hear my voice when i plead;
when i ask you to keep me
from all harm, please listen
very carefully to me
and you will come to understand
that i’m really not that interested
in your protection, nor am i asking you
to strike down my adversaries,
either real or imagined.
if you truly want to hearken to my pleas,
know that i’m really only asking you to keep
me from the disquiet that tells me over and over
again that i must dread what i do not know, that
i must live in fear if i am to live in this world.
so when i ask to be sheltered tightly beneath
the protection of your wings, please understand i’m
not asking you to hide me away, i’m asking you
to hold me tight, to hold me back, to
keep me from shooting my arrows so quickly
and so easily into your darkness.
like a wanderer lost
in the wilderness, my soul
thirsts for you.
as i journey on i sense
your presence, glimpses of
projected images that almost resemble
wild springs in the heart
of this arid desert.
i drink in the illusion
and i’m sated, it fills me up,
nourishing me more than
this is how i will make my way:
driven by my thirst toward a fertile
land i know is waiting for me beyond
the next horizon, but until i reach
that place, my illusions
will have to do.
it’s not the passive, quietist waiting
of victim nor the entitled,
expectant waiting of the privileged,
but rather the steadfast waiting of
those who know that even the
highest walls eventually totter on
their own foundations.
it’s the waiting of the one who
knows the storm is coming yet trusts
in the soft breath that breezes in
and out of the newborn, who
keeps faith in the gentle rhythms
that outlast the mightiest winds,
that whisper in our ears long
after the hurricane passes.
so when they tell you that force
bears fruit, just pay it no mind.
i might seem restless and
maybe i am, but i do know that
while mortal might lasts but for
a moment, the future belongs to those
who know how to ride out the whirlwind.
i’m calling out to you but i’m
fairly sure you can’t hear my cries,
not as long as i’m dwelling on the
far edges of the earth.
that’s how it is out here:
your prayers bleed out endlessly like
a wound never staunched and never healed,
an ever-rising sun that spreads fire
across the horizon but never
turns night into day.
so until my prayers reach their
destination you can find me here:
tending to my wounds, wrapping and
unwrapping the bandages, watching
the words fly free into the
eternal night sky.
after the dust cleared we carved
up the land and settled into our
strongholds, retreating behind borders,
actually more like fissures that
spread inexorably down into the
ground until the terrible day
the earth finally heaved
and split wide open.
as we tumbled into the abyss
we came to realize your promise was
not a promise at all but rather a
prediction of a fate set in motion
the moment we triumphantly set
up stakes and tore those bloody
gashes deep into your land.
it’s happening again, night is falling
the shadows are returning and
that ravenous stray dog has come
to howl at my door once more.
sometimes i think if i refused
to feed him just this one time,
he’d finally leave for good,
but if i encourage him
there’s always the chance
this unrelenting hunger
will never end.
this time i think i’ll simply
open wide to his song,
maybe i’ll discover it’s not
a wail endlessly devouring, but
rather an exquisite hymn of welcome to
the twilight softly spreading.
so easy to see the wicked around
every corner, living only to conspire
against us, so we may feel justified
in indulging our fear and our
lust for violence.
so if i’m going to pray for strength,
let it be the strength to shatter
my merciless prejudice, to melt away
the judgements that only absolve
me from searching my own heart
with ruthless, brutal honesty.
don’t let me aim my arrows at
some unseen unknown other;
i’d much rather close my eyes
and fire them off into the
raw and burning whirlwind, so that
they may explore at the heart
of my wild and untamed soul.
i don’t want your pity, but i
could use a little of your
mercy, do you think maybe
i could stay here with you
just for a little while?
i’m seeking refuge from a world that
has suddenly turned carnivorous on me,
no longer a home so much as a
bottomless pit that’s opening wider and
wider, laughing crazy laughter
as it ever so slowly swallows me whole.
i know i can’t hide here forever, but
maybe for a night or two, just let me
rest a bit under the shadow of your wings,
where the darkness can envelop my heart
without devouring my soul.
i trust in you when i’m afraid.
i know, i know, but that’s the thing
about trust: by day it lies hidden away
under hard layers of fear and suspicion;
i only take it out when night falls,
sort of my weapon of final resort.
one day soon, though, i’m going to
break that shell wide open, now
won’t that be something to see:
trust unfurled like tears
long suppressed, bursting out
in every conceivable direction,
i can almost see it now:
i’m doing my best not to stumble
as i learn how to walk with
spirit unburdened, you’re
doing your best to guide me along
but all i want to do is run
on ahead in the dew-soaked
when i contemplate the impunity of
the privileged, those who use their
power to endlessly exploit,
i so often become paralyzed by
my own despair, harassed by doubts
that liberation might ever be possible
in a world so thoroughly unjust.
in such moments i confess i’m tempted
to fly off like a bird driven deep
into the wilderness, where i might
find refuge in the shadow of
my own wings while outside the
tempest endlessly rages on and on.
but in the end i know that despair
is a luxury i cannot afford,
i know i cannot hide
from you for long.
i know soon enough i will hear you
calling my name to soothe my
raging soul, to coax me out and
draw me back into the storm where
your unfolding liberation is surging
upward like a thunderhead that soon,
so very soon will explode and
shower down upon us all.