Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

24 November 2011

Turkeys Revolt!!! (Happy Thanksgiving)

So sorry I haven't been here for a little while --
it's a busy time of the year for me,
not simply because the holidays are starting.

It's just the nature of the business I'm in.

I was cleaning and stuffing a turkey this morning,
when I was approached by a four year old
who climbed up on a stool and looked very closely
at the beast in the sink.

"What do you think?" I asked him.

"I just want to look at the turkey," he said,
"but I don't want to eat him.  I really feel sorry for him."

I tried to come up with a good reason for eating the beast,
including the fact he was raised free range,
and fed natural foods,
there on a beautiful farm
somewhere in Upstate New York,
but I realized by the look on the child's face
that I was presenting a very convincing argument
for keeping the bird alive.

Oh, well.
I'm still eating turkey tonight.

But I did want to see how the turkeys themselves feel
about the ongoing abuse against them.
And I may have found a few answers:

hey, happy thanksgiving!

17 November 2011

On Purity & Perversity

"'t'will out! 't'will out!" (Othello  V:ii)

There is a point where the pure
meets the perverse,
and that is the place
                   of secrecy --

The place of hushed whispers
and slapped hands,
the place of shame
                                      and private penance.

The insiduous shadow of sin
creeps in
when childhood curiosity
meets adult greed, revenge
and guilt.

Come here,
little boy or gilr,
come here.
I know you just discovered
the feelings in that part of you
that no one ever talks
You can talk about it --
             you can show it
                                        to me.
and I'll show you
            what I have, too --
just as someone
once had me do,
              I'll do
                   unto you.

But keep it quiet.
No one will know.
We live in a world,
                                          after all
where we all are led to believe
that only what we see
is true.
There is a point
where the pure
meets the perverse,
and that is the place
                         of secrecy.

I woke up this morning to this story on the radio:

(click on radio for story - thanks to
NPR Morning Edition)

The recent revelations that a university football coach could abuse a child have yielded more admissions of childhood abuse then the pedophile priests ever did.  More and more men (and women) are coming forward with stories of how they, too, were abused -- by coaches, troop leaders, neighbors, uncles, friends.  Why does this incident spur this wave of admissions when pedophilic priests did not?

NPR claims that having this vice discovered in a college football locker room brings it into a more familiar realm and treads into the domain of what I would call secular manhood -- a sacred domain all its own.  In the USA in particular, the altar of the Sunday Football Game is visited far more regularly than the corner parish, and the communion of beer and chips shared with more reverence and passion than a thin tasteless wafer claiming to be the body of One Who Died For Our Sins.  Instead, the average American male opts to view the carnage of their favorite sport, again and again, sanctified and revitalized by those who live through it, week to week.

The Penn State story tears a hole into the ritual of manhood and carnage we call American Football, and this NPR story seems to suggest that, thanks to this, during those commercial breaks, more men, women, boys and girls are finding words for secrets they've hidden far too long.  In some cases, these secrets may have festered and produced self doubt and castigation, and ultimately created more victimizers, and more victims.  Seeing not only the perpetrator but also other coaches and a university president pay the price for this indiscretion helps the victim see that they were indeed a victim, and that society will sympathize with them.  There is something terrifically refreshing about this, because once a victim can identify his own victimhood, and realize that those who victimized them were indeed wrong, then that individual can take positive steps down the path of healing.

Meanwhile, as the NPR story says, there was little to no retribution in the church.  Pedophile priests were "outed" and for a day or two, they were the talk of the town, but then they were shuffled back behind the sacred veil of secrecy and silence.  Some returned to active congregations.  Some may have been defrocked, but no charges were filed.  Most recently, the Vatican initiated liturgical reforms that some argue reinstate language that takes steps back towards obscuring what is happening in the mass.  Language itself can be a barrier to hide behind: cryptic language makes true understanding and personal interpretation less possible for the average church goer, and restores the power of translation and interpretation to the priests, thus diverting attention away from those nasty little stories about priests and altar boys and replacing it with a reverence for the priest's specialized access to sacred knowledge.

~ ~

( christmasideas )

Meanwhile, a wounding contradiction festers.

At the core of Christianity is the fetishization of innocence
and purity :  the return of the child who can save
the world.  The story
that is so adored
and repeated because it is adored
looks to the Innocent - to a Child - for redemption.

the Christmas story is a beautiful vision,
for only in our children can we find
our better selves.

So why must we maintain this secret place where, even as the innocent is adored,
it can be defiled?  If the great men of football can man up enough to punish those who hurt our children
then why can't the Church?
So much healing could begin, if the cycle of abuse
in that oldest of abusive institutions in the world could be broken.  Both abusers and abused (many of whom may be one in the same person) would benefit from a public confession and atonement.

with every new story of abuse that we learn of,
the finger points back to the abuses that have yet to be punished.
The truth will out, for
the secret is tired of being kept --
Every secret ultimately longs
to be told, and

purity is demanding its time again

11 November 2011

11/11/11, reprise

I have republished one other 
of my earlier entries,
and today I want to do that again.

This one was actually originally written
on 10/6/10,
I think,
but it was written about today,
and I actually had a fantasy when I wrote it,
and still harbor that fantasy,
that it would inspire the world.

Well, maybe not the world,
but maybe you.

Here goes:

So, as we all may know,
there's a growing community of folks
who are a bit worried
about the date
Somethin' about
the Mayans,
some kind of planetary alignment.

Well, I had a revelation
today, and
it goes like this:

That's not really the date to watch
out for.

