Sunday, October 18, 2009

In case of WOLVERINE

I love.

I love.

And it’s on nights like these that I love best, and most deeply, and most purely. George Winston’s “Autumn” is spinning languidly on the record player. I have a cup of cinnamon tea. And upstairs, Beth and Justin are talking, loving each other.

Just when I think I’m too hurt or too scared to go on, quiet moments like this come to me and I’m wrapped in a circle of unbroken love – my friends stand strong around me, my family clasps hands in a wider ring around them, and our God binds us all together. Nothing bad can happen to me. I’m safe.

And with that safety comes the beautiful freedom to love back, to give back. You can’t pry yourself open; I’ve tried. The harder you wrench at your seams, the tighter they knit themselves shut. Nothing opens them but love. You do have to try, but you try with love. Not desperation. Not fear.

It’s a weird metaphor, but I feel sometimes like the X-Men. Specifically, I feel like Rogue. I feel like a poison to everyone I want to help, to everyone I try to love. I keep people away; I want to touch them, but touching them will hurt them. Sometimes, I wonder about the creators of X-Men and how they could be so awful to create someone like Rogue. She embodies, in one way, one of our most fundamental fears – that we are our own enemy.

But, in their infinite grace, the X-Men people also created Wolverine. And Wolverine heals. He can heal himself, yes, but he can also heal Rogue.

Wolverine can heal himself and he can heal Rogue.

He can touch her. Does she hurt him? Of course. Inevitably. But he heals.

God has given me dozens of Wolverines over the years. Maybe hundreds. He put the ability to heal inside everyone. Humankind is entirely made of Wolverines and Rogues.

Sometimes we’re more one than the other. That’s our war. But we fight it and so does everyone else. Everyone. We don’t have to fight alone.

And on nights like these, I’ve been touched by a healing hand, not a poisonous one. I’m wrapped in a circle of unbroken love. I’m open. I love back.

I love. And I'm not Rogue, tonight.

Monday, October 12, 2009

In case of ALCHEMY

At six, my body is a furnace.

I stoke it out of bed and coax up a flame in my eyes.

I send myself faithfully out.

I am the quiet priest of a quiet religion,

Cloaked in flannel and milk white fog.

At seven, I turn the key in the lock, brass to brass.

I fling wide the door,

Opening, open,

Before a morning has been sung hello,

Before a plank has been lifted or a nail driven,

Before a pen has touched a page.

My body is a furnace,

Opening, open.

By eight, I’ve already served bread to the jangling gypsy band,

Tea to the king’s mysterious wife,

Dark cups of blood to the usual ghosts.

I send myself faithfully out.

At noon, the sun is roaring with his golden mouth,

Opening, open.

I am tumbling in a sphere of metal and glass.

I measure ice and potion,

Weigh metallic heaps of dust,

Pour and chop and carry.

I coax up a flame in my eyes.

At three, I am a cog in the clock of time.

I’m pulling coffee from its dark bean fists,

Separating water from earth,

Sorting moons from stars.

More visitors cluster around to watch me work,

To trade their coins for cups.

I am the quiet priest of a quiet religion.

At six, the sailors come whistling in, homebound.

Beggar children stretch out their hands for hunks of cheese.

The king stops by to ask after his wife.

I kiss them all,

And turn them back to the door.

I am tumbling in a sphere of metal and glass.

By nine, I distill the day into night.

I float through the shop like a white moth in a cave.

The lamplighter comes by, singing,

Offering me his arm.

I turn the key in the lock, brass to brass.

I am a cog in the clock of time,

Opening, open.