Last night I knelt before the gods and I was born again. Born from the consummation of the sins of my silence and the sins of all the self righteous who don’t know true goodness is strapped in carseats, anchored in backseats, seated in bucket seats, of angry red pickups purchased with an eighth grade education. At least that education bought a job at the paper mill sweeping up sludge cut from trees brought in by high school diplomas, but it never bought, could never buy heritage or maybelline to cover up the bruises of prejudice that baby girl will have beat in to her all her life by him and him.
I see your ignorance hanging on the front porch manifesting as a confederate flag.
And when I pray, really pray, to the gods I know my silence is too loud and the only way I can help her is to change my whiteness but how do I do that? All people stand the same mother says as she cringes with fear and another shelter opens with each scream of pain. Yeah, I’m born again.
There is no shelter
from the guilty innocent
names run in rivers
when I wake to the mourning of my own prayers
a mourning like no other
rising from a bed of sticks and stones
the words painted on the side of a garage I didn’t own
written on the homework assignment of an 11 year old
I tried to erase it tried to erase it dad made me write it I tried to right it
shouted from the pulpit to a captive congregation
the words won’t disappear
and there painted in a 15 year old
scrawl there penciled by an 11 year old
hand there exhorted by a 50 year old
preacher the world would be free
if it weren’t for fags and dykes
niggers and kykes
the world would be free
I’ve known rivers too
rivers where I went to worship as a child
rivers where I lay back in the waters of salvation
to be cleansed of the sins of my whiteness
to no longer carry that bastard child
and somewhere in Colorado this morning
a river is running red
away from the civilized
yeah, I’m born again.
Copyright 2012 Julie Cummings