death drives the streets slowly and buys coffee while it sizes up the passersby- he would defeat. And the air would pull back and happy and proud he could breath. He had won. He can beat the monsters. His teeth flash like black Peter Pan; the Child Whom Pirates Cannot Kill.

In the air of a world where fear takes the shapes of those it consumes and uses them to its own ends, a shape not quite gone picked up a phone. In the twilight of security, what was left of a voice cautioned, “It’s probably a fake.”

Fear wants to know what’s real but fear can’t ask a child. Can’t be led by a child. Can’t lead even a child to safety. Fear is too unsafe.

Fear asks the Authorities. Can you check? Can you tell me?

Death set down its coffee.

When Death arrived on the scene, two seconds went by. Then Death’s shape was revealed.

Without justice, said the long dead father, what is a nation but a great robber band?

The Child lay dying and Death stood over him, watching him die.

The Pirate whom Time Forgot.

Or was it us?

If one of these little ones causes you to sin, tie a millstone around their neck and drop them into the heart of the sea. Then stand and watch them drown. Jesus didn’t actually say that last part, but we can infer from our knowledge of biblical principles.

One of the last times we talked about anything more other than pears or changing clouds her voice was lacing itself with anger.

“I think pointing out race IS racism! You are making the problem by talking about it!”

When she had still just learned to walk and talk they poured cold water over her head. She had been sitting under the table crying at the top of her lungs. Her wail had cut off as she gasped, unable to breath.

In God there are no shifting shadows. If you see such things, your eyes are wrong. If your eye is wrong, put it out. The only tears allowed are blood.

As I float in my pool of hurt and strange, escaping from the perfect light and peace in which, for other reasons, I do not exist, my brother plays on the floor.

A Child of the Remnant. A child in what we are sure, this time, finally, are the Last Days. They must be. Everyone is against us. Already, he is afraid. His body has begun to grow, stretching him past the legs of his jeans. He weeps and clings to his too small clothing when they throw his holey safety away. He pulls back from new things as if burned, running to people who once hit him daily and call him an idiot, begging to know what’s allowed. His Authorities.

Tell him, tell him, what’s Good and what’s Evil. The Innocent can’t know these things for themselves. Only the Guilty.

He daydreams on the rug as he goes through his arsenal of toys. Orange capped, black, glossy and realistic as possible to protect him from the air he breathes. Imaginary weapons.

They never let him out to play with other children. Though funny and clever and lonely he has no friends.

You know what? Death will probably never stand over him in the streets. He may never feel safe enough to play there. And one day he will stand. Where will it be?

He’s twelve years old.

How could she possibly talk with me?

Who did this?

When I grow up I’m not going to be a pirate. I have no human enemy. Nor will I pursue such creatures. I’m going to be a whaler.

I imagine a harpoon, feel its weight and the grain of its haft made of nothing in my hand.

God, the imaginary monster, no real weapon can kill.

We are the only ones here.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/26/tamir-rice-video-shows-boy-shot-police-cleveland

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/12/02/cleveland-cop-said-he-had-no-choice-but-to-shoot-12-year-old-tamir-rice-father-says/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2854617/Cops-shot-12-year-old-Tamir-Rice-dead-holding-BB-gun-did-not-aid-watched-lie-agony-died-just-hours-later.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/24/tamir-rice-boy-shot-cleveland-police_n_6211064.html

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/12/police_procedure_experts_quest.html

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/03/officer-who-fatally-shot-tamir-rice-had-been-judged-unfit

 

 

The Agency

Trigger Warning: Abuse

Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental. 

 

Are you now a child in your hands?

Do you throw things?

Do you scream at yourself

inside the soundproof walls of the skull where you live?

(they say that people in skull houses shouldn’t throw stones)

Have you ever shaken yourself

when you couldn’t stop yourself from crying?

(you didn’t know how to stop crying, did you?)

Have you ever abandoned yourself for days at a time?

Left nothing but garbage in the cupboards-

When you knew that was the only food you’d be able to find?

Have even you seen yourself as a boat

to carry other people’s dreams?

Your body a cushion for the whims of other bodies?

Have you ever told yourself to  shut the hell up

when you were weeping

begging for at least one person to believe you?

 

Someone left an anonymous tip-

(the voice on the line- could it have been yours?)

We just need you to ask a few questions,

And we’d like you to take a look around the place.

 

 

leaves

Who told you you were naked?

 

No one told you.

In a single strange moment,

the colored moving world welled up

into the colored moving world

And was.

 

trees and clouds

stones and water

creatures flashing

the chatter and songs

and behemoth curiously lifts his head

and you are

and you’re here

and it’s now.

Your eyes turn to the other eyes

and they’re shining too.

It’s both of you, now, here, together,

trembling with this greatness.

In the heat of the day, a little wind runs through.

Only the leaves shiver

and the two of you.

Your eyes meet and

you both laugh again.

It’s so much- all at once.

 

Who told you?

The voice is colder.

The words you would have to invent to say

sink back down your throat

falling back into the heart they almost came from.

The leaves you wove tear and fall and

you have to stand there-

this is naked-

both of you naked

and him waiting.

From deep in the darkening sky

a little wind runs around you all.

It’s cold- so cold.

To be this way.

 

the fall

Do you delight in our weakness, Father?

Does it make you perfect?

Is it what draws your attention

Down, out of the vast and infinite

sorrow where your heart lives-

clouded like a newborn star?

Does it assuage you, for a moment,

to trip us with nothing and trigger

shocked eyes

muddy knees and hands?

Hidden

Hiding in the trees.

Where are you?

calls out One who already knows everything.

Your breath slows, chokes in your throat.

He’s smirking?

Where are you?

He’s enjoying the game.

Enjoying the heartbeat He must know

is knocking against your ribs-

as your terror convulses into purity-

as He comes near.

But then He veers off.

Perfect fear can cast out everything

whether its piss or hope  that holds you back.  And

your newly clean mind understands.

He’ll keep coming closer

circling,

At last He’ll let himself find you and stare down, gloating,

as you crescendo

and then He’ll begin.

 

As if the sky were made of giants

walking

through the deep blue sea-

 

Your limbs move-

soft as ropes of clay-

and you stumble out ot the brambles .

 

The game is over

and He hasn’t won.

 

 

 

The House of Water

The Father had died.

The Mother was waxing.

The moon had come

at night

and glowered.

The bones moved over the ocean,

the wake rising ’round them,

the wake moving over the waters,

following the Father’s house.

 

The Father had died.

The Mother was moving,

gathering strength,

gathering voices

gathering against her children,

the gods.

 

The Tide

1

The tide of time

doesn’t answer

except for all the shells.

 

2

The water rises in its own language.

It takes the words out of your mouth.

It will take the bones out of your body’s closet

and scatter them among the pebbles.

 

3

The spent ocean dries off

the land’s edges.

The spent earth fills the ocean’s jars.

The ocean will still be your tired king

when all the mothering waters have gone.

 

4

You, like a gull, rise.

You, like a stone, dive.

You, like the sun, descend

Again and again and again.

 

5

The sea in your head

is speaking

The sea in your bones

is looking across the ocean.

The language waits-

the language of water.