Thanks to the Sacred Collective podcast here is the audio from Maria French’s event, “Sex and X-ianity: A new theology of sexual ethics beyond purity cults”, which was took place at Corner Coffee in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 9th, 2020. The event was MC’ed by Brandon Meland, with music by Andriana Lehr, poetry by Chris Fletcher, and a talk given by Maria French.
My colleague Maria Francesca French invited me to be part of an event she hosted called “God and Other Outsourced Things” – she asked me to participate by reading my poetry for the spoken word portion of the event. Here are the pieces I wrote and read along with some photos from the event.
Abishag Eyes The barstool prophet Looks down the long dark road At all the empty glasses All the forgotten names Listening to words not spoken Feeling what is not given Moses with his staff and broken speech Elijah calling down fire and hiding in his cave laughter ~ deserts ~ loneliness friends of prophets Noah plants a vineyard Ruth uncovers her lovers’ feet The scarlet cord of the whore dangles for us all salvation out of Jericho Jesus turns sewer water to Roman wine While Magdalene finds comfort in the carpenters arms pain drowns in the flood blood waters the garden of anguish emptiness fills with a tender touch Broken beaten abandoned Raise the cup Drink deeply the healing tonic Spill the wine David write another psalm To soothe aching souls Absalom Absalom Absalom The barstool prophet buys another round The hangover proves you're still alive New songs for old hearts Resurrected from cold tiled bathroom floors To dance and leap in Rebellion against resentful gazes from windows on high In Michal and her sisters’ eyes All the stolen Judas kisses In back alley dive bars Can't turn around the broken promises The barstool prophet turns to the girl on his left at the Red Sea Tavern David's old friend Abishag with burning eyes He says baby, "my bones are getting colder each night - winter is coming soon" Be my promised land Take my hand Be my muse "One more drink,” she whispers "For the fallen and misunderstood In captivity tonight Who write graffiti on wailing walls And then... I'll love you forever... But forever hasn't happened yet..."
Love and Sex I wanted to know love And I found sex I wanted to have sex And I found emptiness Now I am tired Now I am weak Now I want a friend No Now I don't know what I want The acrobat without balance The acrobat with vertigo I dream and I am lost On a sea In the night In a bottle bouncing I am the message But the paper is blank Nowhere is out there But it is somewhere I am looking for Where do dreams come from Where does time go Be careful what you look for Love becomes a lie Sex a game People pawns In the hands of fools Remiss and tangled in nets of our own making Waking up alone After a nightmare Still tired What is the answer To the unknown question
Red Sea Tavern Abishag and the Bar Stool Prophet Sit drinking gin at the Red Sea Tavern Sharing exploits of all the ones Scattered across the horizon of the earth Losers, vagrants, misfits, distressed, in debt and discontented Seeds blown by winds of compassion Falling on fertile soil Searching for the lost penny Abandoning the ninety-nine for the one Seemingly crazy At odds with Empires, Caesars and Institutions Prophets speaking truth to power Subverting the status quo Chasing life not nostalgia Transforming not worshipping dead men Drinking in metaphors like fine spirits Abundant exuberant experience Breathing stories in liminal complex space Offering cups of water to enemies Walking another mile Napping during storms Then bringing calm Eliminating spaces Between the sacred and profane Breaking rules and bread Sharing wine while eating with outcasts Overturning tables Befriending whores and foreigners Lepers and the forgotten minor characters Touching the untouchable Turning hate into love As easily as water into wine Resentment into forgiveness Inviting the uninviting to wedding feasts Waiting for prodigal sons Washing feet of kings, the forsaken, the forgotten and the deplorable Both despots and saints The Remnant sprinkled like rain upon the earth Watering the love parched, broken, beaten and wretched hordes Tattooed Heart Fear tattooed across his heart Love chasing him Through a forest of his dreams During the night She swam in his eyes As he drowned in hers Love curved around the bend Out beyond his sight Where there was no light She wasn’t her Who wounded him Deep with a dark knife Not fully healed The scar ached His calloused soul limped His lover traced fingers over his body Finding the tattooed pain The way into his life with light Her lips on his From her lungs through her mouth She breathed beauty into him He…so afraid Another betrayal Would end his life He loved deeply They moved in and out of each other Healing one another “Give me everything,” he whispered All the lost and broken pieces So, we can stitch them back together With love Kairos Street The wait for love is as long As the search is endless Out of the cauldron of loneliness Wafts an aroma of hope A happy accident on Kairos street (a reflection or a shadow ~ through a window) Stepping into nothingness Off a ladders last rung When she walks out the fog of exhaustion (down an alley) Catching you Before you crack the ground Reaching for love A brush with fright Touching of fingertips at midnight When all the clocks have stopped Running to the Edge Running to the edge of what we write and rewrite screenplays in our minds Doors closing behind us While we jump through open windows into holes in bruised hearts Blank spaces on dance cards Looking for what we we already have Varicose veins of misunderstanding songs we already sang to Miscarried hopes in broken silence On insomniac nights Screening moving pictures filled memories On white walls of emotion Running to the edge Of the noble fictions better than the bitter truths Of where we were And never been before “We all have our broken pieces – emotionally, spiritually. In this life nobody gets out away unhurt. We are always trying to find somebody whose broken pieces fit with our broken pieces and something whole emerges.” ~ Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars (Movie)
The Price of Admission The price of admission, Is wild and is real. The price of admission is love, In accepting yourself, In accepting the other. It is not good to be alone, This is the exquisite mystery of companionship, To write a story of life together, To be known fully and to be held through both, The darkness and the light, Becoming each other’s favorite hiding place. The price of admission leaves space for sadness, It is a madness filled passion. So, remember: Resentments bolt the heart closed, Forgiveness opens the lock. “Two hearts are better than one” Two hearts beat stronger together. In spite of: Incidentals Incompleteness Irresponsibility Irritations Limitations “True love leaves no traces” The price of admission is love, To relationship Communion Family Community
At the beginning of the evening Maria asked if I would create a poem in real time as the event was unfolding and then read it at the end of the event. This is what was created. Outsourced New Fashioneds hope and story and parables of a different life an unknown future of new love past, present, future ghost lovers outsourced passions without risk with nothing to lose or gain love in liminal space looking and looking and looking for the next open place to be part of something humanity yearning, searching, desiring new radicals native eruptions evolutionary clusters hermeneutical justice beyond nostalgia after yesterday before tomorrow now! today! love in a new country song stylish love style like Jesus outsourcing is easy style is hard god needs a makeover her mascara is running crying for humanity all the pain and loss “what do you want me to be?” she cries “you have turned me into a chameleon of your fears” what is a human? what is a machine? what is a god? love rescue me turn the tide love come in from the storm love rescue me