Monday, August 18, 2014

The God Who Stared into Darkness

My break from So(SO)PP continues this week, as the poem for today is a response to the ongoing ISIS news coming out of Iraq. A quick Google search can tell you more than I ever could.

It gets me thinking about our whole history of cruelty, injustice, and sin (to call it what it is), and how that registers in the grand scheme of our relationship with God. Gets me thinking.

The God Who Stared into Darkness

Iraq busies itself with the canine pastime of chewing off its limbs,
preferring its faith-made proponents of peace
as pixels grislying YouTube.

The blood that must have baked like heliotrope and glass,
something in it reminds me of the garden
whose loss we grieved with murder,

and the God who stared into darkness and loved the thing
it gave Him the urge to birth before breath,
or soil, or light.

In that darkness, this God knew every tendril it would weave
through the life poised on the tip of His tongue:
every sharpened rock and jawbone, every

chambered round no more free of Cain's fratricidal thumbprint
than that morning star of a precedent our hands
were all-too-glad to inherit.

Before any holocaustic Auschwitz or Levant-possessing successor,
before any injustice paid for in the pain and mosaic
immortalizing Golgotha,

this God loved the idea of us enough to endure the infinite
forms of heartbreak we'd most certainly return Him.
What unfathomable joy, then,

are we capable of creating? Our very existence is proof of the promise
God saw in the shapeless rags given light
and soil and breath.

The rivers that ululate to Heaven with tongues of bloodstone and ash
are more famished now than when spouted
from Abel's prostrate sorrow,

but the promise that saw the sculpt of hand and face is not
our burden to keep, but our hope, our reminder
that eventually the tunnel

so easily forgotten for a gun
will shed its lachrymose trappings and we, free at last
of this sulfur-rich darkness, will know fully what was always promised.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

After His Exeunt (for Robin Williams)

There are some people who find their way into our personal lives, regardless of whether or not we actually know them. Through their work, they become a part of our lives and feel like family. Robin Williams was one of those people.

I don't doubt we all have a Robin Williams story, some unique way he transcended the medium he worked through and became a mentor, a swashbuckling reason to have at least one happy thought, or just a friend with the vast and cosmic power to make you laugh at any given moment.

As passionate and bright as his legacy was and will be, the darkness that ultimately consumed him is something we all are having a justifiably difficult time processing. There is a powerlessness in watching people we care about battle mental illness. What can we do when all we can do is love and encourage, knowing all the while that it does nothing to actually heal their suffering? What is left for those who want nothing so much as to give back the love and beauty they've been given, but are powerless to actually do so, to break the darkness our loved ones are born into?

These questions led me to this week's poem. Not a persona poem, not anything nerdy (well,'ll have to be versed in Whovian, though...), not even anything terribly helpful. We are left in Robin Williams' wake with questions and hurt. I have questions. I need to understand.

After His Exeunt
~for Robin~ 

I'm reminded of Van Gogh.
Specifically, the pond-eyed dreamer
who dripped sunflowers from his fingertips,
who left footsteps so bright the soil drank them like daybreak,
but lived inside too thick a thundercloud to notice the eyes
made gaping constellations by his handiwork.

I'm reminded of the lesson
his life implied about depression,
the way no doctor or lover could ungather
the midnight that settled the pall of its folds on his shoulders.
How neither heartfelt appreciation or praise were equipped
to reciprocate the beauty he gave away so freely.

I'm reminded of Van Gogh,
but not by the casket-heavy emptiness
your noose ballooned underneath my throat.
Familiar enough this ache, but more the crushing uselessness
that leaves loving hands as helpful as two hooks, my mouth
a hollowed lamp, pried in vain for a magic word.