Michigan Summers (poem)

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(Photo: Andrew Montgomery )

 

I miss Michigan summers
When the lakes were filled to spilling
On the shores of lake erie
In n the parks of green

I miss the path passed the lakeside
Between the pool and tennis courts
Where my blades cut paths unyielding
Pushed back only by the wind

I miss the path as it dashed into the woods
Three miles out and three miles in
Where by now sweat dripped freely down my back
And the breeze dried it upon my skin

I can smell that place a thousand miles away
See the people walk in groups as I turn the corner
Earth, water, and air and me burning

I miss those summers that looking back
Though those times were wrought with care
I was a single gooses feather floating
Loving pushed by a scented fresh ocean air.

I miss those summertime places
Summertime spaces of my youth
When I was hell on wheels with earbuds racing
Faster and faster to my truth

I miss those Michigan summers
When I was younger and the sun was warm
As a ghost I go back to those spaces
Where the wind was cool
When all that chased me was my shadow
And even that wasn’t as dark, and I the fool

Oh to be the fool once more
On the path beside the lake
Those Michigan summers
Beside lake Erie’s shores….

Message in a bottle (part 2)

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It’s hard to sleep at night when voices of the past come back to talk to you. Like ghosts stepping out of the wall, they kneel down by my bed to whisper memories of what had transpired in my life. And like the little kid in the Sixth Sense, I used to close my eyes and wish them away.

But by the time my husband goes to bed until sometimes after The Witching Hour has passed. I am in a deadlocked argument with these memories while I stand in my kitchen and my eyes see the faces of those memories from long ago. And instead of clenching my eyes shut I open them wide and receive those spirits into my presence and we do battle.

And every night it’s different scenes. A different cast of characters who step out of the void and between the hours of midnight and three a.m. I do battle in silence with them. Sometimes I write poetry during these times and post them on social media. Bits of the conversations with dead things that I’ve had with rhyme and style.

But there are other times when I look over at my sleeping husband and I am so moved by him. By his love for me. By his willingness to show me who God really is. And his presence in my life gives me the courage to face down all those ghosts. And then I’ll write a poem for him. I’ve never known love of another person or the love of God so much so then when I started to leave the old ways I’d been taught. There is this old Muslim poet who once said, “Do not seek love. Remove the things in your life that keep love from you.”

And for me, that is a constant, daily, nightly, endeavor. I feel like some kind of monk in a monastery somewhere saying his prayers and reciting his scripture and singing his hymns.

It’s such a strange thing for me. I should hate God. I should hate everything he is and stands for. But I don’t.I just don’t think the abuses men wage on each other – even in the realm of religion – has anything to do with God.  And I don’t mean to be sentimental, but I feel God put my husband in my life to show me who He really is. That wherever love is, he is. And I know that goes against Christendom in its majority, but like Dr. Angelou once said, “I have heard, and I believe, that one with God constitutes a majority. So I commend you on your courage to come and face me.”

I survived fifteen years of physical abuse which I believe was tantamount to torture. I’ve watched in horror as my sisters were hurt or thrown out of the house. I suffered in silence in their absence. And lived in dread as each one of them departed and like a prince in the midst of some white trash Shakespearean play, I would be the next in line for my crown of thorns. And my parents didn’t disappoint.

See, in our religion which is the Christian equivalent to Brokovich’s Hexavalent Chromium, there is a pecking order. The man is the head and absolute authority in the house, the women are to be silent and obey her master, and the children’s WILL should be broken. Some of the ‘intellectuals’ in our brand of fundamentalism – people like Dr. Jack Hyles – believed that you could beat a child as early as infancy to accomplish this. He even wrote about it in his book, Rearing Children. It’s available on Amazon. It’s similar to the book written by Michael and Debi Pearl called, To Train up a Child. This book has resulted in three known deaths of children due to torture. Torture that includes:

  • Using plastic tubing to beat children, since it is “too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone”
  • Wearing the plastic tubing around the parent’s neck as a constant reminder to obey
  • “Swatting” babies as young as six months old with instruments such as “a 12-inch willowy branch,” thinner plastic tubing or a wooden spoon
  • “Blanket training” babies by hitting them with an instrument if they try to crawl off a blanket on the floor
  • Beating older children with rulers, paddles, belts and larger tree branches
  • “Training” children with pain before they even disobey, in order to teach total obedience
  • Giving cold water baths, putting children outside in cold weather and withholding meals as discipline
  • Hosing off children who have potty training accidents
  • Inflicting punishment until a child is “without breath to complain”

I went through some of that, including the infliction until I couldn’t breathe to cry anymore.

I was not a Martyr (willing or otherwise) for my faith because I didn’t die. I am a Confessor for my faith. And because of what had happened to me, to my siblings, I despise those who did what they did.

Like Henry the Fifths daughter,I think,  who when asked how much she loved her father told him: “I cannot heave my heart into my mouth,” words fall short in describing the loathing I feel toward these people. Perhaps this would clear some of this up, If there were an Anti-Christ with his eyes set on these people. I’d gladly hold his coat.

I’ll write more when I can.

F.E.

(P.S. It’s relevant to note that both children of Jack Hyle’s kid David, are also dead. I guess it could have been worse)

 

 

Michigan Winters (A poem)

I remember the winters, and the snow late at night
with the world set ablaze from the moon’s silver light
I remember the stillness, the quiet, akin to death
flying heavenward, always upward, the heat from my breath

I remember how time always seemed to me,
suspended like ice cycles on the bows of fir trees
teardrops on maples, void of their leaves
limbs frozen over, as if laid barren by thieves.

I remember walking, those long wintery roads
yet unmarked by tire treads, or other folks I’d known
My feet would crunch and kick and I’d slide
I’d laugh as I stumbled risking my pride.

Oh, I didn’t’ care. There was no one but me
alive in the world, at least as far as I could see
the only tracks left behind me were mine,
no one watching, no one telling, no reason to lie

So when the stumble came, I’d let it come I’d roll in the snow.
I’d laugh, I’d curse,
it’s hard under there, you know.
There was no pride and no mission
No place I had to be. It was just the winter,
empty streets, my boyhood, and me.

Alone, not alone
5/12/2015