Poem: A Bloody Refusal


A Bloody Refusal

What if I refused to play?
Refused to hate, refused to conquer,
refused to raise my sword
and leave you as bloody
as you left me,
refused to seeth, insisted
on letting the firestorm pass over me
and bear the burns
instead of fighting back and searing your flesh
as surely as you have marred mine?

What if I prayed for you each day
like a monk’s daily devotions,
if I felt your sadness each time your whip
cut into me and cried less
for myself than your refusal to release yourself
from the agony of your own choices.

What if I refused,
yes, I say it again, refused
to sacrifice my soul on the altar of your hate
and simply bore it without words, without the truth
that would scourge you far worse
than the blood you have let from my tender flesh,
the blood that has run across the floor,
and marred the places I live and love.

Am I then a sacrifice?
A fool?
Is my silence mistaken for weakness?
Does it matter?

Ah that then, is the crux.
Does it matter, this refusal of mine,
this silent madness?
Is it wisdom?
Is it faith?
Is it a lost art? Is it better lost
or should I join the frey
and unleash the truth and anger that bubbles
like poison
just beneath my placid face?

I sigh beneath my scars.
Never sure.
Watching my blood seep into the floorboards
and staining each and every one,
life taking it’s leave with each crack of your whip,
not quite mad,
not quite saint, something different,
invisibly human,
body broken,
soul soaring,
I fly,
Broken wings and all.

About this poem

Personal and political. Both. Either.  A poem of faith and wonder. Tainted by Matthew 5:5, a verse I struggle with constantly.


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