Trust

I learned to trust from untrustworthy people.

I based my confidence in their reckless care.

My expectation was being cherished.

I watered it with tears of faith & hope.

I gave assurance that my loyalty was a certainty.

My certitude was placed on an altar of conviction.

I gave credence to cruelty as part of my human credit.

My dependence was absolute in their disapproval of me.

My positiveness came from knowing they were right.

My reliance on the low-stock they placed on me

violated ME,

But their neglectful assurance was their gospel truth, not mine.

Where I am now

Three years ago I experienced this:

Where I was.

Because of that, I became a different person, yet conversely the same. The one distinct difference is that I don’t feel lonely any more living in solitude. Well, it does and it doesn’t. It’s not the same as living with somebody who neglected me for their own comfort. It’s not the same as being in the same room with somebody and feeling invisible.

During that time three years ago, I was in a very dark place. I was told by someone I loved that I didn’t need to get help and shouldn’t have been in the hospital. I wanted to die, but my (then loved one) still discounted my experience. I was told “You don’t need to be in here, you’re fine.”

Upon my release, a couple months passed before I accepted an invitation from a friend of mine to visit my now current hometown. I spent time during the 18 day visit from the end of December through January 2020 with people who genuinely showed love and attention to me. Although hesitant, when I returned to Michigan, I decided I needed to get my shit together. I moved back to Tennessee in February 2020.

I was given unexpected catalysts to discover my own self. I did not move because of those but because of the support system that I have here.

It was confusing at first. I felt a deep sense of rejection, but again, not as bad as what I experienced in Michigan with me “loved one.” That “loved one” accused me of abandonment (ironically) with no intention of return, but I DID plan to return if conditions were met. They were not, so I began the permanent transition.

This past year has been horrific with catastrophes such as my car catching fire in February to, most recently, the death of my little dog due to malpractice. It still hasn’t been as bad as the loneliness I felt the entire time I spent in Michigan.

This year has been incredibly painful. I’ve done a lot of deep grieving. I have had legitimate reasons to do this. But, I don’t want to die like I did when I was there. I mean I don’t want to die at all. I just want to be able to live a life. My life. This doesn’t feel like the life I want to live, so I have no choice but to keep going.

My friend said, “The life you want is out there. I’m grateful you’re willing to keep going,”

I contradicted that.

The life I want is in here; in me. I am unearthing a lot of feelings of being unworthy, or a burden, or just too much. I am none of those things, but I commonly feel that way because that’s what I’ve been taught. I have been incorrectly instructed.

I started accepting these things when I woke up at 4AM. I started thinking about the incorrect messages I’ve been given for most of my life. The things I’ve been told and the way I’ve been treated by people who claim to love me. I allowed it because that’s what I knew.

My thoughts were reeling about in my head as I did dishes and swept my floors.

Then it began in earnest. Deconstruction. Revelation. Epiphanies.

It was a lot to take in at that hour of the morning but I think it had been waiting for me. Allowing me room to breathe, hear, understand, and to grieve. I came to understand that the unconditional love I have been shown here in Tennessee has been incredibly difficult to accept. It’s been difficult to even acknowledge.

I’m having complications while learning to accept that from others, but primarily from myself. I know that I am not alone. I know that solitude is completely different than loneliness. I’m not trying to fill my inadequacies with creatures that need or require my care. I’m not seeking to be accepted by others. I’m working on being accepted by myself. This is earth-shattering for me (or maybe ground-breaking) but I know it will be worth it because I am worth it.

Revision

Rolling down the road before

Been there, done that, know the score

Crossed that bridge, then burned it down

Trapped myself in my hometown

Ghosts of me walk laughing by

Anger driven, cocaine high

I barely know the face of then

But I wear them as my diadem

Broken heart lay broken wide

Spilling love from what’s inside

Trains of childhood sing forlorn

Don’t chase those tracks. Don’t heed those horns.

Tick-tock-DING!

This tick-tock

Is the time

Of our lives.

Each moment

That we donate

Each kiss

Each smile

Each tear

Each mile

Are our silent

prayers

Of unmindful

Gratitude

To death.

That we didn’t

Taste

The wormy

Tick-tock of

Our own demise.

