“You are loved,” “you are loved,” “you are loved,” you recite it like it’s Scripture
as you walk away to importance-filled dockets and pulpits and meetings to minister
and leave your words and the guilt of not believing them because I don’t feel them to loom.
“You are loved” – I wonder by whom.
“God loves you” comes another abdicating answer.
So is this God, then, your personal custodian who tends the breaks
in ankles and hearts of people you claim yourself to love?
Does God brush your teeth and hold your scared child’s hand for you, too?
And anyway, love may be patient, love may be kind, love may keep no list of wrongs
but it can’t heal them without your time and for sure not when it’s left by itself and kept in word form like your veneers of encouragements
that serve, really, to warn everyone else about us. You think it works, dressing up those words up in dramatic little videos
when you’ve pictorialized our distress as cute cartoon ghosts?
Not that I’m that stunned. Your annals contain entry upon entry
of making demons out of the mentally ill and making mental illness about demons
but Church, in your 2,000-year tenure on earth,
you haven’t managed even theological sinews to us.
Forgot about the bones we need healed and filled,
the bones we need to stand, still broken maybe, but just like you,
daunted in the presence of this God you say you love so much
but no more dogged and haunted by voracious exile from your hallowed communion,
whose tapestry is allegedly woven with the twines of family
but where are we? Why is the onus always on us to connect to this glorious all-in-all love?
Are we to push past your hands turned supine to you Father
or laid gentle on the shoulder or forehead of a penitent for healing
but showing their backs to the yet unperfected,
those who cannot believe “you are loved” without detecting,
out-casting something all right, forcing us to caverns and taverns
and bridges’ dank underbellies where at least you do not have to believe before you belong?
People of the steeple, I know it’s a steep hill
but a sheep’s a sheep no matter how (or why) lost
so what narrow gates are damming you up
from looking for us?
Our bones are parched, too,
some of us have been dashed against rocks as babies, too,
and we all ache for more than hollowed-shell resuscitation, too,
yet we remain as statues, out of your light, out of your mind.
“You are loved” – by only God it would seem – only works
for those who already know it
and telling us to talk to someone we trust
leaves most of us outside stigma’s cozy, well-companied house
even if the help you really believe is out there
didn’t have teeth and didn’t show them
during that you-don’t-visibly-seize-anymore
electric procedure – you know the one: the lobotomy with a smile –
and didn’t neurologically trench in with all those
rapaciously profitable chemicals spreading like confetti
so high and wide and long and deep
they even coat our kids. But this is not a birthday party.
People of the steeple, does your alleged rebirth
allow you to turn your back on those still
in the black plunge of death, as if a future resurrection
displaces the current wandering remnants of least, last, lost and splaying of decay?
Does your dunk or drip or sprinkle codify anything beyond than the hierarchy of
human-dreamed divinity where bread to you all becomes flesh
but when given to us it’s an infinite mess of stones
and water is the red gash of passover for you but still wine for us
because if new life can indeed ignore old death, and knowing God permits you
to snap sticks on our bones and leave your words as tepid stones then
I guess I’ve got one thing to be grateful for: that yes doesn’t mean yes
and no doesn’t mean no even though your Blessed Instructions decree that shouldn’t be so.