While the sun is, yet, still flirting with the horizon, I stir in bed too ugly to face the sight of me. An anxious peek at my comatose bedfellow inadvertently draws a sigh. He slumbers, now, impervious to the impending fright. How will he wake to the day, pull off the covers to reveal an unsightly me?
The cockcrows to the coming of the light in the wee hours. Rays reach across to this corner of the earth to illuminate a horrid me. It’s a homely thing, this face. Furrowed brows arching stolid eyes will seek him; the entrance of those orbs encrusted with speckles. Brave lips lacking the appeal of contoured beauty will meet him. Shyly, motioning towards his own, they quiver for fear of rejection.
Bruised, sun spotted, withered skin cloaks the expanse of my naked ugly. This is the nude of me. Morning after morning, can he stand to approach this ugly.
When he learns to bear it, when he comes to tolerate my barefaced countenance, to accept this naked ugly, Elysium won’t seem so far off. In the trench of his empty stomach, he will know Arcadia in the breath of my shaky “Good Morning.”
Wake up. Cold shower. Get dressed. Undress. Blue pants need ironing. Get dressed. Grab Bible. Drive. Short drive. Greet people. “We’ve missed you!” Choir croons. “Holy, You are holy…” Sing along. “You may be seated.” Sit legs crossed. Introduction. Guest preacher begins preaching to preachers. “Quiet.” Listen. Message: Unity. Shouts. Hallelujahs. “Brethren!” Relate message to self. Deep thinking. Tally up sins. They’d make a book thicker than the Bible. “All rise.” Pay respect. Offering time. Fish around in purse. “I said it’s offering time!” Congregation claps. Only $5 this time. Sigh. Next time something more. Closing prayer. Someone’s ill. Someone’s dying. Keep them in your prayer. Bishop makes slight joke. Treats downstairs. “Everyone come downstairs.” Time to leave. Quick exit. Home coming.
Cool Sunday. Home. Shoes off at door. Few words to mom. “Church was fine.” Five steps. Close door. Finally. Collapse on bed. Fully clothed splayed out on mattress. Fingers drumming. Pointing to spot. God is here in this moment. Tap tap lightly. This is Sunday.
Purple sheets. Body sprawled. Mattress isn’t fully covered. Bedding is everywhere. Pillow thrown to floor. Mind at peace. Music humming. Sing along. Stop. Sink down. Smile into sheets. Hips start moving. Rocking steady against mattress. Want him beneath me. Want him to hold me in my Sunday best. He should be my Sunday. He should be my church. Want fellowship with his body. Want God Father Jesus to bless this. To bless us. Want this window open just a little like this. Want to look up from his chest with mouth at his lips. Receive me. Take this offering. Head at his heart. Hear the beating. Head resting. Want to whisper, forever, into his cotton shirt, “I love you I love you I love you, don’t leave me.” “love you, I love you, want me.” Weight fully on him, eyes closed, just rocking. Steady.
I don’t know what it is to live in a state of things where people battle for dominance over each other. Where militant groups exist to ration out the daily portions of air to the people. I don’t know what it is to be told to worship the right God. I don’t know what it is to live amongst a angry people that have created an even angrier God. Where God is a thing to be shaped. Where those who slaughter salughter in the name of God. Where those who slaughter also pray to be spared. Where the peace of humanity sleeps within the earth alongside my neighbors children. Where marked graves are few; faceless faceless is the person who abides here.
I don’t know what it is to live in a state of calculated violence, where body counts are only body counts and no longer names, memories, aspirations, or faces. Where blood flows boundless into the same valleys that wait for rain. I don’t know what it is to live in a place where secular knowledge is criminal.
I don’t know what it is to be a young girl sold into slavery, a child bride to a man who bears the title “master” proudly when “fool” would be more suiting. When slavery is no longer an action; existing thing; active; current. When slavery is something only discussed and recorded in thick historic books, I don’t know what it is to be a young girl sold into slavery.
I do know what it is to loose a friend, brother, sweet sweet hope. I do know what it is to fail a soul, a young green soul. I do know what it is to be haunted.
I am too scared to warp and twist the meaning of God. I only know that God means good. All things good, all things not hurting, all people not oppressed, all people not cattle. I only know that God is good and the state of things isn’t.
How long will Muslims; Christians; citizens; powers; world; genders; wage war against one another? How long will human fight human? I don’t know.
I thought it necessary to experience love, passion, frenzy before I could truthfully speak on it. I thought it fitting that I should lend my mind, heart, time, energy, and light to either man, moon, lake, celestial being, so that the credibility of my view of love would be unquestionable. I wanted to bring qualitative evidence to argue some thesis. But I’ve come without any grand notions, only an impulse, a whim, or better yet a fancy of this meandering thing. Without ever having been seriously quixotic with someone, I still live in the navel of it. Love’s a thing that lives here and there but is prone to fester somewhere for an awfully long time. It’s the thing that causes people to detach and attach themselves to one another’s fate as they chose, when they please, or how they will.
The thing is when I sleep to dream, I know not where I’m going or what I’ll see. Even when I wake, I wake with an ambiguous impression of where I was; it amazes me that we’re allowed to return to a state of cognizance. So why must it be that I have to delve into the exploit of love when I’ve already experienced it in the most pedestrian walks of life.
I’ve felt the uncertainty of it during spring. Who hasn’t been caught by the sting of the sun though dancing whirling and chanting for the rain?
Many times I’ve heard the thunderous roar of an arriving train. I know the out of breath sensation that’s felt, the rhythmic pounding in my chest. I’ve caught myself on the edge of a steep stairwell falling and fumbling about with flailing hands reaching to gain balance. Wasn’t this also the proverbial “head over heels” said about love? I’ve even gone against a tide of densely moving bodies (the odds, the chances, the cons), fighting my way downstream, all the while panting with just one need, to come out alive. I’ve encountered missed opportunities. Closed doors, trains pulling out the station, shadowed by an uneasy interval for the next chance to live. There are things we can’t get back. I’ve heard this said about love too.