Must Be Fear

Your irises always sing an aqua harmony,
but I don’t see their shades, when you
sit me down to hear your tale.

If the tension in the air is any clue, there must be fear dancing
in the wrinkles around your eyes,
but I am trying to count colors. I focus to discern.

You murmur that you’re happy, glancing down and to the right.
Your pupil floats like a fish.
I hope I look like an angel.

“They always say these conversations are hard, but-“

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Romans (2015)

I don’t understand
why I can’t have
what I want.

I don’t understand 
how I want
what I don’t grab.

If I will to walk away 
while I’m longing to stay,
who am I to claim one name?

What happened to me? 
How can I 
even ask?

Haven’t I always 
this way-

“Life’s race 
didn’t cause 
me to break;

I just
stumbled up
to the starting gate”?

Am I no work of art 
but one little part 
of a whole?

Do I even 
at all?

Why am I so distinct
in my dance with the brink
if it causes me so much pain

(and the details fade away)?

‘Cuz something about this 
feels so superficial-
I’ve cued the gospel.

The psalms are repetitive!

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Perhaps this preacher is self-assured
because he’s oblivious
to all he didn’t earn.

He shoves me condemnation,
though I’m not sure why.

I’ve slowly learned
not to obey this anxiety he sells me
for the price of my soul.

Weekly, I reassure myself
that I would obey a better voice,
but in fear I ask, if my faith
only soothes, does it lack works, dead?

This day, I finally grasp
that if this white man isn’t god,
and the oily logic from this pulpit isn’t god’s words,

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I, female, lie in bed

I, female, lie in bed
dressed in Clark’s flannel shirt.

It is soft, encompassing, swallowing, immersing-
Like love,
but less human, less active, less person.

It smells like active, human person, though.
I deeply inhale his lingering traces,
trying to fill my shell with as much humanity as I can.

I cradle halves of soft fabric across my torso,
trying to touch as much person as possible,
to be swallowed, encompassed, immersed in,
and buried by something soft.

Kendra pokes her head in the door.
The rest of her follows.
She hovers above me, calls me, hugs me,
drops, puts her head on my bed, and cries-

She is too strong to ignore the pain, but too weak to fix it.
I invite her into my bed.Read More »

“Heavy Burdens: 7 Ways LGBTQ Christians Experience Harm in the Church” by Bridget Eileen Rivera Book Review and Pre-Order Link

Christianity has been creating, debating and reevaluating- and yes, editing- its sex ethics for as long as the church has existed. Like the individual humans it’s made up of, the church grows and evolves in response to questions.

The latest hot topic is of course the gender binary and heteronormativity. Though Christians hold grace, charity, and respect for the endless ways that straight, cisgender people defend, manifest, relate to, express, and experience their own sexuality, Christians often fail not only to hold such grace for LGBTQ people, but to even realize the same diversity exists. 

When I first encountered Bridget Eileen Rivera, I was intrigued by her own complex web of ideas, but I rarely saw her emphasizing these ideas.

Instead, she focuses on the church’s foundation- That nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. In “Heavy Burdens: 7 Ways LGBTQ Christians Experience Harm in the Church”, she elucidates various ways the church has failed to acknowledge that this foundation exists beyond the walls of cisgender heterosexuality.

Starting with the sexual revolution that began with Martin Luther in the Protestant Reformation, Rivera tells Christianity’s role in creating America’s sexual climate, and she debunks many myths, projections, and stereotypes along the way.

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The way society views male nature and male responsibility,
conversing on whether “Boys will be boys” 
makes my head spin in circles.

I grew up with fiction and film teaching me that men work extremely hard 
to control themselves from their frequent, inevitable urges to rape, harass, and assault. 
I grew up being taught how scared fathers are to leave their daughters alone with men-
even good men, and even their husbands. 

This all made perfect sense to me as a child, 
along with the idea that whether or not I had any value as a woman 
was directly linked to whether or not men wanted to commit 
sexual violence against me.

And yet now, this narrative makes no sense to me. 
Why would anyone think all men 
are compelled constantly to heinous crime?

And yet, I do not ask out of innocence. 
I hold this confusion knowing firsthand just how common it is for men- 
good men- to harass, assault, and rape. 
It is all too constant and familiar to me. 

And yet, I do not say that as the most hardened of females. 
They placed me on their scale of victimhood,
and I graced their bottom half. 

And so all this tells me is that every good thing is 
very thoroughly broken, 
and that men’s capacities should not be judged by their past performance, 
and that the measure of a woman's pain 
shouldn’t be judged at all. 


                                               And grace

slapped me

                      across the face

                                              and I didn’t know

what to do 

                      with it.

I tried to give it back ‘cuz I didn’t want it

But, oh, grace knew me better than that

I tried to give it back ‘cuz I didn’t deserve it

But grace knew herself well as well

                                              The skin on my cheeks started 



                                              sudden, foreign, 


                    “Make it stop!”

But we can’t make such strength do nothin’

And grace was after me

So I ran

But, oh, it was before me too

Alpha, Omega,

“I am that I am”

Black Dove

Have you ever been tolerated too much to be loved?
Have you ever been accepted too much to be helped?
It’s easy for you to put up with this-
Your touch is a friendly but fare thee well kiss,
a smiling from over the edge of the abyss-
But it’s killing me softly, this song from black dove.
Must you leave me here to hate myself?

Was it easier to tell me that you understand my lies
than to say you understand enough to get why I would die
for these lies that are “easy”. Is ease easier than freely?
What of peacefully? Truthfully? Unshackled or youthfully?
Have you ever come across these things? Did you stop and stare?
Or if they’re not that novel to you, would you care to share?
Do you fear what I would say? Do you fear what they would do?
Do you fear to feel the deep involvement it’d require of you?
Do you dare to fear the failure of your so-believed truth?
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