First, I must thank everyone who has taken a moment out of your day to read a poem. Poems need people to breathe and the poems on Rahk’s Water are grateful for lending your voice to these silent words. Whether you read them silently or aloud, your voice and mine merge in these moments and it is intimate.
You may or may not have noticed a significant decline in posts since December. Much of this is due to the increased challenges posed by Covid, and the rest is because I have started a web series entitled RahkReads on IGTV. In the spirit of #ReadMorePoetry, RahkReads so far is just a man and his poems. However, I am very excited that tomorrow’s webisode will include readings from the late Assotto Saint and the incomparable Saul Williams. I hope you tune in, like, save, or share.
Originally published in print August 2018, “The Pulse in the Pews” is a knee jerk reaction to the terrorist attack at Pulse Nightclub and a particular church’s response to it. It expounds upon a pivotol period in my spiritual journey. One that sought to mediate religious doctrine with personal revelation and tragedy. One that sought to distinguish God’s voice in a sea of loquacious voices. The following is the first entry in “The Pulse in the Pews”, originally entitled “For Gay Christians Who Consider God When the Church is Not Enough” as an homage to Ntozake Shange. Comments are welcome. You can also message me through my Contact page. Enjoy.
Poetry enables us to speak the truths we may not readily communicate in common, everyday language. Because of it’s nature, poetry empowers the individual who harnesses it to discover insights ordinarily hidden in everyday language. As a spoken word artist and published poet, I had performed poetry on numerous occasions in bars and nightclubs, schools, parks, etc.. But one particular venue used to terrify me because I felt as though that place would not receive who I am as I am.
Poem Against Terror
And I’m afraid to perform in church.
In my truth. In my As I Am.
In my burdened and heavy laden
Which weighs more like angel dust and
As I Am
I’m AFRAID to perform in CHURCH
Because I am with Pulse
Because I am without my rib and
C R E A T E D
Because my faith has challenged mountains
Because my faith has challenged me
Because my love is created by God
I am with PULSE
And sometimes I CAN’T BREATHE
And sometimes I BELIEVE
that God is so GOD that even ME
He doth LOVE as I AM
As we are created
As we are hated by the love of god
As we are berated for the will of God
As we are related to the children of GOD
As we are
As we are
As we are
I am no longer afraid to perform in church
I speak those things that be not
as if they be
I am NO LONGER afraid
to perform in church
As I am
I am beloved by God
I am with Pulse
I CAN breathe
And I must breathe whispers
Into the soul
Because whispers are seeds that grow
Because I am a seed I know
Can move mountains
And walk in the valley of the shadow of churches
Because He leads me beside still bodies
that should not be without pulse
They should not be still
We should not be still
We should not be afraid
to seek God in church AS WE ARE
We, too, are BELOVED by God.
On the 40 minute drive to teach freshman and sophomore English, I see glimpses as I head down I-40: a darkened stage with subtle light, brown skin shrouded in various, yet harmonic, hues of blue. “In 5 miles, take Exit 206,” says Girl, my Google Maps App. (I know my way to work by now, so I just navigate for the real-time traffic updates and alternate routes.) The signal light sounds off its blinky clicks, and I see another glimpse: a gun on a nightstand, two Black men in a careful rage– then a snippet of a conversation. “Talk to me, it’s your silence that fathers this distance…” and then Girl chimes in, “In 0.9 miles, keep right to stay on Exit 206.” Before you know it, I’ve finished teaching all my classes and I’m back on the road for another 40 minutes.
I see glimpses, but it’s still unformed. “Water” has a lot to live up to. I’m hoping it will become a culmination of all the late nights and invested time. This “Water”, of which I receive fleeting glimpses, warms me like the grey-eyed grin of my grandfather. Specifically, the ‘just for me’ grin that greeted me whenever I returned home from college.
Because you spare a little time to visit whenever you can, gratitude warms me just like PaPa’s grin before Dementia dimmed it a bit. (He still reserved a smile just-for-me, even with the declining nature of the disease.) Nevertheless, thank you for reading any tiny droplet of “Rahk’s Water”. Together, we can turn these droplets into a bay. 💙