the body is a prayer for beginning

“many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. but you have already borne the pain. what you have not done is feel all you are beyond the pain.” — st. bartholomew.

the body is a spell conjured in tandem by god + god self
for the truth of life.

they say god went native in the incarnation
when you kneel by the river
you praise
to your own blood flowing

the yorubans say 
prostration really means to be still 
in the face of the storm
and my body is relearning to get low to the ground
to hear the truth encoded in the sacred inside itself.

what are the things i have survived?
punishing myself with negligence for nourishment
bad food and badder love
my obsession is the fractals of my self reflection
the first time i really looked in the mirror and talked to myself
i cried.

the body is a prayer for beginning
sometimes a graveyard sometimes a deathscape sometimes a reliquary i wrote to hold all the stories about the ghosts 
their names scrawled on my ribs and sewn through my heart 
i couldn’t wait to find the eternal man to complete my completion, my god
all the knowledge that comes after what we think is the fall
i thank god for her. i thank god for eve
her expulsion from the garden her seeming betrayal gave birth to the wilderness inside ourselves
inside me, 
i realize now the great bridge between the worlds i couldn’t stop visioning leaping from to end my life BROUGHT the end of my life, even as i stand before you here, 
the end of the body of falsehood 
the body is prayer for the end of falsehood 
and the resurrection of everything i could remember 
and everything i hadn’t yet created– 
as Me.

* *

i want to invite us all– into prayer
even if you have never prayed even if you have never sought god
or source energy
she is a sacred tether leading us back to ourselves stuck with knots that only our small stubborn hands can undo.

what is a futuring action?
what is the future the body is walking into by virtue of its existence
by virtue of its will to continue onward, here
to cry and scream and dance and sing and pray
for the recollection of the goodness 
for the recollection of the god inside us all

* *

i walked into a random church the other day just outside grand central
its doors had great golden lions roaring on the handles dotted with the drops of earlier rain and i knelt before the statue of the sacred heart
the stillness inside the wonder inside the shaking strangeness inside the resolute
jesus was a legend was a prophet was a parable was a mortal man was an echo
i see him as my brother in arms, closer than some distant avatar
and in my own way instead of closing my eyes and bowing my head i
outstretched my arms
showing him the holes
in my own hands
bleeding the knowing that

the body is a prayer for beginning
the body bears a gift inside a wound, a wound inside a gift
and it is UP TO US to not forsake it
it is UP TO US to stand honestly within it
for however we are anguished or grievous, joyous or afraid
there is only one moment and it is FOREVER
this body this hope this willingness to say

i love you
i forgive you
i am not broken
i am still brave
i love you
i forgive you
i am not broken
i am still brave

i love you
i forgive you
this is a prayer for beginning
to walk Forward
in my own way
and it begins with YOU
and with me
every single day.

* * *

i only have these small shining moments here with you.
feeling my way up, blind, this endless staircase
met at every single landing by the spectres of falsehood that nearly claimed my life
the voices now so familiar
as if laced inside my blood

you are mentally ill
you are a monster
you bring destruction
to everyone you touch
your life is pointless
your work is worthless
you will never be free
you will never be enough
you are beyond hope
you are beyond help
there is nothing in the cosmos
to hear your lamentations
you are lost
and you will never find your way

in the darkness i can see a tiny flickering light
far in the distance further along up high on the staircase
a little girl is whispering so faintly
underneath the constant thrum of the voices, the shadows, their purrs and their snarls
she seems exhaustively above me, utterly unreachable, but i can hear her
not with my ears but inside me

* * *

i love you
i forgive you
i am not broken
i am still brave
i love you
i forgive you
i am not broken
i am still brave

* * *

there is a propulsion
in the incantation
and in the infinite time
inside many mortal years
her voice becomes louder
more perceptible than the others
more present than those
who never stop talking
who never stop damning
pleading, grasping, treacherously
and one day
after you have put down your sword
unclenched your jaw along with your fists
you will find yourself
standing before her
her bright face just barely illuminated
by that one small flame
and after turning around to look down 
at the staircase you have devoted your life to climbing
and up to the overwhelming height you still have yet to traverse
she takes your hand and
presses your palm to the wall
and without a sound it falls away
all of it
the narrow staircase
the darkness
the voices
that feeling of
the linearity
the bottomed out gut burning scarcity
of climbing and climbing and
never getting any farther or higher or closer

* *

and you are blind this time by the light instead of the darkness.
the spaciousness regained inside your consciousness
the steady power of the prayer still repeating, growing the golden fields before you– the waterfalls and the flowers, the thunder atop the mountains in the distance, the shimmering deserts and teeming forests, the sun on your face, the simplicity of that. 

your eyes adjust to the softness of the focus
and recognize yourself in the little girl before you
and for the first time in so many years
you feel back inside your body
you feel safe
you feel daringly open-ended
and like you’ve made it
really, created it–
the way back

* * *

remember to make your own prayers
remember that your own prayers exist all the time inside you
maybe just in the slightness of a whisper
or a dancing candle-wick
or the gentle push that gives way
from that suffocating staircase
from the endless pointless
uncertainty of it all
to precious words and gestures of
small at first but
furiously future-making
bright and
that love and forgiveness and
flowing out
and tapped in
from our bodies
to expansivity for
True Life.

may we say thank you to our bodies.
may we say thank you to ourSelves.

published in poets of queens anthology, watch the debut performance here.

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