This tick-tock is

Our tiny truce

Taking for granted

That this tick-tock

Won’t be our last.

But a moment,

Just like this,

May not come

At our willful

Bidding

But will,

instead,

Cause someone else

To donate

Unwittingly

Their moment

To notice

Your absence

Your Tick-tock-DING!

Protest

You turn my blood the color of my skin

I’m made of mud, like you, my kin

We breathe the air made from the trees

We drink the water from stormy seas

We laugh without ever being taught

We’ve all done things that we oughtn’t

I object to your hasty dismissal

which, my friend, is abysmal

I deprecate you right to your face

I am far from being your idea of disgrace

I am human, just like you

Deny it all you’d like, we both know it’s true.

Blue Gene

The thundering rain roiled violently in the warm November night

striking the man with sheets of his plight

He, on his knees on the side of the road,

had arms raised like and above his face

a thousand cries towards mercy

In supplication he wailed at the haunt of cars

A woman rushed to his side.

She didn’t touch him, but she united her voice with his prayers

He staggered to his feet as wings offered him passage

His breath of prayer accounted for, he was warmly embraced

He sobbed his shame into his cupped hands

while apologizing for his humanity

The chariot released him to the cross of spirits

easing his ailing heart.

He is loved.

The woman of indigo

waterlakeriver

You can throw me down beneath my homeland

The earth beckoning my bony flesh

Glorified and holy as the stable creche

There I will deny your victory fresh

As I bloom again within my familial heartland

You thought me shallow, but I am buried deep

within the tributaries of river roots overflow

deep enough to honor the woman of indigo

I raise my fertile froth as surging archipelago

As I rise in my power, return to your garden to weep.

 

Community Prayer

My neighbors,

We are gathered here today in peace

We honor the truth of the word love

We strive together to build a better community

To promote and create our neighborhood

That takes care of one another through

Respect, compassion, courage, and vision.

For anybody that would not honor our covenant

We will lead them by our actions to the light of love in your name.

Hear our prayer so that we may be one people, your people.

Thank you.

Keep the Heart Fire burning

The moldy crust of forgiveness lay on your counter forgotten.

When I first baked it, brought it to your table, broke bread with you

We ate with greedy abandon. The suggestion of freedom beamed

like a hearth fire we’d built together, but you abandoned our haven

Though guilt didn’t lay a head on my pillow, nor did shame,

I wonder if you ever wonder about whatever we became

I built my oven with encouragement towards success

You kept blowing out the embers, dumping water on the heat

Leaving my bread unleavened, flat, and eventually, I also left.

I eat my dinner, more than bread, at the table of successful abundance

I hope, someday, you will understand what I gave to you

in that warmly baked, love filled loaf of doughy comfort food.

Ronnie Bill

I was told that I’m not allowed to offer family advice.

Twenty years gone but I made it out alive.

Let me tell you why you’re wrong, because you are.

I KNOW

what it’s like to hold bitterness

what it feels like to reject those who love me

what holidays, loneliness, and anger tastes like

what Christmas morning looks like without oranges

what Thanksgiving is like without mincemeat pie

what birthdays feel like without shared history seeping

what anguish unsupported loss endures

I KNOW

what it took to wake me up (although I’m sure you think it was you)

what I had to realize before I could bolster my courage

what it is to ask forgiveness for being a fool

to walk into the unknown with hat in hand

to step cautiously to the edge of the cliff and

JUMP

I KNOW

how much damage I’ve done but not to the extent

what rebuilding a bridge with still smoldering lumber is like

that sometimes bitterness takes the form of pride

that abuses of history, privilege, and birthright exist

that time goes faster than a blink

that it’s far later than you’d think

I KNOW

right now, (not that you’ll read this) you’re lost

you blame me for not having money, not loving him, but

most of all for loving you and not choking on your pride.

You are so far in the darkness that the light feels like an insult

I love you despite yourself.

I’ll still be here when you’re ready.

I made my six year old vow to always be there for you,

I KNOW

you didn’t and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t and didn’t for him

you won’t believe me.

I’m okay with that.

you need to return home before you’re too afraid to come back

you’re a better man than you’ve become

I believe in you even if I don’t understand why you chose this way.

I KNOW. I see. I LOVE you anyway.