“Sometimes Fear.”

This poem is sort of like a found object. I was depressed when I wrote the first part, last fall; I was depressed again when I finished it last night. So…it’s a chronicle of depression? I hope you like it.


Sometimes Fear

Some days, I feel ahead, and full of joy;

I fly around the worlds in my mind,

And map their verdant contours with an eye

That sees into the turquoise mystery.

I’ll taste a sweetened mocha on my tongue

And feel the gentle touch of soft white hands.

Some days, I scurry down a terraced hill

Into the waiting arms of those I love,

And find my laughter and my solace there.

 

On other days, I’m dogged by whispered fears—

The fear that I am never good enough,

That no part of my work is valuable,

That nothing that I see will ever change.

Will they befriend me, just to run away?

Is there a cell at Sinai just for me,

Beside the other empty, angry ones?

I fear that I’ll be emptied of my love—

Or worse, that all my noble words are vain,

For people are not saintly after all.

I am afraid to name my selfishness,

To wonder at the hardness of my heart.

 

I feel afraid to offer you my hand,

Because a gentle handshake hurts too much;

Sometimes when we’re together, I can’t speak,

Because I cannot know what you might say…

 

What can I call my soft timidity?

What name describes my fearful reticence?

Sometimes I call it sadness, sometimes fear;

Sometimes it blends with ancient pent-up wrath

And all my anger spills across the page

In scarlet, searing bursts of imagery,

In words as hot as arid desert sand.

I hope, one day, the rage will go away,

And leave me with the greening pulse of joy.

 

I hope to paint that joyous scene again,

The quick, effusive dance of laughing eyes;

I want to feel the sunlight in my veins,

Suffusing all my deeds with unity

And giving substance to my narrative.

I’ll see my sorrows bound with silver cords,

And feel anew the pulse of agency.

 

“Shadow-song.”

I wrote this l ast night; I’ve been thinking about it for six days…

And I hope I don’t have to explain it more than that. 🙂


Shadow-song: a Sonnet for Chris Cornell

Your liquid melodies are tidal waves,

Embracing us and drowning all our pain,

But there’s no lifeline; there’s no hand that saves.

Your beauty crashes into us again.

Your voice still melts away anxiety,

Both scarred by cigarettes and smooth as skin.

Its angel notes caress infinity;

We stand in awe; with you, we cannot sin.

You call to us from fear and helplessness;

You sing of shadow through your aching heart.

You offer honesty and sweet redress,

Though loneliness and loss obscure your art.

Your longing tones still echo through the sky.

Your music feeds us still, and does not die.

“I Feel Fear: Meditations on the Upcoming 2016 American Election on November 7th, 2016.”

About two hours ago, I was at the laundromat near my house, where I was trying to read for my thesis. I say “trying” because, as I read, I was feeling paralyzing fear concerning the impending U.S. election.

Why am I afraid? I’m Canadian, not American, so what have I to fear?

  1. I am afraid for the whole world should Donald Trump become President. I’ve been reading enough of the news since the summer of 2015 to know that Mr. Trump speaks and acts hatefully towards women, children, Muslims, people of African-American descent, and people with disabilities (among others!). I’ve read of violence enacted on multiple people at his rallies—rallies that strongly resemble those of the Third Reich—and I feel sickened. I fear that, if Mr. Trump “wins” the election (any “victory,” in a biased electoral system, is a cruel parody of democracy), some of the prophecies of the Hebrew prophets will come to pass, particularly the devastating ones, like the parts of Joel 2 about fire, blood, and smoke. I am afraid.
  2. I feel fear for myself. I am a Canadian theologian of disability who has spastic cerebral palsy. As a theologian in an oil-driven economy where jobs in the humanities are scarce, I may well have to emigrate to the United States to find a job…and by so doing, I, an outspoken young, liberal man who is passionate about God’s equality and justice, may be walking straight into the lair of a wily old lizard. Like I said, I’ve read about Mr. Trump’s feelings for people with disabilities…and because of that reading, I feel fear.
  3. I fear for our children, whether or not Mr. Trump becomes President. From him, from the Lizard King, they have learned the power of fear and hatred on their televisions, in the streets, and in their schools. And no matter who becomes President tomorrow or shortly thereafter, the younger generations of Americans, and of every nation, will still inherit a world marred by that fear and hatred. I fear for our children.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” “Perfect love drives out fear.”

I know that perfect love drives out fear, but my love is not perfect. In that light, I call on the One who offers us perfect love to cast out our fear. Amen?