Well, ok, so it's true;  the evidence
(if you accept that kind of evidence as evidence)
does suggest
something major,
ranging from
major paradigmatic shift
ice age
metaphysical awakening
alien encounter
total destruction


fill in the blank

on 12/21/2012.
somy35 )

But I had a vision today,
and it was
that the really interesting
temporal event 
will be:

11:11 on 11/11/11

I think it could be
a.m. or p.m.

you choose.

~ ~ ~


I would propose that

11:11 on 11/11/11

should be declared

the deadline time

for the one-ness,

and if we meet that deadline,
and stay in a state
of oneness
until 12/21/2012,

we'll pass whatever

judgement day test

God has in store for us



Get it?

You see,

the deal is this:


by some weird



we are facing Armageddon,

then hey,

what the heck?

Would it really hurt us to try,

for a little over a year

to just be at peace,

to just love each other.

This Is My Request,
My Dare,
To The World:

If everyone would meet that deadline:

11:11 on 11/11/11

a.m.  or p.m.,

you choose,

and then

beginning on that date,



stop all the hate.

Stop all the fighting.

Stop all the bickering.

Stop all the competition,

and hating,

and hurting,

and murdering,

and just start loving,

loving people


you never thought you could love.

Find a place in your heart

where you can see

the thing that makes those people
who anger you, or have hurt you,
or who you don't understand


those people,

find the thing that makes them


and love them until


Well, actually:
 let's say
the danger zone for
a real,

that sounds good --
those solstices 
can take awhile,
especially when they involve
a realignment
of the Earth's
magnetic fields.

So, given that,
if we get through
and we're still here
and the sun
is still shining
and Santa Claus comes
and brings you
all the presents you asked for,
well then,
if we're still here after
and we've loved for a year,
and we've communicated honestly for
a whole year
and we've given to the poor for
a whole year
and we've forgiven all our debtors
for a year
and our debtors have forgiven us
for a year
and we've built up Iraq's infrastructure
for a whole year
and gone to tea with the Taliban
for a whole year
and the Taliban has gone to tea
with us
for a whole year

So, let's say
we do all that for
a little over a measly year,
and we get past the 
end of the Mayan Calendar
with no Apocolypse,
no voice from the heavens,
no planetary destruction,

why then,
if that year or so of loving
each other really proved
to be a waste of our time
we can start hating each other again,
and go back to fighting each other again.

That's the deal.

That's the deadline.

11:11 on 11/11/11

begin the one-ness

07 November 2011


( in5d )

What I love about
the 11th month
in the 11th year
after the millennium
is that every day
for at least the first week or so
is a palindrome --
it gazes at itself in the mirror,
with little emotion,
but absolute equilibrium,
challenging each of us
to assume
the same composure -


- it's a narrow marching column,
like a count-down,
counting up --


and then the perfect palindrome,
a beautiful balance to aspire to:



06 November 2011

Anonymous, aka: Makropoulos

My name is Anonymous;
I just walked past you,
but you didn't
see me.

I was born to blend in,
and named to be unnamed --
If I 
were sitting next to you
you wouldn't notice
if I were speaking
you would interrupt --
it's not
that you can't hear me;
it's rather
that my words 
appear irrelevant.

I would love to be heard,
but my fate 
not to be.

I am woman;      I am disabled
I am blonde;             I am shy
I am brown;                                 I was once abused--
I am homely              I am fat
I am poor     
I collect your garbage
                                                   I am an open bruise.

I can't read    ,           I am male
I used to work
in a factory, and
now I don't work at all.

My name is Anonymous;
I just walked past you.

My name is Anonymous,
but when I'm alone
I sing like a bird
I write words that seer
I design all my own clothes
I paint perfect portraits
I built my own home.
I touch people gently
I heal aching bodies and heart;
I love my children dearly
and refuse
to abuse

I listen to you carefully, and
believe that what you say is true.
I cry alone at night
and speak a language known by few.

My Name Is Anonymous.

I just walked past you.

My Name is Anonymous,
but my name is Makropoulos
and I beg you not
to take my words not
to take my songs.

They are mine;
yet they belong
to all the world

01 November 2011

we've lived so well, so long

My palms weigh heavy,
my fingers are aching
to write poetry with wings,
words that fly
into your eyes and make you think
that for a moment you see
even the tiniest thing,
a little more clearly.

My voice too
rattles the cages of my throat
to sing to you.

This, though, will not be one of my finer entries,
only one I feel a need
to say,
rather than be silent
~ ~

The autumn closes on us all,
here in the Northern Domain
and the miserable misery of working
pulls on me like a ball
and chain --
I am not one of the unemployed in America,
nor am I one of the untaxed wealthy.
I am a member of the Working Class, which includes everyone
from garbage collectors to postal deliverers to teachers to engineers to insurance salesmen to nurses
to the retired to the grill-girl at McDonald's.

We are all the ones who pay the taxes and bills, with interest,
on every single living and dying step we take.

We're the ones who keep the company
woops, country

And now the ghoulish parade of hopeful GOP's
have donned their Halloween masks;
every day a new trick,
with promises of impossible treats.
Today, we discard our masks and return
to drudgery;
for them, the masquerade
has only just begun.

We're doomed to listen to them,
and to be required to believe
actually believe
that one of them,
just one of them,
is more capable than the current one man in office
 of relieving us of the mess we're in,
and restoring us to 1960's prosperity.

No no no no No

On this day, 11/1/11,
I say to you:
no one single American citizen
can turn this mess around.

Only us,
can turn it around.

And we must start by stopping
our bickering,
start by stopping
our partisanship
start by stopping
that we're right
and the other person
is wrong.

Start by listening,
and looking
with both eyes wide open,
and we will see
the Statue of Liberty
sailing away to sea.

We're all right,
and we're all wrong.
We have
lived so well,
so long,
and now
our biggest challenge is
finding a new way to live
together --