Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Poem for Christ the King Sunday

"Coming Out, or, A Rhapsodaisical Break-Up Allegory"

Once, I was the perfectly free master of all
and I loved the queen of liberty whose torch
gave light unto my feet, and I was her
concubine. I made her dreams my dreams,
her people were my people, and our union
brought wealth and wonder to all nations.

But one night, feeling allegorical, I awoke
from slumbering in her bed, only to realize
that I had never really loved her, only
lusted. That my heart belonged to another,
betrothed before we were born, and that
he was the king, the one who ruled the waters.
I touched lightly the shoulder of my lover.

"I'm leaving you, lady," I whispered. "There
is no hiding it any longer; I must come out of
this closet of sleep, and acknowledge the hard
truth: his claim on me is binding; yours, merely
convenience born of boredom and of fear."
Her eyes leered lazily from under her crown
as she sneered, "why, lover, that's just not
natural, not the way things work in this world -

don't you know that your freedom and power
come from my protection, my affection?
Go back to sleep, and I'll overlook this impulse
that the devil must have planted." But I had heard
such nonsense before, and so protested, "No."
"No?" She wheezed. "No? Do you not know who it is
you plan to make your enemy? For...for HIS sake?"
If you follow the king of waters, what will you do?

You will give up my protection! When they come
asking for your allegiance and your submission
you will not be permitted to take up arms,
nor will he allow you to use deceit, flattery,
or the quick fix to keep things from getting ugly!
In short, helpless you'll be! Weak, exposed,
a prime target for suffering and death -
and all the good we've done together, all that

freedom, will disappear - you will be nothing. Stop
being childish, child. Let us return to dreaming
together." But this was not every other time;
there was no prize she could dangle, no profit
she could promise, no truth she could manufacture
to sway the desire of my heart. And so, gathering
what courage I could muster before the iron boots
of her scorn, I again breathed the intolerable "no.

No, O lady of liberty, No and no again!
For now let me question thee - answer if you can!
If I am your enemy, will you forgive me?
Can you take the lies I have told, and from them
make truth? The death we have visited upon
this world - can you promise something new,
not just novel? The suffering of the poor, our
adopted children - can you learn to love to learn
from them, from the voices of those who most
have nothing? Could we possibly stand together
to be empty, broken, to admit to all those who serve us
that they are the masters, we, their jesters and their slaves?
Lady, can you do this? Because he can, and now I know

that from birth, my true feelings and only attraction
have been for this man, and not for thee, lady."
I formed goodbye upon my lips, but before
the benediction escaped, her fist silenced prayer.
I had gone too far, and to her, was too far gone.
She had known it long before, and long ago, love
had been withheld. And so, blood trickling from my lips,
I arose, naked, trembling with fear and also with freedom,
I left her to find the king. And it had to be so:
for with her, even entertaining a different dream
was already enough to wed me to another.

Once, I was the perfectly free master of all,
now, the servant of all things living.
Now I am free, and am called beloved.
Now I am not free, but am called beloved.

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